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Confidential Information

Robert Wechsler
There are several problems with Houston's new ethics provisions, in addition to what I pointed out in my last blog post. Some of them are typical, some of them are unusual. The ethics reform ordinance is attached; see below; the old ethics ordinance can be found by clicking here and scrolling down on the left to Code of Ordinances Chapter 18).

Robert Wechsler
Teachers and teachers' family members seem to be just the sort of people to run for school boards. They have either the expertise and/or the interest in education. But with them come conflicts of interest, and these can cast doubt on what they're doing there in the first place.

Teachers in the particular school district generally can't run for school board seats, but many teachers don't live in the districts where they teach. This prohibition often applies to their spouses as well...
Robert Wechsler
A Resignation from an Ethics Board for a Possible Future Conflict
A member of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics resigned recently, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The reason for his resignation was a possible conflict of interest due to his representation of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) in...
Robert Wechsler
In Milwaukee County, according to an article in Sunday's Journal-Sentinel, a county supervisor is seeking to add to the county ethics code a confidential information provision that would not limit the prohibition to what is common in ethics codes: information divulged for someone's benefit.

As I've written...
Robert Wechsler
Whistleblower provisions are extremely important to government ethics, but poorly worded ethics provisions can undermine even the best whistleblower provisions, especially in unscrupulous hands. One such ethics provision is the confidential information provision.

A nurse at a Winker County, TX hospital was charged with felony misuse of confidential information for reporting improper medical treatment by a doctor, according to...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the News-Tribune, the governor of Missouri recently signed an ethics bill (SB 844) that made many changes in the state's ethics and campaign finance programs, and failed to make others, such as a campaign contribution limit, which the legislature...