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Confidential Information

Robert Wechsler
According to an article on yesterday's website, the Philadelphia Board of Ethics fined its executive director $500 for violating the confidentiality rules of the city's ethics code. The story is instructive in how to handle such difficult matters. (Disclosure: I know and have a lot of respect for both of the individuals in this matter.)

The short...
Robert Wechsler
See Update Below
The accusations made by New York's Inspector General that the executive director of New York's Commission on Public Integrity leaked information about an investigation to a close associate of the target of the investigation (the governor) are very upsetting. But there are two important lessons to be learned here.

One, ethics commissions should be as independent as possible, so that when such things occur, it is clear that they are personal rather than...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in today's New York Times, the reason that charges were dropped against Sen. Ted Stevens is that federal prosecutors repeatedly failed to disclose information that may have helped the defense. Most of the...
Robert Wechsler
Update below (August 19, 2009)
Here's a recipe for conflicts of interest. Create a new kind of county commission to hand out grant money. Require that commission members include representatives from public and private agencies that handle the very services the grants are intended for. Stir until frothy.

What's amazing is that, according to