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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
Proximity rules are common to local and state government ethics codes nationwide (see my blog post on them from five years ago). They require officials to withdraw from any matter dealing with property within a certain distance of property they own or rent, no matter how many others have property within the same proximity.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
As I near the end of writing my local government ethics book, I am going over local government ethics codes looking for unusual, but valuable provisions to include in a special section that follows my discussion of the run-of-the-mill provisions.

I would like to share one of these provisions that is truly worth thinking about. It appears in the Windsor, CO ethics code:

§5.2.M. No

Robert Wechsler
An ethics bill in the District of Columbia, sponsored by council member Muriel Bowser, went quickly through committee and was passed by the council, with only one dissenting vote, on December 20 (the final committee bill can be found here). What's amazing about it is that, despite the speed with which it moved, Bowser's staff made many improvements to the bill in response...
Robert Wechsler
Yet another brief has been filed in the Carrigan v. Commission on Ethics of the State of Nevada case, this time the EC's supplemental brief on remand to the Nevada Supreme Court.

The principal issue discussed in this brief is vagueness, which has stood in the background behind First Amendment issues of free...
Robert Wechsler
I came across a decision in Patty Salkin's Law of the Land blog today involving a federal statute that allows federal prosecution of those who give gifts to local officials in amounts greater than $5,000. Proof of bribery is not...
Robert Wechsler
Sometimes, conflicts are built right into ethics laws, partly because it is in the political interest of those with conflicts, and partly because they don't even view those laws as ethics laws.

A good example of this is the Connecticut law (CGS §9-623) that places enforcement of municipal campaign finance laws in the hands of city and town clerks. In Connecticut, clerks are often elected...