making local government more ethical

You are here

Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
The Supreme Court has been nibbling away at campaign finance laws for years now, but the one thing all but one of the justices agree on is that requiring the disclosure of contributions does not infringe on first amendment speech rights.

Then why, as stated in the Washington Post yesterday, have organizations sponsoring issue ads failed to list the sources of...
Robert Wechsler
What is most remarkable about the proposed code of conduct for Santa Fe County (NM) is the fact that it was drafted by the county attorney. It reads as if it were put together by a citizens group in a community that has lost faith in its government officials.

Robert Wechsler
Update: September 26, 2010 (see below)

Disclosure forms are important. Sometimes, even secondary information can be important. But it can take a lot of work to get behind the information that appears on disclosure forms. And when you do get behind the information, it can look real ugly, even if it's completely legal.

Here's a good example...
Robert Wechsler
Updates: August 24 and 26, 2010 (see below)

For those who, like me, believe that neither a mayor nor a local legislative body nor a city attorney has any business getting involved in the government ethics process, here's an example you can use of the mess they can make when they do get involved.

Robert Wechsler
Should advisory board and task force members be excepted from conflict of interest rules? Jurisdictions disagree about this. Some believe that, when a board has no authority to act or implement, the usual rules should not apply. The principal argument is that there are times when a government needs to get people with opposing interests together — such as business and union interests — in order to hash out community problems. Another argument is the need for expertise.

Robert Wechsler
I've been writing a lot about the controversies surrounding a new Broward County (FL) ethics code, but there's also been controversy in the Broward County School District that is likely to lead to an ethics code of its own (according to a Miami Herald editorial on Saturday, a former school board member pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges this year, and another member revealed that her...