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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
When a major newspaper's editorial on a city council's handling of an important ethics issue begins with "Sneaky. Real sneaky." it's something worth sharing with those interested in local government ethics.

Robert Wechsler
Update: The bills discussed below passed the council on March 22.

Just down the road from Philadelphia, Baltimore too is considering ethics reforms, but it's in response to a scandal involving its past mayor rather than in response to the work of a task force.

There are two bills before the Baltimore council, both of them introduced while the new mayor was council president...
Robert Wechsler
One of the biggest little problems in government ethics is the inability to filter out very minor violations, which can be dealt with either by dismissing the complaint or by requiring, say, an additional training course. It is a waste of limited time and resources to investigate and hold hearings on minor violations. An EC needs to be able to use its judgment to decide when a violation is not worth investigating.

Although it is hard to define what is a minor, or de minimis,...
Robert Wechsler
Last December, I listed the major recommendations of Philadelphia's Task Force on Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform in its 58-page report.

According to an...
Robert Wechsler
Influence. It's a big word in a lot of government ethics laws, and a word that those who write such laws should think at least twice about.

As everyone knows, New York Governor David Paterson has been accused by the NY Commission on Public Integrity (CPI) of having violated the state's gift ban by asking for and receiving five tickets to the first game of last year's World Series, at Yankee Stadium. But the reports are, of course, ignoring the language of the law. Here it is:...
Robert Wechsler
I recently noted Oakland, CA's odd nepotism ordinance. Well, its Public Ethics Commission is also odd, and worthy of a look. I was alerted to some of its oddities by a recent A Better Oakland blog post...