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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
 A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about how several government officials in Wausau mishandled a conflict situation involving the purchase of property fixed up with an interest-free loan from HUD. Yesterday's The State of South Carolina covers two other HUD loan conflict situations in Columbia, which are...
Robert Wechsler
Update: October 21, 2009 (see below)
Two interesting issues come out of a long, detailed Kansas City Star article yesterday about Missouri political consultant, and recent house speaker, Ron Jetton.

Robert Wechsler

Update: December 2, 2009 (see below)

I have often complained about how local government officials and attorneys approach government ethics matters in an overly technical manner. Well, ethics commission attorneys can do this, too.

In terms of the language in ethics codes, I think the rule should be, If an ordinary person does not read language a certain way, an ethics commission should not read it that way. If the ethics commission feels certain language...
Robert Wechsler
When Is a Confidentiality Waiver Not a Confidentiality Waiver?
It is common for ethics codes to allow respondents in ethics proceedings to waive confidentiality and make the proceeding public. This is what South Carolina governor Mark Sanford did, according to an article in The State back in August.

"Sanford said a...

Robert Wechsler
It's official. According to an article in yesterday's Salt Lake City Tribune, a comprehensive ethics reform petition has been okayed for distribution, with the goal of placing it on the November 2010 ballot. That requires 95,000 signatures on a 21-page petition that is far from easy reading.

Robert Wechsler
Accusing someone of a conflict of interest can lead to trouble, especially if the person you accuse is a litigious lawyer and you do it outside of an ethics proceeding. This is what one can read from a $5 million suit filed by a former town attorney against the town of Victor, NY  (pop. 10,000) and a member of the town's planning board.