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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
I don’t care what state you are talking about, you are always going to have one or two people who are going to do the wrong thing. That’s human life. But the bottom line is: I can tell you that my members who are in the House of Representatives are here for the right reason, and I am just a little cautious to make a regulation for one person.

Reaction of Rhode Island House Speaker William J. Murphy to Gov. Carcieri's suggestion
Robert Wechsler
The Politicization of Officials Selecting Ethics Commission Members
People should not be political footballs, and ethics commission members even moreso. But that's what can happen when officials are allowed to select ethics commission members. According to an article in yesterday's Tulsa ...
Robert Wechsler
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council passed amendments to the city's ethics code, based on recommendations from the city's ethics commission, according to an article in the West Seattle ...
Robert Wechsler
In the midst of a big corruption probe, a pair of back-and-forth ethics complaints filed with a nearly toothless ethics commission in El Paso doesn't seem like much. But it does sheds some light on how much El Paso government is about the players rather than the citizens. And it touches on some issues that are important everywhere, including the use of lawsuits to cripple ethics commissions, legal fees for ethics...
Robert Wechsler
It seriously undermines the public's understanding of government ethics when highly visible decisions misrepresent basic government ethics concepts. This occurred yesterday, when the Alaska State Personnel Board found that Governor Sarah Palin did not violate the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act when she wore a jacket with the logo of her husband's sponsor as the starter...
Robert Wechsler
Update (9/30/09)
I tend to focus a lot on weaknesses of ethics codes, but sometimes ethics codes go too far. One reason for this is that they are usually responses to scandals that are criminal in nature, that is, scandals that do not involve conflicts of interest. Another reason is that most people don't understand that ethics codes are really conflict of interest codes, not codes that deal with all of an official's behavior. It's appropriate to have aspirational provisions that...