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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
Over the last few weeks, while I was putting the finishing touches on the second edition of the book Local Government Ethics Programs, there was a lot of action in the area of ethics reform. In the next few blog posts, I will summarize the action.

Robert Wechsler
In January, I wrote a blog post about the District of Columbia ethics board's first public forum seeking recommendations for ethics reform. On April 17, the ethics board published a report that makes recommendations for improvements to the city's ethics program (attached; see below).

Of the five recommendations I made in my testimony to the D.C. board, only one of them...
Robert Wechsler
A settlement in a Massachusetts ethics proceeding can be used as an educational opportunity in several ways.

According to a February 28 press release from the Massachusetts Ethics Commission, which has jurisdiction over local...
Robert Wechsler
A February draft advisory opinion from the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (attached; see below) raises two different issues. One is the problematic nature of a total gift ban, that is, a ban on all gifts from anyone, accompanied by a whole host of exceptions. The other is the important differences among gifts, campaign contributions, and contributions to an official's legal defense fund...
Robert Wechsler
What is the best way to prevent high-level officials from participating in matters involving departments or agencies where their close family members are employed, without doing this unreasonably, that is, excluding situations where the family members have no influence and will receive no benefits?

This is the question that has been raised in Baltimore by council members, particularly the council president who, according to...
Robert Wechsler
[Note: I have made changes throughout this blog post, based on a February 25 e-mail message from the COG executive director]

It should feel good when a pet idea of yours becomes a reality. My pet idea is the regional ethics program, whose biggest successes have been of the countywide variety, such as Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County, FL (there is also a Broward County program, but it is run by an inspector general). There are a few regional ethics commissions in Kentucky,...