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Ethics Commissions/Administration

Robert Wechsler
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has reached a decision on the legislative immunity case (Irons v. RI Ethics Commission) involving the state ethics commission and the state legislature. As expected, its majority opinion (it was a 3-1 split) concluded that the state's Speech in Debate Clause 100% overrides the 1986 constitutional amendment that granted the state ethics commission full authority over state...
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
According to an Associated Press article yesterday, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission recommended a rule change that would get rid of the gag rule on people who file ethics complaints. The cause of the rule change is two suits filed against the EC, challenging the gag rule. The suits were filed on freedom of speech grounds. See my recent...
Robert Wechsler
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission has published its report on the infamous Seattle snow scandal of last winter. There were numerous accusations that the mayor and other top officials had asked for and been given preferential treatment for their neighborhood when an unusual snowstorm hit Seattle.

Preferential treatment is one of the thorniest of all ethics issues, as I explained in a recent blog post. It is...
Robert Wechsler
Community outreach is usually toward the bottom of a local government ethics commission's priority list.

Googling one thing or another, I came across this memo from the executive director of the Oakland Public Ethics Commission, which includes an invitation to members of the press, government, and community groups to come to an EC "retreat" to share with EC members their views on how the...
Robert Wechsler
"Investigators, like prosecutors, must understand that the desire to go after big game to garner big headlines may be as unethical as the offenses they are pursuing."

This is the central point of a formal statement made by the new chair of the New York State Commission on Public Integrity concerning the report of the Inspector...