making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler

Things are moving along well with the Palm Beach County ethics initiative, which I've written about in earlier blog posts (1  2). An inspector general, selected by the ethics commission and two state government attorneys, started work on June 28,...
Robert Wechsler
On Independence Day weekend, it's worth remembering that independence does not come cheap, and that there are some things that are more important than independence.

One of those things is the public trust. There is a serious cost to our society when government officials place their independence from ethics enforcement above the public trust, that is, when government officials insist on legislative immunity. And there is a cost to officials, too:  their trial not by a neutral body...
Robert Wechsler
Time Limitations on Ethics Proceedings in Louisiana, and Why They're Bad
The Louisiana ethics board handles ethics, disclosure, campaign finance, and lobbying for the state and for the state's local governments. It is, like all ethics agencies, understaffed, underfunded, and overstretched. So according to an article in Monday's Baton Rouge ...
Robert Wechsler
Can they convict him simply for failing to disclose information when he had no duty to disclose? No Alaska law required it, and there's no federal statute that requires it, so what did he do wrong?

— Donald Ayer, attorney for former Alaska state representative Bruce Weyhrauch (December 2009) (taken from an article on the website). Weyhrauch is accused of having taken a job with an...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Providence Journal, a Rhode Island state senator has been indicted on federal charges that he falsified documents to get mortgages and an auto loan worth more than $1.5 million. This same senator sponsored an unsuccessful resolution to let the legislature regulate its own ethics....
Robert Wechsler
While I was away on vacation, the new, quasi-independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) was in the news a lot.

Going Outside of Congress
First, it did something that made it appear more than the paper tiger I called it a year ago. According to a New York Times editorial last week, when the OCE's investigation of contributions to...