making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
In a letter to the editor in yesterday's New York Times, two lawyers who represent clients seeking to gut Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections public campaign financing program end by calling Arizona's program "a vision of unconstitutional dystopia, not free speech."

I administer the public campaign financing program in New Haven, CT. These programs are intended to...
Robert Wechsler
Without giving it any thought, it would be hard to think of a better fit than a city politician running the local chamber of commerce. After all, the goals of a chamber of commerce and of a city government are pretty much the same:  security, good government, good services, low taxes.

But when you think about it more, you realize that a chamber of commerce is not just a cheerleader for the city, but also a powerful organization that lobbies city politicians on a variety of issues,...
Robert Wechsler
Update: March 19, 2011 (see below)

Last December I wrote a long blog post about the pay-to-play culture of Prince George's County, Maryland. The new county executive and the county's state representatives appear to have been working hard to make changes to end this pay-to-play culture, although you wouldn't know it from...
Robert Wechsler
Last month, I did a blog post on the huge exceptions to Alabama's new gift provisions (pp. 24-26). What I didn't note was the similarities, and the gulf, between the bribery provision in Alabama's constitution and the gift provisions in the old and new statutes, and how this has...
Robert Wechsler
This third of three posts on ethics reform in Gwinnett County, Georgia looks at the county officials' response to the recommendations in the 2007 report drafted by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, and in...
Robert Wechsler
The Green Bay Packers football team is going to try to win its game today in order to get to the playoffs and seek its first Super Bowl victory since 1996. Before 1996, the Packers hadn't won a Super Bowl since Vince Lombardi coached them there in 1967.

An ethics board meeting is not quite a Super Bowl, but Green Bay's record isn't much better. According to...