making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Once again, a local government official's attempt to use a charity to get around campaign finance laws has blown up in his face. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an Atlanta council member was fined $25,000 by a state court for failing to register a foundation (named after himself) and failing to maintain financial records for it.

Robert Wechsler
It's official. According to an article in yesterday's Salt Lake City Tribune, a comprehensive ethics reform petition has been okayed for distribution, with the goal of placing it on the November 2010 ballot. That requires 95,000 signatures on a 21-page petition that is far from easy reading.

Robert Wechsler
Update: 9/30/09
I was asked to do a short interview on Phoenix's NPR station KJZZ yesterday, to provide a government ethics view on issues relating to the latest battle in the uncivil war among elected officials in Maricopa County, the county that includes Phoenix. My research into what is going on raised all sorts of interesting issues. I'll deal with them in multiple blog posts.

First, what happened. County Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrested County Supervisor (effectively...
Robert Wechsler
There's a lot of talk about the lack of government ethics in Albany, New York State's capital, but not much about the state of government ethics in the city of Albany itself. In July, the Albany Times-Union ran a long article on the mayor and the police chief's relationship with the city's largest developer. It also noted that the city council is considering an ethics code for the city (...
Robert Wechsler
It may be midsummer, but it's still a busy season for local government ethics. Here's how a few local governments are dealing with ethics reform.

Palm Beach County commissioners agreed to create an inspector general and ethics commission, according to an article in the Palm Beach Post. The commission says it will ask voters in November 2010...
Robert Wechsler
"Even the baby Jesus accepted gifts, and I don't think it corrupted him." and "The taking of gifts does not corrupt a person. It's when you're taking those gifts for personal gain that they corrupt you."

—Former North Carolina state representative Drew Saunders. These words were spoken back in 2006, but they're far too good to reject on account of age. What's especially interesting is the context in which the first statement was made:  Saunders was pushing for an amendment to a...