making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
According to Wikipedia, a Grand Unified Theory (GUT) is "a model in particle physics in which at high energy, the three gauge interactions of the Standard Model which define the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions, are merged into one single interaction."

It appears that the case of Michael Quinn Sullivan and his trio of...
Robert Wechsler
Can anyone volunteer for a local political campaign without it being considered a contribution? Isn't it everyone's right to do so? Isn't this just about the most important thing a citizen can do, short of running for office herself?

According to the Toronto Metro News website last week, a "political strategist" and lobbyist who was...
Robert Wechsler
Worth reading is an op-ed piece Saturday in the Canberra Times by Jack Waterford, the paper's editor-at-large. With a title you'd never see in an American paper — Weaning Players Off the Public Teat — Waterford takes a very frank approach to the revolving door between government and lobbying.

Waterford starts off by acknowledging that, "For too many...
Robert Wechsler

Banning meals provided by lobbyists was among the proposals up for discussion Tuesday by the [Missouri] House General Laws Committee. Nearby was a lunch spread for committee members, provided by a lobbyist.

—the beginning of an article by Virginia Young of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Robert Wechsler
Recently, the hiring of lobbyists to represent cities before state and federal governments and agencies has become controversial. Some people think this is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds. I don't agree. However, the hiring of external lobbyists (as opposed to government officials who do the lobbying themselves) does raise some government ethics issues, because it adds to the mix highly politicized contractors.

This problem is exacerbated when there are laws limiting or...
Robert Wechsler
City Attorney Ethics Enforcement in San Francisco
An article in the San Francisco Chronicle this week says that the city attorney filed a lawsuit against a former member of the board of supervisors (the city's legislative body) who acted as a lobbyist, but failed to register (in arguing that he was acting as an attorney, the supervisor pointed to an...