making local government more ethical

You are here

Public Campaign Financing

Robert Wechsler
Lawrence Lessig's excellent new book Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It (Twelve, Oct. 5, 2011) is about Congress and mostly about campaign finance, but it is also an important look at institutional corruption that has some valuable things to say that are relevant to local government ethics.

Lessig, who is director...
Robert Wechsler
Two months ago, a book was published called The Jersey Sting, by two Star-Ledger reporters, Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin. It provides the history of an enormous federal sting operation which led to the arrest of dozens of government officials, most of them from local governments, on July 23, 2009 (see...
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
According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal, business organizations are arguing that government employee unions have a conflict of interest that should prevent them from supporting candidates for office. "Public-sector unions have a guaranteed source of revenue—you and me as taxpayers," the executive director of the U.S. Chamber of...
Robert Wechsler
Update: September 26, 2010 (see below)

Disclosure forms are important. Sometimes, even secondary information can be important. But it can take a lot of work to get behind the information that appears on disclosure forms. And when you do get behind the information, it can look real ugly, even if it's completely legal.

Here's a good example...
Robert Wechsler
A Poor Approach to Being Ethical
It's great when candidates talk up acting ethically. But it's going too far, and setting a bad precedent, when a candidate takes a lie-detector test in which he says that he never engaged in unethical activities in private- or public-sector work, as reported in the Moultrie (GA) Observer.