making local government more ethical

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Post-Employment/Revolving Door

Robert Wechsler
A former head of Chicago's public school system has said she will plead guilty to a scheme to take hundreds of thousands of dollars, airfare, meals, and baseball tickets in exchange for steering more than $23 million in no-bid contracts to her former employer, an educational consulting and training company. The situation provides a valuable look at the problems that can arise when someone goes through the revolving door in the manner that is often overlooked by ethics code:  from a company that...
Robert Wechsler

This is the third of four blog posts on Zephyr Teachout's excellent new book, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard Univ. Press).

Other Anti-Corruption Laws
Teachout is good at presenting laws as anti-corruption laws which are not usually considered this way. For...

Robert Wechsler
Alysia Santo wrote an excellent Insider Politics column in the Albany Times-Union last week on the need for a post-employment provision in the city that is the capital of New York state. But the columnist went further than this, looking at some aspects of the city's institutionalized corruption (without actually giving it a name).

She focused on...
Robert Wechsler
Lax post-employment provisions can come back to haunt high-level officials. They may have been thinking of their futures and those of their close colleagues when they opposed laws that would require them not to represent anyone before the government for a year or two after leaving public service. But when one of their close colleagues takes advantage of the resulting hole in the post-employment provision and becomes a lobbyist, it reflects poorly on the high-level official in two ways. The...
Robert Wechsler
Another day, another grand jury report recommending government ethics reform. This report (attached; see below) comes from Orange County, NY, a county northwest of New York City, whose biggest town is Newburgh and whose most famous towns include the very different Tuxedo and Kiryas Joel.

The report criminally exonerates the county legislator who is its subject, because he did a couple things right:  he sought ethics advice from the ethics board, and he disclosed his employment with...
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...