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States and Municipal Ethics

Robert Wechsler
In February, Florida governor Charlie Crist asked for a grand jury to report on government corruption in Florida. The first interim report was filed yesterday. Its recommendations involve local government as well as state ethics laws.

Robert Wechsler
Government Executives and the Ethics Commission Selection Process
Should government chief executives appoint ethics commission members or their staff? The common practice is that they usually do. But the common practice is not necessarily the best practice, especially when it puts a conflict of interest at the heart of the conflict of interest process.

This issue has arisen in a very concrete way in Montana, where the governor is faced with appointing a new...
Robert Wechsler
A Failure to Respond to an Ethics Complaint
It's always interesting to see how many ways there are not to deal with ethics complaints. When you think you've seen them all, a new one comes out of nowhere.

In this case, nowhere is Taylor, Michigan, a city of 65,000 outside Detroit. According to an article in the News-Herald on Saturday...
Robert Wechsler
Yet another court decision discussed at the COGEL conference placed First Amendment free speech rights far above the obligations of a government official, employing a strict scrutiny approach where a simple due process (for statutory vagueness) approach would have been sufficient. This time the official is a member of the Sparks (NV) city council, in fact, the same council member who successfully sued to overturn an advisory opinion of the state ethics commission in a case I carefully reviewed...
Robert Wechsler
Investigations of purported ethics violations by the Middlesex County (MA) sheriff apparently led to his suicide on Saturday. According to a Boston Globe chronology, the sheriff filed papers for retirement on October 28, while running for re-election on November 2. His plan was to get a pension and a salary.
Robert Wechsler
Update: December 1, 2010 (see below)

Last week, the Texas Attorney General issued a legal opinion on the role of the county attorney in representing and advising the El Paso County ethics commission, which was established in 2009.

The county attorney herself...