making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Republican candidates in Cumberland County, in southern New Jersey (pop. 150,000), are pushing for several ethics reforms, including some fresh ideas.

According to an article in the Press of Atlantic City and an article on,...
Robert Wechsler
According to an Associated Press article yesterday, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission recommended a rule change that would get rid of the gag rule on people who file ethics complaints. The cause of the rule change is two suits filed against the EC, challenging the gag rule. The suits were filed on freedom of speech grounds. See my recent...
Robert Wechsler
One of the biggest problems with local government lobbyists is that they invariably have close contacts with those who run the city or county. So whenever they are involved in a matter, especially the bidding of large contracts, there is a strong appearance of impropriety, and people don't trust the bidding process.

This is why some local governments place a ban on the lobbying of government officials with respect to large contracts and developments. Phoenix is one local government...
Robert Wechsler
Maricopa County (home of Phoenix) is doing an excellent job of showing America's local governments what not to do. In April, I wrote about the conflict that existed when the county attorney, after representing the county board of supervisors as it put together plans and contracts for a new county courthouse, decided to investigate the board's handling of these plans and contracts. The outcry over this conflict led the county attorney to turn the investigation over to another county.
Robert Wechsler
Updates below
Anyone who doubts the need for truly independent ethics commissions need look no further than what has been happening in Philadelphia this week. Or should I say "this year"?

Robert Wechsler
I am always fascinated at the ways in which even the most reform-minded politicians can kill ethics reform proposals that might cause them some embarrassment. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has done a great deal for ethics reform, but at least one reform bill, which on its face seems pretty minor, has apparently gotten in his craw.