making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
"It was like dandelions. You just accept them. They were there, something you've seen all your life."

Dandelions are a perfect metaphor for institutional corruption. In this case, the dandelions were extra payments (beyond those due to retirees) made by Detroit's two pension funds, to active employees (54%), retirees (14%), and the city itself (32%), the latter to lower annual contributions to the funds, according to...
Robert Wechsler
This blog has been closely following cases where the legislative immunity defense has been used in government ethics proceedings. This week, the same issue arose with respect to an open records proceeding in Wisconsin. According to an article posted on the Madison Isthmus site yesterday, Wisconsin's attorney general has argued in an open records proceeding that a state senator is immune from a suit...
Robert Wechsler
I did a huge amount of reading this summer for a paper I wrote for the journal Public Integrity (and otherwise). The first piece of reading I'm going to talk about is one of the otherwise.

Washington University in St. Louis law professor Kathleen Clark's law review article, "Confidentiality Norms and Government Lawyers," 85 Wash. U. L. Rev. (2008), is on a topic I researched many years ago and...
Robert Wechsler
Lawyers and confidentiality can both be serious obstacles to the effectiveness of a government ethics program. An ethics case in Trumbull, CT provides a good look at how this can happen.

Attorneys on an Ethics Commission
According to an article in the Trumbull Times last week and...
Robert Wechsler

It's here at last:  the first government ethics app (at least that I know of). According to a Capitol Alert post on the Sacramento Bee website yesterday,  California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has a free...
Robert Wechsler
According to a column in today's New York Times and a visit to the New York City Business Integrity Commission's (BIC) website, the BIC provides three easy lessons in how not to run an oversight commission. The BIC has jurisdiction over the private waste carting industry,...