making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Especially in small towns, bankers often have business relationships with many people and, therefore, do not make the best board and commission members on account of the many conflicts they have or, more frequently, the appearance of impropriety.

According to an article this week in the Asbury Park Press, in Long Branch, NJ (pop. 40,000) there is a dispute concerning the reappointment of...
Robert Wechsler
It's worth noting two Washington Post-ABC News poll questions concerning the Citizens United decision on corporate-funded independent expenditures. Most notable is the fact that the reaction was roughly the same across the political spectrum. The ruling was opposed by 85% of Democrats polled, 76% of Republicans, and 81% of independents. These days, it's rare to have such a...
Robert Wechsler
Special Counsel Robert S. Bennett's report on the District of Columbia council's earmark grants and personal services contracts was made public yesterday by the Washington...
Robert Wechsler
Your big brother is a powerful member of city council, and you're just a deputy city clerk. There's got to be more than this! So you retire, take your pension of $68,000, and run for state representative, with all the support your brother and his friends can provide, adding another $86,000 in salary and the prospect of a second government pension. Not bad.

But not enough. You set up a lobbying firm, "to help businesses engage" with the city, and you let your partner engage with the...
Robert Wechsler
It's only been six weeks since I wrote about a campaign finance suit in San Diego, filed by the Republican Party of San Diego County, a former City Council candidate, a pro-business group, a union PAC, and a pollster. Yesterday the federal district court handed down an important split decision on the plaintiffs'...
Robert Wechsler
The Grants of a Conflicted Board of Insiders
Sometimes conflicts can cause a city or county serious problems with such things as state and federal grants. This is what has happened in Brockton, MA (pop. 94,000), according to an article in the Enterprise-News.

The board of the city's...