making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
On Independence Day weekend, it's worth remembering that independence does not come cheap, and that there are some things that are more important than independence.

One of those things is the public trust. There is a serious cost to our society when government officials place their independence from ethics enforcement above the public trust, that is, when government officials insist on legislative immunity. And there is a cost to officials, too:  their trial not by a neutral body...
Robert Wechsler
Time Limitations on Ethics Proceedings in Louisiana, and Why They're Bad
The Louisiana ethics board handles ethics, disclosure, campaign finance, and lobbying for the state and for the state's local governments. It is, like all ethics agencies, understaffed, underfunded, and overstretched. So according to an article in Monday's Baton Rouge ...
Robert Wechsler
The confidentiality, or transparency, of local government ethics complaints and proceedings is a funny topic. Most of the time, government officials want as much confidentiality as possible. They don't want ethical issues concerning them to be mentioned in public.

But there are times when they want to be able to blast those who file complaints against them, and then they favor transparency. In other words, which side they're on does not involve policy, but their self-interest. It's...
Robert Wechsler
You be the judge. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a board member of a Georgia-based insurance company set up ten PACs in Alabama that together gave $120,000 — ten times the legal limit — to a candidate for Georgia insurance commissioner. A complaint was filed with the state ethics commission (not only is there a...
Robert Wechsler
Can they convict him simply for failing to disclose information when he had no duty to disclose? No Alaska law required it, and there's no federal statute that requires it, so what did he do wrong?

— Donald Ayer, attorney for former Alaska state representative Bruce Weyhrauch (December 2009) (taken from an article on the website). Weyhrauch is accused of having taken a job with an...
Robert Wechsler
In my recent blog post on Maricopa County, I referred to the problem of harassment and intimidation by government officials against other government officials and employees. I have also referred in the past to the even more serious problem of harassment, intimidation, and ad hominem attacks by government officials against citizens. There is a new sort of fear...