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Model Code

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Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, a county commissioner in Ohio voted on a contract that went to her non-dependent son, and she is being investigated by the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Let me say first that I think it's outrageous for a public official to vote on a contract that's going to her son, dependent or not. The county commissioner says she...
Robert Wechsler
The standard of proof for determining whether an ethical violation occurred has become an issue in Louisiana's ethics reform. After looking at several local government ethics codes, as well as the ethics codes of the states that have jurisdiction over local government officials, I don't think standards of proof have become enough of an issue in most jurisdictions.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
When should governments provide counsel for officials who have had an ethics complaint brought against them? This has become a big issue recently in my state, Connecticut.

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Robert Wechsler

Everyone knows it’s not right for government officials to favor their friends, but because friendships are so difficult to define, they don’t appear in ethics codes. Relatives can be defined, domestic partners can be defined, business associates can be defined, but not boyfriends or pals or old buddies. This is one of the limitations of dealing with ethics in the form of a law.

But the Massachusetts Ethics Commission, which deals with local government as well as state government...

Robert Wechsler

Confidentiality is a sticky issue in ethics investigations. It appears to be the norm, but many people do not seem to understand why it exists, or what duties it creates.

An interesting confidentiality issue arose recently in Beaufort, South Carolina, according to an article in today’s Beaufort Gazette. A former mayoral candidate filed a complaint against the current mayor with the state...

Robert Wechsler

What’s been happening recently in Lincoln, Nebraska, concerning city officials having contracts with the city, provides food for thought on a few basic conflicts of interest issues.

One issue is whether city officials and employees should be allowed to have contracts with the city. Or are full and open bidding provisions enough? Or full disclosure?

Another issue is whether a city council is the right body to decide this question.

Yet another issue is the inclusiveness of...