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Ethics Reform

Robert Wechsler
Considering that it reflects a typical approach to lobbying, it is valuable to look at the language of a resolution to improve Austin's lobbying oversight program (attached; see below). It is also valuable to consider the opposition to this resolution by a coalition of local architects, engineers, and contractors, according to an article in the Austin Monitor this week.
Robert Wechsler
David A. Marcello, the Executive Director of the Public Law Center at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, has been keeping close tabs on New Orleans' troubled ethics program. In 2011, he published a report on how Hurricane Katrina (2005) led New Orleans' officials to turn a moribund ethics program into one...
Robert Wechsler

Last month, Jonathan Rauch published a sincere and well-written defense of political machines, entitled "Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy" (Brooking Institution Press; available free as a PDF or e-book). Although the essay scarcely mentions conflicts of interest, gifts, nepotism, and the like, and it makes no mention at all of conflicts of...

Huffington Post on the Tallahassee referendum

Huffington Post article on the 11/4 referendum...

Robert Wechsler
The arrest of New York state senate majority leader Sheldon Silver points to an ongoing institutional problem that is not limited to New York state:  the law firm as the perfect place to launder money. The reason for this is that lawyer-client confidentiality, at least as it is often practiced, allows a law firm, and the public office holders who are part of or do work for it, to keep its clients, its services, its receipts, and its payments secret.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
I left out one big local ethics/election story from my blog post yesterday:  the approval of an excellent ethics reform initiative in Oakland, with an approval percentage of 72%, according to the KQED News website.

For a description of the referendum, read my...