making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Gifts to a local official can fall between jurisdictional cracks, as shown in an article today in the New York Times. They can also fall between definitional cracks. And between these cracks it's gray.

The article reports that, a couple of years ago, Newark NJ's mayor, Cory Booker, who is running for U.S. Senate, was given money by several high-tech...
Robert Wechsler
Several interesting issues arise from a recent ethics case in Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans with about 430,000 people. According to an article in the Advocate yesterday, an employee of a large parish contractor sent the following e-mail to a council member's aide, who forwarded it to the council member:
“I would like to schedule a meeting with Councilman Spears...
Robert Wechsler
In Hawaii, "Aloha" is not just a greeting. It also is a way of treating people, of thanking them. In other words, it often involves a gift. That explains the headline of a Honolulu Civil Beat article yesterday, "Can Too Much Aloha Be a Bad Thing? Ask Hawaii's Ethics Commission."

As in so many state and local governments, elected...
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
Many major cities do not prohibit gifts from those seeking special benefits from the city government (restricted sources) to family members of city officials. Such a prohibition may seem a stretch, at least theoretically. How can a government interfere in the gifts given to an official's family members? Consider this situation, from 2011, which recently became public.

According to...
Robert Wechsler

“There’s a case out there; I myself cannot speak about the case. However, I would ask the community, each and every one of you, to keep me in your prayer.”

— Spring Valley, NY mayor Noramie F. Jasmin, at the first public meeting after she was arrested for accepting a bribe from a developer who was cooperating with the FBI (from an article in today's...