making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
It's always nice to see politicians provide evidence for the argument that ethics self-regulation doesn't work, but it's rare for it to happen in so public a way as occurred yesterday. According to an article in Roll Call, Rep. John Carter (R-TX), "the point man for Republicans seeking to strip Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) of his gavel," did not disclose large profits from a sale of Exxon stock, even after...
Robert Wechsler
In her comment to my blog post on a Michigan recusal matter, Catherine Mullhaupt of the Michigan Townships Association not only pointed out the effect of a women's property rights act on local government conflict of interest law (see my blog post on this), but also pointed out...
Robert Wechsler
Updates below
Anyone who doubts the need for truly independent ethics commissions need look no further than what has been happening in Philadelphia this week. Or should I say "this year"?

I've already reported on the fining of the Ethics Board's executive director, Shane Creamer, for sharing with a reporter (off the record) confidential information about a settlement negotiation. I lauded Creamer for...
Robert Wechsler
The word from Jackson County (MO) last week was that the county legislature was "close to revising the county’s ethics code to include them under its rules," according to an article in the Kansas City Star, as discussed, very skeptically, in a recent blog entry....
Robert Wechsler
I listened yesterday to the testimony of Kevin Powers, a member of the Nevada Legislative Counsel's office, to the House Committee considering the legislative immunity amendment I discussed in yesterday's blog post. He was very impressive, with all the facts and laws at his fingertips. But his defense and explanations fell short of convincing me (but apparently not the legislators) that the amendment is appropriate.
Robert Wechsler
Government officials should, I think, focus more on what their actions teach Americans. In effect, each of them is teaching an ongoing civics course.

For many years, Congress have been giving us a course on how self-regulation in the ethics sphere simply doesn't work.

According to an editorial in today's New York Times, the House ethics committee has been without a chief...