Getting the Government America Deserves: How Ethics Reform Can Make a Difference

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Oxford University Press, 2009 - Law - 301 pages
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In order to be effective, federal ethics law must address sources of systematic corruption rather than simply address motives that individual government employees might have to betray the public trust (such as personal financial holdings or family relationships). Getting the Government America Deserves articulates a general approach to combating systemic corruption as well as some specific proposals for doing so. Federal ethics law is relatively unknown in legal academia and elsewhere outside of Washington, D.C., but it is binding on over one million federal employees. Lobbyists, federal contractors, lawyers and others who interact with the federal government are also deeply interested in federal ethics law and represent a surprisingly large market for a little-studied area of the law.

Getting the Government America Deserves analyzes government ethics law from the perspective of an academic critic and that of a lawyer who was the chief White House ethics lawyer for two and a half years. Richard Painter argues that the existing ethics regime is in need of substantial reform since federal ethics laws fail to curtail conduct that undermines the integrity of government, such as political activity by federal employees and their interaction with lobbyists and interest groups. He also contends that in some other areas, such as personal financial conflicts of interest, there is too much complexity in regulatory and reporting requirements, and rules need to be simplified. Painter's solution includes strengthening the enforcement of ethics rules, reforming the lobbying industry, and changing a system of campaign finance that impedes meaningful government ethics reform.

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Contents

The Fiduciary Principle in Private and Public Law
1
Ethics Rules That Work When
15
Implementation and Enforcement of Ethics Rules
69
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (2009)


Richard Painter is the S. Walter Richey Professor in Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota School of Law. From February 2005 to July 2007, he was Associate Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel's office, serving as the chief ethics lawyer for the President, White House employees and senior nominees to Senate-confirmed positions in the Executive Branch. Professor Painter is the author of the casebook, Securities Litigation and Enforcement (with Margaret Sachs and Donna Nagy; West, Second Edition 2007) and another casebook, Professional and Personal Responsibilities of the Lawyer (with Judge John T. Noonan, Jr.; Foundation 1997; Second Edition 2001).

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