The Vermont legislature is at an impasse trying to decide whether to establish and fund a statewide Ethics Commission. There has been considerable favorable testimony by Vermonters, ethicists, and our Secretary of State, Jim Condos, who has been a relentless champion of government transparency, inclusion and establishing such a commission. Each time VTDigger runs a story on ethics legislative testimony, the comments from Vermonters run almost universally in favor of establishing such a commission. Legislative arguments against it are disingenuous:
• In this year of budget constraints, we can’t afford another government bureaucracy ($330,000 of $3.5 billion);
• Financial disclosure of possible conflicts will discourage Vermonters from government service;
• We’re all good people and we all know each other;
• What if an Ethics Commission ran amok and looked for self-serving behavior where there was none?
• An Ethics Commission would not have prevented any of the recent malfeasance. Etc.
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