Reflections on Nevada Ethics Commission v. Carrigan

May 5, 2011

In the U.S. Supreme Court, the last oral argument of the term was in Nevada Ethics Commission v. Carrigan, concerning whether a Sparks, Nevada, city councilmember may be censured by the Nevada Ethics Commission for casting a legislative vote on a casino project for which his campaign manager served as a consultant. Similar concerns have been raised in New York City in recent years, as some saw potential conflicts of interest for elected officials in regard to their choice of campaign consultants and in the casting of legislative votes. For example, at one time the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board wrestled with restricting elected officials from retaining political consultants who also work as City lobbyists. We testified. While the Conflicts Board ultimately imposed no restriction, its scrutiny of this issue helped spur local legislation requiring City lobbyists to detail their fundraising and political consulting work on behalf of City candidates. Later the Conflicts Board once more opted against constraining elected officials by rejecting the contention that casting a legislative vote to extend the term limits law would pose a conflict of interest for term-limited NYC Council members.

Tag: New York City