ethics

On Friday, when Donald Trump puts his hand on a Bible and takes the oath of office, ethics experts say he may very well be in violation of a lease on one of his premier hotels.

The Trump International Hotel is a grand dame of a building on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a stone's throw from the White House. It has become something of a tourist destination in Washington — and a rallying point for protesters — since Trump won the election. This week, they snarled traffic in front of the hotel, and one demonstrator suffered serious burns after trying to set a fire outside the building.

These days, plenty of consulting firms make money peddling advice on cybersecurity. Only one is run by a man designated special adviser to the president of the United States.

Earlier this month, President-elect Donald Trump named former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who heads a cybersecurity practice at the Miami-based law firm Greenberg-Traurig, as his chief adviser on cybersecurity issues.

Rep. Tom Price, the physician and Georgia Republican tapped for the nation’s leading health care job, has long criticized federal spending as excessive. Yet during his years in Congress, he’s worked hard to keep federal dollars flowing to his most generous campaign donors.

Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. secretary of state, is severing his ties with Exxon Mobil. The former chairman and CEO is in line to receive a $180 million retirement package.

CM Guerrero / The Miami Herald

House Republicans abruptly reversed course Tuesday and abandoned a plan that would have gutted an independent office that investigates wrongdoing by representatives in Congress.

Some prominent conservatives have signed on to a letter warning President-elect Donald Trump that he needs to sell off his businesses to address his many conflicts of interest.

"Respectfully, you cannot serve the country as president and also own a world-wide business enterprise, without seriously damaging the presidency," says a letter sent Monday by a bipartisan group of politicians, ethics advocates and academics.

After a storm of criticism, including from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans have reversed themselves and restored the current rules of the Office of Congressional Ethics.

GOP members met Tuesday afternoon and agreed by unanimous consent to withdraw a change to House rules approved late Monday evening, before the new Congress was sworn in, that would have weakened the ethics office, an independent watchdog first established in 2008 under House Democrats.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

The House Republican Conference voted Monday night to approve a change to House rules to weaken the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics and place it under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, a panel controlled by party leaders.

It will be part of a broader House Rules package to be voted on by the full body on Tuesday after the 115th Congress officially convenes and the House elects a speaker.

Almost two decades ago, Dr. Lars Aanning sat on the witness stand in a medical malpractice trial and faced a dilemma.

The South Dakota surgeon had been called to vouch for the expertise of one of his partners whose patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability after an operation. The problem was that Aanning had, in his own mind, questioned his colleague's skill. His partner's patients had suffered injuries related to his procedures. But Aanning understood why his partner's attorney had called him as a witness: Doctors don't squeal on doctors.

Tony Bennett / StateImpact Indiana

Former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett will pay a $5,000 fine as part of a proposed deal with Indiana ethics investigators, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by the Associated Press.

Bennett admits using state resources for his 2012 reelection campaign. But Bennett was also cleared of any ethics violations related to changes he sought to Indiana’s school grading formula in 2012.

freedigitalphotos.net

When Florida media groups are concerned about freedom of the press and open government, they turn to the First Amendment Foundation for help.

Pete Weitzel, former senior editor of the Miami Herald, founded the non-profit 30 years ago.

The foundation is funded through contributions. It provides training, legal aid, and the annual Government in the Sunshine Manual as a guide to Florida’s open meetings and public-records laws. 

www.markpastin.com

02/20/14 - Thursday's Topical Currents begins with Mark Pastin, of the Council of Ethical Organizations.  He says individuals are born with an ethical sense, and can learn how to harness it.  Some say that’s a radical view.  Pastin has written MAKE AND ETHICAL DIFFERENCE.

10/31/13 - Thursday's Topical Currents begins with philosopher Thomas Cathcart and his book The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?: A Philosophical Conundrum.  He’ll discuss a famous ethical dilemma.  Say there’s a runaway trolley car.  A crew of five is in its path, all surely to be killed.   But wait.  You are near a switch which could divert the car to an alternate track.  But one man on that track is in the way . . .

Elaine Chen / WLRN

The housing recovery has come fast to South Florida. But some are concerned that the cash-fueled rebound here may be relying, in part, on dirty money. 

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