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HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy, Emeritus, FAS and HKS

Abstract

Obama's "ethics agenda" is the most ambitious ever set out by a new administration. It promises a tougher approach not only to the usual problems such as conflict of interest and the revolving door, but also to broader challenges such as political influence on career officials and lack of transparency in government. The goals of the agenda are a step forward insofar as they focus more on improving the democratic process than disciplining political miscreants. But the means relied on to carry out the goals are less impressive. They perpetuate a major deficiency of the current ethics regime-its disjointedness, which undermines the transparency and accountability necessary for a robust democracy. What is needed is a coordinated approach, led from the White House itself, that takes a more comprehensive view of ethics regulation throughout the government. Adapted from the source document.

Citation

Thompson, Dennis F. "Obama's Ethics Agenda: The Challenge of Coordinated Change." Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 7.1 (March 2009).