Tim O'Toole Comments on Anti-Corruption Legislation in the Daily Caller

"Anti-Corruption Act would Ban Innocuous Gifts, Wreak Havoc on Local Governments, Critics Warn"
The Daily Caller
12.08.11

Tim O'Toole discusses the Clean Up Government Act, a bipartisan attempt to toughen anti-corruption laws that the Supreme Court has deemed insufficiently vague, which critics argue is unnecessary and possibly harmful. O'Toole said that he is particularly concerned by changes that would introduce "unnecessary, way too broad" conflict of interest regulations and an expanded gift-giving ban that is "a lot murkier." He testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in July to voice his concerns. Some of the changes made since then are for the better, O'Toole, said, but he remains concerned. "It's not clear to me that any of these laws need to be changed," O'Toole said. "They seem to be working pretty well as-is."

Of particular concern to O'Toole is the legislative proposal's conflict-of-interest provisions that would incorporate violations of state and local government disclosure rules. Many officials outside the federal government work part-time and have separate private-sector employment, creating potential conflicts in situations that full-time public servants don't encounter. "People who have jobs in the private sector, but also government positions, at least in theory have lots of conflicts of interest at any given time," he warned. "You've incorporated hundreds, if not thousands, of disclosure provisions by making a federal crime out of a violation of a state or local disclosure law, and that could have all sorts of unintended consequences."

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