As long as there are governments, there will be government corruption. The temptations to abuse power are never going away, and neither is human frailty, which means government ethics will remain an important issue for, well, forever.
A look back on 2014 reveals yet another year of explosive government ethics stories, scandals and legal developments. As has been the custom for the year’s final column, I asked several of the top practitioners in the field to name the biggest government ethics stories of the year.
Before turning to those, I have one of my own to mention for its impact on the actual day-to-day operations of the practice of congressional ethics. Last month, John Sassaman stepped down as chief counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, a position he held for more than six years. Sassaman presided over many high-profile investigations during his tenure and, perhaps more importantly, led a staff that was invariably prompt and thoughtful in responding to questions about Senate Ethics rules. Long known as one of the most well-liked employees of the Senate, Sassaman leaves big shoes to fill.
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