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Washington Post Ombudsman Speaks Out on Salon Scandal

In his Sunday column yesterday, the Washington Post Ombudsman, Andy Alexander, found a steady tone, even as he characterized the paper’s recently proposed lobbyist-journalist salons as an “ethical lapse of monumental proportions.” Politico was the first to break news of these “salons” after reporters there got hold of an internal Post flyer advertising the policy…

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What Kenyan Ministers are Driving Now

With public pressure on to cut down on generous car allowances, Ministers in Kenya have been debating strategies to cut back… without compromising luxury. The 2009 budget sets aside 70 million shillings (US$ 914,434) for vehicle spending based on a long-standing practice of providing a Mercedes-Benz to go along with the title of minister. Anticipating…

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Governance Metrics: Why “Fictitious” Numbers Can Be Useful

What do Stalinist-era accounting practices in Hungary, financial reports, and post-WWII U.S. property tax assessments have in common with measuring governance/corruption? More than we think, if we take the argument advanced by a former professor of mine Martha Lampland seriously. In a working paper (PDF) published recently, Lampland (a historical anthropologist) suggests that numbers are…

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Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Accused of Corruption

Last week, Radio Australia broke the news that Xanana Gusmão, the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, approved a multi-million dollar government contract to a company in which the PM’s daughter is a shareholder. This major case of alleged nepotism is catching all the headlines, but Radio Australia reporters uncovered other cases of alleged corruption and favoritism…

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Fresh Data: Worldwide Governance Indicators

The latest round of the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) were released today under the auspices of… we’re not entirely sure. Ownership issues aside, the WGI remain the most widely used governance data in the world. Previously an effort of the World Bank Institute under Dani Kaufman’s leadership, “The WGI are [now] produced by: Daniel Kaufmann,…

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