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11.12.2009

Ethics for constitutional advisors?

This mornings NY Times reports that Peter Galbraith, advisor to the Kurdish government, was negotiating oil deals on his own behalf while helping to influence Iraq's constitution-making process. The scale of Galbraith's prospective gains, upwards of $100 million, are shocking. It is not clear that he had a conflict of interest with regard to Kurdish nationalists, but one would think that his financial interest should have been disclosed to Iraqi constitution-makers who might otherwise take his advice as being motivated by considerations of reason. At a minimum, this report should diminish his tired calls for a breakup of Iraq, which he repeated earlier this year to an audience that included many of the bloggers on this site.

Are they any ethical requirements for constitutional advisors? Certainly lawyers who engage in constitutional advice-giving would be most likely subject to professional ethical requirements in their home jurisdiction. But non-lawyers are not sbject to such rules, and it is hard to imagine any specific ethical requirements emerging, given the range of people who are involved in proferring advice. But constitution-makers certainly have a justified expectation that advisors would reveal potential conflicts of interest.






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