The humorist Will Rogers had a line about there being no innocent bystanders in New York City -just take a shot, and you'd hit a guilty party.

Well, right now, and for the foreseeable future, that's the municipal bond market. Scandals of various degrees of seriousness are erupting like brushfires. As one dejected banker put it to me recently, "Performance used to be the thing. Now, it's appearances." A financial adviser observed, "Everything may not be going competitive, but there's a lot more talking involved in the political process, defending why an issuer should go one way or the other."

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