March 20, 2012
My native state of Georgia is making headlines across the nation. But it’s certainly nothing residence of that state would want to brag about. In fact, most would probably prefer not even talking about it.
Georgia law books are chock-full of statutes written to curtail undue influence on political activity and public policy.
So utilities and insurance companies can’t give to a candidate seeking an office that regulates them. Legislators can’t take political donations while in session. Politicians can’t use campaign money for personal benefit. State workers can’t accept gifts from vendors or lobbyists.
Except when they can.
Here’s the irony in all this. Democrats controlled the governor’s office and state legislature for more than one hundred years. During that time Republicans lamented Democrats for such corruption and, on many occasions, called on Democrats to clean up corruption in that state. But they were ignored. Then in 2003 Republicans took over the governor’s office and state Senate. Evidently the word “corruption” hasn’t been mentioned since. In fact, former House GOP leader Bob Irvin said in 2010 testimony before a legislative ethics panel “Ethics was part of our core creed for 30 years. It was our core creed, it seems, until we took over.”
To see where your state ranks for corruption, visit Grading the nation: How accountable is your state? Scroll down to the second map and roll over your state for the grade.