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Monday, March 19, 2012

Corruption

Over at Foxnews, I encountered Study: State Governments At High Risk For Corruption. How reassuring - not! I'll hazard a guess that these measures would rank our federal government even lower than most states.
"It's telling that no state received an overall grade of A," said Caitlin Ginley, a staff writer for the Center for Public Integrity and a project manager on the study. "In every state, there's room to improve the ethics laws, the level of transparency on government proceedings, the disclosure of information, and — most importantly — the oversight of these laws.
"One of the major findings was that even when ethics laws are passed, they are difficult to enforce and lack meaningful consequences for violators."
This harks back towards something commonly discussed in public discourse, thanks to the GOP primary season: character and trust, leading to two leaders I both consider worthy of public trust. Ron Paul I trust even more, but I don't agree with his foreign policy nor is he a leader in the primaries. An efficient, effective government requires personal integrity of each employee. Speaking of the nation as a whole, I wouldn't say our country is the most trustworthy, and no surprise there because religion and morals have been deemphasized for decades. On the contrary, untrustworthy people seem drawn to public office and places of influence.
Only five states got rankings of B, led by a surprising recipient: New Jersey. It got a B-plus, with an overall score of 87 out of a possible 100.
Despite — or perhaps because of — recent corruption scandals, New Jersey got the top ranking because of steps it took to combat corruption, including tough ethics and anti-corruption laws it adopted in response.
 Go Governor Christie!
"It's nice to be recognized for being ahead of the curve," said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted many of the recent cases. "The governor is proud of the changes he's made and the resources he's made available to the public in terms of government transparency. Government operates and behaves better when it's open and transparent, and taxpayers feel informed and a part of the process when they can see how their money is spent, who is getting contracts and who's on the payroll and such."
 To see how your state ranks, visit http://www.stateintegrity.org. My liberal state got 'D' overall, but an 'F' in the areas of state budget processes, state pension fund management, ethics enforcement agencies, and redistricting. I'm not surprised, nor do I expect to see any change. This state is bankrupt but doesn't have the guts to say so, reform, or otherwise get rid of unnecessary waste or overspending.

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