Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Opinions

March 26, 2012

Your Opinion: March 27, 2012

AMERICUS — Which state scores as most corrupt?

A recent study identified the most corrupt states in this country. Guess who is right down there at the bottom of the list with the worst score for government corruption of all the states. Do I need to tell you which one it is?

You'll find the information in the March 22 edition of the publication 24/7 Wall Street. Web address: http://247wallst.com/2012/03/22/americas-most-corrupt-states/3/

After running down a list of the worst states, the authors conclude as follows.

1. Georgia

Overall grade: F (49%)

Public access to information: F

Legislative accountability: F

Political financing: F

Ethics enforcement agencies: F

They write: "Georgia has the worst levels of corruption risk and lack of accountability of any state in the country. The state scored a D or worse in 12 of the 14 categories. The state’s biggest problem is the absence of a strong ethics enforcement agency. Republican governor Sonny Perdue managed to get an ethics bill through the legislature, but by the time it passed, his proposals to ban gifts to state workers and clearly define appropriate campaign spending had been stripped out.

"According to State Integrity reporter Jim Walls, while Georgia has provisions to prevent certain kinds of corruption in campaign finance and lobbying, the state is full of unaddressed loopholes and lax enforcement. About 2,000 Georgia officials, including one in five sitting legislators, have failed to pay penalties for filing their disclosures late, or not at all.”

Does anyone beside me think there might be a trickle down effect from the state level to the localities? Or should that be "trickle up?" Corruption is contagious. Fortunately, so is the opposite force. When high ethical standards are found at the state level it's because they are the norm in home towns and counties.

Business people tend to play it safe in public utterances, sticking to positive accomplishments, avoiding unpleasant realities. But outsiders looking at our state and our counties as possible business locations are not naive. They read. They are well informed.

If the 24/7 Wall Street article is a reliable source, Georgia has some serious house cleaning to do.

Michael Dixon

Americus

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