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Don’t kill the messenger — just fix it

Don't kill the messenger -- just fix it
March 19, 2012 --

Georgians can no longer fall back on “Thank god for Alabama!” We  trail the pack in a 50-state survey of government accountability laws and practices. Detractors, predictably, complain that bottom-of-the-barrel ranking is unfair and accuse me — the project’s Georgia reporter — of bias. As Sophocles observed 2,450 years ago, “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.”

Georgia ranks dead last on ethics, integrity scorecard

Georgia ranks dead last on ethics, integrity scorecard
March 19, 2012 --

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.

Time and again, Georgia journalists and watchdog groups have found that money finds a way to flow around those laws. These and similar findings underscore what can sometimes be a gaping divide between Georgia’s legal standards for public accountability, on the one hand, and everyday practice. In a new, state-by-state analysis of ethics and accountability practices, Georgia ranks 50th with a grade of F from the State Integrity Investigation.

March 9

March 9, 2011 --

Ex-Ga. Tech profs indicted for conspiracy to defraud state Ga. health plan in $250M hole Ch. 2 probes judge’s DUI backlog Proposed state tax break worth millions to Delta 11th Circuit reverses judge on nepotism law

Oct. 17

October 17, 2010 --

Evidence in Eagle bar lawsuit missing or destroyed Convictions didn’t stop Augusta from hiring applicants Warner Robins e-mails point to more nepotism

Aug. 10

August 10, 2010 --

DeKalb school leaders’ ‘friends and family’ nepotism plan Fulton Co. property taxes inflated Augusta State denies student’s religious-bias claim Clayton Co. Commission to ask state to investigate ex-DA Crawford Co. asks GBI asked to look into coroner-chief dispute

April 23

April 23, 2010 --

The Caldwell file: Which judges knew what and when? Federal judge issues injunction against state’s anti-nepotism law Economist: Tax reform should spread burden Indigent defense legislation delayed until next year Community banks face fallout from reforms aimed at Wall Street Columbus State faculty votes no confidence in president, provost Critics say ethics bill doesn’t go […]

Jan. 21

January 21, 2010 --

Campaign finance laws overturned State ends adult mental health services at Milledgeville Sales tax discrepancies may have deepened state budget crisis UGA’s Adams tops in tenure, but not pay Finding the bottom line in state budget keeps getting harder Budget-challenged DeKalb spends $101K on paint, wallpaper School board members sue to overturn nepotism rule Irate […]

Sept. 5

September 5, 2009 --

FBI launches Augusta bribery inquiry Augusta sued over records access Covington police chief cleared of accusations Carrollton school board member says nepotism law doesn’t apply to him GBI focuses on Pendergrass City Hall money issues

Aug. 5

August 5, 2009 --

Feds freeze GDOT’s transit grants over financial management problems Think tank, state agency at odds on lending practices Eldrin Bell accused of ‘inappropriate behavior’ by Clayton County employee Opinion: Let’s examine hospital tax breaks Nepotism law could derail Gainesville school board campaign