By Corey Hutchins
Longtime Charleston Mayor Joe Riley had run a lot of high-minded races in this coastal city known for charm and manners, so nothing really prepared him for the bare-knuckle politics he faced in a re-election bid last fall. A shadowy group popped up seemingly out of nowhere and spent an untold amount of secret money to pummel Riley’s record in support of one of his rivals.None of the mayor’s opponents declared allegiance to the anonymous group that funded TV ads, flyers and a slick website called “The Riley Files” that read like a private investigator's report. The website came complete with images of manila folders titled “Crony Capitalism” and “Misplaced Priorities” along with photos of the mayor paper-clipped to them.
Maryland officials say they are drawing closer to closing a campaign-finance loophole that has allowed owners of limited liability companies to give millions in extra donations to state political candidates.
The state’s Commission to Study Campaign Finance Law met for two days this week to discuss possible legislation to tighten the state’s relatively loose campaign-finance laws, and members acknowledged the loophole is one of the most pressing matters before them.
Read the rest of the story at the Washington Times.
You can see the California report card here:http://www.stateintegrity.org/california
You can email the report card using the button on the card itself. I hope this has been helpful and thanks for following our efforts!
State officials are required to fill out reports disclosing their personal finances. The Texas Ethics Commission keeps these statements on file in Austin for you to see as long as you're willing to file a request to have them delivered by email or fax, or you're in Austin to pick up a copy.
You'd think that in this digital world this public information would be available online, but you'd think incorrectly.
Read the rest of the story at the Austin American-Statesman.
An email obtained by a Democratic political action committee indicates state employees and computers at the Public Education Department were used to compile lists of nonunion teachers and their email addresses for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's political director.
According to the email, sent May 2 by department spokesman Larry Behrens to political director Jay McCleskey and several government officials, the department's Information Technology Division compiled a list of all teachers and their emails. Behrens also said the department's budget staff compiled a list of which school districts have union contracts, and created a list of nonunion teachers' emails.
Read the rest of the story at the Santa Fe New Mexican.
By Corey Hutchins, Columbia Free Times
A Republican state senator in South Carolina known for championing ethics reform legislation has gone down in an upset primary election held June 12.
Mike Rose, who took serious interest in the State Integrity Investigation, a report by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International that gave his state an F grade on its risk for corruption, had planned to introduce a series of reforms based off much of the report next year.
That won't happen.
Challenger Sean Bennett, 44, roundly beat Rose with a grassroots campaign that raised $17,000 compared to the $60,000 that Rose, a 64-year-old former JAG officer, had in his coffers.
The Florida Commission on Ethics, the agency charged with enforcing ethics laws, meets Friday and plans to adopt an agenda for the next legislative session. Between ideas from Integrity Florida, the grand jury and a few reform-minded lawmakers, there are plenty of worthy proposals for the commission to endorse, including:
Give the ethics cops more muscle. Under current law, the commission can't investigate possible violations unless someone files a complaint. Imagine a police officer who witnesses a crime but can't respond unless someone calls 911.
Read the rest of the story at the Orlando Sentinel.
The Connecticut media have successfully stopped an overly broad FOIA exemption from being passed by the legislature. The legislature had included a FOI provision on the omnibus bill that would have exempted any documents tied to private companies requesting public economic assistance.
Specifically it read: "related to a request for assistance from a business or organization seeking to expand or relocate to this state, provided the disclosure of such records could adversely affect the financial interest of the state, the business or organization."
Read the rest of the story at Sunshine Review.
Open records are not fully “open” anywhere in Missouri, but ironically the National Freedom of Information Coalition is headquartered in the state. Ken Bunting, executive director for that organization cites a recent nationwide study by the Center for Public Integrity that gives Missouri a C- for overall opennes and accountability and an F for access to public information.
Doug Anstaett of the Kansas Press Association says records in that state are also far from open.
Read and hear more at KCUR - Kansas City.
The State of Tennessee is lately booting up new technologies designed in theory to ease the public’s often wearisome interactions with government bureaucracies.
But genuine progress toward making government more transparent to taxpayers is actually pretty slow going, according to groups that promote easy access to public information.
Read the rest of the story at TNReport.