Editorial: Funding inspector general to fight corruption is a "bargain"

State integrity news for Louisiana, from The Advocate:

If there is one bargain in the state budget, we think it’s the less than $2 million a year spent on an office targeting public corruption and fraud. It makes no sense for the Legislature to economize by eliminating the funding for the Office of Inspector-General in state government.

The House of Representatives deleted the funding for the office, a signal that officeholders may be unhappy about investigations by Inspector-General Stephen Street, a veteran prosecutor.

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Lobbying transparency bill passes in Delaware, awaits Gov. Markell signature

State integrity news for Delaware, from the News Journal:

Legislation aimed at exposing lobbyists’ actions in the General Assembly is headed to the governor for his signature. Senate Bill 185, which was spearheaded by Gov. Jack Markell, requires lobbyists to file electronic reports within five days of engaging a lawmaker on a specific piece of legislation.

Delaware’s 392 registered lobbyists represent 1,004 clients on everything from payday lending issues to environmental regulations and public employeebenefits.

Read the rest of the story at the News Journal.

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Editorial: Ethics reform is a matter of "enlightened self-interest" in Arizona

State integrity news for Arizona, from the Arizona Republic:

In the realm of free-market ethics, it is known as enlightened self-interest -- an activity advancing the betterment of the community while at the same time also benefiting the people promoting the activity.

It would benefit the community of Arizona if state lawmakers would put into law a coherent framework for what is acceptable in terms of politicians accepting gifts. Voter cynicism might abate. Voter participation, as a result, might rise.

Read the rest of the story at the Arizona Republic.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett gift disclosures include airfare, football, hockey tickets

State integrity news for Pennsylvania, from the Morning Call:

Gov. Tom Corbett accepted tickets to NFL playoff games and the National Hockey League's Winter Classic and top leaders in the General Assembly earned outside incomes at law firms in 2011, documents show.

On his disclosure forms, Corbett also listed travel to a November meeting of Penn State's Board of Directors ($812); the February 2011 meeting of the Republican Governors Association ($994) in Washington, D.C.; and air travel ($1,405) to Pittsburgh in December 2011.

Read the rest of the story at the Morning Call.


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Opinion: State convention a chance for Georgia GOP to get serious about ethics

State integrity news for Georgia, from Peach Pundit:

This Friday, Republicans from across Georgia will gather in Columbus for a two day State GOP Convention. In between the speeches by most of Georgia’s Republican members of the congressional delegation and statewide elected officials, there will be resolutions offered.

Providing that the resolutions committee sends to the floor one of the resolutions offered by various district conventions held last month, there will be at least one resolution asking if convention delegates agree that the Republican dominated legislature needs to get serious about offering meaningful ethics reform.

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Florida lobbying firms report millions in first quarter earnings

State integrity news for Florida, from the Miami Herald:

With an early legislative session speeding up action in the Capitol, at least three lobbying firms collected more than $1 million in fees during the first three months of the year, according to new reports.The reports also show that an additional eight firms raked in between $500,000 and $999,999 for their work in the Legislature. Those totals could grow, as lobbyists faced an 11:59 p.m. deadline Tuesday for filing quarterly compensation reports.

The three firms that topped $1 million were Ballard Partners, Ronald L. Book PA and Southern Strategy Group. The reports don't give the exact totals collected by the firms, but they detail some of the largest payments made by clients.

Read the rest of the story at the Miami Herald.

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Bill would force Louisiana political candidates to take ethics training

State integrity news for Louisiana, from The Town Talk

Any candidate running for the Louisiana Legislature or for statewide office should complete ethics training, says Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette.The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved Bishop's House Bill 365 and sent it to the full Senate for final approval.

"I don't see a problem with people knowing what they're getting into," said Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans.

Read the rest of the story at The Town Talk.

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Lobbying data goes online, searchable in Washington

State integrity news for Washington, from the Enumclaw Courier-Herald:

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission today added lobbying data to its online searchable database. Paid lobbyists register with the Public Disclosure Commission before lobbying state government and file monthly reports disclosing their compensation, entertainment expenses, campaign contributions given, and other lobbying-related expenditures.

The new feature gives the better access to private sector and public agency lobbying data, including the ability to perform custom searches.

Read the rest of the story at the Enumclaw Courier-Herald.

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Disgraced staffer's new firm promises access to "best lobbyists" in North Carolina

State integrity news for North Carolina, from the News Observer:

The disgraced former chief of staff to House Speaker Thom Tillis is launching a government relations firm that promises "access to the best lobbyists in the industry." Charles Thomas, a former Republican state lawmaker, resigned in April after being questioned by The News & Observer about a romantic relationship with a lobbyists for the N.C. Homebuilders Association.

Thomas called his new Asheville-based company, Third Reading, offering his services in government consulting, marketing, issue advocacy and campaign finance.

Read the rest of the story at the News Observer.

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Why Virginia got an 'F' grade for corruption risk

State integrity news for Virginia, from WHRV:

In a country-wide investigation into each state’s vulnerability to corruption, Virginia ranked in the bottom four.

The State Integrity Investigation, a joint project by The Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International, cited issues such as "public access to information," "lobbying disclosure," and "judicial accountability" as a few of the deciding factors in the Commonwealth’s failing grade.

Listen to the discussion at WHRV.

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