Corruption news for Illinois, from the Chicago Tribune:
As the Tribune and WGN-TV reported Friday, all it took for former state Rep. Robert Molaro to nearly double his public pension was spending one month as an aide to Ald. Ed Burke, chairman of the Chicago City Council's Finance Committee. Under Illinois' diabolical pension math, Molaro's $12,000 pay for that month pushed his pension from about $64,000 a year to more than $120,000. Over his expected life span, he'll collect some $3 million.
What the insiders are doing may well be legal, because our public officials have crafted Illinois' more-than-1,000-page pension code to legalize their graft. What they're doing unarguably is, though, corrupt — that is, immoral, debased and venal. They are gaming public pension systems. And you, taxpayer, are the real mark.
Read the rest of the story at the Chicago Tribune.
Corruption news for Connecticut, from the Hartford Courant:
Critics have focused on news disclosures this year that some state "hazardous duty" employees — such as troopers, correction officers and prison nurses — inflate their salaries with overtime pay during the three years on which their pensions are calculated.
The state Senate Republican leader, John McKinney (pictured, right), in August called it an "abuse of Connecticut's public pension system." But newly obtained records show that, in effect, it's almost an essential part of that system — at least where hazardous-duty retirements are concerned. It's so widespread that at least four correctional workers have retired since Sept. 1 with overtime-pumped annual pensions that exceed their final year's base pay, public records show.
Read the rest of the story at the Hartford Courant.
Corruption news for Georgia, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Georgia lawmakers billed the state more than $1.3 million for travel and expenses while the General Assembly was not in session this year, according to data obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over the past few years, more than 14,000 positions have been eliminated from state agencies. Divisions within the Department of Natural Resources have laid off dozens of employees. Budget cuts in areas such as college funding have meant tuition and fee hikes for thousands of students.
Yet lawmakers themselves have continued a long-standing practice that pays some more than $15,000 a year in expense money, on top of a $17,000 annual salary. And they do it with little outside oversight.
Read the rest of the story at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Corruption news for Nevada, from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Former Gov. Jim Gibbons must give a description of the contents of each of the 98 email messages he refused to give the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2008.In a 7-0 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court stopped short of saying that governors' email messages are public records, but ruled that governors must give specific reasons when they refuse to make such messages publicly available.
The justices ruled that the newspaper must be given a log containing a "general factual description" of the messages that Gibbons (pictured, right) refused to hand over, with "a specific explanation for nondisclosure" by the former governor.
Read the rest of the story at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Corruption news for Texas, from the Texas Tribune:
Rick Perry has done something his opponents have been hoping he’d do for years: retire. But it’s not what the governor’s detractors had in mind. Perry officially retired in January so he could start collecting his lucrative pension benefits early, but he still gets to collect his salary — and has in turn dramatically boosted his take-home pay.
Perry (pictured, right) makes a $150,000 annual gross salary as Texas govenor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross annual salary to more than $240,000.
Read the rest of the story at the Texas Tribune.
Corruption news for New Mexico, from Project Vote Smart:
Governor Susana Martinez announced today that her administration has completed an overhaul of the New Mexico Sunshine Portal, which now displays the names, titles, and salary rates of all state employees, regardless of their classification. In the past, the Sunshine Portal has only listed information for exempt employees. The portal now includes information for classified employees, who work under the rules and guidelines of the state's civil service system.
Governor Martinez (pictured, right) also announced her support for legislation that will be offered in the upcoming legislative session by Sen. Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque) which will require, by law, that the Sunshine Portal post name, title, and salary rate for all state employees regardless of classification.
Read the rest of the story at Project Vote Smart.
Corruption news for Ohio, from the Columbus Dispatch:
In an exclusive interview, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine revealed that members of Gov. John Kasich’s staff were used in an ongoing effort to oust DeWine as head of the party.
Official documents show Kasich's regional liaisons Nicole Kostura, Nick Gatz and Sherri Carbo each turned in petitions for candidates to run for the GOP state central committee against candidates who support DeWine. The petitions were delivered by the Kasich staffers during weekday work hours.
State law prohibits government employees from doing political activities during their work day.
Read the rest of the story at the Columbus Dispatch.
Corruption news for California, from the Los Angeles Times:
The state Senate secretly paid $120,000 to settle a claim by a legislative aide that she was sexually harassed by Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), according to her attorney and government documents released this week. Senate leaders acting behind closed doors approved the payment to Fahizah Alim, who was a district coordinator for Wright, in an agreement that required "no publicity." The document, approved last year, said the deal was made "to avoid the costs, uncertainty, and operational burden of a further dispute.''
Wright (pictured, right), who is facing six felony counts in a voting-fraud and perjury case in Los Angeles County, declined to comment through a spokeswoman Thursday on the allegations of sexual harassment.
Read the rest of the story at the Los Angeles Times.
Corruption news for Missouri, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
No Cardinals tickets. No free meals. Not even a cup of coffee.All lobbyist gifts would be outlawed under a sweeping ethics bill filed today by Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City. Other changes would include strict limits on campaign contributions and money-laundering, and a ban on legislators working as political consultants.
Though Kander hasn't lined up GOP co-sponsors this time, he said he is counting on the Legislature's Republican leadership to agree on the importance of improving public trust in government.
Read the rest of the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Corruption news for Florida, from CNN:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott "has strongly recommended" that the trustees of Florida A&M University suspend, "effective immediately," the school's president in the wake of alleged hazing and "financial irregularities," the governor's office announced Thursday.The governor's action drew a quick response from a group of several hundred FAMU students who marched to the governor's house Thursday night.
Earlier, Scott (pictured, right) had told the chairman of FAMU's board of trustees, Solomon L. Badger III, that he felt the board should take further action against university President James Ammons when it meets Monday, the statement said. The governor also "placed a call" to Ammons to notify him of these conversations.
Read the rest of the story at CNN.