Corruption news for Wisconsin, from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
The top GOP lawmaker in the Assembly said Thursday the state might need to replace its elections and ethics agency, saying it has strayed from its nonpartisan mission.The state Government Accountability Board was created in 2007 to replace the state ethics and elections boards after the elections agency was criticized by Republicans for favoring Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in his 2006 re-election campaign.
The accountability board, which was approved by wide bipartisan margins in the Legislature and signed into law by Doyle, is overseen by a panel of six former judges. But the Government Accountability Board has been criticized by Republicans during this year's nasty recall campaigns. Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (pictured, right) said he saw advantages to going back to the old elections and ethics boards if some changes were made.
Read the rest of the story at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Corruption news for South Carolina, from the Post and Courier:
Gov. Nikki Haley (pictured, right) dictated the conclusions of a committee charged with deciding how the state should implement federal health care reform before the group ever held its first meeting, public documents show.Now, some of those involved in the dozens of meetings are calling the entire planning process a sham that wasted their time and part of a $1 million federal grant.
The emails were released to the newspaper Friday afternoon in response to a Nov. 16 public records request to the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The newspaper had made a nearly identical request of the governor's office in May, but the office did not include the emails in its response.
Read the rest of the story at the Post and Courier.
Corruption news for New Jersey, from NJ.com:
In what some advocates of open government call an unprecedented overreach, Attorney General Paula Dow has blocked the public from knowing how much overtime State Police troopers and other state law enforcement officers earn. Dow’s rule, which took effect this month, is part of a larger effort by the attorney general to make confidential any records that "may reveal or lead to information that may reveal" an officer’s assignment.
But open government advocates said the move by Dow (pictured, right) restricts basic financial information, and that the taxpayers of New Jersey have a right to track public spending, including overtime.
Read the rest of the story at NJ.com.
Corruption news for Maryland, from MarylandReporter.com:
Enthusiasm for making the General Assembly the most transparent branch of government echoed at the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government on Wednesday morning.
The committee, created by legislation in the last General Assembly session, exists to provide oversight and advice to make information on the state’s legislature more easily and readily available to anyone who is looking for it. Committee Co-Chairman Kumar Barve, majority leader of the House of Delegates, added that he also would like for the committee to make policy improvements that do not necessarily need legislative action.
Read the rest of the story at MarylandReporter.com.
Corruption news for Oregon, from Oregon Capitol News:
The State Auditor’s report on the Oregon Commission for the Blind is just the latest among a long series of reports detailing fiscal irresponsibility dating back to 1995, only this report reveals even more troubling behavior by the Commission.That the State Auditor’s office has no authority to follow up on its reports is problematic. The Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) has been receiving critical reviews for 16 years with continuing signs of trouble at the agency.
Some of the language used in the latest report seems to imply that OCB may be falsifying documents and that management may be misleading legislators and the Auditor’s office with regard to the agency’s progress in implementing the audit recommendations.
Read the rest of the story at Oregon Capitol News.
Corruption news for Maine, from the Bangor Daily News:
A Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting examination has found that over the past five years at least $800,000 has been taken from municipal coffers across Maine in the form of money or services by local officials whose job was to faithfully and honestly serve their towns. And this has often come at steep cost to the towns, not just in missing money but in added fees and charges, not to mention hard feelings.
The extra charges — sometimes thousands of dollars — go to cover attorney fees and the cost of additional forensic audits that are used to substantiate what are often complicated cases of theft.
Read the rest of the story at the Bangor Daily News.
Corruption news for North Carolina, from ABC 11:
A former top fundraiser for Gov. Beverly Perdue appeared in court Wednesday to enter a plea to a charge related to campaign finance violations. Peter Anthony Reichard of Greensboro was indicted last month on a felony count of obstruction of justice. In court Wednesday, he entered an Alford plea.
An Alford plea means he does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the evidence against him could lead to a guilty verdict. Reichard is accused of funneling $32,000 in under-the-table payments from a wealthy Perdue donor through a private company he controlled to pad the salary of a full-time campaign fundraiser. Reichard was Perdue's campaign finance director in 2007-08, at the time the illegal payments were made.
Read the rest of the story at ABC 11.
Corruption news for Oklahoma, from the Edmond Sun:
One of the most important components of this year’s House government modernization effort will involve acting on a request from State Auditor Gary Jones.
Jones (pictured, right) has requested the Legislature to take action and allow his office to establish a performance audits division that could conduct a series of performance audits of state government entities during each year. The proposal would allow the people of Oklahoma to vote next November to place this proposal into the Oklahoma Constitution.
Read the rest of the story at the Edmond Sun.
Corruption news for Indiana, from the Indianapolis Star:
Just a year ago, David Lott Hardy was one of the most powerful and colorful officials in Indiana, ruling over a vast state agency that oversaw $14 billion a year in utility rates paid by Indiana customers. He drove an expensive BMW sports car and dined in posh Downtown steakhouses. Now, Hardy is facing felony charges for his conduct in office.
A Marion County grand jury on Monday announced the indictment of Hardy (pictured, right) on three counts, saying that he failed to disclose secret meetings with Duke Energy Corp. and that he helped the agency's top lawyer break ethics laws.The indictment is the latest bombshell to rock the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the agency that Hardy led as chairman for five years, until he was fired by Gov. Mitch Daniels in October 2010 as the scandal came to light.
Read the rest of the story at the Indianapolis Star.
Corruption news for Louisiana, from the Times-Picayune:
William Roe, who helped himself to more than $6,000 in public money as a Plaquemines Parish judge, will finally begin his three-month prison sentence on Dec. 20. Retired Judge Jerome Winsberg refused a request to reduce the former judge's sentence, and rightly so.
Mr. Roe kept money he had obtained from the state Supreme Court as reimbursement for expenses incurred during judicial seminars in Florida in 2005, 2006 and 2007. When Judge Winsberg (pictured, right) sentenced Mr. Roe in 2010, he described what he had done as "a serious crime, an egregious crime'' and "reprehensible conduct.''
Read the rest of the story at the Times-Picayune.