Category Archives: ethics

Common Cause Keeps Up the Cause – and Pressure – on Ethics Reform in Georgia

By Matt McWilliams

For as much controversy as it stirs up, the Tea Party does make a good point: Money may have too much influence over politics in Georgia.

It is one of the reasons that gave rise to the Tea Party, which continues to be politically relevant nationally and locally.

AJC Columnists Jay Bookman, left, and Kyle Wingfield, right, join Common Cause GA’s William Perry on People TV for an ethics reform discussion. Click the photo to visit the actual YouTube video of the show.

“One of the reasons, I think, why the Tea Party has latched onto this issue is because the Tea Party, like many other groups, is very attuned to the gap between the citizens and their elected officials,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution conservative columnist Kyle Wingfield said recently on PeopleTV. “And certainly the issue of lobbyist gifts speaks to that gap.”

Wingfield pointed to an AJC report that shows lobbyists showered more than $800,000 in gifts on legislators during the most recent legislative session.

The Tea Party is not alone in calling for reform. The group has found an unlikely ally in Common Cause, an organization that has long called for increasing transparency in government. Together – along  with Georgia Watch and the League of Women Voters – they formed the Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform.

Read more »

Ethics Reform giving Georgia a boost of unity – a beginner’s guide to the story

By Michael Mumper

It’s rare in today’s politically divisive environment to find an issue so many people agree on.  But ethics reform in Georgia, and the lack thereof, is providing just that platform.

Based partly on the observation that Georgia is one of three states without limits on lobbyist gifts (see chart below) – and a recent study sponsored by a consortium led by the Center for Public Integrity that gives Georgia the lowest ranking of all 50 states – Georgia has garnered considerable negative statewide and national attention.

Rather than re-hash, let’s accumulate what we know about this issue

This issue is getting so much press on all media, I don’t know how much value AtlCrossroads would add in re-hashing pieces of what’s already known in 500 words or less.  But it may be useful to have a collection of information in one place that people can visit in order to learn more.  That’s what this compilation will try to accomplish.

 

The Problem: Limited limits

Jay Bookman sums it up nicely. Among the most glaring, simple-to-understand metrics, Georgia is one of just three states with no limits on lobbyist gifts to legislators.

Read more »