July 13, 2014

Corruption study provides food for thought

Being first isn’t always best.

Georgia ranks 31st in the nation in a recent study of state corruption.

Oregon headed the list as the least corrupt state, followed by Washington, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Mississippi was at the bottom of the list as the most corrupt state. Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Alaska, South Dakota, Kentucky and Florida also ranked among the bottom 10 states.

Researchers John L. Mikesell of Indiana University and Cheol Liu of City University of Hong Kong developed the list by dividing the number of federal convictions of public officials in each state between 1976 and 2008 by the number of public employees.

Georgia had 0.54 federal convictions for each 10,000 public employees in that period. Oregon had 0.128, while Mississippi had 0.855.

At first blush for Georgia, that sounds ... OK.

The state isn’t among the least corrupt in the nation, but it isn’t among the worst.

But the study really only counts convictions for corruption and only at the federal level. Who knows how much corruption is out there that never gets caught, much less punished. In fact, it’s easy to speculate that truly corrupt places might be the ones with the fewest convictions, since everyone takes it for granted and few may be motivated to do much about it.

That isn’t to say Oregon is the most corrupt state in the nation nor that Mississippi is the least corrupt. But it is to say that this study should be taken in context with other reports and studies. Lawmakers need to consider all of the evidence and see what the patterns are. Even if it turns out Georgia is among the least corrupt states, there will almost certainly be room for improvement.

This study may not be the definitive word on state corruption, but it could help further the discussion on what to do about it.

Text Only
  • Dalton council should seek answers

    Judicial elections in this area are usually pretty staid. In fact, they are generally nonexistent, since most judges run unopposed.

    July 21, 2014

  • Letter: Something to think about

    It has been better than four months now since Malaysia Flight 370 went missing. During that time we have heard all kinds of speculation, conjecture and opinions as to what happened to it. The only certainties to emerge are that the Malaysians fumbled the ball early on and there are some understandably distressed loved ones left to deal with their losses.

    July 21, 2014

  • Don’t forget the runoff

    Most folks are either getting ready for or still recovering from their summer vacations. So it’s easy to forget that Tuesday is an election day. A runoff election day to be precise.

    July 20, 2014

  • Be excited about a new grocery store, but stay loyal to the Green Spot

    The Daily Citizen reported on the front page of the July 15 newspaper that Dalton could get a new grocery store.

    July 19, 2014

  • John O. Schwenn: Making college completion easier

    There are, within the state of Georgia, an estimated 1.1 million adults who started a college degree program and never finished.

    July 19, 2014

  • Guest column: Blevins supporter questions Wilbanks

    I support David Blevins in his campaign to be elected Conasauga Circuit Superior Court Judge on Tuesday, July 22. First, please get out and vote. Have a say in your local government.

    July 19, 2014

  • Citizens of the Week: Pleasant Grove Fire Station, Charles Crump

    Imagine this: One normal Thursday, you make preparations to bake a few dozen apple muffins for friends and neighbors, as you have countless times before. You bake the first batch without a hitch. Then, after you’ve placed the second batch in the oven, a loud noise sounds, your smoke alarm starts blaring, and your entire kitchen is full of smoke.

    July 18, 2014

  • A tournament to be proud of

    The scene Sunday afternoon at Lakeshore Park looked similar to one we see each fall on Friday nights around northwest Georgia.

    July 17, 2014

  • Still time to vote early

    Summertime, and the living is hectic.

    July 15, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Down with the berry picking blues

    It was there, and then it wasn’t — and Mr. Gravity took over.

    July 15, 2014