Progress Report on Swamp Drainage
September 25, 2019
There are great differences between states in respect to ethics enforcement and the transparency of ethics agencies concerning actions they’ve taken, according to a new report by the Coalition for Integrity. Actual enforcement power also varies considerably. Some state ethics agencies have no investigative power; others have only limited sanctioning powers. Even with power and authority, some state ethics agencies do not appear to actively pursue investigations and sanctions. On a scale of 0-100 Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and Rhode Island scored 100 on transparency of ethics enforcement. A majority of states score at or below 50. Five states do not have an operational ethics agency, and agencies in three lack investigative or sanctioning power. In Mississippi and North Carolina, ethics agencies have no publicly available information regarding their enforcement actions. The FCPA blog makes several recommendations based on the report: Agencies need wide powers to investigate and sanction all government personnel. Proceedings should be open to the public once probable cause of violation is determined (15 ethics agencies publish no information on complaints resolved with a finding of a violation). If an ethics agency determines that a violation has occurred, its findings and sanctions should be publicly available (18 ethics agencies do not make their decisions and sanctions publicly available).
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