And you thought that Republicans were the only ones with ethics problems? Think again…

As Democrats in the General Assembly and on the campaign trail moan about the “culture of corruption” which they feel is coming to light in the majority caucus, they would be well served to recall that people in glass houses should not throw stones. Take, for example, State Representatives Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta), Bob Bryant (D-Garden City), Winfred Dukes (D-Albany), Carol Fullerton (D-Albany), Henry “Wayne” Howard (D-Augusta), Sheila Jones (D-Atlanta), David Lucas (D-Macon), William Quincy Murphy (D-Augusta), Jay Shaw (D-Lakeland) and Al Williams (D-Midway) as well as State Senators Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) and Steve Thompson (D-Marietta).

Any guesses on what they have in common?

They represent all the members of the General Assembly as of December 1 who still haven’t filed financial disclosure statements for 2008 as required by state law, according to State Ethics Commission records!

Oh, but it gets even better:

Four of them haven’t filed disclosures for 2007 either, meaning the public has had no clue about their financial interests for nearly two and a half years. They are Reps. Roger Bruce of Atlanta, Winfred Dukes of Albany, Henry “Wayne” Howard of Augusta and David Lucas of Macon.

All 12 are Democrats.

Emphasis mine from the fine report over at Atlanta Unfiltered. But why are these reports required?

Georgia law requires elected officials once a year to file a public statement summarizing their financial interests and those of their spouses. What’s the point? The reports give constituents basic information to help them figure out whether an official’s public and private interests conflict.

Information. Sunlight. Disinfectant. All three help keep the stench of corruption and back room deals at bay…we hope. It admittedly sometimes does not always work, as is clearly evident in a situation regarding recent legislation in the State House concerning a certain gas pipeline. That, though, is a story that will get more coverage here and elsewhere in the coming weeks.

For now, Democrats should be mindful of their own shortcomings as the majority takes affirmative steps to clean up its own mess. The latter’s success is not a foregone conclusion, but if you see any of the people below calling out Republicans for the current ethical mess they find themselves in, be sure to point out their own hypocrisy for what it is.

Behold, the Georgia General Assembly’s Democratic Dirty Dozen:

15 comments

  1. Rick Day says:

    Because not filing paperwork automatically trumps abuse of power and adultery, as well as a good shagging of hot lobbyists, when it comes to ‘evildoing’.

    *nods*

    2 sides/same coin

  2. ByteMe says:

    False equivalence. More “blah blah” from the enablers meant to distract from the problems of the party in power.

      • ByteMe says:

        And Senate cleaning, if the rumors are to be believed.

        Political power — and business power — can corrupt pretty easily, no doubt about it. But trying to distract from the current scandals by pointing out that paperwork hasn’t been filed by some folks on the other side of the aisle… meh.

        • Doug Deal says:

          This is why I like term limits. There are a few exceptions (and I think that each of us think we would be one of those exceptions), but power does eventually corrupt. Term limits would at least limit the top end corruption and also give those that are forced into retirement the freedom of knowing that they aren’t going for re-election to take a tough stand from time to time.

          Plus, since more seats would become available as open seats, it would give more people the opportunity to serve the legilature, except mostly the same well connected bunch.

  3. Progressive Dem says:

    Isn’t it obvious that the ethics requirements and enforcement mechanisms need to be strengthened in Georgia.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    Yeah Pete, what with all the power that Democrats have been exercising at the Capitol for the past half dozen years ‘n all, their not reporting, a fact which is public information in the sunlight, is clearly important than the unethical actions of the Speaker. Your post of course conveniently fails to mention that the GOP thinks ethics enforcement is so important that the enforcement budget was cut 30%.

  5. B Balz says:

    I think Mr. Bearse ably makes a valid point, eviscerating the Ethics budget sends a clear signal to any objective voter. Ethics may be important, but not important enough to pay for.

    While a noble and rightful course, the House caucus shall neither be afforded an opportunity to vote a new Speaker, nor given such opportunity, would they probably do so. So the ‘whippersnappers’ shall have to wait their turn, now is not the time for them.

    Some pretty observant folks already claimed the ‘fix is in’ or as I prefer to think, ‘we shall survive’ and the Party torch is passed. The voting public is vaguely aware of whom the House Speaker is, or what he/she does. So why should they give a plu-perfect poo?

    If Dems make an issue of this sad affair in the future, Mr. Randall and his ilk {The Olde Gourd} will find ample fodder to strongly refute them. To wit, Mr. Maurice Atkinson recently commented that the Dems leaderships’ use of recent events to discredit the GOP is a ‘flawed strategy’ and “… it might work in other years, but certainly not now.” I buy into that argument.

    The saddest commentary of all is that recent events support what many voters have come to believe; to expect the least from from those elected to do the most.

    It is incumbent on those House and Senate Representatives of stout mind and clear conscience to fight that perception to its’ death.

  6. HeartofGa says:

    You know, Pete, I haven’t been through all of these yet, but I think you need a fact check. Carol Fullerton has indeed filed her required reports, and you can see them here:

    http://ethics.georgia.gov/Reports/Campaign/Campaign_Name.aspx?NameID=4906&FilerID=C2008000619&Type=candidate

    She was first elected in November of 2008, and she was unopposed in that race. If you’re going to start throwing stones about stuff like this you at least need to be able to competently use a search engine.

  7. rugby says:

    Another Republicans are just as bad as Democrats post. Awesome.

    Besides that, pretty sure there is a huge difference between 12 legislators I’ve never heard of (was this the Thompson whose wife was deported? If so that means I’ve heard of one) in the minority and the Speaker of the House, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker Pro-Tem, Majority Leader, and Appropriations Committee Chairman.

    If you can’t (or won’t) tell the difference you are a lightweight, disingenuous idiot. Oh wait, it is Pete posting, never mind.

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