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: