For me this year, ethics trumps even limited government conservative values as the top issue. Too many elected officials in Georgia are screwing around with lobbyists and staffers (opening themselves up to being blackmailed) or using their position to secure sweetheart deals from the state or from various party establishments. Until we see ethical government we will never see limited government.
I’m not yet endorsing Barnes. He has his own set of issues. However his plan is a breath of fresh air after the frat-house General Assembly and the Gainesville Mafia.
The following is Roy Barnes’ press release. My comments are in italics.
Roy Barnes: Restoring Ethical Leadership
Standing in front of the Georgia Gold Dome today, Roy put forth a comprehensive plan to restore ethical leadership to Georgia state government.
Roy’s Ethics Plan includes:
- Open government to the people by promoting access and transparency, strengthening Georgia’s disclosure laws and limiting lobbyist influence.
- Close the loophole that allows the General Assembly to be excluded from Georgia’s Open Records Law [ Lots of luck getting the Jerry Keens and Don Balfours to agree to that ]
- Mandate that all candidates for statewide office release seven years of complete income tax returns, including all schedules and addendums.
- Eliminate lobbyist and vendor gifts. [ I disagree here. While gifts are a problem, prohibition will just mean they are harder to find out. I prefer greater transparency]
- Require state elected officials to adhere to election year disclosure requirements every year. [ Or what? ]
- Strengthen transparency by requiring that state vendors who earn over $10,000 in non-salary earnings from the state register as vendor lobbyists.
- Prohibit any executive employee from having private meetings with a state or federal elected official about his personal business
- Reveal any contract or business arrangement with state of Georgia within 10 years
- Fight corruption and increase ethical standards by bolstering corruption laws, strengthening the authority of the State Ethics Commission and implementing ethics training for agency heads and senior staff.
- Strengthen Georgia’s anti-corruption laws to ensure that they are as strong as or stronger than the federal RICO laws.
- Strengthen the authority of the State Ethics Commission by allowing them to initiate investigations based on reliable and publicly disseminated information.
- End conflicts of interest by requiring statewide elected officials to put their financial interests into a blind trust and holding appointed board members financially accountable.