Bill Rankin of the AJC brings the news that the Atlanta region has seen a spike in prosecutions and convictions for public corruption:
An analysis of federal crime statistics by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows the number of public corruption convictions here has spiked in recent years. The federal judicial district that includes metro Atlanta now ranks among the top districts in the country in corruption convictions, the newspaper found.
Law enforcement officials say an increased emphasis on nabbing corrupt officials — not necessarily an increase in corruption — accounts for the rise in convictions.
But federal prosecutors say the consequences of corruption — including wasted tax dollars and broken public trust — are real.
So, a question to ponder: Is the increase in prosecutions evidence of a good thing or a bad thing?
Note first that these stats are for federal prosecutions. Yet those who are prosecuted range from local government officials to federal employees.
We’re well aware of the problems Georgia has with its own ethics in government. A large part of this problem is that many of these acts committed that appear unethical are in fact legal under state law, and even those that are not do not have a clearly defined process in place that allows for a path to prosecution.
Federal law is a bit more clear, and the process is at a bit more removed from political interference, though not necessarily immune. Georgia appears to have a corruption problem and the feds are prosecuting when they can.
Georgia has an “ethics” problem but until laws are changed there is little re-course to prosecution, as many of the acts aren’t illegal.
I would posit that we would be more ethical and less corrupt if there were even more prosecutions.