In Alabama we’re accustomed to saying, “Thank God for Mississippi.” But a national study of public integrity and anti-corruption laws could leave the state thanking the heavens for Georgia, instead.
A joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International assed all 50 states and assigned graded evaluations of each. The study gave Alabama a C-, placing it in the middle of curve. But the state faired better than many others, including Georgia, which received an F. No state received an A.
The study gave Alabama credit for its recent reforms of campaign finance and public ethics laws. But the proof of those laws’ effectiveness will only come with time. The Alabama Ethics Commission and Alabama Attorney General must put them to use policing public corruption — duties, until now, performed almost exclusively by the United States Justice Department.
“Yet ethics reform in this state of 4.8 million residents remains a work in progress,” project leaders wrote. “And so Alabama receives a letter grade of C- and a numerical score of 72 from the State Integrity Investigation, ranking it 15th among the states. Not the bottom of the rung rating of the earlier headlines, but not yet near the top, either.”