Kudos to Dick Yarbrough for his writings about the cycle of money and influence that churns under the gold dome (“Ticket ban doesn’t stop need for more ethics reform,” Sept. 25).
If it weren’t for writers like him, this issue may have gone ignored by our legislators.
What gets confused sometimes by our legislators is that there are two kinds of corruption. There’s venal corruption in which criminal behavior takes place by a person or group. And then there’s the much more damaging kind of corruption: systemic. What exists in our state is legal bribery and influence trading. It is systemic corruption.
According to Jim Walls of Atlanta Unfiltered, Gov. Nathan Deal’s recent IRS filings raise concerns about the timing of large contributions from companies looking to do business with the state. Walls points to several big contributions including WellCare of Georgia Inc.’s $50,000 to Deal’s political action committee the same day that the state announced a two-year extension of WellCare’s contract with the state.
The contribution is legal; ostensibly no law was broken. What is broken is our confidence that decisions are being made based solely on the best interests of Georgians.
There are many areas in our state government that are in need of ethics reform measure. From walling off state agencies from political influence to how our state’s pension funds are managed to the redistricting process, the list goes on.
Much work needs to be done, I am grateful to Yarbrough for his persistence in this area. He has done a great service to his readers and our state.