Beneath the soaring dome of Mississippi’s Capitol building, lights shine on a small bust of a blindfolded woman meant to portray “blind justice.” But she could just as easily represent the 3 million citizens of this deeply conservative Southern state, where transparency and accountability often seem like little more than abstract notions.
Political candidates are free to raise unlimited sums here, and can spend that money largely as they choose, even for personal use. Both the legislative and judicial branches are largely exempt from the state’s open records law. The state ethics commission rarely uses its power to investigate public officials and does not make public all of the cases it does pursue.
Ouch. That was just the prelude. More harpoons are hurled in this piece.
In light of all that, perhaps it’s not surprising that the Magnolia State earned a score of 61, or D-, in the State Integrity Investigation, a data-driven assessment of state government accountability and transparency conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity, placing Mississippi 33rd out of 50.
She takes more officials and agencies to task in her report. Read the rest of it here.