Monday, December 14, 2015

Center for Public Integrity gives Mississippi a D-

The Clarion-Ledger's Anna Wolfe said Mississippi suffered from "tight-lipped officials and toothless watchdogs" in a report for the Center for Public Integrity.  She wrote:

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.


Anonymous said...

Every Mississippian is well aware of the corruption in this State. How do you think Thad got into office again?

Anonymous said...

Only 3 states scored higher than D+, 11 flunked. Gives you an idea of how screwed-up the whole country is, and how screwed the citizens are.

Anonymous said...

This is shocking...NOT!

A politicized state auditor's office, a legislative oversight mechanism with no real enforcement authority other than budget threats, and an ethics commission fraught with anybody surprised by this??

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!

Anonymous said...

Spending campaign funds as you please should be an absolute NO! That could easily be stopped. Any balance left in Campaign coffers upon losing office or death or moving from state, etc. should go into a fund of some type. Maybe homeless charity. This should also include those who are term limited and leave office. Cammpaign funds are not slush funds for the candidate/official.

Exiting Stage Left said...

"Only 3 states scored higher than D+..."?

Actually what that gives us is an idea of how screwed up this goofy survey was. Liberal progressives would have us believe all we need to do to reverse the trend is elect Bernard Sanders.

And there people all over Fondren and the heavily gated Clarion Ledger building who believe it.

Go Fund Me said...

8:55; Are you serious? "Any balance left"? Really? Pass that and see how quickly the balance disappears. Your last sentence could not be further from the truth. That's, in fact, exactly what they are.

Anonymous said...

My only dispute is that we're ranked 33 out of 50. This is yet another survey where we should be in the bottom 3.

Anonymous said...

"Political candidates are free to raise unlimited sums here, and can spend that money largely as they choose". Isn't THIS the problem with almost ALL politics in the whole country?

Somewhere along the line we decided that 'bribe' is the same as 'free speech' and the corruption has become endemic.

Anonymous said...

Just normal every day business in our govt. The voters demand their politicians be dishonest and the politicians are very glad to comply. Ask any voter about the person they voted for. You won't find a single one that is not a fine up standing person. Now ask them about the person running against their own politician. The lowest scum on the earth.

Anonymous said...

Many of the comments would be funny if the mindsets weren't the problem!

Instead of improving government and making corruption more difficult after years of Democratic control, the Republicans decided to be even worse and enrich themselves more.

This ain't race ( save that African Americans also tried to emulate the worst of the Bubbas as well). This is about a people who are so blinded by tribalism that they refuse to accept any member of THEIR tribe could be a crooked and if they are, it's because that's the norm!

Try fixing your own " clan" before casting stones. That might actually result in improvement!

Bubbling Cauldron said...

10:08; It ain't about 'clans' any more than it's about 'race'. Everybody is lumped together in this cesspool-scenario or did you fail to pick up on that?

Anonymous said...

None of this is news to longtime JJ readers.

Anonymous said...

JJ. Totally off topic. Pretty sure I heard WLBT reporter covering Jackson Christmas parade on Sat.Dec.5 15 was sponserd by Salvation Army. Is this true? If so,does any one else have a problem with this?

Anonymous said...

What problem do you have with it 3:39 PM? Start there.

Passing Up The Red Kettle said...

I have a problem with it. Here's why: If my donations are being used to 'sponsor' a municipal Christmas parade, I now know that their stated use of funds is a lie.

How's that 4:38?

Anonymous said...

Address it with the Salvation Army. Contact them directly. Then come back here with your findings, if you dare, for independent verification.

Anonymous said...

If he addresses with the Salvation Army and contacts them directly. Then comes back here with his findings he or she doesn't need independent verification does he ? And what does " if you dare " mean ?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Salvation Army will sponsor the flowood parade next year.

Anonymous said...

WJTV says the Salvation Army is short of funds to help senior citizens. I think that's why people give money. Not to sponsor a parade!


JDBerry said...

the small busted woman that's blindfolded needs augmentation

Anonymous said...

Hats off to Feel, Feelip, and Tater for all their work to make the Executive and Legislative branches more transparent. If they keep up the good work, we might make an F+ next year.

Anonymous said...

The watchdog of Govt starts with the media. The media has failed at every level in this state. Rarely do they do investigative work, only reporting after an official announcement has been made. KF is the only outlet that is serious about investigation.

Misplaced Priorities said...

That goofy lookin' rotund man in the train conductor's outfit who runs the Salvation Army in the metro....he is always smiling when he talks. Whether he's talking about a disaster or the need for funds, smile, smile, smile.

I don't trust a man in a funny hat who is always smiling and never quite seems serious. And if he authorized Salvation Army funds to 'sponsor' a parade, I damned sure don't trust him.

Anonymous said...

Three blind mice.........Feel, Feelip, and Tater

Anonymous said...

10:29 am My argument is that everyone in this State is complicit.

Your " clan" is your group identifications and if a politician supports your group interests, you don't seem to care or notice if your politician's life style doesn't seem to match his income. You accept any excuses he or she makes.

When it comes to spending limited revenues in MS, you want to benefit regardless of what is needed to better the State as a whole. You are willing for dollars to go where they aren't as needed as long as they go to your county or your business interest or your alma mater, etc.

The bad mouthing Mississippians do about other Mississippians is bad publicity for the State but that never occurs to anyone. You make others not want to come here to visit and spend money or to invest in the State and then wonder why you can't generate more revenues within the confines of the State.

Your children leave for Nashville or Charlotte because there are not sufficient opportunities as you can't grow jobs if replacing people in existing jobs is what you are doing. Or, if new business is growing as the expense of old business, you are shifting jobs not creating new jobs.

You are not noticing that national business/professional entities are buying up local professional/ business entities and not the other way around.

You will hire a less qualified Mississippian over an outsider who might bring new ideas and new ways of doing things.

You hate change and fear change. You defend the past, glory in the past and then wonder why things don't get better. You do things the way you've always done them and think you're going to get a different outcome.

That's tribalism at work, buddy.

Who's Your Buddy said...

7:38 ...Professional educator? ...or arm-chair?

Anonymous said...

10:29 am My argument is that everyone in this State is complicit.

Everyone knows this, or should. They just think they are special and do not have to follow the rules they demand others live by. Maybe it is the lack of education, maybe it is the criminal mind set of people born and raised in Ms. Maybe it is the way parents raise their children. Maybe the lack of parents. Way too many people with their hand out not caring who has to suffer to give them a living.

Anonymous said...

I've got an even bigger story of corruption going on in State Gov't... too bad it likely won't see the light of day...

Anonymous said...

I still don't get the excitement over campaign funds.. Uh those aren't tax dollars, my friend. That's money from friends and relatives and/or those who wish to "be somebody" in state government (ie: Frontier Strategies). I personally don't care what Phil plans to do with the $1 million left in his fund after the next four years (as long as he pays taxes). That's on him and his financial supporters.

Anonymous said...

Campaign funds may not be tax dollars but politicians can't seem to be able to stop with stealing when they start, and they all start before being elected.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS