September 5, 2013 · By Bob Ellis · 14 Comments
Fox Business has a disturbing article (it actually came out over a year ago, but I hadn’t seen it until a friend shared it today) about the State Integrity Investigation report from the Center for Public Integrity.
The report card is based on a variety of criteria including public access to information, political financing, accountability, budget processes, procurement, auditing, disclosure, redistricting, insurance commissions, and such. All these areas are related to keeping the government accountable to the people it exists to represent, keeping politicians honest, and ensuring responsible government.
My state, South Dakota, came in the second worst of the 50 states.
South Dakota was rated “F” in political financing, executive accountability, legislative accountability, state budget process, state civil service management, lobbying disclosure, state pension fund management, ethics enforcement, and state insurance commissions.
This is not to say that South Dakota necessarily IS the second most corrupt state in the union (though I have much less confidence in my state government now than I did a few years ago). This report primarily indicates that there is a lack of legal and governmental tools in place to ensure government transparency and that the people can easily hold their government accountable.
We always need to view reports with caution when we don’t clearly know the position and veracity of the organization making the report. However, when the information jibes with what we can observe….
When you have this sort of stuff going on in a Republican supermajority state government (which would normally be a good thing, IF Republicans were behaving according to Republican values), yeah, I can believe a report like this one from the Center for Public Integrity. There are too many two-faced, underhanded shenanigans going on by “Republicans” in state government to dismiss this report.
One of the state’s most outspoken RINOs had a cat a few months back when I stated that many of the leaders in the South Dakota Republican Party are corrupt. I meant every word of it. Are they accepting direct bribes, etc. from people for political favors? Probably not; I have no proof that they are. But when you’ll sell out your party’s documented values along with the interests of those you were elected (including fiscal responsibility with their tax dollars, as well as protecting their freedom) for who knows what gain (maybe government dollars to enrich your campaign donors who in turn slide a little of that money back to you, come election time?)….yeah, that’s corruption, too.
Maybe corruption of the worst kind. Would I rather have a corrupt politician who would misuse some of my taxes to line his pockets and little more…or a corrupt politician who sells out my freedom and my opportunity at prosperity for whatever reason? Neither, of course, but if I had to have one, I’d take the one who enriched himself while leaving my freedom and my property intact.
It’s only a matter of time before South Dakotans realize that “Republican” no longer automatically equates to “conservative” anymore. When that happens, the GOP is going to be in for a world of hurt. Far, far better to get their act together now, get some transparency and accountability, and start acting like Republicans again. If not for the sake of the people they represent, for the sake of the party, at least.
UPDATE: Tonight I came across this article at the British Daily Mail (based on a Business Insider article using DOJ data between 2002 and 2011) which says South Dakota is ranked #3 among states with the most people convicted of public corruption per 100,000 in the last decade. Not good.
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"We don't intend to turn the Republican Party over to the traitors in the battle just ended. We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the party over to the so-called moderates wouldn't make any sense at all." - Ronald Reagan, Nov. 10, 1964