Policing the politicians; state ethics commissions lack muscle

By Caitlin Ginley

Underfunded, politically crippled commissions frequently do little more than slap wrists

Excerpts from this story referencing "Colorado":

"… nly five full-time investigators to handle the workload.And last year, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission had its full-time support staff reduced from …"

"… from two people to one. “It’s just me,” said Jane Feldman, the Colorado commission’s executive director. Feldman said she currently has an annua …"

"… nt agencies that need only “reasonable suspicion” to pursue a case.The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission receives between 20 and 25 written complaint …"

"… ow what a good investigation looks like, and I just can’t do that.”The Colorado commission came into being in 2008, when the state was hit by a faltering …"

Lobbying laws in the states

By Neil Gordon

A round-up of lobbying laws that have recently been enacted or changed

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… 00, when the commission made the controversial decision to relax the rules.TennesseeIn May, the state passed an ethics law that, despite shortcomings, won prai …"

"… ng violations under the law will fall on local district attorneys, because Tennessee still lacks an independent ethics commission with investigative or auditin …"

Watchdogs on short leashes

By Kenneth Vogel and Leah Rush

For most legislatures, ethics enforcement is an in-house affair; for the rest, agencies that oversee them are kept on a short leash

Excerpts from this story referencing "Nebraska":

"… erally not a workable system," said Frank Daley, executive director of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, which oversees all phases of the …"

"… be prosecuted as criminal infractions, only one of those commissions - the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission - could actually prosecute lawmak …"

"… to provide information and advice short of issuing formal opinions," said Nebraska ethics director Daley. "The philosophy is that we advise the legislators b …"

Oklahoma

By The Center for Public Integrity

A snapshot of ethics practices in Oklahoma

Excerpts from this story referencing "Nebraska":

"… plaint. Only one agency, Alabama's, cannot issue subpoenas.EnforcementOnly Nebraska's ethics agency can directly prosecute criminal cases against legislators; …"