Miami New Times by Manuel Madrid
September 27, 2019
Florida is back to draining swamps, and for once, it’s not the Everglades. Long considered one of the most corrupt places in the country, the Sunshine State is apparently raising the bar when it comes to transparency in ethics enforcement.
That’s according to the anti-corruption nonprofit Coalition for Integrity, which recently released its annual report known as the S.W.A.M.P. index(States With Anti-Corruption Measures for Public officials). For many, “the swamp” might inspire images of K Street lobbyists hatching murky deals in backrooms in D.C. — and that’s exactly why the report’s authors wanted to spotlight state, city, and small-town public officials, who have been under increasingly less scrutiny as local journalism weakens outside of large metropolitan areas.
“State laws are often the first line of defense against corruption and cover thousands of officials, employees, and legislators nationwide,” Coalition for Integrity’s Laurie Sherman and Shruti Shah wrote in a post on their report.
Of the 43 states (and the District of Columbia) that currently have ethics agencies with enforcement power, Florida’s commission is in a four-way tie for first place along with Colorado, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. All four front-runner states received perfect transparency scores of 100, while 25 states received failing grades of 60 or lower.