Ethics and Transparency? Not So Much

Joel Ebert at the Tennessean has a story out about the Tennessee General Assembly’s Ethics Committees and their tendency to not meet at all. So, while bad behavior persists among legislators, the groups tasked with reining it in simply don’t.

As Ebert notes:

The Tennessee House ethics committee hasn’t met in at least six years. The Senate ethics committee has gone more than a decade since its last gathering.

In that time, there has been no shortage of legislative troubles in Tennessee.

Extortion, fraud, tax evasion, sexual harassment — all continue while the legislative committees charged with cleaning up the House (and Senate) do nothing.

Ebert offers some insight as to why this is:

A review of Tennessee’s eight surrounding states, as well as California, Connecticut and Florida, reveals the system in place in the Volunteer State is unlike many others.

Tennessee’s Ethics bodies are set up differently — in the House, for example, only a legislator can file an ethics complaint against another legislator. So, unless a citizen can convince a state representative to file an ethics complaint against one of his/her colleagues, the alleged behavior will go unaddressed by the House Ethics Committee.

Read more from Ebert on Tennessee’s unique system which protects the questionable behavior of some at the General Assembly.

For more on good government and the Tennessee General Assembly, follow @TNCitizenAction




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