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31 May 2012

Belinfante will be an Ally of Ethics Reform if Elected State Senator


Ethics is the one issue that towered over all others during the 2012 legislative session.

A March report by the Center for Public Integrity said Georgia state government is a high risk for corruption.

Georgia ranked 50th out of 50 states for corruption risk in the study, and earned an overall 'F' grade thanks to problems in a number of different categories the Center for Public Integrity reviewed.

After the release of the report, state Senator Josh McKoon (R - Columbus) took the lead to pull Georgia out of the gutter.

McKoon proposed a Study Committee on Ethics Reform & Accountability, which would include four representatives from the Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform.

The Study Committee would have reviewed and recommended legislation designed to strengthen ethics and accountability in this state.

McKoon also introduced an ethics reform bill in the state Senate that would impose $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers.

Unfortunately, Senator McKoon's proposals did not come to fruition.

"There's opposition to seeing comprehensive ethics reform move forward," McKoon said, expressing his frustrations to the media.

Sen. McKoon is right. There is indeed opposition to ethics reform, but the election of reform-minded individuals can stem some of the opposition and give lawmakers like McKoon the allies needed to send an ethics bill to the Governor's desk.

Republican Josh Belinfante, a candidate for state Senate, can be one of Josh McKoon's allies; but only if Belinfante is elected.

Belinfante is a former Vice Chairman of the State Ethics Commission.

During his service as a leader of that body, Belinfante played a key role crafting an overhaul in how the State Ethics Commission operated. William Perry, Executive Director of government watch-dog group Common Cause Georgia, called the overhaul "promising."

Belinfante, leading by example, wrote on his Facebook page, "I said that I would impose on myself a $100 cap on gifts from registered lobbyists. I also support legislation to do the same."

If elected, there can be little doubt that Josh Belinfante will join Sen. Josh McKoon as a leader in the movement to bring ethics reform to Georgia. For that reason, Belinfante is the best choice for state Senator from the 6th district.