Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fighting corruption, one person at a time

The news recently has been full of stories reminding us of public corruption. One HDO organizer sentenced to 15 months in jail for perjury; another who "forgot" to mention 16 of his 22 previous criminal convictions when applying for a Chicago city job (who nonetheless was hired); and, of course, George Ryan's arrival at the federal prison in Oxford, Wisconsin.

Today's Christian Science Monitor has a timely editorial on what ordinary citizens can do to stamp out government corruption. After cataloging the costs of corruption (ranging from the loss of services and public trust to dampened job creation), the paper concludes with the cures. Greater transparency and oversight, for sure. But they also note that "individuals can remember their role. Fellow office workers need to speak up when they suspect wrongdoing." And voters need to remember that they have the power to hand out "pick slip(s) come election time."

And if you're looking for a place to start, why not head over to the Comptroller's fantastic new Open Book? They report 172,000 visitors in the first three weeks, so it's not like you'd be alone…

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