Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Watchdog Gives Kentucky Government High Score for Anti-Corruption Laws

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

A non-partisan corruption watchdog says Kentucky’s ethics laws are the fourth-strongest in the nation. 

Kentucky’s ethics laws have guided members of the General Assembly since 1993, and no lawmaker has been convicted of misusing his or her office since then, according to Legislative Ethics Commission Executive Director John Schaaf.

The Coalition for Integrity studied every state and the District of Columbia to determine the scope, independence, and power of their ethics agencies.  The watchdog also looked at laws relating to the acceptance and disclosure of gifts by elected leaders. 

Kentucky received a score of 74 on a scale of zero to 100, placing the commonwealth fourth behind Washington State, Rhode Island, and California.  Kentucky’s high score was given, in part, to the state having ethics commissions in both the legislative and executive branches with subpoena and sanction power.  The state was also credited for having ethics commissions whose members are shielded from removal without cause. 

"The findings confirm that Kentucky’s strong and comprehensive ethics laws help the General Assembly avoid the scandals that other states have experienced – scandals which have led to convictions, fines, and imprisonment for hundreds of state legislators across the U.S.," Schaaf said in a statement.

Neighboring Tennessee received a score of 50 on the index while Indiana received a 28.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
Related Content