Georgia suffers not only from illegal corruption of government officials, but also legal corruption, says a new study by Harvard’s Center for Ethics. If that seems like an oxymoron, here’s how the study’s authors define legal corruption: the political gains in the form of campaign contributions or endorsements by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups, be it by explicit or implicit understanding. The study breaks down its findings by branches of government, with the worst marks going to the executive branch. Illegal corruption there is seen as straddling the line between moderately common and very common; while legal corruption is seen as very common.
In the legislative branch, illegal corruption was rated moderately common, legal corruption as very common. The judicial branch, in comparison, looks like boy scouts. Illegal corruption was rated as only slightly common; legal corruption on the border of moderately common. Fair warning: there isn’t good data to back up the findings, if corruption is measured by convictions, the authors note. So the authors surveyed journalists who cover state politics and investigative reporters to get their perceptions. Could it be that reporters in Georgia are more jaded than most? How would you rate illegal and legal corruption here?