Ind. Attorney General Announces New Focus On Stopping Public Corruption
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is starting an effort to reduce corruption of public officials.
He announced Tuesday the formation of the Public Integrity Coalition. The idea behind the new coalition is to educate and train leaders of local governments, school districts and libraries on ways to avoid abusing taxpayer money.
Zoeller said cases of misappropriated funds have cost the state well over $13 million in the past five years. Insisting that corruption is not rampant in local governments in Indiana, Zoeller said it only takes a few bad apples to create a negative public perception.
“The vast majority of those who serve in public office are honest and strive to serve constituents efficiently, and only a small minority violate the public trust and enrich themselves with taxpayers’ money,” Zoeller said. “Some public corruption might have been prevented with greater supervision and training for officials and employees, so that there is deterrence of wrongdoing and incentive to do the right thing. Our objective is that with more education, training and enforcement, there ultimately will be fewer instances of government misappropriation which will result in greater confidence in public servants.”
The coalition will meet quarterly to focus on outreach including training sessions for elected officials and their staffs, and will work toward other projects such as offering a model ethics code to local governments, with a long-term goal to encourage best practices so that fewer problem audits result that necessitate lawsuits.
“By undertaking this extra effort with our partners across all aspects of government to encourage proper and ethical practices, we are optimistic that in the long run the overall number of problem audits and resulting lawsuits the State must file can be reduced,” Zoeller said.