Ethics Commissions Across the Country are Using Innovation to Fight Corruption

Shot looking up at the columns of a building with an American Flag flying
Photo by Leo Patrizi

The public’s trust in state and local government remains higher than public trust in the federal government. One of the reasons for the difference may be that state and local ethics commissions nationwide are relying on innovation to solve corruption problems and foster an ethical culture before scandal erupts.  

CLC’s new report, Top Ten Enforcement Upgrades for Ethics Commissions, details these innovations and so much more about the state and local agencies responsible for protecting the public’s trust in government. 

State and local officials entangled in ethics scandals dishearten the people who the officials are supposed to serve. Ethics commissions are committed to educating officials on their ethical responsibilities, engaging the public through transparency, and enforcing the rules against violators.  As a result, ethics commissions know which improvements increase accountability for ethics violations, deter non-compliance and improve public trust in government.  

CLC researched and interviewed state and local ethics commissions and identified the following ten enforcement upgrades, as highlighted by 13 ethics commissions that exemplify at least one of the features: 

  1. 1. Automated Audits  

  2. 2. Enforcement Heat Map  

  3. 3. Expedited Case Resolution  

  4. 4. Settlement Guidelines  

  5. 5. Investigation Timelines  

  6. 6. Instant Case Updates  

  7. 7. Anonymous Tip Hotline 

  8. 8. Enforcement Metrics  

  9. 9. Non-Compliance List  

  10. 10. Searchable Enforcement Actions  

For each feature, the relevant ethics commissions provided practical insight on why they implemented the feature and the benefits to the public.  The upgrades are relatively simple and inexpensive to administer, yet remarkable effective.   

If you are curious about the people protecting the trust in your state and local governments, you can learn more in our report.  

Read CLC’s Report: “Top Ten Enforcement Upgrades for Ethics Commissions.” 

Delaney is the Director, Ethics at CLC.