Governor's ethics panel meets in Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Governor's ethics panel meets in Memphis

At a meeting in Memphis on Thursday, officials heard a strong call for government ethics reform. It came from those who attended the sixth and final public meeting of an ethics panel, appointed by Governor Bredesen, to study way to prevent public corruption.

"There's a deep and really sincere concern that Tennessee needs to develop better practices," said W. J. Michael Cody, the co-chair of the panel.

Concerns raised after the indictments and arrests of five current and former legislators, including John Ford and Kathryn Bowers, on federal bribery charges last spring.

Panel members say many citizens want the same changes in government, ranging from the elimination of conflicts of interest, to increased openness, and more disclosure of where lawmakers and candidates get their money, and how they spend it.

One suggestion from Memphis: lowering the maximum legal campaign contribution.

"I think if you lower the limits on money it would encourage our elected officials to get into their districts," said former state legislator Rufus Jones, "to interact with the average citizen to encourage more people to contribute smaller amounts to get their message across."

Reducing the risk of unfair influence was just one of thousands of suggestions the panel has received over the past three months. These suggestions will be used to make recommendations in a final report to the Governor next Thursday.

Powered by Frankly