Cutting through the ethics reform smokescreen

January 12, 2009

The Advocate and Gannett recently weighed in on Gov. Jindal’s first year in office, and now it’s the Times-Picayune’s turn. Most notable in Jan Moller’s extensively reported story is respected Shreveport demographer and political analyst Elliot Stonecipher’s assessment of Jindal’s ethics reform:

Although the ethics law changes won Louisiana flattering national publicity and helped clean up the state’s long-running reputation for moral laxity, they also could make it harder to prosecute public officials by raising the legal standard for winning a conviction. The new system requires “clear and convincing” proof to establish an ethics violation, whereas the previous law called for only “substantial” evidence of a violation.

“There is no ethics reform, period. End of sentence,” said Elliott Stonecipher, a Shreveport demographer and political analyst. “It angers me for people to even think that there is. There is no enforcement.”

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