Connecticut Gets Downgraded, But Maintains Passing Grade for Accountability –

By Christine Stuart

In a data-driven assessment of state government accountability and transparency, Connecticut received a C minus from the Center for Public Integrity.

That’s worse than the B it received from the organization in 2012 — the first time the center did a report. While the two scores are not directly comparable because of changes made to update the project and its methodology, many advocates say the decline is indisputable regardless of the changed methodology.

Connecticut was the third most transparent and accountable state in the nation, but its declining score [Read More]

Study: Government Transparency Slipping Across Nation – Hartford Courant

By Jon Lender

A new national study of integrity in government shows the state slipping from a solid B grade to a lackluster C- since 2012 — but things are so dismal around the rest of the country that Connecticut still ranks third overall out of the 50 states, according to the 2015 State Integrity Investigation by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Public Integrity.

Alaska (C), California (C-) and Connecticut (C-) ranked first, second and third, and were the only states to score higher than D+ in the study that gave 11 states flunking grades based on a series of criteria measuring openness and accountability in government institutions and procedures.

The “data-driven assessment” found that “in state after state, open records laws are laced with exemptions and part-time legislators and agency officials engage in glaring conflicts of interests and cozy relationships with lobbyists. Meanwhile, feckless, understaffed watchdogs struggle to enforce laws as porous as honeycombs.” [Read More]

Editorial: Election Commission Shouldn’t Be Under Governor’s Thumb – Hartford Courant

The Office of Governmental Accountability and the nine formerly independent state watchdog agencies that the OGA gobbled up in 2011 have been a lousy fit.

The current nasty fight between OGA executive administrator Shelby Brown and Michael Brandi, executive director of one of the principal watchdogs, the State Elections Enforcement Commission, shows why.

Throwing these agencies together administratively hasn’t saved much money. It has robbed the elections commission and other vitally important agencies such as the Office of State Ethics and the Freedom of Information Commission of needed personnel.

It has slowed their regulatory pace. That’s a loss for people who prize clean elections, ethical behavior by public officials and open government.

And because the governor has the final say in picking the OGA’s executive administrator, he or she has a perch from which to bully any watchdog who has fallen out of favor. After all, Ms. Brown, the OGA boss, has said in no uncertain terms that “I work for the governor.” [Read More]