Poll: Many think government corruption increasing

November 24, 2009 10:02:53 PM PST
An Elon University poll published this week reveals many think corruption in state government is on the rise."I think people are more greedy than they used to be," Wilmington resident Madeleine Baddour said.

About 61 percent think government corruption is more widespread now than 10 years ago.

"I think they're a little more corrupt after 10 years," Spring Hope resident John Gifford said.

But they say they sense state government is less trustworthy.

There was an AG commissioner who took cash for favors at the fairgrounds, a House speaker who took cash in bathrooms and a lottery commissioner and a state representative that were also found to be taking part in dishonest activities.

In the last decade, they all went from state politics to state and federal prison. All of the politicians were Democrats.

But the Elon poll showed the public by a narrow margin seems to trust Democrats a little more than Republicans in state government.

"There seems to have been a preoccupation with self-dealing, self-interest, self-promotion," Founder of Ethics, Public Service Frank Perry said.

And now comes another federal investigation gathering steam against the former head of state government --Mike Easley.

"This case has shocked me by the allegations and the number of allegations," Perry said.

Easley's replacement, Governor Perdue, says she agrees that state government does now seem more corrupt.

"I tend to agree with the poll if I had been asked," Perdue said. "I would have to honestly say. To me, I don't know what was going on ten years ago. But I've never seen anything like the last several years."

State government has some difficulty policing itself. Corruption suspects can lie to agents of the State Bureau of Investigations, but it's a felony to lie to the FBI.

"It should be a felony to lie to an SBI agent," Perry said.

Perdue says she is stressing integrity with her appointees, but she also says she is at a loss to explain the recent past.

"I've been in this for 20 years, and the folks that I've served with," Perdue said. "It's just hard to believe that there are folks who deliberately do wrong things and make wrong choices."

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