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New State Coalition Takes Aim at Corruption

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller Tuesday announced the creation of the Public Integrity Coalition, aimed at helping curb public corruption in Indiana.

Attorney General Zoeller describes his role in the coalition as a “force-multiplier,” facilitating efforts between groups such as the State Board of Accounts and the Association of Indiana Counties along with local government leaders to educate and train public officials and employees on best practices for handling taxpayer dollars. 

Paul Joyce is the State Examiner with the State Board of Accounts, the agency responsible for auditing state and local government.  He says the coalition’s emphasis on training is important because many cases of public corruption can be solved through education.

“Ethical guidelines go beyond what legal law says, so letting them know what their peers are expecting of them, what their community expects of them,” Joyce said.

Zoeller says the coalition will work with those on the ground in local government to fuel better ideas and share them.  He says, for example, larger cities are required to have two signatories on all checks.  But that requirement doesn’t extend to smaller municipalities.

“You’ve now allowed one person to write the check, cash the check and account for those funds,” Zoeller said.

Zoeller adds the coalition will discuss making training mandatory statewide, as well as legislative avenues to further address public corruption. He says it’s important that solutions are developed with local government officials, rather than through edicts handed down to them from the state level.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.