March 28, 2012

The March 24 editorial “Virginia gets an ‘F ’ ” claimed that Virginia’s laws invite corruption and cited a new study by the Center for Public Integrity that rated the states on their corruption risk and pointed out that Virginia is one of just a few states “with no campaign finance limits.”

In fact, no link has been established between corrupt or poorly managed state governments and unlimited campaign contributions. Five of the eight states with grades of B-plus or better in the most recent Governing magazine’s reporton quality of management and state performance had no individual contribution limits to either parties or candidates.

Contribution limits help keep entrenched incumbents in power. Removing the limits would increase competition and help voters fire the corrupt and inefficient.

David Keating, Alexandria

The writer is president of the Center for Competitive Politics.

Ever since Watergate, we have been treated to the false notion that more regulations, requirements, ethics forms, ethics commissions and other watchdogs will prevent corruption in government. The Center for Public Integrity perpetuated the notion in its report card on Virginia.

I have spent the better part of four decades investigating, prosecuting and defending cases dealing with so-called corruption in government. Ethics regulations will not stop dishonesty or corruption. Virginia is a great example of good and clean government because it has high standards, great discipline and pride in its public service. That is why its economy is so strong even in tough economic times.

Nothing could be more misleading than this report card. None of the measures allegedly missing in Virginia have any deterrent effect on dishonest or corrupt conduct by public officials. The District has watchdogs, ethics forms, ethics committees and dual oversight, yet it is a cesspool of dishonesty and corruption. I would give the Center for Public Integrity an “F” for its report on Virginia.

John M. Dowd, Vienna