Shining a Light on Mississippi Government, Campaign Donors, PACs | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Shining a Light on Mississippi Government, Campaign Donors, PACs

Shining a Light on Mississippi Government, Campaign Donors, PACs

City & County

Mayor Lumumba Pledges Transparency on Public Tour of City Hall

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In efforts to make operations at City Hall more transparent, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba hosted an open house and tour of his office and the top floors of City Hall on Friday.

City & County

EDITORIAL: 120 Days In, Let’s Focus on Good Communications

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While the new administration's leadership on JPS has been noteworthy, communication on other changes in the city has been slow to take root.

City & County

The People of Jackson Deserve Strong Transparency

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We understand the need to increase revenue, but everyone must have a chance to be heard in the process.

Business

Defying City Attorney, Council Passes New Subcontractor Disclosure Rules

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The City now has more “teeth” for requiring disclosure of subcontractors, as well as oversight for switching subcontractors, for all contracts above $50,000, thanks to an ordinance passed at the April 20 Jackson City Council Meeting.

Cover

Transparency in the City

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Several new technology additions to the City of Jackson will hopefully open up the records of a municipality that has of late been plagued by what some city leaders called "hiccups."

City & County

1 Percent Tax: A Test for Contractor Reform

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Almost two years after voters in Jackson decided to tax themselves an extra 1-percent worth of sales tax on certain goods, heavy machinery will soon be turning dirt and the City will start spending from the tax fund.

Education

So Much For State Transparency

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Last year's corruption scandal involving longtime state Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps might have resulted in improvements to the state contracting process, but thanks to the Mississippi Senate, holes remain.

City & County

Mayor Yarber, Please Lead on Transparency

We are pleased to report that we are seeing some, at least marginal, improvements in the way the City of Jackson is handling access to information.

Politics

Election-Law Reform May Actually Happen in Mississippi

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Election-law reform has been a slow process in Mississippi, but with the help of a bi-partisan committee's report, that could change soon.

Politics

SUNSHINE WEEK: Top Mississippi Lawmakers: Email, Schedule Not for Public

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Republican leaders in the Mississippi House and Senate have denied a request for email correspondence and information about their schedules, saying the state Public Records Act does not apply to legislators.

Politics

Politicians for Sale? The Funders of the House Leadership’s 2015 Campaigns

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The Republican supermajority in the House has changed its dynamics this term, and the Democrats chose Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, to be their minority whip leader.

Editorial

SUNSHINE WEEK: Public Needs Year-Round Access to Documents, Meetings, Donation Information

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The JFP has long focused on the serious problem of campaign donation transparency in the state</a>, especially that shielded by political action committees, and more recently the problem with city contractor transparency

Cover

‘Empower’ PAC Helps Oust Anti-Charter Republicans

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Empower Mississippi, a nonprofit dedicated to school choice, used its political arm, the Empower PAC, to unseat four incumbent Republican candidates for the Mississippi House of Representatives in the DeSoto County primary elections on Aug. 4.

City & County

City of Jackson Unveils New Data Portal, Part of Transparency Initiative

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Mayor Tony Yarber's favorite part of the new data portal opened to the public this morning is the live tracking of infrastructure construction projects, including pothole repair.

City & County

City Must Increase Subcontracting Transparency

Under the City of Jackson's $91-million contract with Siemens for a water-system overhaul and sewer repairs, at least six firms hold subcontracts with Siemens.

Editorial

City: Make Smart Decisions on Contracts, Department Heads

From where we sit, mayors put too many people into key city roles, such as Planning and Public Works, for political or personal reasons.

Cover

Mississippi Consumer Finance Association Lobbyist’s Client Reports

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In 2015, the association spent more than $13,000 to send nine lawmakers and the state's banking commissioner to the convention.

Cover

‘Great State’ Campaign Finance

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Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, made waves last week when he told a Mississippi resident that he "could care less" about her concerns about budget cuts, suggesting she leave Mississippi, in a response to an email she sent to all representatives in the House.

Cover

Politicians for Sale? State’s Consumer Finance Association PAC Spends Big on State Officials

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Payday and small business lenders are not always welcome business development on the municipal level, in no small part because of the cycles of poverty easy-to-obtain, high-interest loans can feed.

Cover

Transparency in the City

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Several new technology additions to the City of Jackson will hopefully open up the records of a municipality that has of late been plagued by what some city leaders called "hiccups."

City & County

Council President: City 'Hiccups' With Public-Records Response Need to End

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Council President Melvin Priester Jr. wants the whole of city government, including Mayor Tony Yarber's administration, to make public records a high priority.

Politics

Politicians for Sale? Egg Bowl Rivals Take Care of Lawmakers, No Report from JSU

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If the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry extends to Capitol expenses, the University of Mississippi is winning in the department of free tickets for state lawmakers.

Media

SUNSHINE WEEK: Amid Push for Transparency, Few Colleges Reveal Investments

Colleges and universities are under growing pressure from Congress and campus activists to reveal financial investments made through their endowments, but most institutions are standing firm against the idea.

Politics

Politicians for Sale? Manufacturers Association Wines, Dines and Takes Lawmakers on Quail Hunts

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As pure as the election process might be, democracy has the potential to break down with the influence of money.

Jackblog

Sun Columnist, Better Jackson PAC Member Goes After JFP, ‘Takes Back' N-JAM Label

OK, this is funny. In his rush to defend the controversial and secretive Better Jackson PAC, which he apparently helped organize, Northside Sun columnist David Sanders is attacking the 'flatulence' of the Jackson Free Press. This column is simply delightfully defensive, and evasive, in that it does not address why Sanders' and Wilson Carroll's PAC did not file donor reports until three hours before the polls closed under pressure from the JFP and many Jacksonians, even though Two Lakes supporters John McGowan put $6,000 into the PAC back in April, which meant they should have filed a report before the primary.

Politics

Side-by-Side Donations: Key Players in Jackson Airport ‘Takeover’ Debate

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Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, and Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson—airport "takeover" adversaries—both received campaign donations from several of the same PACs and businesses.

Politics

Politicians for Sale? Manufacturers Association Wines, Dines and Takes Lawmakers on Quail Hunts

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As pure as the election process might be, democracy has the potential to break down with the influence of money.

Development

UPDATED: Two Lakes Supporters Helped Finance Defeat of Pearl Mayor

Fans of a controversial plan to develop the Pearl River had better luck installing a pro-"Two Lakes" mayor in the little town of Pearl than in the state's capital city this month.

Politics

Politicians for Sale? Egg Bowl Rivals Take Care of Lawmakers, No Report from JSU

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If the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry extends to Capitol expenses, the University of Mississippi is winning in the department of free tickets for state lawmakers.

Politics

Conservative PAC Wants Term Limits

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The United Conservatives Fund today said the group has filed documents with the secretary of state's office to start the process to limit how long some Mississippi officials can serve in office.

City & County

Council President: City 'Hiccups' With Public-Records Response Need to End

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Council President Melvin Priester Jr. wants the whole of city government, including Mayor Tony Yarber's administration, to make public records a high priority.

Pearl River

BREAKING: 'Two Lakes' Developer McGowan Gave $6,000 to Secretive PAC

Two Lakes impresario John McGowan was the largest contributor to the controversial Better Jackson PAC that tried to defeat Harvey Johnson by using what the FBI calls "baseless" crime rankings in mailers.

Politics

McDaniel's New PAC: The Next Generation

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With hopes of bringing together multiple factions throughout the state in the wake of a divisive Senate race, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, recently announced his new political action committee, the United Conservatives Fund.

Media

SUNSHINE WEEK: Obtaining Police Emails Can Take Months, Cost Thousands

As law enforcement agencies have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, media organizations, watchdog groups and others have become more vigilant about filing public-records requests for emails and documents, particularly after police shootings.

Politics

Mysterious ‘Better Jackson PAC' Revealed ... Sort Of

See: the JFP Election Blog for full election coverage + candidate interviews

Editorial

MDOC Transparency and Execution Secrecy Don’t Mix

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Mississippi can't have it both ways. We cannot stamp out corruption at the state and local levels and, at the same time, hide behind a veil of secrecy when it comes to carrying out executions.

In Search of New Horizon, and a PAC Office

In Search of New Horizon, and a PAC Office

City & County

Hickingbottom Behind Anti-Lumumba PAC

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In the final hours of the Jackson mayoral election, a group called Citizens for a Better Jackson is making a push to beat back gains made by Ward 7 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba.

City & County

City Council Seeks Input on Subcontractor Transparency Ordinance

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The Jackson City Council wants to ensure that minority subcontractors have the ability to take part in major construction projects in the city, get paid on time and be held accountable for their work.

Education

Web of National, State PACs and PICs Fight Initiative 42

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As the November election draws near, large political advocacy groups and Republican donor’s dollars are pouring into anti-Initiative 42 Political Initiative Committees (PICs), mainly the KidsFirst and Improve Mississippi committees. These two groups alone have raised more than $300,000 in the past few months to try to defeat the citizens' initiative to force state lawmakers to follow the law and fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

City & County

Mayoral Campaigns, PACs Spending Big on Ads, Some Secretly

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With two young candidates who are relatively unknown to big parts of Jackson, the airwaves were expected to be a major battleground in the capital city's mayor's race.

Politics

SUNSHINE WEEK: Even as Political Spending Explodes, Disclosure Remains Hazy

Politicians in Mississippi have used campaign money to pay for such things as a BMW, an RV and $800 cowboy boots.

City & County

Real Transparency, Please, Not Smoke and Mirrors

One online dictionary defines transparency as "free from pretense or deceit," "easily detected or seen through" and "readily understood." However, too many government agencies at the local and state levels are only ostensibly transparent.

City & County

1 Percent Tax: A Test for Contractor Reform

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Almost two years after voters in Jackson decided to tax themselves an extra 1-percent worth of sales tax on certain goods, heavy machinery will soon be turning dirt and the City will start spending from the tax fund.

Education

D.C.-based PAC, Outside Money Funded Initiative 42’s Demise

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Post-election campaign filings are revealing that opponents of Initiative 42, mostly from outside the state, spent much more money to defeat it than they were required to report before the polls closed.

Politics

UPDATED: Mayoral Campaign Reports Raise Questions

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Mississippi's Sunshine Law is designed to shed light on campaign finance, but Jacksonians have found themselves in the dark when it comes to the majority of candidates seeking to become Jackson's next mayor.