Golden Sleaze Awards - 2010 Golden Sleaze Awards

The Georgia Legislature's next generation of sleaze

This was the year things were supposed to change under the Gold Dome. In late 2009, after then-Speaker Glenn Richardson's ex-wife confirmed in a scathing TV interview what most folks already suspected – that her former husband had been diddling a gas lobbyist while pushing a bill beneficial to the utility – Republicans scrambled to put their House in order. A slate of new, largely scandal-free leaders was duly elected, making life considerably less interesting for journalists across the state.

Unlike past years, when Georgia would've been much better off had lawmakers simply gone home several weeks early, this time the legislators were kept busy trying to fashion a workable budget in the face of state revenue that was falling faster than a busted banker from his 10th-floor office window.

While the next generation of legislative leaders largely managed to keep the ship of state on course without much interparty wrangling, partisan grandstanding or incidence of bimbo eruption, that's not to say that everyone was on his or her best behavior. With Georgia's political primaries only a few months away, there were plenty of pols who followed their baser instincts in appealing to their base. Others apparently hadn't gotten the memo warning that nest-feathering and influence-peddling would no longer be tolerated. And, let's face it, there's a bunch of folks in the Legislature who are just plain dumb.

It's those back-bench rubes, Tea Party rejects and tinfoil hat-wearing reactionaries who worked tirelessly to reclaim Georgia's status as a cultural backwater.

Without further ado, we bring you the 21st annual Golden Sleaze Awards.