There is currently no state in America with a great track record in dealing with corruption and transparency issues in its government, according to a detailed study by an investigation group released Monday.
Eight state governments received an “F” grade while no state received an “A” grade in the State Integrity Investigation, a report conducted by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International.
Ethical issues such as Georgia lawmakers taking illegal gifts from vendors, or a Maine politician not disclosing his role as executive director of an organization that received $98 million in state contacts were among the examples of corruption found in the study.
Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota and Georgia all received the lowest grades possible in the study, while New Jersey was the only state to receive a “B+” grade. Connecticut, Washington, California, and Nebraska also received grades “B-” or higher. Georgia finished dead last when it came to dealing with corruption.
Randy Barrett, the communications director for the Center for Public Integrity, told The Raw Story the criteria his organization used to assess state’s grades.
“We were looking at laws on the books, and we were looking all how well those laws were implemented,” he said. “So states that did well were states that had strong laws and were doing a good job with implementing them.”
“To key to all of this is transparency. States that rank the highest tend to be the most transparent across the 14 categories that we were looking at. States that have that kind of ethos are the ones that did better.”
Barrett also revealed that corruption isn’t based on solely on being Republican or Democratic, but on the duration of one of the parties being in charge.
“State’s with one party in control for a longtime tend to be the most corrupt,” he said. “That’s generally because (political) machines don’t like to let information out and be put on the spot. They simply want to stay in power.”
Barrett added: “The results are terrible. States need to do a lot better job in terms of guarding the public trust.”
Andrew Jones is a staff writer/reporter for Raw Story. Besides covering politics, he is also a freelance sports journalist, as well as a slam poetry and music artist. You can follow him on Twitter @sluggahjells.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.