Religion & Liberty Online

How Does Your State Rank For Integrity?

When Americans think of corruption, we tend to think of third world countries where getting anything done often requires bribing local government officials. We tend not to have such problems here; our corruption is more subtle and sophisticated, and often involves state level lawmakers.

For instance, over the past few years there have seen corruption-related charges or convictions of the house or assembly speakers of Alabama (bribery, misuse of campaign funds), Rhode Island (bribery, misuse of campaign funds), South Carolina (misuse of campaign funds), and New York (bribery, fraud, extortion, etc.). The former governor of Virginia was convicted for taking a bribe and the governor of Oregon resigned because of corruption charges.

That’s one of the reasons why states need systems and laws in place that can help prevent and expose corruption. So how are individual states doing in regards to transparency and accountability?

To find out, the Center for Public Integrity conducted an investigation of state governments, analyzing each state’s “laws and practices aimed at deterring corruption and promoting accountability and openness.” The investigations examined 13 categories: Public Access to Information, Political Finance, Electoral Oversight, Executive Accountability, Legislative Accountability, Judicial Accountability, State Budget Processes, State Civil Service Management, Procurement, Internal Auditing, Lobbying Disclosure, Ethics Enforcement Agencies, and State Pension Fund Management.

Only three states—Alaska, California, and Connecticut—scored above a D+ when graded on a standard A-F scale. The average score was a D grade, but 11 states (highlighted in red on the map below) failed completely.


The worst state of all: Michigan, which failed in 10 of the 13 categories.

(Via: The Week)

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).