DETROIT (WWJ) – State governments lack transparency and accountability to citizens, and remain at high risk for corruption, according to a new study of all 50 statehouses.
Not a single state received an A in the State Integrity Investigation ranking, a product of the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity.
Only five states got rankings of B, led by a surprising recipient: New Jersey. It got a B-plus, with an overall score of 87 out of a possible 100.
Despite – or perhaps because of – recent corruption scandals, New Jersey got the top ranking because of steps it took to combat corruption, including tough ethics and anti-corruption laws it adopted in response.
Nineteen states got grades of C, and 18 got a D. Eight states got an `F,’ with grades of 59 or lower: North Dakota, Michigan, South Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota and Georgia.
The report found that states with well-known scandals or histories of corruption often have the toughest laws and enforcement that bring them to light.
Conversely, the report found, so-called “quiet” states may be at higher risk for corruption, with fewer means to bring corrupt practices to light. Individual reports for all 50 states can be found here.
The site, along with a companion page on Facebook, allows readers to send copies of their state report cards to elected officials, to report potential problems, and suggest solutions.