A nationwide poll that has recently been conducted rated the various United States governments on 14 different areas, all of which revolve around honesty, genuine hard work, and competency. The results have surprised millions of American citizens.
Those that have been included in this list of the top ten most corrupt state governments in the Unites States share common failures, such as in the category of redistricting, political financing, public access to information, ethics enforcement agencies, and lobbying disclosure.
If you want to know if the state you are living in is considered to be one of the most corrupt and dishonest in the whole of U.S., then here is a rundown:
Alabama, despite being included in this list, is the least dishonest among all states included, which is why it is at the 10th spot. In the State Integrity Investigation, the state received a total of 3 F’s in the following areas: 1) public access to information, 2) redistricting, and 3) political financing. The state also received a D- in legislative accountability as well as a D in state pension fund management.
In the State Integrity Investigation, Tennessee received an overall grade of C. However, the state was graded with an F in the area of redistricting, a D- in the area of ethics enforcement agencies, and a C- in both political financing and lobbying disclosure. The biggest problem that the state is facing is its extremely secretive redistricting process.
The state of Michigan got 10 F’s in the 14 categories used by the State Integrity Investigation, and some of these were attributed to their accountability in all of the three government branches, lobbying, political financing, and redistricting. Michigan is also one of the three remaining states that lack rules when it comes to financial disclosures for governors and law makers. According to the report, the state still does not have a system that will allow it to monitor state lobbying – one of the most corrupt areas in the whole United States.
7. North Dakota
North Dakota was graded with 8 F’s in the State Integrity Investigation. Some of these were for the categories: ethics enforcement agencies, political financing, lobbying disclosure, and redistricting. According to the investigation, the problems that the state is currently facing in terms of accountability can result in major conflicts of interest.
6. South Carolina
Some of the areas where the state of South Carolina got a grade of F include judicial, legislative, and executive accountability. The State Integrity Investigation noted that the State Ethics Commission budget of the state was cut six times in just the past three years. In addition, all of the regulations on limiting the contributions made to political parties have been eliminated, making the state more prone to unnecessary spending.
Legislative accountability, public access to information, and lobbying disclosure are some of the areas where the state of Maine ranked the lowest. According to the State Integrity Investigation, possible conflicts of interest as well as corruption are in existence. For example, the state does not have a law that requires Senator Jim Brannigan to disclose information that the organization he was a director and was provided with $98 million in government contracts.
There are many ethical areas where the state of Virginia fails to deliver. These include weak consumer protection, lack of government insight, and a hazy line between large businesses and politicians. In the State Integrity Investigation, the state received a total of 9 F’s. One of the greatest drawbacks is that the state is exempted in the State Corporation Commission, which is a regulatory agency responsible for overseeing all types of utilities, railroads, financial institutions, and businesses. Even the General Assembly Conflict of Interests Act has proven to be greatly inefficient. Another weakness of the state is in its enforcement of disclosure laws.
In the 14 different categories used by the State Integrity Investigation to score the corruption level of states in the U.S., Wyoming received an F in 9 of them. The mechanism being implemented by the state for self-governance is significantly poor. Also, according to the report, there are no methods or platforms available for state employees to report any form of corruption – there are no hot lines nor websites. In addition, Wyoming has also enforced the same political machine for some time now. Both of the state’s U.S. senators have been republicans since the year 1977. In the year 2006, the state’s primarily Republican legislature overrode a banning from the governor and regarded themselves as exempt from the open records laws. This means that drafted bills as well as all staff communications are allowed to be kept secret until the proposal of a bill.
2. South Dakota
South Dakota, while it has one of the lowest population densities in the whole of the United States, has an extremely corrupt government. According to Denise Rose’s State Integrity Investigation report, the state does not have an ethics commission, comprehensive state ethics laws, and satisfactory transparency laws. It also does not put effort into requiring public officials, other than its judges, to disclose information about their assets and income. In addition to this, the state law also has a loophole that allows individuals to make unlimited donations to political campaigns. Fortunately, there have been major improvements in the integrity of the state, in the form of online state records.
The first spot on this list of the top ten most corrupt states in the U.S. is Georgia. The state has the greatest levels of corruption as well as lack of accountability in the country. The biggest problem that the state is facing is the absence of a powerful, genuine ethics enforcement agency. While Sonny Perdue, the Republican governor, was able to include an ethics bill in the legislature, his proposals regarding appropriate campaign spending and banishment of giving gifts to state workers were stripped out. According to Jim Walls, a State Integrity reporter, even though the state has provisions aimed to prevent certain types of corruption in campaign lobbying and finance, Georgia is still plagued by lax enforcement.