A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International ranks States by corruptibility.
Judging from organizations involved in conducting the report, many conservatives likely assume it’s biased beyond use, but the corruption-risk report cards provided through the State Integrity Investigation have some practical value for political junkies. The index, to the surprise of many Americans, ranked New Jersey the least easily corruptible State in the Union; the most easily corruptible was Georgia.
Each State received a corruptibility report card graded by the following criteria on a 100 percent scale (100 being least corrupt):
- Public access to information
- Executive accountability
- Judicial accountability
- State civil service management
- Internal auditing
- State pension fund management
- State insurance commissions
- Political financing
- Legislative accountability
- State budget processes
- Lobbying disclosure
- Ethics enforcement agencies
New Jersey scored 87 percent, a B+, and took first place as the least corruptible State. Georgia, on the other hand, scored only 49 percent, an F, after failing in nine of the 14 above-mentioned categories.
The State Integrity Investigation, according to its sponsors, does not measure good or morality within States, but rather tests “the structure that governs the government, documenting the laws on the books and investigating the actions that enforce those laws.”
The report explains:
The No. 1 ranking in the State Integrity Investigation does not make New Jersey the least corrupt state in the country, in the same way that seatbelts and airbags don’t prevent car accidents.
So, how did New Jersey win? The state finished first overall in Executive Accountability, Civil Service Management, State Pension Fund Management, and Ethics Enforcement. New Jersey didn’t have a bad category, ranking above the median in 13 of 14 categories. The state also benefitted from weak competition, as evidenced by the fact that its B+ grade was good enough for first place.
To see how your home State did, visit the State Integrity Investigation website.