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How ethical is your state?

The results of the State Integrity Investigation, a joint effort by The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International, were released today. Presumably to keep things relatively simple, grades were given to each state on an A through F scale. Now, not to keep everyone in suspense, no one did well. There wasn’t a single state that earned an “A” grade in this investigation.

PA State Capitol

PA State Capitol - Jim Bowen (CC)


It should go without saying, there is no “Bell Curve” on this test. While it’s likely that this will go the way of many other stories telling us what we already know – that government is corrupt – this one offers a slightly different outcome. Sure, you can visit the site and see the report card broken down by state. You can even take advantage of the social options on the site, to discuss the results.

But the big deal on this site is arguably the categories page. For now, there’s not a lot of content on these pages. But this is where the people who are bothering to post suggestions on how to improve government are going. While it’s likely that there may be some infantile rants showing up on this site, so far, it is looking like it will be a place that voters should be telling their State officials to visit.

Bottom line is that while this study website might turn out to be useful as a clearinghouse for ideas about government reform, it’s unlikely to make too much of a difference. And as for the results on the study, didn’t we already know that we have corrupt state governments? Does it really do us any good to have a better idea just how corrupted they really are? Only time will tell.

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