Lord Acton famously said “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and he might have been onto something. A nonprofit investigative reporting group called the Center for Public Integrity closely examined those in power for a project referred to as the State Integrity Investigation. According to Mother Jones, the DC-based group looked at the state government rules in place between January 2013 and March 2015 to determine the level of corruption for each state.
"All together, the project presents a comprehensive look at transparency, accountability, and ethics in state government," CPI said in the overview of the project. "It's not a pretty picture." And they’re right. No state received a grade higher than a “C,” and 11 basically flunked. Michigan rounded out the bottom with an “F” or 51 due to problems with ethics or access to public information. Come on, America, we gotta do better than this.
Journalists searched through records and laws for specific indicators that measured transparency and accountability such as state lobbying disclosure laws. With data from the District of Columbia excluded, marks were based on an overall letter grade plus scores on 13 subcategories including political finance, lobbying and ethics. If you’re itching to see how your state scored, head over to the CPI's post.