18 Corporate Crime Reporter 3(1), January 19, 2004
REPORT RANKS STATES FROM MOST CORRUPT TO LEAST CORRUPT
Mississippi is the most corrupt state in the United States, and Nebraska is the least corrupt, according to a first-ever ranking of the states released last week by Corporate Crime Reporter.
According to the report, Public Corruption in the United States, the ten most corrupt states in the country are:
Mississippi, North Dakota, Louisiana, Alaska, Illinois, Montana, South Dakota, Kentucky, Florida, and New York.
The ten least corrupt states in the country are:
Nebraska, Oregon, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, Arizona, Arkansas, and Wisconsin.
The 50 states were ranked by corruption rate -- the number of public corruption convictions in the state over a ten-year period (1993 to 2002) per 100,000 population.
The report is being released at a time when public corruption scandals are breaking out all over the country.
The former Governor of Illinois, George Ryan, has been charged with taking money, gifts and loans in exchange for handing out state contracts to his donors.
In Connecticut, three mayors and the state treasurer are in jail or heading to jail.
And the Governor of Connecticut is under siege in a soap opera of a corruption scandal.
The last three insurance commissioners in Louisiana have gone to jail for corruption.
"We need not just strong economies, but strong political economies -- reporters, citizen groups, prosecutors, judges, religious leaders -- who are willing to speak out about the rampant corruption in our midst," said Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter and author of the report. "Connecticut, for example, has a strong economy and an educated citizenry. But its political economy has historically been weak, with little public debate about the level of corruption around it -- until federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney‚s office in Hartford decided to force the issue out into the open."
Mokhiber called on Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop muzzling his line attorneys at the Public Integrity Section, which is in charge of combating public corruption.
"They want to speak out on the issue, to shed some light, but they are being muzzled in an election year," Mokhiber charged. (See At a Glance, Page 12)