Corruption Risk Report Card
Rank among 50 states: 9th

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The story behind the score

A strong ethics commission and robust public disclosure laws have helped reform Rhode Island government, but an “insider” Capitol culture remains. Read more from SII State Reporter Mike Stanton.

Latest state news for Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island will broaden public access to government information through a new online portal under an initiative announced Thursday by Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Chafee said many documents will be available immediately and that the state will continue to add audits, contracts and other financial documents to the website over the next 18 months.

“The people of Rhode Island deserve more and better information about the operation and management of their government,” said Gov. Chafee in a statement. “I believe that greater openness and transparency will ultimately strengthen our citizens’ faith in their government, bolster our national reputation, and increase our economic competitiveness.”

State integrity news for Rhode Island, from the Providence Journal:

Common Cause Rhode Island is calling on politicians to disclose more of the gifts -- including expense-paid trips -- they receive from interest groups. The good government group wrote to the state Ethics Commission last week proposing a new regulation requiring elected officials to report all gifts worth more than $25 that they received because of their official position.

According to Common Cause, the state's ethics law currently requires public officials to report any gifts worth more than $100 given by an "interested person," which is defined as a person or business with a direct financial interest in a decision the public official has a role in making "as part of his or her official duties."

Read the rest of the story at the Providence Journal.

State integrity news for Rhode Island, from Barrington Patch:

Operation Clean Government strongly opposes Governor Chafee’s proposal to abolish Rhode Island’s Bureau of Audits. We join with other responsible individuals in decrying this latest attempt to eliminate a watchdog function at a time when RI taxpayers need it most.

The non-partisan Center for Public Integrity, in cooperation with Global Integrity and Public Radio international, conducted a State Integrity Investigation survey of all 50 states, and gave each a “Corruption Risk Report Card”. Partly due to a B+ grade for Internal Auditing, Rhode Island ranked ninth best of all 50 states, attaining an overall grade of “C”.

Read the rest of the story at Barrington Patch.

State integrity news for Rhode Island, from Barrington Patch:

Unfortunately, our legislators encourage the enforcement of this code on all state officials and municipal workers, but insist those same rules do not apply to themselves because of another provision in the state constitution.

What kind of a message are these legislators sending? They are giving new life to George Orwell’s observation in Animal Farm that, “All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Read the rest of the story at Barrington Patch.

Rhode Island’s history of lawmakers and state contractors getting too cozy? Blame geography and population.

“Rhode Island is a very small state,” said Rep. Michael Marcello (D-Dist. 41). “There has always been a close relationship between contractors and the state government. Not because they are necessarily nefarious – just because there’s not a lot of people who are bidding on these things.”

Even if the two sides are on friendly terms, Marcello wants to make sure the relationship doesn’t come at a price. Marcello has sponsored a bill that prohibits state contractors from donating money to the campaigns of officials controlling the contract.  If approved, the legislation would mean any company that receives more than $5,000 in state contracts annually could not donate to a campaign for a candidate who leads a state entity responsible for that contract.

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