Texas ranks in the bottom half of all states for being vulnerable to corruption. That’s one of the findings of the extensive State Integrity Investigation that was recently released. It gave Texas a grade of D+.
During a live, hour-long call-in program KERA’s Shelley Kofler took a closer look at several areas in which Texas scored poorly: access to public information, campaign financing and conflicts of interest.
Listen to the discussion at KERA.
Ohio received a poor grade in a recent study looking at policies and practices guarding against public corruption. Does the "D" on the report card mean taxpayers are more likely to get their pockets picked?
We'll meet the author of Ohio's State Integrity Audit, talk about why Ohio got such a poor grade and explore critics' claims that the report is too subjective.
Listen to the discussion at WCPN.
Missouri is the only state where someone could donate $1 million to a political campaign, cover it up, and not have broken the law. Before he was a member of the Missouri House, Jason Kander was in army intelligence in Afghanistan – doing anti-corruption work in the Afghan government. He said that taught him some lessons that resulted in disappointment after he returned home.
“Basically it was my job to figure out which bad guys were pretending to be good guys,” says Kander, “and when I came home and I ran for the legislature and I got to Jefferson City I found that it just, frankly, was not as different from Kabul as it should be."
Read and hear more at KCUR - Kansas City.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a $32.4 billion budget at midnight on Wednesday. Late-night sessions and closed-door caucuses are just part of a process that one nonprofit organization thinks lacks transparency.
The Center for Public Integrity gave the commonwealth an F for its state budget process on its “Corruption Risk Report Card.”
Read and hear more from WBUR - Boston.
Judicial elections are non-partisan, which means voters can't pick the easy way out and vote straight Democrat or Republican. But judicial candidates are also limited in what they can say about how they would rule in cases - so that makes it hard for voters to choose.
Read and hear more at WFAE - Charlotte.
A recent public radio investigation ranked Washington state second in the nation for government transparency. According to the State Integrity Investigation, only Connecticut did a better job of providing public access to public information.
As one quadriplegic man from Seattle learned, that doesn't mean it's easy to pry information out of Washington state agencies. But Thursday, it got a little easier. KUOW's John Ryan reports.
Read and hear more at KUOW - Seattle.
Oregon gets a high transparency score for the way the state's database, ORESTAR, lets you see money moving in and out of lawmakers' political action committees.
But it's the sheer volume of those donations that dragged down the state's grade. There's no limit to the amount of money you can give to a candidate or party.
Read more and listen to the story at OPB.
It’s the Ethics Commission’s turn to go through the review process given to all state agencies to make sure they’re doing their job efficiently. Based on staff recommendations and lawmaker amendments, the Ethics Commission could simply be reauthorized, or it could undergo dramatic changes.
Public Citizen’s Tom “Smitty” Smith thinks scrapping it and starting over might not be a bad idea.
Read more and listen to the story at KUT - Austin.
Gordon Witkin of the Center for Public Integrity discussed the State Corruption Investigation on the Tavis Smiley Show. The program is distributed by PRI to more than 100 radio stations. They discuss the Investigation's methodology and its sometimes surprising findings.
We sift through a new study that gives New Hampshire low marks in what it calls “integrity” in State government. While the report says the Granite state does well in some areas like the Executive and Judicial branches, it failed in others like public access to information and ethics enforcement.
Listen to the discussion at New Hampshire Public Radio.