When we launched this movement toward reform, we called it the State Corruption Investigation. The name seemed to best express what the Investigation was doing: measuring the risk of government corruption in every state, supporting journalists who investigate corruption, and inspiring citizens, legislators and civic groups to press for reform.
While our reporters have worked tirelessly to dig up the facts about each state’s risk of corruption, we’ve been actively pursuing partnerships with organizations and people of all backgrounds who are concerned about honesty and effectiveness in state government. And we’ve been excited at the outpouring of support for the Investigation.This level of support from such a broad group gave us the opportunity to see the Investigation through the eyes of others. Those of you who are invested in our work and its success say you want state government that has integrity. Pursuing and preserving integrity is at the heart of why each of us is involved in the Investigation. It’s clear that state corruption exists and is far too common. We know we must expose it and the conditions that allow it to thrive, if we hope to spur change. Yet, on reflection, we decided the name State Corruption Investigation didn’t tell the whole story of what we hope to achieve.
The name focused on the worst in state government, rather than on the honest state workers who provide the services we all need day in and day out – crime prevention, education, road repair, and justice. Keeping corruption in our name felt like it might discourage involvement and perpetuate a sense of mistrust that keeps people from working with government to create reform. So we decided to tweak the title of our work.
We are pleased to announce the State Integrity Investigation, which better reflects our collective pursuit of integrity. While the name has changed, what we’re investigating has not. We’ll be issuing state report cards in early 2012 that will measure and rank each state’s risk for corruption, and we’ll continue to help news organizations cover the tough issues of good government and corruption. We’ll also continue to invite people to join us and share their experiences, their ideas for solutions, and the results of our investigation with others.
State government was established to be honest, not corrupt, and our investigation is about keeping it honest. We are striving for state integrity and that’s what our name now says.