Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Virginia Gets a F in State Integrity Grades

According to a just released study of integrity in state governments, State Integrity Investigation, the Commonwealth of Virginia gets a big fat F and ranks 47th in the nation. The study is a first-of-its-kind, data-driven assessment of transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms in all 50 states. No state got an A and only five states scored as high as a B.

Surprisingly New Jersey received the highest score, in part because political scandals in recent years have resulted in some of the toughest laws in the nation being passed. Other states in the top five are Connecticut, Washington, California, and Nebraska. Nineteen states got Cs and 18 received Ds. Eight states earned failing grades.

So while our elected officials tell us they are "citizen legislators" who represent our views and that processes in the General Assembly are transparent and open, the truth is a good bit murkier. The back room deals on legislation and selection of judges, the influence of political money especially by big players like Dominion Resources, gerrymandering, toothless ethics laws, mismanagement of VRS, and lack of access to (what should be) public information give rise to the suspicion that Virginia government isn't really a "commonwealth" but is more of a government of, by, and for those in the power elite.

The fox is running the hen house. 


J. Tyler Ballance said...

Charley Lewis and his "Center for Public Integrity" has the sense of a soil sample.

Rhode Island, the most corrupt state in the nation gets a passing grade while Virginia, Wyoming and Maine get Fs.

The first question those who claim to be journalists should ask is, Who the heck are these guys to judge anything, anywhere?

Their whole purpose is to raise money for their own organization. They are alarmist and inflammatory and, just like the SPLC, line their pockets by demonizing others and creating boogeymen, where there are none.

What should be most disturbing to the citizens is that the Press simply parrots crap from these "non-profits" without a scintilla of fact checking.

When I lived in Virginia, I found that, in dealing with various state officials, they were always polite and responsive. For example, I suggested that the SBE allow for a candidate petition that would be on an 8x11 sheet in addition to the 8x14 traditional sheet (that was more difficult to print since most people did not stock 14 inch paper) and within a year, the SBE made the change.

Anonymous said...

JT, lots of people are polite while cheating you.