The Corruption Smackdown

by Lee Sigelman on December 16, 2008 · 11 comments

in General Politics

Over at Slate, Jacob Weisberg has posted a smackdown between Louisiana and Illinois for the honor of being the most corrupt state in the whole USofA. It’s a good read—simultaneously informative and fun.

However, as Weisberg himself recognizes, there’s reason to think that those who would send Illinois into the lion’s den against the Louisiana corruption juggernaut have got it all wrong. Why pick on llinois? You could save a bundle on travel expenses by inviting a state that’s closer to Louisiana to boogie on down to Baton Rouge for the Big Smackdown. Mississippi should head the list of invitees (Can you see Mississippi from Baton Rouge?), followed by Kentucky and Alabama, in that order, and then by Ohio. Only then, down in sixth place, would you come to poor, unduly maligned Illinois.

Here are the rankings, as compiled by Corporate Crime Reporter, based on Department of Justice statistics; the number for each state is the “corruption rate,” defined as the total number of public corruption convictions from 1997 to 2006 per 100,000 residents.

1. Louisiana (7.67)
2. Mississippi (6.66)
3. Kentucky (5.18)
4. Alabama (4.76)
5. Ohio(4.69)
6. Illinois (4.68)
7. Pennsylvania (4.55)
8. Florida (4.47)
9. New Jersey (4.32)
10. New York (3.95)
11. Tennessee (3.68)
12. Virginia (3.64)
13. Oklahoma (2.96)
14. Connecticut (2.80)
15. Missouri (2.79)
16. Arkansas (2.74)
17. Massachusetts (2.66)
18. Texas (2.44)
19. Maryland (2.31)
20. Michigan (2.14)
21. Georgia (2.13)
22. Wisconsin (2.09)
23. California (2.07)
24. North Carolina (1.96)
25. Arizona (1.88)
26. Indiana (1.85)
27. South Carolina (1.74)
28. Nevada (1.72)
29. Colorado (1.56)
30. Washington (1.52)
31. Utah (1.42)
32. Kansas (1.42)
33. Minnesota (1.24)
34. Iowa (0.91)
35. Oregon (0.68).

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