States of Disclosure

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Early this morning, the Center for Public Integrity released their updated version of its States of Disclosure report. It’s a very helpful ranking of financial disclosure reporting of each state’s legislature, gauging their level of transparency. The Center has conducted similar surveys a couple times before over the past decade, but this is the latest and the most complete. In this incarnation, CPI researchers looked at state statutes, interviewed ethics officials and used a 43-question survey that measures public access to information on legislators’ employment, investments, personal finances, property holdings, or other actitivities outside the legislature.

Check out their interactive map where you can see what grade each state received and the details behind the grades. And I admit that I was surprised by the leader of the class…Louisiana, one of only three states to receive an A grade. Somewhat less surprising, Washington State ranked #2 and Hawaii at #3. Since CPI’s last report, 14 states improved their disclosure laws, but 20 still received a failing grade. And three states have no disclosure laws whatsoever.

Congratulations to our friends at the Center.  Go check it out!

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  • John Thacker

    Louisiana zoomed up the rankings from 44th two years ago. That’s because on one of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s first acts was to get a massive disclosure reform bill passed, as the article notes. It was huge news, though since the laws are quite new, they may not be fully implemented yet.

    Of the states with no disclosure laws, Vermont, Idaho, and Michigan, at least the first two are not regarded as having significant corruption. In their cases, the very small size of the state (and thus small number of constituents relative to a representative) probably makes it easier to keep tabs on their politicians even without the disclosure laws.