According to a recent research by the Institute for Corruption Studies at Illinois State University, Idaho, the Gem State, has once again topped the list of the most corrupt cities in the country. According to the analysis, Idaho has the greatest rate of public corruption convictions per capita between 1976 and 2023. Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. are the next cities on the list.
What Makes Idaho So Corrupt?
Idaho’s high degree of corruption, according to the report’s author, economist Oguzhan Dincer, who also serves as the director of the Institute for Corruption Studies, is caused by a number of variables, including:
Statistics: The state of Idaho is ethnically and sparsely populated, which results in less diversity and competition in politics as well as less scrutiny and accountability for public servants.
Culture: The libertarian and anti-government cultures that prevail in Idaho encourage mistrust and animosity toward both federal and state authorities as well as acceptance of local corruption as long as it serves the interests of the community or the individual.
Voter Participation: Idaho has among of the lowest voter turnout percentages in the US, a sign of low civic knowledge and involvement among the populace. Low voter turnout also raises the influence of special interests and money in politics and decreases the likelihood of electing leaders who are trustworthy and capable.
What Are Some Examples of Idaho s Corruption?
Idaho’s corruption affects every facet of public life, from local to state to federal, and is not confined to any one branch or level of government. Among the most well-known instances of Idaho corruption are:
Gov. Brad Little: In 2023, Idaho’s governor was impeached and dismissed from office due to allegations of power abuse and constitutional violations. Little was charged of issuing unlawful executive orders without the consent of the legislature or the courts, including extending the state of emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, outlawing mask regulations, and restricting the right to an abortion.
Sen. Mike Crapo: In 2023, the senior senator from Idaho faced federal tax evasion accusations after it was claimed that he had concealed millions of dollars in offshore accounts and neglected to declare his earnings and possessions. Crapo is charged with abusing his political connections to protect his family members and associates from investigation and legal action by the IRS and DOJ, as well as to obtain advantageous contracts and transactions for them.
Boise Police Officers: As part of an extensive FBI corruption investigation, six former Boise police officers were given jail sentences in 2023. The cops were found guilty of tampering with evidence, fabricating reports, and coercing informants and suspects into giving them narcotics and cash. In addition, the officers planned together to intimidate witnesses and conceal their misdeeds.
The state’s democratic process, public confidence, and rule of law are all threatened by Idaho’s pervasive and severe corruption. The Institute for Corruption Studies report urges greater civic engagement and civic education among the populace, as well as increased accountability, transparency, and change in the political and legal processes of the state. The report also issues a warning, stating that the corruption in Idaho may have detrimental effects on the nation at large by influencing federal policies and programs that rely on the cooperation and compliance of the state.