Is Washington More Corrupt Than Other States?
A major issue affecting many facets of society, including democracy, economic growth, human rights, and environmental preservation, is corruption. The misuse of authority for personal benefit is known as corruption, and it can manifest itself in a number of ways, including extortion, fraud, nepotism, embezzlement, and bribery. Corruption can happen in many domains of government, including local, state, and federal, as well as in public administration, the judiciary, law enforcement, healthcare, education, and business.
How is corruption measured and ranked?
Transparency International, a global civil society group that combats corruption, publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), one of the most extensively cited measures of corruption each year. Based on their perceived levels of public sector corruption, 180 nations and territories are ranked by the CPI on a scale ranging from 0 (extremely corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The CPI is derived from information gathered from thirteen separate sources, including polls of individuals and businesspeople and expert evaluations.
The global average score for the 2022 CPI was 43 out of 100, meaning that most nations are not succeeding in eliminating corruption. Over two-thirds of the nations received a score of less than 50, and 26 of them achieved their lowest results to date. Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland received the highest scores, while Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and Sudan received the lowest scores.
With a score of 69 out of 100, the United States placed 24th out of 180 nations, marginally higher than its 2021 score of 67. The US still has a long way to go in combating corruption, though, as seen by the unchecked power of money in politics, the absence of accountability and transparency in government, the deterioration of the rule of law, and the dangers to the freedom of the press and civil society.
How does Washington compare to other states?
States within the United States also differ in terms of the kinds and degrees of corruption. The State Integrity Investigation, carried out in 2012 and 2015 by Public Radio International, Global Integrity, and the Center for Public Integrity, was one of the most thorough investigations into state-level corruption.
Based on 330 factors spanning 14 categories—including campaign finance, ethics enforcement, lobbying disclosure, public access to information, and judicial accountability—the study evaluated the likelihood of corruption in each state. Based on its total score, the survey gave each state a letter grade ranging from A to F.
The states that performed the best were Alaska, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island; the states that performed the worst were Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wyoming, according to the 2015 State Integrity Investigation. Eleven states received a F rating and no state received an A. A D+ grade, or 59 out of 100, was the average state score.
With a score of 68 out of 100, or a D+, Washington came in at number twelve among the fifty states. Washington did poorly in the areas of judicial accountability, ethics enforcement, and lobbyist disclosure, but well in internal audits, procurement, and electoral monitoring. In addition, there have been several noteworthy instances of corruption in Washington in recent years, including the indictment of former state legislator David Sawyer for extortion, harassment, and perjury, and the conviction of former state auditor Troy Kelley for tax evasion, money laundering, and theft.
Since corruption is a complicated, multifaceted issue that is challenging to quantify and compare, it is not possible to conclude with certainty whether Washington is more corrupt than other states based on the statistics and evidence that are currently available. Nonetheless, it is evident that corruption poses a severe threat to the public interest and the common good and that Washington, like every other state, has space for development in terms of avoiding and combating corruption.
In order to encourage openness, accountability, honesty, and involvement in public affairs as well as to hold those who abuse their position of authority accountable, it is crucial that citizens, civil society, the media, and government representatives collaborate. We won’t be able to guarantee that Washington and the US as a whole uphold the principles of democracy, fairness, and equality until then.