Graphic: Political Corruption USA — Map of Grades for Each of the 50 States

Corruption, Geospatial
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Political Corruption: As American as Apple Pie

If political corruption is as American as apple pie, then depending on how corruption is defined, the most American of American states are Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, New York, and Georgia.

Here’s a few with more details:

Georgia: In March 2012, the Center for Public Integrity released a report tracking 330 separate ethics, transparency and accountability metrics in each state. The results showed Georgia had some of the laxest ethics rules in the country and lacked a strong ethics enforcement agency to enforce the laws on the books. More than 650 government employees accepted gifts from vendors doing business with the state between 2007 and 2008, the report showed.

Other big losers in the Center for Public Integrity study included South Carolina, Maine, Michigan, South Dakota, Wyoming — and, yes, Virginia. All seven states earned F grades.

Tennessee: The Daily Beast used FBI arrest records to take a more concentrated look at wasteful spending, embezzlement and convictions for public corruption and ties to organized crime among the states in the decade between 1999 and 2008. Tennessee ranked number one overall, thanks to its top-10 rankings in fraud, forgery and counterfeiting and embezzlement.

Rounding out the top five: Virginia (We’re starting to challenge that idea of an ethical state), Mississippi, Delaware and North Carolina. In all five states, police and prosecutorial corruption and scourges like Medicare fraud help boost their rankings.

Florida: Between 1998 and 2007, 824 public officials in Florida were convicted on public corruption charges at the local, state and federal level. According to a tally compiled by the New York Times, that was more than any other state. New York came in second place, with 704 public officials locked up, while Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Ohio and Illinois all saw more than 500 officials convicted.

The most corrupt state(s) in America

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