No State Gets an A on Corruption Report Card


Daniel Van Pelt, a New Jersey assemblyman, shields his face as he leaves a Newark, N.J., courthouse in July. He was among 40 people arrested in a corruption probe. / REUTERS
To the complete shock of lawmakers in that state, New Jersey led the nation in a 50-state survey of ethics and corruption released today.

The national report card, a joint project of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International, ranked states on some 330 indicators of corruption in 14 categories, including ethics enforcement, access to information, campaign finance laws and legislative and executive accountability. (Full disclosure: 100R contributed a report on New York.)

It is the most comprehensive study available of corruption at the state level, and comes as newspapers have drastically reduced the share of reporters assigned to state houses, compromising their watchdog function.

Overall, no state drew bragging rights. New Jersey, at the top, received a grade of B+, largely because a spate of scandals involving elected officials prompted tougher laws and stepped up enforcement. Five states drew grades of B, while eight flunked outright.

Sweep to Fifty states and no winners

A subsidiary of Lufthansa, BizJet, has agreed to pay $11.8 million to settle accusations that it bribed officials in Mexico and Panama to obtain aircraft maintenance contracts.

The accusations by the U.S. Justice Department, brought under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, involve payments to Mexico’s federal Preventive Police, its Presidential Air Transport Service and the state governments of Sonora and Sinaloa, as well as the Panamanian Civil Air Authority.

Under the deal, U.S. authorities agreed to defer prosecution for three years, during which time BizJet has pledged to cooperate with an ongoing federal investigation.

Sweep to BizJet settles bribery case for $11.8 million

Corruption investigators in Great Britain has ordered the arrest of a former prime minister of the islands of Turks and Caicos.

Authorities on the islands in the West Indies have been seeking the former premier, Michael Misick, for several months in connection with allegations of corruption and money laundering during his time in office.

The islands are overseas territories of Great Britain, which imposed direct rule on them in 2009 over charges of government corruption.

Sweep to UK seeks arrest of former Turks and Caicos premier

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is president and executive editor of 100Reporters, and the founder and co-director of the Double Exposure Film Festival and Symposium, the United States' only investigative film festival.