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University researchers: North Carolina among the nation’s more politically corrupt states

The 2018 results will not come out until this fall, but according to the 2017 research compiled by the Institute for Corruption Studies at Illinois State University, North Carolina is (or, at least, is perceived as) one of the nation’s more corrupt states.

Since 2014, Professors Oguzhan Dincer and Michael Johnston have published an annual report known as the “Corruption in America Survey” which includes a “Corruption Perceptions Index” that is based on feedback from journalists who cover state government. Here’s how the authors describe their methodology:

“We contacted close to 1,000 reporters via email/phone. We received a total of 270 responses. Unfortunately, in some states (Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, and Virginia) we have a small number of responses partly due to small number of reporters covering state politics. Hence, while interpreting the results from these states we should be cautious. We received no responses from New Hampshire, and North Dakota.?

In our survey, we define illegal corruption as the private gains in the form of cash or gifts by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups. It is the form of corruption that attracts a great deal of public attention. A second form of corruption, however, is becoming more and more common in America: legal corruption. We define legal corruption as the political gains in the form of campaign contributions or endorsements by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups, be it by explicit or implicit understanding.” [Note: Policy Watch reporters were not surveyed.]

The study ranks states in several categories, including “Illegal Corruption” and “Legal Corruption” in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. In each area, North Carolina was ranked as more corrupt than most states.

“Illegal Corruption” in the executive and legislative branches was characterized as “moderately common” — tying us with several other states and ranking us behind only a handful in which corruption was determined to be “very” or “extremely” common in one or both categories, including Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Georgia, Hawaii and Pennsylvania.

Similar findings were reported in the area of “Legal Corruption.” In this area, North Carolina finds itself in the “very common” category — a rating that places it worse off than most states.

Obviously, the rankings include a host of very subjective factors and no doubt suffer from a time lag — many of North Carolina’s most infamous corruption stories date from a few years back — but the whole thing still makes for interesting reading. Click here to read the entire report.

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