by Charles A. Monagan
Mar 19, 2012
08:48 AMOn Connecticut
Corrupticut Gets a Passing Grade
I saw this recent story in the Hartford Courant about how Connecticut is among the least corrupt states in the nation.
Hey, we didn't get that nickname by accident. As anyone even remotely familar with the state knows, over the past decade or so we've endured a fairly steady barrage of corruption scandals from a sitting governor, multiple mayors (including in Waterbury more than once) and representatives. We've seen abuses in terms of road and highway contracts as well as other sundry municipal shenanigans. For a long time, Connecticut has been known as a place where circumventing the system has (sadly) flourished.
Until recently, apparently.
According to a recent study by The Center for Public Integrity, Connecticut receives a B grade in terms of being an accountable state. By comparision, Massachusetts and Rhode Island both rated C, Pennsylvania earned a C- and New York garnered a D. For what it's worth, New Jersey got a B+, the best in the nation, so we were near the top of the class.
Actually, we were ranked 2nd overall in the nation in terms of integrity, which has come about because of all the corruption we've endured.
In regard to that, from stateintegrity.org—
Little wonder that Connecticut has undergone significant reform in recent years, and that, as a result, state government has never been more open to public view and inspection. In the new State Integrity Investigation — a joint project of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International — Connecticut now ranks second in it transparency and accountability, earning a solid B grade and numeric score of 86.
Once known for its smoke-filled back rooms and powerful political power-brokers, Connecticut is today a place where public spending is viewable online, campaign money is easier to track, elections are publicly financed, information is readily available and the average citizen can more easily believe that elected officials are voting in his or her, rather than special, interests.
The article mentions about how the ethics initiatives started in the wake of the John Rowland scandal as well as newer efforts such as campaign finance reform and transparency.ct.gov have helped to keep political and civic processes open and in the public eye. Connecticut isn't all the way there yet, but compared to its past, it's definitely headed in the right direction.
Nice to see something good come of all the bad. Sure, it was the hard way, but at least we're learning.
For now ...