Lowest Political Corruption: It’s a Jersey Thing (Seriously?)

April 5th, 2012

Paul Sherman and David Primo in WSJ:

Exaggerated claims about political corruption from self-styled good-government groups are nothing new. Often they’re made with no data to back them up. Perhaps more dangerous is when the claims are supported with bad data, yet reported faithfully by the media with little scrutiny.

So it is with the study released last month by a consortium led by the Center for Public Integrity, which concludes that of all 50 states, the one with the lowest risk of political corruption is . . . New Jersey. . . .

New Jersey’s place at the top of the heap isn’t the only curious conclusion reached in the study. Virginia—which in 2008 was deemed one of the best-governed states in the nation by the Pew Center on the States—earned an F grade, placing it with seven other states, including North and South Dakota, that allegedly have the greatest risk of political corruption.

These sorts of findings admit of only two explanations: Either New Jersey has gotten a bum rap in the past or something is very wrong with the State Integrity Investigation