Pennsylvania Graded “F” on Government Integrity, Because Obviously
The Center for Public Integrity — which is a non-profit, non-partisan news outlet focused on, you guessed it, public integrity — has ranked all 50 states on transparency and accountability.
Pennsylvania got an “F.” That’s a big slide from 2012, when it received a “C-” in similar survey. This time, Pennsylvania was ranked 44th overall, so it could be worse. A little bit, anyway.
The center looked at 13 categories including “political financing,” “public access to information,” and “judicial accountability.” That last metric didn’t help the state’s grade any.
Pennsylvania got its best grade on the “internal auditing” metric, receiving a B-. But it actually fared best in comparison to other states on “public access to information” (ranking 4th overall), largely owing to the state’s relatively new and well regarded open records law.
It’s worth noting that the Center for Public Integrity is a really tough grader. Despite ranking 4th out of 50 on public access to information, Pennsylvania’s grade in that category was just a “D+.” Indeed, the best overall score for any state this year was a “C” (Alaska took the honors).
But even a more gentle grader would be hard-pressed not to flunk Pennsylvania, given the current environment. As the Center for Public Integrity puts it:
… 40 members or top aides of the Pennsylvania Legislature … have been found guilty or pleaded guilty to public corruption charges in the past four decades, by informal count of G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College. “Not one has ever been censured or reprimanded by an ethics committee of their chamber,” said Madonna. “I want you to think about that. They don’t have to worry about their own colleagues doing an independent investigation.”