Twenty states fail financial disclosure rankings
Twenty of the 50 states received a failing grade in the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity’s (CPI) most recent financial disclosure rankings, and three of those states have no disclosure requirements at all. However, the study also found that 14 states, particularly Louisiana and Mississippi, have improved their disclosure laws since the last survey in 2006.
Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota were among the 20 failing states, while Idaho, Michigan and Vermont, the three states with no disclosure rules, continued to tie for last place in the rankings in CPI’s “States of Disclosure.” “Too many states still get a failing grade when it comes to adequate transparency for their elected public officials,” said CPI Executive Director Bill Buzenberg in a statement. “For 10 years now, the Center for Public Integrity has tracked this issue so citizens can know about the potential conflicts of interests in state government. The more information that remains hidden, the less likely the public will know about conflicts and undue influence.”
The recent rankings are an improvement over the 2006 survey, in which 24 states received a failing grade. Along with Louisiana and Mississippi, Oregon and Connecticut also moved up in the rankings.
The rankings are based on a 43-question survey that measures public access to information on legislators’ employment, investments, personal finances, property holdings or other activities outside the legislature. Survey answers are assigned a numerical value adding up to a possible 100 points, with the highest scores reflecting the highest degree of disclosure. CPI defines a failing grade as a score of less than 60 points on the survey.
The full report, including an interactive map, is available at http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/states_of_disclosure/.