NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

TN Gets ‘C’ on Anti-Corruption Report Card

When it comes to integrity and openness in state governments, Tennessee is among the tallest of the leprechauns.

The state earned a 76, good enough for a C in a new national study gauging each state’s risk of corruption conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and two other nonprofit groups. Not one state earned an A. But despite the report’s criticism of the state for a weak ethics commission and secretive budget talks, Tennessee still ranked 8th among the 50 states.

The study measured the states in various categories relating to “transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms.”

“High scores for Tennessee’s pension fund and auditing process are offset by weak campaign finance laws, a toothless ethics commission, and a secret redistricting process,” according to a summary of the state’s score.

The state received an F for lack of openness in redistricting and a D- for Ethics Enforcement Agencies — a problem that TNReport explored in August.

The report notes the push for more stringent ethics legislation after the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz sting operation in 2005, but questions the effectiveness of the Tennessee Ethics Commission created as a result.

The report also gives special attention to the debate about judicial accountability and corporate money in politics.


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