Pa. government earns C- for integrity

Pennsylvania’s state government ranks 18th among the 50 states for integrity, earning a middling C-minus grade, according to a report released today.

The state gets Fs for judicial accountability, political financing, budget process and redistricting, said the report, a joint project of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. Internal auditing and procurement were the only categories to receive As.

The report credits the backlash from the legislature’s 2005 pay-raise vote and the Bonusgate scandals for inspiring reform to some extent. It praises the state’s open records law passed in 2008.

Nevertheless, the report argues that “a culture of intolerance to openness, or at the very least a lack of interest in the idea, prevails” and that underfunding has hampered efforts to promote transparency and root out corruption.

State spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nationwide, no state earned an A and only five earned Bs, the center said. New Jersey ranked highest, and Georgia ranked lowest.

“Across the board, state ethics, open records and disclosure laws lack one key feature: teeth,” the center said.

Tim Stuhldreher

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