Two Different Views of Corruption in Illinois
Last week, two separate data sets were released measuring corruption levels in each of the fifty state governments. The studies painted two very different pictures of Illinois, suggesting that evaluations of government activity can vary significantly depending on the metrics being used.
On Wednesday, Dick Simpson and other researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) released their report, entitled “Chicago and Illinois, Leading the Pack in Corruption (PDF).” As we reported last week, the study finds the Land of Lincoln to be the third most corrupt state in the nation. The authors of the report blast “‘The Illinois Way’ of public corruption,” which they argue has undermined voter confidence and cost state taxpayers over $500 million in wasted funds each year.
But preliminary results from a different research project, released last Tuesday, find Illinois government to be substantially more transparent and accountable than at least some of its peers.
That project, labeled the State Integrity Investigation, is the product of an ongoing collaboration between the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International. The collaborators’ goal is to “rank every state on its risk of corruption”, according to the project’s website. Though the final rankings will not be available until next month, the Investigation has released some initial evaluations, which assess each state’s performance on 330 different “risk indicators” by assigning a grade of “Strong”, “Fair”, or “Weak” for each indicator.