We're No. 35 (and That's a Good Thing)

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The Daily Beast blog has ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia in order of corruptness, and Oregon came in at a respectable – well, pretty respectable – 35th place.

The Beast looked at data going back a decade and weighed five factors on a per capita basis in determining each state’s rank: public corruption (convictions of public officials), racketeering and extortion (organized crime convictions and investigations), forgery and counterfeiting, fraud (arrests for false statements or documents) and embezzlement.

“Some states show particular prowess in one area of corruption or another,” The Beast noted. “New York leads with racketeering and extortion, Delaware is tops in embezzlement, while the nation’s capital leads the pack in public corruption.”

Interestingly, seven of the Top 10 are southern or southwestern states: Tennessee (#1), Virginia (#2), Mississippi (#3), North Carolina (#5), Florida (#6), Nevada (#7) and South Carolina (#9). Rounding out the Top 10 are Delaware (#4), Pennsylvania (#5) and Oklahoma (#10).

Reassuringly, Oregon ranked dead last in terms of public corruption. It also came in 28th in racketeering and extortion, 38th in fraud and 36th in embezzlement – but, strangely enough, it ranked No. 2 for forgery and counterfeiting.

The least corrupt states are in New England, the Intermountain West and the Corn Belt. The Bottom 10, in descending order, are Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Illinois (a bit of a surprise there), Wyoming, Indiana, Montana and New Hampshire.

I’m proud – well, semi-proud – to report that my native state, New Jersey, did not live up (or down) to its reputation for ethical turpitude: It ranked 21st, scoring high on public corruption and racketeering but fairly low on the other categories.

TOH to local blogger Jack Elliott for spotting this news.


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