Which State Is the Most Corrupt?

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In the wake of the Blagojevich scandal, we’ve heard a lot about how corrupt “Chicago politics” are. But what’s the real story? A pretty graph tells the tale:

corruption.png

Turns out that while Illinois is more corrupt than most states, it’s not Blagojevich but another allegedly-criminal Democrat, now-former Rep. William Jefferson, who comes from the most corrupt state in the union. That’s Louisiana, home to sometime GOP presidential aspirant Bobby Jindal. All four of the most corrupt states in the union are red states, and three are in the deep south. And the third-most corrupt state just reelected the Republicans’ leader in the senate, Mitch McConnell. Can we stop the ridiculous guilt-by-association game now? Just because a politician’s home state has a reputation (deserved or undeserved) for corruption doesn’t mean he or she is therefore also corrupt. Even if a sitting governor from the politician’s own party has just been arrested.

(Via Matt Yglesias)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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