Eye of the Beholder


Corrupt politicians, like the poor, are always with us. This NPR report exonerates little old Connecticut. And unlike previous reports, New York, not New Jersey comes out on top, or rather on the bottom. And per capita, Louisiana retains top spot.

Here are some highlights from blog entries that Blue swallowed.

“What, Only Twelfth?” from December 18, 2008:

As I was composing this I kept thinking of alternate titles. “Corruption Three Ways.” “Not as Bad as the Neighbors.” “What’s a Bribe Between Friends?” The information comes from the New York Times.  (Update note: the link is gone.) I don’t know if it’s sad or funny to report that poor little Connecticut didn’t make it into the top ten for most corrupt state in any of the three tallies, even though we have a pretty significant roster: an ex-governor who left jail not long ago in connection with some funny business about a hot tub and bribe taking; a former Bridgeport mayor who is still in the federal pen for corruption; a state senator nabbed in the same probe is doing five years for accepting bribes; another former state senator who admitted he had contacted a known mobster about roughing up his granddaughter’s husband. And then there’s the truly despicable former Waterbury mayor who was being wiretapped for corruption when the feds caught wind of the fact that he was molesting two little kids. He pled to the corruption charge and is doing 37 years on the sex assaults.


In the reporters’ survey our little neighbor to the east took top prize. Of course Rhode Island has quite play list too: a former governor, the mayors of Providence and Pawcatuck, two Supreme Court justices who were forced out. That’s a lot of busy people for a tiny state. At No. 2 in this survey Louisiana was no surprise either. I won’t repeat the dead girl/live boy comment.

We can still use the slogan suggested by a law professor: “Not as corrupt as you think.”

“Corruption Eruption” from March 20, 2012

When I saw the Courant headline “Report: Connecticut Among Least Corrupt States,” my first reaction was to check the date. Nope, it’s not April 1. Then I looked at the comments following the story. Most of those folks agreed, as I do, that either someone paid off the Center for Public Integrity and their compatriots, or the researchers don’t know their iPad from their MaxiPad. (My characterization.) I mean if New Jersey gets the highest grade, I would think we’re measuring most corrupt, not least. Put “Connecticut, corruption” into Google, and after the news items, the first entry is for ex-con John Rowland, our former governor.

The larger story is certainly revealing but not reassuring. The Center for Public Integrity and its co-investigators polled reporters. Of course New Jersey came in toward the top because the place has cleaned up its act so much compared to what it once was. I guess there was a big category for “making progress.” According to Paul Stern’s excellent analysis, we look good now because we were so bad before. That goes double for New Jersey.

And then they polled those who worked for government. How many people do you know who will call their boss a crook? I don’t think even mob guys do that.


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