in Houston, Texas
Texas gets D+ in study of risk of corruption
Monday, Mar 19, 2012, 11:19AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Texas state Capitol

Texas does a pretty lousy job creating through its laws and implementation a system of government resistant to corruption.

But so do most of the states in the union, according to a new study  headed by the Center for Public Integrity of the accountability of the three branches of state government, public access to information, maintenance of ethics laws and other categories.

Two other nonprofit groups, government transparency specialist Global Integrity and Public Radio International collaborated on the study.

Texas was one of 26 states given a grade of D+ or worse, eight of those Fs. No state got an A, and the apple polisher of the class, New Jersey, earned the top grade of B+ because its history of entrenched corruption prompted the passage of strong government accountability laws recently.

You can find the rankings of all of the states in several major accountability categories here.

The state earned its dismal grade by failing in five of the 14 areas examined in the study: Fs for the accountability of the governor, for public access to information, the accountability of civil service managers, state insurance commissions and the state’s handling of redistricting.

Political financing managed a D-.

In a profile of these open government areas written for Texas, the study was also critical of the Texas Ethics Commission, the problems of which were outlined this past October by Texas Watchdog.

Because it is a creature of the state Legislature, the Ethics Commission was never granted authority to undertake investigations, the targets of which would be legislators.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of Texas state Capitol by flickr user Matt Rife, used via a Creative Commons license.

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