Las Vegas Sun

April 19, 2015

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Study: Nevada 9th most corruptible state

Evil doers looking for public officials to corrupt should put Nevada on their list of hunting grounds.

The Silver State emerged as the ninth most corruptible state in the nation, according to an exhaustive $1.5 million yearlong investigation by a partnership of public integrity organizations.

Investigators rated states on 15 indicators of public accountability and transparency in an effort to gauge the risk of corruption in the three branches of state government.

Nevada failed on nearly every indicator, including ethics enforcement, lobbying transparency, internal auditing and pension fund management.

Nevada’s overall grade: a dismal D-minus.

“The state’s legislative framework factors heavily in that poor grade,” wrote Joan Whitely, who investigated Nevada for the study. “Since part-time lawmakers must earn a living through other jobs, all face potential conflicts when proposed laws touch their sources of income.

“Other gaps in ethics protection — from flimsy lobbying reporting requirements to a huge loophole in the state’s open meeting law to unlimited gifts allowed for public officials — further erode accountability.”

Perhaps Nevada can take heart in the fact that very few states scored well. The “least corruptible” state — perhaps shockingly — was New Jersey, which scored a B-plus.

“No state earned an A,” said Nathaniel Heller, managing director of Global Integrity. “To be at the top of this list is like winning a beauty pageant where not everybody is particularly pretty.”

Heller and other investigators noted that many states, including Nevada, had strong laws that would prevent corruption if they were properly enforced. Instead, they found enforcement was either poorly funded or susceptible to political interference.

“These laws are on the books, but there’s a real lack of being able to enforce them effectively,” said Kate Wilson of the Center for Public Integrity. “There is an incredible implementation gap across the board.”

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  1. Here's the link to the actual ranking, with details for each state:

  2. The only surprise to me is that we didn't come in #1. This survey must have been scored on a "curve." In my 25 years of living in the city of Las Vegas, I've always been represented by crooks, liars and thieves who were either juiced in or members of the "good-old-boy" club! Berkley, Collins, Malone, Callister, Lurie, oh, Hell, the list is endless! NV politics is "in-your-face" corrupt and most voters are too ignorant or lazy to care, it seems. However, one thing is for sure, I'm fortunate not to have bought a home in Henderson!

  3. If Nevada is only rated 9th on the list of most corruptible states we must be #1 for and ignored corruption and undetected crime.

  4. I notice the District of Columbia isn't on the list, but then again, they are in an entirely different league when it come to corruption.

  5. Mr. Fink,

    Something to remember about elected officials, they are a mirror representation of the community they serve and the people that elect them. ;-)

  6. How does one judge a survey on State corruption which ranks New Jersey as the least corruptible State?

  7. will most of you just shut up and move already!

  8. How is a post about President Obama at all relevant to a story about Nevada being the 9th most corruptible state? Racists can get away with anything these days, eh?

  9. Just a coincidence that since the state budget has been slashed there is insufficient resources to investigate fraud and corruption? Who does that serve?

  10. [email protected] 10/12/2011 regarding NV MSATS failure to lawfully investigate formal timely safety health and harassment violations in the NV mining industry in central NV @ RMGC Smokey Valley Mine.

    A reply from Gov Sandoval office stated a review was underway. 5 months later not a word from anyone in Nevada Government???

    Say Gov Sandoval how are those political donations from Barrick Gold, Kinross Gold and Nevada Mining Association adding up?

    Another NV chief executive, whose smile is far better than his word. . .

    PRupp B125 SP NV 89047

  11. If you think Nevada is corrupt, try living in Guam. Nevada pales in corruption, as does every other state in the union, compared to the United States territory of Guam.

  12. I am lost for words at the audacity of the supposed ranking. With no science used at all I would say, in my opinion, the County of Clark and the cities there-in have enough corruption for any of a dozen large states combined. The rural counties and cities, in my opinion, thrive on stolen metro tax money, corruption, and cronyism.

  13. I would have thought that the ranking would be higher.

  14. Why would I waste my time disputing someone who says that President Obama made the Louisiana purchase?

  15. "The state's legislative framework factors heavily in that poor grade," wrote Joan Whitely, who investigated Nevada for the study. "Since part-time lawmakers must earn a living through other jobs, all face potential conflicts when proposed laws touch their sources of income.

    The main problem is that NevaDUH's Governor is almost a MONARCH - it's the "Royal" Society that runs this state! Secondly, the "King" only has to deal briefly with his "Court" - which is why we call them the "Carson City Clowns" sadly!

    The entire political structure here is set-up for corruption, and though we do have some good laws in place, there's no funding to have the staff to go after the bad actors! That reality is by design folks!

    GEESHE! Why do you think we have so few really good, honest public servant/citizens even involved - and struggle to field candidates every cycle?

    I say that with all due respect, and high regard, for those that have impeccable integrity and are involved and fighting the good fight with honesty and integrity every day (that we have way too few of)!

    NevaDUH is a joke, a bad joke, a sad joke, a sarcastic joke - and it's deemed o.k. by the idiots and everyone that gets the jokes! We are an Adult Playground - and too few really care about poltical issues here, sadly!

    At the local level, some of us take better care of our cactus and pets than others do their own children and education - it's just sad, Sad, SAD!

    Many of us interested in politics can do little more than just keep track of who the good and bad players are - and do all we can to keep out the crazies! It's rare that we actually make any progress, and when we do it's often only because political profit has come into play, again, sadly!

    Don't get me wrong, I so love Las Vegas - but, it's more like the Bangkok of America! The best of the best, the worst of the worst, and everything in-between! As for the North, well there's Lake Tahoe! Which is a major motivator for candidates to run for the State Legislature, at the very least to get a subsized vacation every other year! LOL!

  16. Mr. Jackson,

    You picked the wrong state to compare to.

    Check this out and get back to us.

    Vegas is nothing compared to Illinois.