Yesterday, The Daily Beast, a national news website, published the results of its research into which states are the most corrupt. The good news for North Carolinians is that our state isnt No. 1. The bad news is were No. 5. This writer has studied and written about government and corruption a long time, and I know very well that this state has its share of sleazebags and public leeches. But I admit my surprise that North Carolina was ranked as more corrupt than states where dishonesty and deceit are legendary, such as New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, or Louisiana. Heck, we even finished ahead of South Carolina! It turns out, though, that The Daily Beasts rankings arent based on mere official or public corruption, but rather on federal data from the past decade regarding public corruption, racketeering and extortion, forgery and counterfeiting, fraud, and embezzlement.
So which state is the most corrupt? That honor goes to Tennessee. Go figure. The Volunteer State is followed in the top 10 by Virginia, Mississippi, Delaware, N.C., Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, S.C., and Oklahoma. As the Daily Beast story insinuates, the oil spill disaster in the Gulf will probably have an effect on corruption rankings as billions begin to flow down to cover what could become one of the biggest cleanups in world history. So hang in there, Louisiana, you still have time to salvage your age-old reputation.