Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tennessee Ranked 'Most Corrupt State'

The Daily Beast has just released their rankings for Most Corrupt States here in the good ol' US of A.

The bad news -- Tennessee ranks Number One.

The criteria they cite include:

Public corruption, 1998—2008: Convictions of elected and other public officials investigated by federal agents over an 11-year period, from the Department of Justice.

Racketeering and Extortion, 1998—2008: Code for organized crime convictions, also investigated by federal agents over an 11-year period, from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Forgery and Counterfeiting, 1999—2008: Arrest numbers for producing or distributing fake money and goods over a 10-year period, from the FBI.

Fraud, 1999—2008: Arrests for false statements or documents produced for personal gain over a 10-year period, from the FBI.

Embezzlement, 1999—2008: Arrests for surreptitious theft of money over a 10-year period, from the FBI.

By using a decade’s worth of federal data, we were able to minimize changes in local law enforcement efficacy, though some flaws remain: local cases go undocumented, and the FBI data is self-reported by local law enforcement. When combined, however, the data provides a fairly deep look into which jurisdictions are uncovering the most corruption. We leveled the playing field by calculating the numbers on a per-100,000 people basis.

Tennessee's score:

Public Corruption: 18
Racketeering & Extortion: 11
Fraud Rank: 7
Forgery & Counterfeiting: 5
Embezzlement: 9

The community they selected to highlight the dire conditions - Newport, TN:

Recent Scandal: Here's a foolproof recipe for corruption: a former policeman commingling with gang members. Milburn Williams, a retired police captain from Newport, ringleaders Raymond Hawk and Grant Williams, and 20 others were indicted on racketeering, drug trafficking and a slew of other charges last year in Greeneville. The sting operation was headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and centered around a chop shop called "H-1 Auto", later renamed "A Automotive." For six years the chop shop was the command post for an operation that allegedly moved stolen property and goods across state lines and sold cocaine and marijuana. The most serious of the charges carry up to $2 million in fines and 40 years in prison.

The others in the Top Ten:

2 - Virginia
3 - Mississippi
4 - Delaware
5 - North Carolina
6 - Florida
7 - Nevada
8 - Pennsylvania
9 - South Carolina
10 - Oklahoma


  1. Anonymous10:31 AM

    #1 Tennessee has 50 Total Convictions
    #42 Alaska has 169 Total Convictions
    #51 New Hampshire has 196 total Convictions

    I think Tennessee is the LEAST corrupt state!

  2. Anon - the numbers are not totals of convictions - it means TN rates 18th nationally for Public Corruption, 11th for Racketeering, 7th for Fraud, etc etc.

  3. I wonder how many convictions came out of Memphis ...

  4. Strange. Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and california -- the lefties' favorite states -- are missing from the Top Ten.

  5. Oops! Pennsy IS in the top ten. My mistake.

  6. Anonymous11:54 AM

    "We leveled the playing field by calculating the numbers on a per-100,000 people basis."

    Making TN least corrupt. I call BS

  7. Anonymous9:21 PM

    This list depends on people getting caught...see, in the South, we arrest em when they get too crooked. Places like Illinois and New York, a white collar is a get-out-of-jail-free-card.

  8. Anonymous10:50 PM

    "This list depends on people getting caught...see, in the South, we arrest em when they get too crooked."

    Hate to say it, but you're living in a fantasy. I personally work in I.T. for Clarksville Gas & Water. I see the data that flows in and out of the city servers and financial spending. We're finally relieved to be free of out previous mayor, who was as corrupt as they come. Even after he decided not to seek reelection (because it was obvious he wouldn't win), he still found a way to continue his influence within Clarksville Department of Electricity. The public cried out for justice, and the new mayor sought assistance through the state. When the state finally decided to do something, he quickly resigned from his position ... and even though he breached city and state laws, they decided not to follow through with any charges.

    For contrast purposes, it's commonplace for the city to arrest and incarcerate both parties in a domestic dispute case (and I'm not talking about abuse or violence), simply because it means they can squeeze bail money and court costs from both parties to help fund unnecessary, pork-barrel projects and retain their salaries (not mine obviously, since I net less than $29,000 a year as an Information Systems Analyst).
    Desk Sergeants make more than I do, and the County Judges make more than the mayor.

    In conclusion, I would never recommend, to anyone in Clarksville, that they call the police or any government entity that can enforce or enact laws ... not even if you're dying. Call an ambulance instead.