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