Rhode Island journalists think the legislative branch is more corrupt than the executive branch, according to a new survey by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard Law School.
Responding local reporters said corruption, both the illegal and legal kind, is only “slightly common” in the Ocean State executive branch of government compared to both kinds of corruption being “very common” in the legislative branch.
The study made note of this discrepancy in Rhode Island and New York. “Among the states in which legislative branches score 4, New York and Rhode Island are particularly interesting since illegal corruption is perceived to be only “slightly common” in the executive branches in these two states,” it said.
Respondents were asked to rank state-level corruption as either 1) Not at all common; 2) Slightly common; 3) Moderately common; 4) Very common; or 5) Extremely common. Author of the analysis, Oguzhan Dincer, an economics professor from Illinois State University, wouldn’t say how many Rhode Island reporters participated but he did say RI was not one of the state’s for which they had difficulty getting responses.
The study looked at both illegal and legal corruption. “We define illegal corruption as the private gains in the form of cash or gifts by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups. It is the form of corruption that attracts a great deal of public attention,” says the paper. “A second form of corruption, however, is becoming more and more common in the U.S.: legal corruption. We define legal corruption as the political gains in the form of campaign contributions or endorsements by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups, be it by explicit or implicit understanding.”
Rhode Island was one of 10 states which ranked illegal corruption in the legislative branch as being “very common” and no state did worse than RI in this category. But a full 11 states ranked worse than Rhode Island when measuring legal corruption.