SC named one of the most corrupt state governments in nation

By Valencia

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - A national poll named South Carolina as one of the most corrupt state governments in the nation. The Center for Public Integrity ranked the state based on its public access to information and executive accountability.

"Over the past four years we've seen a number of nationally televised political scandals beginning probably with Governor Sanford's very well-publicized affair that drug on for several weeks. And then, the failure of the South Carolina legislature to do anything about the situation. To more recently, just this past week's issue with the lieutenant governor and his resignation and now indictment," said Kendra Stewart, a political science professor at the College of Charleston.

South Carolina was given a grade "F" in eight categories including: judicial accountability, state civil service management, state pension fund management and ethics enforcement agencies.

"South Carolina looks pretty weak when it comes to political representatives upholding ethical standards. We don't have a very strong ethics commission that enforces these things," Stewart said. "I do think those scores are fairly representative of the current situation in South Carolina. We are not leading the charge when it comes to open access to information to citizens. And, just by the pure nature of what's happened lately, with political scandals, you can see that there isn't a lot of integrity when it comes to political offices in this state.

In recent years, the Palmetto State made national news so frequently, the state became the punch line for nationally-known comedians.

One South Carolina voter, who didn't want to give her last name, said corrupt state politics aren't in South Carolina alone.

"I think that once people get in that political system, they're pretty much trapped in that stuff. So, I think there has to be some type of reform. A gentle, gradually but probably deep reform," Dianne said.

Dianne says positivity in government begins with honesty.

"I don't know what the answer is, but there has to be some more integrity. Corporations are also starting to understand there needs to be more transparency and integrity. So, if we can get that into government too, that would be fabulous," Dianne said.

South Carolina came in 45th among all 50 states.

No state was given a perfect score. New Jersey was given the highest grade of a B+.

Georgia came in last with 49 percent of the vote.