Kansas ranks among nation’s least corrupt states


MAPPING CORRUPTION: Researchers at Indiana University and City University of Hong Kong, China, ranked Kansas as the 10th least-corrupt state in the U.S.A.

By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — Congratulations, Kansans, you’ve now got one more reason to celebrate not living in Missouri.

Or Oklahoma, for that matter.

In a recent study completed by researchers at Indiana University and City University of Hong Kong, China, Kansas was ranked as the 10th least corrupt state in the nation. While Colorado (ninth) and Nebraska (fourth) ranked higher, other surrounding states didn’t fare as well.

Missouri clocked-in as the 16th most corrupt state in the Union, but was not to be outdone by Oklahoma, which pulled in the region’s highest position at 11th most corrupt.

State of corruption: Mississippi worst in the nation

Researches created a state-by-state “corruption index” by analyzing more than 25,000 convictions for violations of federal anti-corruption laws between 1976 and 2008. Those convictions were cross-referenced against the number of state government employees to compile a corruption-to-employee ratio for each state.

Most Corrupt States

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. Tennessee
  4. Illinois
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Alabama

Least Corrupt States

  1. Oregon
  2. Washington
  3. Minnesota
  4. Nebraska
  5. Iowa

Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, told Kansas Watchdog the Sunflower State’s focus on lean and efficient governance, combined with its leadership culture, may have contributed to its favorable ranking.

“While individual cases of corruption will occur everywhere, I think Kansas has a governmental culture where corruption, even on a small scale, is not normal, tolerated or accepted,” Barker said. “Small size and scope of government may play a role. Kansas, being a smaller state has less government, but I’m not sure where Kansas stands on a size of government per capita scale. Less resources and fewer decisions by government mean less opportunity or reason for corruption.”

Indeed, researchers found that corruption goes hand-in-hand with increased spending, with more cash flowing to areas of government which are more easily manipulated for personal gain, such as construction projects.

“The empirical results show that states with higher levels of corruption tend to spend more on items on which corrupt officials may levy larger bribes at the expense of others,” authors Cheol Liu and John L. Mikesell wrote.

The Kansas Democratic Party declined comment to Kansas Watchdog.

Related: ‘A bastion of cronyism’: Alabama ranks sixth in government corruption study

Contact Travis Perry at travis@kansaswatchdog.org, or follow him on Twitter at @muckraker62. Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!