Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.
The Center for Public Integrity released its annual state corruption rankings last week -- and Florida passed! Technically. The state was one of 11 to get a C-, and its 71 percent score puts it in a tie for 18th in overall integrity. No state got an overall A grade.
Florida got top marks for its internal auditing and an "open and transparent" redistricting process but scored relatively low in every other category, getting D
grades in six of the 14 categories and, unsurprisingly, an F
in the ethics enforcement agencies section. (Florida scorecard here
One of those D
's was in "political financing," and in light of findings by the Miami Herald
about just how easy it is to pay off a pol
, it's amazing Florida scored that high: The story focused on committees of continuous existence, or CCEs, which are associated with specific politicians but aren't governed by campaign finance laws. Lobbyists, it seems, are quite fond of them:
"I can't buy a senator a cup of coffee," Tallahassee lobbyist David Ramba told the Herald, "but I can sit across the table from him and slide across a $20,000 check and he'll pick up the tab for breakfast with his CCE that I just gave him the $20,000 check for."
Clicking on the separate grading sections will show you the research points that went into each letter grade: