Americans have less and less confidence in their political institutions. Puh a Gallup pollless than 40% of Americans have “a lot” or “somewhat” confidence in the presidency, which has been the case since 2010. More than 80% of Americans have “a little”, “very little” or “not” confidence in Congress for more than a decade.
This mistrust of American politics likely stems, at least in part, from the litany of scandals that have ensnared officials at all levels. While misconduct at the national level, like Watergate or President Bill Clinton’s extramarital affair, tends to get more attention, corruption has been seen at the state level in every region of the country.
24/7 Wall St. scoured local news reports, media coverage and other historical documents to find the worst corruption scandal in each state’s history.
While these scandals are each unique, they all have a common DNA – someone with some power from the public position they hold using that power for themselves or their family. Regardless of location or political affiliation, it seems that all types of US officials are susceptible to malfeasance.
In some cases, these scandals are simple cases of politicians accepting bribes in exchange for promoting legislation favorable to a company or an individual. In others, the scandals involve officials taking funds meant to help the community and spending them lavishly on themselves, buying homes, cars and vacations. Still others are more complex ordeals, involving blackmail, false accusations, extramarital affairs and sometimes even murder.
Unethical conduct is nothing new, with some cases of wrongdoing on this list coming to light more than a century ago. And despite increased regulation, such conduct persists, with some cases of misconduct being actively prosecuted as of June 2021.
Corruption does not exist in a vacuum, and widespread misconduct can indicate a lack of institutional control. This can stem from limited laws on how public servants must behave, lax enforcement, or even a pervasive culture of unethical dealings. These are the best and worst run US states.
Click here to see the worst corruption scandal in each state