The Investigators

Mar 21, 2013 1:59 AM by Tom McNamara

Arizona Government corruption risk graded D+

TUCSON - Ethics. Disclosure. Corruption. Words that come to mind when we think about how our government works.

The State Integrity Investigation published a report card one year ago grading states on their risk of corruption. You can see the Corruption Risk Report Card by clicking here. Several states have implemented changes since then.

Arizona received an Overall Grade of D+ and ranks 30 out of 50 states.

The report looks at 14 categories in state government including Lobbying Disclosure, Ethics Enforcement and Political Financing to name a few.

Arizona gets an F in following five categories: State Civil Service Management,
State Pension Fund Management, State Insurance Commissions, Lobbying Disclosure and Ethics Enforcement Agencies.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators went to the capitol where we met with state lawmakers from Southern Arizona; Sen. Al Melvin/(R) District 11
and Sen. Steve Farley/(D) District 9.

Both serve on the Senate Ethics committee. And both agree on one thing.

"One thing I'm really big on is transparency," says Sen. Melvin.

"We've got to be transparent up here," says Sen. Farley.

But when it comes to this report card the two don't agree on much else.

For starters that overall grade of D+.

Sen. Farley tells us, "Sadly to say, I think it's nor far from the truth."

"If anything I would give the state a B+ or an A," says Sen. Melvin.

And how about State Budget Processes?

Sen. Melvin: "They give us a C. I think we deserve an A+"

Sen. Farley: "Entire budgets go through in the middle of the night, with only a couple of hours for even us to read and the public having no chance to look at it at all."

The only category with an A grade, Redistricting, really divides the two.

"And if anything I think we deserve an F," says Sen. Melvin. "Or if there was a grade lower than an F, then that's what is should be."

Sen. Farley says the A is well deserved.


"Clearly it is more accountable and fair for an independent board to choose what are districts are instead of letting us choose our own districts."

And who's behind the report card? The Center for Public Integrity is one of the largest "nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations" according to their website.

But the organization has been described as progressive and liberal by some.

So while Sen. Farley wants to see change, Sen. Melvin says Arizona is on the right track.

Tell us what you think about Arizona's grade on the Corruption Risk Report Card with your comment below.

Click here to see more about the State Integrity Investigation.

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