A recent report set out to rank states by their level of corruption, based on arrest and conviction records for public officials. These are the results. By Rober McGarvey, Mainstreet.com
1: Mississippi. The poorest state in the U.S. Also the one whose corruption most approaches levels in a Third World country.
2: Louisiana. Ask Ray Nagin, erstwhile two-term New Orleans mayor, recently convicted for taking bribes. His main beef is probably "Why me? Everybody else is on the take." He may be right.
3: Tennessee. They are singing the blues about a state where Diogenes might futilely hunt for that one honest public official.
4: Illinois. An old standby. The last two governors both went to jail for corruption. Enough said.
5: Pennsylvania. Who saw this coming? Brooklynites have weekend houses here. New Jersey residents plan retirements in the Poconos. But the data say: There's bigtime corruption here.
6: Alabama. In a state where little functions properly and poverty is epidemic, you were expecting better?
7: Alaska. It's about the public monies, as oil and gas dwindle, and that's the kindling for corruption.
8: South Dakota. Admit it, you're surprised. But the state is aflutter in an oil and gas boom, and that sets the stage for a lot of bribery.
9: Kentucky. No surprise there. Between illegal stills and marijuana farms - with bookmaking on the Derby thrown in - there's a lot to excite a public official's bribery instinct.
10: Florida. Known for bogus speed traps and building inspectors on the take, this is a place where you might want to carry envelopes of cash.