New Jersey is the least corrupt state in America. Georgia is the most corrupt. (Credit: Center For Public Integrity)

New Jersey is the least corrupt state in America. Georgia is the most corrupt. Click on image for bigger view. (Credit: Center For Public Integrity)

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — This just in … Illinois is not one of the most corrupt states in the Union, according to an analysis sponsored by the Center For Public Integrity.

Wait, what?

Despite sending numerous public officials to prison on corruption charges over the decades–including its two recent governors–Illinois even manages to escape the 10 Most At-Risk States For Corruption.

However, that’s hardly a cause for celebration.

Illinois gets an overall grade of C in the State Integrity Investigation.

“State officials make lofty promises when it comes to ethics in government,” the Center For Public Integrity’s Caitlin Ginley said. “They tout the transparency of legislative processes, accessibility of records, and the openness of public meetings.

“But these efforts often fall short of providing any real transparency or legitimate hope of rooting out corruption.”

The project graded states on 14 criteria.

Illinois got an overall A for internal audits, but was marked down for failing to act on auditors’ findings.

The state got an F for redistricting, as the investigators found the process totally lacking in transparency.

The state’s lawmakers got a D and were graded especially poorly on the fact that regulations governing conflicts of interest by members were totally ineffective.

Amazingly, Illinois ranks 11th overall as a state with the least-risk for corruption.

That may be more of an indictment of the overall quality state governments than anything else.

New Jersey, graded at a B+, ranked No. 1 as the least-corrupt state.

Georgia, which received Ds or Fs in 12 of the 14 categories, was ranked the most-corrupt.

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