In the midst of a session that has seen ethics and transparency pushed into the spotlight, two reports released this week gave the state poor rankings on both issues.
A nationwide report conducted by the State Integrity Investigation ranked Maryland 40th out of 50 states for corruption prevention, awarding the state a D- on their report card. Half the states scored D or less.
In their explanation, the nonpartisan organization notes the state’s history of political corruption dating back to Democratic Gov. Marvin Mandel’s imprisonment for racketeering and mail fraud – a conviction later overturned – to Republican Vice President Spiro Agnew’s prosecution for bribery and tax fraud during his service as governor.
The report card is broken down into various categories, including public access to information, internal auditing, and ethics enforcement. The investigation blames the state’s poor ranking on limited accountability of the executive and legislative branches due to unchecked Democratic control, a revolving door between lobbyists and government officials, failure to correct audit findings, and limited data access across the board.
The project was a joint effort by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.
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