Is Louisiana the Most Corrupt State or just the Best at Convicting Corrupt Officials?

Sunday, September 08, 2013
Rep. William Jefferson's freezer contained cash in $10,000 increments hidden inside boxes of Pillsbury pie crust and Boca burgers (AP Photo/U.S. Attorney's office)

Louisiana and Florida are known for swamp-dwelling alligators and swamp-like corruption in their politics—but how fair is this reputation? According to data released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Public Integrity Section, the Sunshine State saw 618 federal court corruption convictions of state or local officials between 2002 and 2011, the most for any state, while Louisiana saw only 403.


The DOJ data does not include state law convictions for corruption, which raises the question whether more convictions means more corruption or more effective prosecution of corruption. 


According to Rob Wile at Business Insider, however, Louisiana comes out on top when convictions are measured on a population basis. Calculated that way, the Bayou State is a clear No. 1, at 8.76 convictions per 100,000 people, followed by North Dakota (8.2), South Dakota (7), Kentucky (7), Alaska (6.6), Montana (6.2), Mississippi (5.7), and Alabama (5.6).


Florida was only No. 20 on the list, with 3.28 convictions per 100,000. The states with the lowest rates were South Carolina, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah, each with no more than 1.3 convictions per 100,000. 

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Ranked: The Most Corrupt States (by Rob Wile, Business Insider)

Louisiana’s Rate of Public Corruption Convictions Highest in Nation, Report Says (by Lauren McGaughy, New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Louisiana Named most Corrupt State in America (Daily Mail)

Report to Congress on the Activities and Operations of the Public Integrity Section for 2011 (pdf)


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