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Study: Arizona most corrupt state in US

PHOENIX — Arizona is the most corruption-ridden state in the nation, a Harvard study said.

According to the Harvard study said Arizona had the highest instance of illegal corruption — “private gains in the form of cash or gifts by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups” — when surveying nearly 1,000 reporters.

To determine the most corrupt states, the authors had reporters rank the instances they see illegal corruption in the different branches of government on a one (least) to five (most) scale. Arizona did not fare well in any ranking, especially the executive and legislative branches, where reporters said they see “very high” instances of corruption.

The study came years after several Arizona lawmakers admitted to accepting gifts from the Fiesta Bowl, ultimately leading the bowl to ban gifts for legislators and fire CEO John Junker.

When it came to legal corruption — political or campaign donations in exchange for benefits to a specific group — Arizona didn’t fare much better. Legal corruption was very common in the legislative branch, moderately common in the executive branch and slightly common in the judicial branch.

Arizona ranked above California, Kentucky, Alabama and Illinois, respectively, to be the worst for illegal corruption. The state that saw the least illegal corruption was Wyoming.

The most legally corrupt state was Kentucky and the least was Tennessee.