Once More, Massachusetts Is Listed as America’s Most Corrupt City

Massachusetts, a state known for its prestigious academic institutions and historical significance, has been ranked as the most corrupt state in the United States. This startling revelation was made in a survey conducted by Transparency International.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Survey

The 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) played a crucial role in this assessment. The survey involved 280 state political reporters who were asked to rate the level of corruption in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of their state governments.

The reporters distinguished between illegal corruption, such as bribery, embezzlement, or extortion, and legal corruption, like campaign contributions and political favors. States were then scored on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), with lower scores indicating higher perceived corruption​​.

Massachusetts’ Alarming Corruption Score

Massachusetts scored a dismal 19 out of 100, placing it at the bottom of the list among all 50 states. This score reflects a perception of high levels of both illegal and legal corruption across all government branches.

The state scored particularly low in the executive branch, with a score of 12, suggesting a widespread belief among reporters that the governor and top officials were frequently involved in corrupt practices. The state’s corruption score has been on a steady decline, having fallen from 35 in 2012 to its current low​​.

Factors Contributing to the State’s Corruption

Several factors contribute to the perceived high level of corruption in Massachusetts:

  1. Historical Political Scandals: The state has been plagued by numerous political scandals involving both major political parties. These include the Boston City Hall bribery case, the Probation Department patronage scheme, the Big Dig cost overruns, and convictions of House Speakers.
  2. Weak Checks and Balances: The dominant Democratic Party controls both the legislature and the executive branches, while the judiciary is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature. This concentration of power leads to a lack of accountability and oversight, fostering an environment where political influence and favoritism thrive.
  3. Low Transparency and Public Participation: Massachusetts suffers from a restrictive public records law, a weak campaign finance law, limited whistleblower protection, and low voter turnout. These factors hinder public and media access to government information, making it difficult to monitor government actions and hold officials accountable​​.


The ranking of Massachusetts as the most corrupt state in the United States is a wake-up call to its government and citizens. The high level of perceived corruption, evidenced by the CPI survey, underscores the need for systemic reforms to enhance transparency, accountability, and public engagement in the state’s governance. Addressing these issues is essential for restoring public trust and confidence in the government and setting a positive example for other states.

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