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New report says Florida still has issues with political corruption

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida continues to have some issues with political corruption.

That, according to the new survey from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Corruption in America.

The report is based on responses from hundreds of journalists covering state politics, along with issues related to corruption across all 50 states. Both legal and illegal corruption is measured, with illegal corruption defined as private gains such as cash or gifts by a government official in exchange for specific benefits.

Legal corruption, meanwhile, is defined as political gains such as campaign contributions or endorsements by an official in exchange for providing specific benefits to individuals or groups.

So how does Florida rank? Respondents claim illegal corruption in the Sunshine State is only “slightly common.”

However, LEGAL corruption in Florida is described as “very common,” in both the executive and legislative branches of government.

As to best and worst states overall, “With respect to illegal corruption, Georgia and West Virginia are perceived to be the most corrupt states, followed by Hawaii, and a third group of states that includes New Jersey, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Oregon is perceived to be the least corrupt state, followed by Vermont, and a third group of states that includes Iowa, Maine, and Wyoming,” say the report’s authors.

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at

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