Michigan received an overall grade of “F” and ranked 44th out of the 50 states in a 2012 state integrity investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. It flunked in the categories of executive accountability, judicial accountability, political financing, legislative accountability, lobbying disclosure, ethics enforcement agencies, and redistricting, among others, and got a “D” for public access to information.
Welcome to Michigan, the “Trust Us” State when it comes to transparency. Reform efforts are frequently launched, sometimes debated, always shelved. Meanwhile, special interests continue to make greater use of loopholes that allow them to influence the system without leaving fingerprints on the money spent doing it.
“It appears we’re living with an honor system in an environment where there isn’t much honor,” said Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks campaign spending and lobbying records.