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California Gets a “C-minus” for Public Integrity

A study of the 50 states by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity gave California a C-minus for public integrity. But “non-partisan” may not accurately describe the study.

At first glance, the C-minus would seem to slam California, but a closer look at the study finds that only two states in the union, Alaska and Connecticut, outranked California. They both received C’s, according to the Eureka Times-Standard.

Even more laughably, the study gave California an “A” in pension fund management, despite the fact that CalPERS, the largest state pension fund in the country, is doing terrible damage to the state.

As David Crane, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief pension adviser, who is a Democrat, told the American Spectator in 2014, “All of the consequences of rising pension costs fall on the budgets for programs such as higher education, health and human services, parks and recreation and environmental protection that are junior in priority and therefore have their funding reduced whenever more money is needed to pay for pension costs.”

So how non-partisan is the study? Its manager, Nicholas Kusnetz, who trumpeted the study’s self-importance by calling the results “nothing short of stunning,” has written articles for the leftist rag The Nation in which he has called the groups headed by the conservative Koch brothers the “Kochtopus.” He has also attacked the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the initiatives it has aided to reverse ObamaCare, writing, “As we’ve seen with climate change, these seemingly frivolous state initiatives can help build a movement.” He has also supported anti-fracking activists.

The results of the study mean little. Giving every state a grade of “C’ or lower for integrity only serves to elevate the study’s own importance while not truly offering a deeper look at the issue.

The study did cite California’s intransigence regarding access to public information, particularly the Public Records Act, which only allows disclosure of private messages from politicians and bureaucrats when they are sent from government accounts. The study faults the state for lacking an appeals process for Public Records Act requests rejected by the government. The only avenue available to retrieve such information remains a lawsuit.

The study gave California an “F” for judicial accountability, as no laws exist to offer public access to job performances of judges.

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