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Politics

Texas Gets D- In State Integrity Report

Texas received a failing grade because of frequent high charges for records and delays in providing information.

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Texas gets D- grade graphic
Texas gets D- grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation done by the Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity’s 2015 State Integrity Investigation has been released. Texas ranks 48 when it comes to public access to information.

Public access to information is just one standard measured by the report, according to project head Nick Kusnetz. And Texas received a failing grade because of frequent high charges for records and delays in providing information.

“And the result of that is the public doesn’t really have access to the information about their government that the law says they are supposed to have,” Kusnetz said.

The report was compiled by reporters from each of the 50 states, and grades are based on 245 indicators of government openness, accountability, transparency and ethics oversight.

“Texas got a grade of D- and that ranks at 38th in the nation. The project looked at 13 categories for each branch of government,” Kusnetz said. “Let’s see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 F’s in those 13 categories.”

Points were taken off because there are no limits on campaign spending and contributions in Texas. Kusnetz said the state’s ethics commission is weak and underfunded.

But he said there are a couple categories where Texas scored well.

“Texas got an A in the budget process, so public access — transparency to that process, and whether there are adequate checks and balances. Also, Texas scored well for its internal auditing structures,” Kusnetz said.

The national nonprofit handed out no grades of A or B, and only three C’s — for Alaska, which earned a C, and California and Connecticut, which each got a C-.

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