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From tomorrow’s newspaper:

All of which leads to the biggest problem with the State Integrity Investigation—the dearth of evidence demonstrating that many of the promoted reforms, such as public input into legislative redistricting and registration of lobbyists, actually prevent corruption.

Despite years of effort by proponents of strict campaign-finance laws, there’s no strong evidence that such laws affect either actual corruption or the public perception of corruption. Despite this absence of evidence, Virginia is penalized in the State Integrity Investigation because it has no campaign-finance limits (nor, it should be noted, any meaningful history of corruption).

Damn – Professor Primo going ahead and acting like the Lord. How dare he seek the truth? How dare he ask for evidence? Who does he think he is? The folks at the State Integrity Investigation are just trying to start a dialogue and talk about what they value, that’s all.

Fighting political corruption is an important goal, and many sensible policies, like the stricter enforcement of existing antibribery laws, can help achieve that goal. But others, like campaign-finance restrictions, impose heavy burdens on free speech. It isn’t asking too much of good-government groups to come forward with evidence that their preferred policies actually reduce corruption. On that score, the State Integrity Investigation falls far short of the mark.

One Response to “David Primo on the State Corruption Index”

  1. Dan says:

    Mr. Primo is on fire this week. If you didn’t catch it, here’s his op-ed published in the Times on Monday, on how the social sciences suffer from a need to emulate the hard sciences:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/the-social-sciences-physics-envy.html?ref=opinion

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