Report: America’s Worst Governors

Since 2005, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has compiled an annual list of Washington’s most corrupt lawmakers, and this year it added a new group of elected officials to its hall of shame: the nation’s governors. In its “Worst Governors” report, CREW highlights “the unethical and incompetent actions” of 11 state chief execs. Who made the cut? You know your guv did, South Carolina. Yours, too, New York. The full list, along with what CREW says landed them there, below the jump.

Gov. Haley Barbour  (R-MS)

  • Allegedly laundered campaign contributions
  • Refused to accept federal stimulus funds to expand unemployment insurance
  • Used his position to enrich himself and his family members

Gov. Donald Carcieri (R-RI)

  • Impeded the public’s access to information and blocked pro-transparency legislation

Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV)

  • Has been investigated for his conduct as a member of Congress

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)

  • Has been fined for ethics violations

Gov. David Paterson (D-NY)

  • Shielded a top aide from assault allegations

Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA)

  • Appointed a business associate to a state position

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

  • Used campaign funds for a personal trip with questionable relevance to his campaign for office

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)

  • Failed to make state government more transparent

Gov. Mike Rounds (R-SD)

Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC)

  • Endangered his state’s economy by threatening to refuse stimulus funds

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA)

  • Vetoed bills to improve transparency in hospitals at the behest of powerful special interests

And don’t forget to check out CREW’s Harper’s Index-style rundown of stats and other info from its report, which contains gems like these:

Name of the former top lobbyist for the nation’s second largest subprime mortgage lender, New Century Financial Corp: Joe Waltuch

Current Status of New Century Financial Corp: Bankrupt and under federal criminal investigation for securities and accounting violations

Current Status of Joe Waltuch: Gov. Gibbons’s appointee as commissioner of the Nevada Division of Mortgage Lending


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.