We’ve got Minnesota Nice, but are we somehow genetically predisposed here to being honest, too?
In Minnesota, we have our share of government-related scandals, but we’re not exactly a state with Teapot Dome-sized misdeeds.
The latest “scandal” in these parts involves the DNR spending $300,000 on a conservation officers program in 2007. A hearing at the Capitol was held on Monday.
But scandals involving state officials seem to fade fast around here, partly because there aren’t that many.
Sonia Morphew Pitt couldn’t find her way back to Minneapolis when the I-35W bridge collapsed last year. The former MnDOT emergency response coordinator was on an unauthorized trip to the northeast, and made personal calls to a guy on the company phone. With that on her record, she was hired by the Department of Homeland Security. But even this “scandal” appears to be more about stupidity than criminality.
Now think of another Minnesota state government scandal. It’s not easy (at least for me).
Jesse Ventura’s broadcasting job with the XFL occupied a ridiculous amount of time in newscasts. But how big of a scandal was it, really?
In 1994, a state rep (Alan Welle) resigned at the height of the “phonegate” scandal. Legislators misused the states toll-free phone line for personal calls.
In Minneapolis, a couple of city council members — Brian Herron and Dean Zimmermann — have spent time in the slammer. A couple of political allies of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher were convicted on corruption charges a few weeks ago.
But statewide, three scandals (maybe four but it doesn’t “feel” like it) in 14 years seems relatively clean, because it is.
An analysis last year showed Louisiana is the most corrupt state in the country, followed by Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Ohio. In the survey of the 35 most populous states, Minnesota ranked 33rd.