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Summary of Findings

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Thirty-three states received passing grades in Grading State Disclosure 2004, while 17 states failed the evaluation and were found to have unsatisfactory campaign finance disclosure programs.The overall numbers of states passing and failing in 2004 is the same as in Grading State Disclosure 2003, although two states which failed last year received passing grades this year, and two that passed last year received an F in 2004.

The 2004 assessment found that there has been significant progress in state-level campaign disclosure across the states.  Twenty-one states improved their grades from those received in the 2003 study, while 24 remained the same and five states received a lower grade in 2004 than the previous year.  Of the 17 states that received failing grades in Grading State Disclosure 2003, 15 received failing grades in this year’s study as well, and two passed. Two states which passed in 2003 failed in Grading State Disclosure 2004.


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Charts, Maps and Statistics

The quality of campaign disclosure across the country improved in most states, even in some that received very low grades.  Forty-three states (86%) made at least one improvement in campaign finance disclosure practices.  Seven states -  Arizona, Connecticut, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Wyoming – made no measurable improvements in the 2004 study (although New Jersey made some improvements that will be reflected in next year’s grade.)

Washington state received the highest grade, an A, while California ranked second overall, with an A-.  Six states received grades in the B range; thirteen states received grades in the C range, and twelve states received grades in the D range. Seventeen states received failing grades.  (See the attached charts for a complete listing of grades and ranks.)

The most improved states were: Tennessee, with a seemingly insignificant grade change from an F to a D, but a very impressive gain in rank from 46th to 27th; Georgia, with a grade change from a D+ to a B, and an improvement in rank from 21st to 4th; California, with a grade change from a C to an A- and a change in rank from 9th to 2nd; Indiana, with a change in grade from a D- to a C-, and a change in rank from 32nd to 17th; and Florida, with a change in grade from a C to a B+ and an improvement in rank from 7th to 3rd.

The top-ranking states overall are:  Washington (A); California (A-); Florida (B+); Georgia (B); Illinois (B); Michigan (B); Rhode Island and Ohio (B-, tied for 7th); Texas (C+); and Alaska and Kentucky (C+, tied for 10th).

The lowest-ranking states (all of which received an F), in rank order from 41 to 50, are:  Nevada; New Hampshire; Montana; North Dakota; New Mexico and  Vermont (tied for 45th); Alabama; South Dakota; South Carolina; and Wyoming


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This page was first published on October 25, 2004 | Last updated on October 25, 2004
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