Distant Capitals = Corrupt States

Take that, James Madison
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2012 1:30 PM CDT
Distant Capitals = Corrupt States
In this 2003 file photo, then Illinois Gov.-elect Rod Blagojevich jogs past Illinois' Old State Capitol building in Springfield.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

James Madison once said that capital cities ought to be removed from the busiest parts of the country, so they'd be isolated from powerful interests. Well, guess again, Jim. A new study has found that states with distant capitals are much more likely to have rotten governments, the LA Times reports. Harvard researchers looking at federal corruption convictions from 1976 to 2002 found a strong correlation between isolation and skullduggery.

The most corrupt capitals were Jackson, Miss.; Baton Rouge, La.; Nashville, Tenn.; Pierre, SD; Springfield, Ill.; and Albany, NY, all of which are more removed than average from their states' population hubs. Researchers' theory: Politicians there can get away with more because there's less media spotlight. "It stands to reason that when citizens are better able to monitor the performance of public officials … there will be less scope for the latter to misuse their office," they write. (More state governments stories.)

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