Report shows Dakotas listed as most "corrupt" states
New numbers by the justice department ranks the Dakotas in the top 3 as the most corrupt states in the country.
North and South Dakota follow Louisiana in the U.S. ranking of the most public corruption convictions by public officials per population of 100,000 people.
KSFY News sat down with U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson to find out what this means and says it may be a little misleading.
Every year, according to Johnson, the Department of Justice releases numbers primarily for congress to see problem areas in public corruption and make sure people involved are being prosecuted.
"South Dakota is not a corrupt state, and South Dakota is not one of the most corrupt states in the country. What we do do is handle corruption cases very aggressively," U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson said.
Since 2002, South Dakota has had a total of 57 cases of public corruption, wether
"When you have someone that is willing to steal from the rest of us, someone in the position of trust, that's a particularly reprehensible crime. As the Department of Justice, we stand as a guardian on the wall and to monitor and look for those public corruption cases where someone is betraying the public trust," Johnson said.
"I'm actually not at all ashamed of South Dakota's public corruption numbers. In fact, I'm proud of them. What it shows is not that we're a corrupt state, what it shows is that we take corruption very seriously when it does occur," he said.
And because of that, he says, there's no cause for concern about thinking South Dakota is truly corrupt.
"I think anyone trying to make the argument that South Dakota is really a corrupt state is really playing games because I don't believe we are. I think naturally, smaller populations, the ratios can look higher. Frankly when we look at the actual number of cases, it's not like we have 40 or 50 people being charged with public corriptuon. that's just not the case," Johnson said.
"We catch our criminals, we catch the corruption, we prosecute and prosecute aggressively," Johnson said.
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