Maryland received a D grade on its "report card" for government transparency and accountability issued Monday by a leading watchdog organization.
While the state did not fare well in the grading by the Center for Public Integrity, it had plenty of company in the D range. A tough grader, the center issued only one grade of C (Alaska), two of C-minus (California and Connecticut), and no As or Bs. Eleven states received a grade of F.
Maryland scored 64 out of 100 points, putting it 23rd among the states on the center's transparency scale.
“This report card looks at the fundamental issues of ethics and access to information, transparency, and accountability to the people – it is Government 101,” said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “While Maryland is making progress on these fronts, there is much more work to be done.”
Maryland received its worst grades in the categories of internal auditing, public access to information, state pension fund management and ethics enforcement -- each rated an F.
The state scored its highest grade, a C-plus for its budget processes. Procurement, lobbying disclosure and electoral oversight earned Cs. Five other categories ranked between C-minus and D-minus.
Bevan-Dangel noted that the low score of Maryland's laws on public information, which the center ranked 41st in the country, did not take into account an extensive reform bill that passed the General Assembly in the spring and took effect Oct. 1.
The center pointed to the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act in Maryland as a case study in how the state's secretive procedures hurt government operations. It noted that contracts for the computer systems that failed when the insurance agency was rolled out in 2013 were awarded without competitive bidding or the customary review.