Washington state ranks near the top as a leader in government transparency and accessibility, according to three nationwide reports released during the past few weeks.
The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization, ranks Washington third in the nation as a leader of integrity and government transparency. The report card, which grades all state's corruption risk, is based on 330 separate metrics including internal auditing, ethics enforcement, and open communication.
As the first state to pass a public records act, the report also places Washington well above the nation as one of five states earning an 80 percent grading or better for public disclosure.
"These awards recognize the important work Washington state has done to build trust and increase transparency across state government," said Gov. Chris Gregoire. "It is imperative that we continue to build trust and embrace open communication across all governmental bodies. Our citizens depend on and expect transparency in their government, continuing to meet these expectations is a top priority."
A second report, issued by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave Washington a B grade and noted the state's marked improvement over the past year in how the state provides online access to public spending data. Washington's overall score of 85 was among the biggest improvements for any state.
Washington's high marks were for improvements to the state's fiscal transparency web portal. This website provides easy access to a vast array of budget, spending, revenue, state employee salary, and vendor data.
Finally, the Sunshine Review, which reviews more than 6,000 state and local government websites nationwide, gave Washington's state government web portal, Access Washington, a perfect score and its second consecutive Sunny Award for best government website. Access Washington earned an A+ for allowing easy access to a wide range of information, such as budget data and information on elected officials, lobbyists and state ethics policies. Washington is one of just 10 states to receive an "A' grade or higher for its state government website.