Washington scores high for government transparency

Washington is one of the best states when it comes to government openness and transparency, according to three reports released in the past few weeks.

Washington ranks third in the country as a "leader of integrity and governmental transparency," according to The Center for Public Integrity (CPI). The CPI report card grades the state's corruption risk, and is based on 330 separate metrics. Among the metrics looked at by CPI are internal auditing practices, ethics enforcement and open communication.

Washington is also boosted in these reports, thanks to being the first state to pass a public records act. That helped the state earn an 80 percent grade or higher for public disclosure measurements.

Gov. Christine Gregoire was pleased with the results.

"These awards recognize the important work Washington state has done to build trust and increase transparency across state government," Gregoire said in a news release. "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."

The second report in recent weeks to give Washington kudos for transparency came from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which gave the state a B grade. According to Gregoire's office, this group noted Washington's "marked improvement over the past year in how the state provides online access to public spending data." The state's overall score of 85 was one of the largest improvements recorded by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group's study.

The last group to give Washington a thumbs up for transparency came from the Sunshine Review, which pores over more than 6,000 state and local governments nationwide when compiling its report. The Sunshine Review gave Washington a perfect score and a "Sunny Award" for best government website for Access Washington, the state's portal to all things government related. Access Washington received an "A+" for allowing easy and user friendly access to state residents looking for more information on the state government.

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