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Summary of Findings

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Grading State Disclosure 2008 demonstrates that campaign disclosure laws and practices are stronger in 2008 than they were in 2003, the year of the first Grading State Disclosure assessment. Forty states earned a passing grade in 2008, up from 33 in 2003 and 36 in 2007. Forty-five states have improved their performance since 2003, and 36 have achieved a higher grade since then. Tennessee was the most improved state, with the greatest increase in points earned since the original assessment in 2003.
Campaign Disclosure Laws
Electronic Filing Programs
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual and Technical Usability

Charts, Maps and Statistics

Highest Ranked States
Lowest Ranked States
Rank & Grade
Rank & Grade
1/A Washington 41/F New Mexico
2/A California 42/F Nebraska
3/A- Michigan 43/F Vermont
4/B+ Oregon 44/F Mississippi
5/B+ Florida 45/F Nevada
Virginia (tied) 46/F Delaware
7/B Hawaii 47/F North Dakota
Missouri (tied) 48/F South Dakota
9/B Colorado 49/F Alabama
10/B New Jersey 50/F Wyoming
Twenty-six states earned a higher grade in 2008 than in 2007, 22 earned the same grade, and two states earned lower grades than last year. Montana earned the distinction of being the most improved state since 2007. Ten states were found to have unsatisfactory campaign disclosure programs and received Fs in 2008; all of these states also failed in 2007. However, there were four states that failed in 2007 that passed in 2008 (Arkansas, New Hampshire, Montana, and Utah).

Washington’s campaign disclosure program has earned the top overall grade and rank in each of the five Grading State Disclosure studies. Washington has earned a grade in the A range in each year of the study and was joined by California and Michigan as the only states to earn an A in 2008. Along with the three As, 21 states earned Bs, a dramatic increase over 2003 when just one A and one B were awarded. Of the remaining states, nine earned Cs, seven earned Ds and ten failed.

Most Improved States
Since 2007
Since 2003
1. Montana
1. Tennessee
2. Arkansas
2. South Carolina
3. Tennessee
3. Oregon
4. West Virginia
4. Iowa &
Missouri (tied)
5. Arizona &
New Hampshire (tied)

The following sections detail the findings within each of the four grading categories: Campaign Disclosure Law, Electronic Filing Programs, Disclosure Content Accessibility, and Online Contextual and Technical Usability. Charts, maps, and other findings are available on the “Charts, Maps and Statistics” page, and “State-by-State Summaries and Rankings” are also presented within this report. 


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First published September 17, 2008 | Last updated September 17 2008
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