Grading State Disclosure 2005 Logo Graphic

Summary of Findings

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Thirty-four states received passing grades in Grading State Disclosure 2005, while 16 states failed the evaluation and were found to have unsatisfactory campaign finance disclosure programs. Two states that failed in 2004 moved into the ranks of the passing states in 2005 (Iowa and West Virginia), and one state that passed last year slipped to an F this year (Delaware). The 2005 assessment found that overall, states continued the trend of improvement identified in Grading State Disclosure 2004.

Campaign Disclosure Laws
Electronic Filing Programs
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual and Technical Usability

Charts, Maps and Statistics

The 2005 assessment found that the quality of campaign disclosure improved in the majority of states, even in some that received very low grades. Thirteen states improved their grades from those received in the 2004 study, while 30 remained the same and seven states received a lower grade. Though improvements identified in the 2005 study were not as dramatic as those occurring between the 2003 and 2004 Grading State Disclosure evaluations, several states continued to build on prior improvements, and others earned higher grades for the first time. Of the states with improved grades this year, over 50 percent had also earned a higher grade in 2004 than in 2003. With the exception of Delaware, states earning lower grades in 2005 lost points primarily in the area of Online Contextual and Technical Usability.

Washington State ranked number one in the study for the third year in a row (and received an A- this year), and Florida ranked second overall, with a B+.  While one fewer state received a grade in the A range in 2005, ten states received grades in the B range (four more than in 2004); thirteen states received grades in the C range, and ten states received grades in the D range. Sixteen states received failing grades in 2005, compared to 17 in both 2003 and 2004.  (See the State-by-State Grade and Ranking Chart for a complete listing of grades and ranks.)

The states that improved most in 2005 are: Virginia, with a change in grade from a D+ to a B, and a gain in rank from 22nd to 7th; Iowa, with a change in grade from an F to a D, and an improvement in rank from 38th to 31st; Hawaii, with a change in grade from a C+ to a B and an improvement in rank from 12th to 4th; Oregon, with a change in grade from a D to a C- and an improvement in rank from 32nd to 24th; and Maine, with a change in grade from a D+ to a C and an improvement in rank from 23rd to 17th.

The top-ranking states overall are:  Washington (A-); Florida (B+); California (B+); Hawaii (B); Georgia and Illinois (B, tied for 5th); Virginia (B); Michigan and Texas (B-, tied for 8th); Rhode Island (B-); and Ohio (B-).

The lowest-ranking states (all of which received an F), in rank order from 40 to 50, are: Delaware, Nevada and New Mexico (tied for 40th); North Dakota; Vermont; New Hampshire; Montana; Alabama; South Dakota; South Carolina; and Wyoming.


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This page was first published on October 26, 2005 | Last updated on October 26, 2005
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