State Accountability Project Receives $1.5 Million in Grants

The Omidyar Network has announced grants totaling $1.5 million to the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International, and Global Integrity for a risk analysis of corruption in all fifty state governments.

Omidyar will provide up to $1 million for the eighteen-month effort, while the Rita Allen Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, will provide $500,000 in matching funds. The State Accountability Project will hire part-time political reporters in every state capital to assess the existence and effectiveness of anti-corruption and government transparency measures at the state level, including political financing, civil service management, and state budget processes. The project team also will create online reporting and technology tools to empower citizens to demand greater accountability from state officials.

To encourage people to take part in the project and share information via social media sites, PRI will work with its 880 partner radio stations, while GI will leverage its success in promoting accountability and transparency globally to ensure that states put the analyses to practical use. Based on the findings, the project will rank all fifty states based on their susceptibility to corruption.

"The project will bring a much needed focus on our nation's statehouses," said Stacy Donohue, director of investments at Omidyar Network. "In addition to investigative reporting, it will utilize technology to enable citizen engagement on issues of importance to them. Omidyar Network believes when citizens have visibility into government actions they are more likely to participate in the political process, ensure public funds are used wisely, and hold government officials to account."

"New Grants Fund 50-State Corruption Risk Index." Omidyar Network Press Release 02/17/2011.