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Corrupt states over-fund roads, under-fund education

South Dakota has the dubious distinction of being one of the 10 most corrupt states in the nation, based on U.S. Justice Department prosecutions, according to a recent article in Governing magazine.

But where does the dirty money go?

While not specific to South Dakota, a study by Public Administration Review of DOJ prosecution data from 1976 to 2008 indicates that generally speaking, bribes go to projects associated with construction, highways and police protection.

"These states spend less on health, education and welfare, which provide less opportunity for officials to collect bribes, according to Indiana University's John Mikesell, who co-authored the report with Cheol Liu of the University of Hong Kong," according to Governing.

The magazine also notes, "The shakedown culture can also be a deterrent to economic development, with developers who are attempting to play fair getting disenchanted by pay-to-play politics."

One of the study's author's says to prevent corruption, states should implement "aggressive yearly audits, budget processes without shortcuts and a degree of internal control over finances."