Columbia, SC (WLTX, AP) -- South Carolina's new Senate President Pro Tempore says he plans to meet with the senate ethics committee chairman and legal council from the South Carolina Ethic's Commission following a report that puts the state at high risk for corruption.
The State Integrity Investigation gave South Carolina 57, or "F" on its Corruption Risk Report Card, and ranked the Palmetto State 45th in the nation.
A nationwide study found state governments lack transparency and accountability to citizens, and remain at high risk for corruption.
Richland County Senator John Courson, a Republican, says he plans to take the action after the state received the failing grade. He wants to see if there's anything legislators can do to improve laws.
Courson says he was stunned by the rating. He says following Operation Lost Trust more that 20 years ago, he and others worked to tighten South Carolina's ethics laws.
"I was involved in passing, at that time, the strongest ethics laws in the country, in fact other states have copied our laws as a model," said Courson.
Fairfield County Democrat Representative Boyd Brown said he wasn't surprised by the state's low grade.
"If you pay to the state house or anything that's going on at the state house for the last few years, you realize how corrupt that place is," said Brown.
He has sponsored legislation to control lobbyist contributions to campaigns and move ethics oversight to a third party, but hasn't had success so far.
"It's not good for the state of South Carolina, it's not good for the future of this state," said Brown. "It hasn't always been this way it doesn't have to be this way and if we just nod, smile, and let it keep happening then that's the only way it's gonna continue."
In the ranking, not a single state received an A from the probe, done by the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity.
There's a surprising state atop the list of most transparent and accountable governments: New Jersey.
Despite -- or perhaps because of -- recent corruption scandals, New Jersey gets the top ranking because of steps it took to combat corruption, including tough ethics and anti-corruption laws it adopted in response. New Jersey received a B+.
Reporters in each state researched 330 corruption risk indicators across 14 government categories.
Eight states got an "F". They are: North Dakota, Michigan, South Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota and Georgia.