The first condition that Wikipedia lists for being favorable for political corruption is “Concentration of power in decision makers who are not practically accountable to the people.” Well, let’s look at the New Jersey state government for an example of how that can be pulled off.
First of all, New Jersey has one of the most powerful Governor positions in the United States. Unlike most states, there is no other state-wide election for such positions as Secretary of State, Attorney General, or State Treasurer and there isn’t even a position of Lieutenant Governor. In cases where the Governor isn’t able to fulfil his (or her) duties, the State Senate President becomes “acting Governor”. But wait, there’s more – to “act” as the Governor, the State Senate President doesn’t even have to leave his post in the State Senate. So, you have the head of the state legislature who is also the chief executive of the state – in other words, it’s very much like having a state Parliament.
But this is supposed to be the exception to the rule. Power is generally not given to the Senate President. The Governor’s powers are thus limited by his time in office and the powers granted by the New Jersey State Constitution. Well, in Jersey, like most states, the Governor serves a four year term. This gives him (or her) carte blanche to hand out jobs to political favorites (see Golan Cipel). The list of people the Governor of New Jersey appoints is staggering – the Constitution of the State of New Jersey limits the executive to twenty direct-report appointees, including the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. Beyond that, every single “board, commission, or other body” has every member appointed by the Governor, as well as any openings in the judicial system. In fact, just about the only thing the Governor of New Jersey can’t do is to investigate a member of the State Legislature.