A blend of the adjective corrupt and of the name Connecticut, Corrupticut is a derisive, derogatory nickname for the State of Connecticut, in the north-eastern USA, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
An editorial published in the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut) of 22nd October 2021 (updated on 23rd October 2021) deplored the permanence of the nickname Corrupticut:
Troubling allegations of relief fund misuse
Regardless of how the alleged misuse of federal coronavirus relief funds plays out, one thing is certain: It will revive that loathsome phrase “Corrupticut.”
It’s probably become more associated with Connecticut than its moniker as “The Land of Steady Habits.” It’s also a habit we hoped had been broken.
The Corrupticut tag peaked about 16 years again [misprint for ‘ago’] in the wake of felony convictions of Gov. John Rowland along with the mayors of Bridgeport and Waterbury. It threatens to return every time there’s a probe into alleged misbehavior in state political circles. Even the Urban Dictionary defines it with a joke ending with a prison punchline about serving “Three years for being a senator from Corrupticut.”
Just when you thought good behavior had released the state from the shackles of this reputation, along comes a brewing scandal for a new era.
State Rep. Michael DiMassa, a Democrat, has been charged with wire fraud in connection with alleged misuse of federal coronavirus relief money in West Haven. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller said at least $636,000 is missing. DiMassa, who works for West Haven as an administrative assistant for the City Council, was described by U.S. District Judge Sarah A.L. Merriam as being in treatment for a gambling addiction.
It was in 2003 that the nickname Corrupticut first appeared, in reference to a series of corruption scandals involving public officials—the earliest occurrences that I have found are as follows, in chronological order:
1-: From The Nutmeg State Battles the Stigma of Corrupticut, by Paul von Zielbauer, published in The New York Times (New York City, New York) of 28th March 2003:
For the record, not everyone in Connecticut is a crook.
But this is no longer obvious, considering recent news headlines. In the past two weeks, the mayor of Bridgeport was convicted on corruption charges, the former mayor of Waterbury was found guilty of sex crimes against children, and Gov. John G. Rowland’s former deputy chief of staff admitted taking bribes from a well-connected state contractor.
State residents are bracing for more: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the United States attorney’s office are still investigating conspiracy and corruption allegations against other current and former officials from Bridgeport, Waterbury and the Rowland administration, including the governor’s former top political adviser.
Needless to say, the recent revelations, investigations and perturbations have thrown mud on Connecticut’s reputation as the cute little Nutmeg State, the churchly “land of steady habits” where rules are rules and people are good. Nowadays, from Storrs to Stamford, there are jokes about living in Corrupticut, Connection-icut or, the new favorite, Criminalicut.
2-: From Ganim gets nine year prison term, by John Christoffersen, published in the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut) of 2nd July 2003:
New Haven.—Once a rising political star who led Bridgeport’s revitalization and considered a run for governor, Joseph P. Ganim was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in federal prison for his role in a massive municipal corruption scandal.
The 43-year-old former Bridgeport mayor was convicted in March on 16 federal corruption counts, including racketeering, extortion and bribery.
In seeking a stiff sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Apter said Ganim handed out contracts to his associates like they were “‘Elect Joe Ganim’ buttons on Election Day.”
“Connecticut is now derisively referred to as Corrupticut,” he said. “Bridgeport has earned a reputation as a place where politicians can be bought.”
In a report on Joseph P. Ganim’s conviction, published on 2nd July 2003 in The Advocate (Norwalk, Connecticut) and in the Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut), John Lender quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Apter as mentioning an additional nickname:
Connecticut is now derisively referred to as “Corrupticut” and “Convicticut,” Apter said.
3-: From Program targets handling of absentee ballots, by Kathryn Masterson, Associated Press, published in The Advocate (Norwalk, Connecticut) of 9th July 2003:
Hartford—The State Elections Enforcement Commission is working this summer on a program designed to cut down on the abuse of absentee ballots.
Connecticut has a history of absentee ballot fraud dating to the early 1980s […].
“There’s this perception in the state of Connecticut that it is ‘Corrupticut,’ said Lou Bevilacqua, a Bridgeport City Council member. “We’ve got to restore faith in the system . . . we need to put as many safety nets in place as possible.”
4-: From Budget: Getting It Done Trumps Getting It Right, by Michele Jacklin, published in the Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut) of 3rd August 2003—the following is about John Rowland (born 1957), Governor of Connecticut from 1995 to 2004:
A gimmick designed to tax dead rich people is, in the governor’s view, smarter public policy than an honest-to-goodness tax on rich people who are alive. Put another way, a corpse can’t gripe about his pocket being picked.
That’s a good segue into the next theme of this column: government corruption. The state is so overrun with grand juries, investigations into political hanky-panky and other squirrelly tales involving government insiders that Connecticut’s nickname has become Corrupticut. A badge of honor, for sure.