Jim Dey | Illinois Fits Perfectly in the Persistent Corruption Category | Columns

The Chicago media — radio, television, newspapers — over the past week have been filled with stories about a new academic report that can’t quite be considered big news.

Analysts at the University of Illinois at Chicago studied the numbers and concluded that Chicago remains the most corrupt city in this country while Illinois continues to be the third most corrupt state.

It’s no surprise that Chicago politicians are the best money can buy. But how could any other state top Lincoln Country when it comes to politicians doing the wrong thing?

Either way, the calculators say Louisiana, which was corrupt long before Huey Long arrived, and the District of Columbia sniffed out Illinois for No. 1 and No. 2.

And how fitting that DC, the seat of our national government, seems like a haven for political crooks.

But back to Chicago, where the report’s authors seem to operate under the illusion that voters will one day turn their backs on the status quo.

Describing the “number and political stature” of corrupt state and local officials as “mind-boggling,” the authors say “all of this will grab voters’ attention as the midterm congressional elections approach. and in the states in November, and elections for Chicago mayor and aldermen in 2023.

The report focused on 2020, as it is the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Nevertheless, the report did not fail to mention the Big Kahuna in the ongoing corruption investigations – the recent indictment of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan in the massive corruption conspiracy case of the Commonwealth Edison.

Given the competition, it’s impossible to say that the Madigan case is the biggest all-time corruption prosecution in state history. After all, Illinois is a state where many governors have served the public while in office and served them after leaving office by making license plates in prison.

But 80-year-old Madigan has been so politically prominent for so long that it is impossible to consider the criminal case against him anything but groundbreaking.

But he is just the icing on the cake in a massive dessert of corruption that ranges from ComEd corruption to the routine corruption of lawmakers and the newest magnet of state corruption – red light cameras.

Apparently, red light cameras serve as road safety devices that reduce accidents at intersections. But in the real world, it’s Big Brother monstrosities that swindle motorists. These “incomes” are redistributed to the cities where they are located, to the public officials of the cities who authorized the installation of the cameras and to the companies selling the cameras.

The report identified numerous city officials as well as a now-deceased state senator (Martin Sandoval) who were caught hand-in-hand in the camera case.

As everyone knows, this is nothing new. The report states that “Since 1976, Chicago has had a total of 1,792 convictions (for corruption) and an average of 41 per year.”

It’s the top, finishing just ahead of Los Angeles, Manhattan, Miami and DC over the past half-century.

Statewide, Illinois has recorded 2,183 bribery convictions since 1976, trailing California and New York.

With regard to this last statistic, the report credits our corrupt officials with doing their best to come out on top. But he noted that Illinois “has a much smaller population and therefore a higher per capita conviction rate” than all other states except Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

Marinated in Illinois’ corrosive culture, many politicians see public service as a business where self-service trumps public service. And they won’t be changing anytime soon.

That’s why the UIC study reported that Chicago was the most corrupt city and Illinois the third most corrupt state last year and this year. Anyone doubt that the results will be the same next year?