Corruption Winds through Illinois Politics

By writer, Amanda Paulson | The Christian Science Monitor, December 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Corruption Winds through Illinois Politics


writer, Amanda Paulson, The Christian Science Monitor


In the annals of corrupt Illinois politicians, Gov. Rod Blagojevich may go down as one of the most brazen. But he has plenty of company.

Three of the state's seven previous governors have been convicted and served time. Since 1971, by one count, 31 Chicago aldermen and some 1,000 public officials and businessmen have been convicted.

"We're the corruption capital of the United States," says Dick Simpson, a political scientist at the University of Illinois in Chicago and a former Chicago alderman, who maintains that state corruption count. "We have more [corruption] even than New Jersey and Louisiana, which are our competitors."

Politicians blame, in part, Illinois's loose system of ethics and campaign-finance laws. But the deeper issue may be an entrenched political culture in which trading favors - and money - is often expected and encouraged, people enter politics thinking more about power and personal gain than public service, and the public holds their elected officials to a low standard of ethics.

Governor Blagojevich, charged on Tuesday with mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery, is under increasing pressure to resign. President-elect Obama and several prominent Democrats have called on him to step down, while Illinois Democrats have threatened impeachment. On Thursday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told CNN she was prepared to ask the state supreme court to have Blagojevich declared unfit for office.

One of the key accusations against him is that he was trying to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Mr. Obama. The president-elect said Thursday neither he nor his staff had been contacted about the case. State legislative leaders say they will strip Blagojevich of his power to choose the new senator at a special session Monday.

Blagojevich's alleged conduct, while quite aggressive, is not an isolated case.

"We tend to treat politics as a business," says Kent Redfield, a political scientist at the University of Illinois in Springfield. "It's not about public interest, it's just the aggregate of individual self-interest.... It's about power and winning and jobs."

"That kind of culture is pervasive," he says, noting that even former Gov. Jim Thompson, who rose to power as the US attorney who convicted Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner and several top aides to Mayor Richard J. Daley, eventually bragged about the extent of his patronage operation.

When he worked in state government several decades ago, Professor Redfield says, seasoned politicians would talk derisively about "goo- goos," or "good government" types, implying that unlike those people, they were about "real politics. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Corruption Winds through Illinois Politics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.