Political Malfeasance Part of Illinois History Criminal Accusations against Governors Date Back to 1853

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Byline: Dan Carden dcarden@dailyherald.com

SPRINGFIELD Rod Blagojevich is hardly the first former elected official in Illinois to have to spend some time at the federal courthouse after leaving office. Heres a look at some of Blagojevichs not-so illustrious colleagues, the charges against them and their ultimate outcome.

George Ryan, a Kankakee Republican, governor from 1999 to 2003 and secretary of state from 1991 to 1999. Convicted on federal racketeering and fraud charges for steering state contracts to cronies and presiding over a drivers licenses-for-bribes scheme when he was secretary of state. Ryan is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who will prosecute Blagojevich, led the prosecution against Ryan.

Otto Kerner, a Chicago Democrat, governor from 1961 to 1968. Convicted on 17 counts of bribery and conspiracy following revelations the manager of the Arlington Park racetrack bribed Kerner to obtain select racing dates and expressway exits near the track. The scam came to light after the manager included the bribes as regular, deductible business expenses on federal tax filings. Kerner was prosecuted in 1973 by federal prosecutor (and future Illinois governor) James R. Thompson and was sentenced to three years in prison. He died in 1976.

Dan Walker, a Chicago Democrat, governor from 1973 to 1977. A decade after leaving office, Walker was convicted of bank fraud stemming from improprieties in running the First American Savings and Loan Association in Oak Brook, and not connected to his work in government. …