Did you know that when you type in the phrase, "Why is Illinois," into a Google search, the search engine will auto-populate suggested phrases to complete your search term based on the phrases popularity? This is what comes up, note the #1 search term:
I don't need a Google search to tell me that Illinois has become synonymous with political corruption. Just look at our track record of governors: four out of the last seven have been to prison (or are still in prison). And that's just our governors; we don't want to get into U.S. representatives, state representatives, aldermen or even small-town comptrollers.
Illinois figures prominently in this study on political corruption in the U.S. from Indiana University and the University of Hong Kong. Using data from more than 25,000 convictions of elected officials for violations of federal corruption laws between the years of 1976 to 2008, combined with an analysis of state spending, the researchers came up with a corruption scale that ranks states for corruption. Illinois made the Top 10. Here's the list and a map of the results:
Top 10 most corrupt states in the U.S.
8. South Dakota
Map via Governing.com
How do the most corrupt states spend their money?States with higher levels of corruption are likely to spend more money on:
- Construction -- Specifically on large, complicated projects that make it hard for the public to follow.
- Salaries -- More public servants that are well-paid
- Corrections and police protection
However, these same states tend to spend less money on:
- Healthcare and Hospitals
How much is this costing us, the Illinois taxpayers?
About $1,308 per year. But that's not all, according to former federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Illinois, Sergio Acosta, there's a hidden cost to corruption and our pay-to-play culture and that is killing Illinois' jobs and business climate. We shouldn't be too surprised that the business developers, who want to play fair, aren't exactly jumping at the opportunity to experience the "Chi-town Shakedown."
How can we stop this crippling cycle of corruption?Here are a few ways that are a good place to start:
- Hold our politicians accountable and demand answers. We hired them, they work for us, we pay their salaries.
- Demand transparency from our state government, and all of its boards. We don't need another Metra scandal.
- End tax breaks for big corporations. This just plays into our shakedown culture.
- We need more details on politicians' finances.
- Political corruption is in the eye (and the data) of the beholder
- Corruption Corner: Funny cartoons, serious message
- Top 10 Longest Prison Sentences for Illinois Politicians
- 10 Blagojevich Cartoons That'll Make You Laugh Till You Cry
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