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Editorial: Is corruption still alive in Illinois?

Chicago developed a reputation for corruption, cronyism, and nepotism during the “roaring twenties.” Is that reputation still alive in the state and city? During the Al Capone area, corruption and machine politics ruled.

Chicago can’t seem to shake that reputation. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The classic example of this cliché is Rita Crundwell, a public servant and Comptroller of Dixon, Illinois who stole 53 million dollars from the public trust.

Paul Powell was the most corrupt state politician until Crundwell raised the bar.

Steve Goodman, Folksinger, wrote a song about Paul Powell saying,

Former Illinois Secretary of State, Paul Powell, deceased

   “Paul Powell got laid to rest in a casket lined with gold, But his ghost lives on in other thieves, or so I’ve been told. And there’s crooks in every walk of life, and that I know is true. But the biggest bums are some of the ones we give our power to.”

Governors Blagojevich and George Ryan and recent Chicago politicians like Ald. Arenda Troutman, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and his wife, thought they could violate the public trust also. Back in the day corruption, cronyism, and nepotism was a “political craft” taught by political mentors. Today, politicians are arrogant and power driven.

Monthly reports of expenditures of public funds should be made available to the public. A vetting process should be established with new criteria for candidates running for public office. State and city ethics laws should be strengthened.

Criminals sometime get elected to public office because they are not properly vetted and law abiding citizens are disappointed with self-serving corrupt politicians. Is it the Same game with new players?

Related: Chicago Political Corruption on Pinterest 

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