HOW CORRUPT IS ILLINOIS? Political corruption in Illinois is in the news over allegations that the Governor has attempted to auction the appointment to succeed President Obama in the Senate. I posted here on some rascals in Illinois history–on William Hale Thompson and Paul Powell. Thompson, the mayor of Chicago who campaigned with two live rats who represented his opponents, had lots of cash in safety deposit boxes when he died. Paul Powell, the Illinois secretary of state, had lots of cash stuffed in shoe boxes in his closet when he died. Powell was known for saying “I can smell the meat acookin’,” in discussing patronage jobs or various legislative issues. Now USA Today has a survey of state corruption, as measured by public corruption convictions per capita over the past ten years. One can argue with the statistic used (convictions may reflect successful enforcement), but it is notable that by this measure Illinois comes in only 18th in corruption among the states (with North Dakota first).

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