Illinois corruption

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged to contribute $1 million to Republican attorney general nominee Erika Harold so she “will prosecute (House Speaker Michael) Madigan.” But when pressed by reporters, Rauner would not identify a crime with which he thinks Madigan should be charged. Did the governor cross a line?

Aaron Schock
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Former Congressman Aaron Schock has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

It happened Monday afternoon in Springfield’s federal courthouse. That’s just across the street from what had been one of the 35-year-old Republican’s district offices.

Aaron Schock
Aaron Schock / Instagram

Former Congressman Aaron Schock is due to be arraigned in a Springfield courtroom Monday afternoon.

American Quarter Horse Association

Illinois’ male public officials and politicians aren’t the only ones to behave badly. A recent study looked at the cases of 29 Illinois women involved in corrupt acts over a 25-year-period.

 An investigation found that four Illinois Department of Human Rights employees supposedly examining discrimination complaints forged signatures and falsified documents to cover for work they didn't do.  

The report Monday by the Office of the Executive Inspector General also found supervisors failed to monitor the four investigators, who resigned in 2011 and 2012.  

Peoria Public Radio

A federal jury in Chicago has convicted Illinois state Rep. Derrick Smith of bribery for taking $7,000 from a purported day care operator.

Jurors returned with their verdict Tuesday after deliberating about four hours over two days.  

At trial, prosecutors played secret recordings of the 50-year-old Chicago Democrat allegedly accepting 70 $100 bills in exchange for a letter supporting a state grant. But it was all part of an FBI sting.  

The recordings of Smith were made by a campaign worker-turned-informant.  

Maureen Foertsch McKinney headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS - Illinois Issues

 Illinois is in a funk. It’s clear.

Last month, a Gallup survey found by a wide margin Illinoisans are less trusting of their state government than residents of any other place in the nation. 

In 1987, Yale political scientist Joseph LaPalombara published Democracy, Italian Style, the book containing his theory that Italians took perverse pride in their nation's widespread reputation for corrupt government. Italians liked the messy-looking postwar system, he claimed, because it functioned far better than outsiders realized, was less corrupt than they pretended and delivered sound economic outcomes as their governments rose and fell with astonishing speed. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"[T]he more I see and know of the politicians in this state, the less respect and confidence I have in them." 

Edward Coles 
Illinois ' second governor 
from Mostly Good and Competent Men
by Robert P. Howard

A former governor has been sentenced. The current governor is under investigation. And, as we see in this month's issue, a recent poll shows voters aren't inspired by this year 's contenders.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix it’s not, but the late January release of The Master List created as great a stir in Illinois political circles as news that J.K. Rowlings’ fifth book about the boy wizard is coming in June.

Mike Cramer

Few politicians have standards for corruption named after them.

Former Chicago Treasurer Miriam Santos not only bears the dubious distinction, she conjured the catch phrase herself: "The Santos standard."

There she was, moments after pleading guilty in federal court, in front of reporters, pontificating.

The woman snared by her own recorded words - barking at a potential contributor to "belly up"- still had plenty to say. She warned other politicians to study her case. They would have trouble living with "the Santos standard," she suggested.