A former Chicago alderman turned political science professor/corruption fighter, Dick Simpson, has found that Chicago is the most corrupt city in the country.
He cites data from the U.S. Department of Justice to prove his case. And, he says, Illinois is third-most corrupt state in the country.
It’s hard to imagine a city more corrupt than Atlanta, Georgia, but based on these particular statistics, Chicago is the most corrupt. The crooked government officials in Atlanta apparently do a better job of protecting each other from prosecution.
University of Illinois at Chicago professor Dick Simpson, who served as alderman of the 44th Ward in Lakeview from 1971 to 1979, estimates the cost of corruption at $500 million.
Itâ€™s essentially a corruption tax on citizens who bear the cost of bad behavior â€” police brutality, bogus contracts, bribes, theft and ghost payrolling to name a few â€” and the costs needed to prosecute it.
â€œWe first of all, we have a long history,â€ Simpson said. â€œThe first corruption trial was in 1869 when alderman and county commissioners were convicted of rigging a contract to literally whitewash City Hall.â€
In the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, there have been a total of 1,531 public corruption convictions since 1976, Simpson found. A distant second is Californiaâ€™s central district in Los Angeles with 1,275 public corruption convictions since 1976, Simpson found.
Statewide, that number hits 1,828. Only California and New York have more, but those states have much higher populations. Per capita, only the District of Columbia and Louisiana have more convictions.
Since the 1970s, four of Illinoisâ€™ seven governors have been convicted (Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich). In addition, dozens of Chicago alderman and other city and county public officials have been found guilty, Simpson said.
Corruption, Simpson said, is intertwined with city politics. Simpson found that about a third of sitting alderman since 1973 have been corrupt.
â€œWe have had machine politics since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871,â€ he said. â€œMachine politics breeds corruption inevitably.â€
Simpson says Hong Kong and Sydney were two similarly corrupt cities that managed to change their ways. He says Chicago can too, but it will take decades.
Simpson is set to present his full report Wednesday morning, and testify before the new Chicago Ethics Task Force at City Hall Wednesday night.
RELATED: READ THE REPORT HERE
In his report, Simpson recommends the following:
- Governor Pat Quinnâ€™s proposal to allow Illinois citizens to adopt ethics reforms by referendum should be passed;
- Amend the Cityâ€™s Ethics Ordinance to cover aldermen and their staff;
- Give the Inspector General access to all city documents including those held secret by the Corporation Counsel;
- Ban all gifts to all elected officials and public employees except those from family members;
- Bar all lobbying of other governmental bodies by elected officials and city employees;
- Prohibit double dipping, patronage and nepotism with real penalties including firing; and
- Improve the cityâ€™s ethics training and bring it up to at least the State of Illinois level.
Attribution: CBS Chicago
I, William M. Windsor, am not an attorney. This website expresses my OPINIONS. The comments of visitors or guest authors to the website are their opinions and do not therefore reflect my opinions. Anyone mentioned by name in any article is welcome to file a response. This website does not provide legal advice. I do not give legal advice. I do not practice law. This website is to expose government corruption, law enforcement corruption, political corruption, and judicial corruption. Whatever this website says about the law is presented in the context of how I or others perceive the applicability of the law to a set of circumstances if I (or some other author) was in the circumstances under the conditions discussed. Despite my concerns about lawyers in general, I suggest that anyone with legal questions consult an attorney for an answer, particularly after reading anything on this website. The law is a gray area at best. Please read our Legal Notice and Terms.