For the third year in a row, Chicago is America’s most corrupt city, and Illinois is the third-most corrupt state, according to an annual report from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The report, co-authored by University of Illinois at Chicago professor and former 44th Ward Ald. Dick Simpson, is based on an analysis of the public corruption statistics published by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The sheer number and political stature of the Illinois elected officials and business leaders who were implicated, indicted or convicted in 2020 is staggering,” Simpson said.
In 2020, there were 22 public corruption convictions in the Northern District of Illinois, which includes all of Chicago and the northern third of Illinois — a slight drop from the 26 convictions recorded in 2019, according to the report.
Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic nearly shut down state and federal courts, 2020 was one of the most “significant” twelve months in the “startling saga of political and public corruption in Chicago and Illinois,” Simpson said.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said Thursday it’s no wonder Illinois is among the most corrupt.
“You just have to look and see what the corruption tax has done and how it has played out in the past two years,” Durkin said. “We have approximately nine former Democrat senators and representatives who are either defendants or have pled guilty in the federal court to various corruption and also violations of the tax code.”
The highest profile corruption case in Illinois is that of former House Speaker Michael Madigan. He’s pleaded not guilty to 22 federal corruption counts alleging he used his elected position for personal gain. Madigan has pleaded not guilty and the case is pending in federal court.
Durkin said one thing that feeds the corruption is budgets that taxpayers don’t get to see before it’s too late.
“These backroom deals and secrecy drives fiscal chaos in this state and also breeds corruption,” Durkin said.