Madigan Most Corrupt IL Politician? Doesn’t Even Make the List
With the news of the indictments of former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and others, including Quincy native and former State Representative Mike McClain, I wondered about the most corrupt politicians in the history of the state of Illinois.
The sad but not necessarily surprising thing is - when it comes to corruption in Illinois politics, Mike Madigan doesn't even make the top ten.
As you might imagine, the Land of Lincoln has a colorful history of political corruption - and not all of it is in Chicago.
Among the most notable:
Rod Blagojevich - Governor from 2002-09 - best known for "pay-to-play." When Blago had to fill Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat when he was elected President, he basically put the seat up for bid (you make a big campaign contribution, you'll get a seat in the Senate). Sentenced to 14 years in prison.
William Carothers - Chicago Alderman from 1976-1983 - used his office to hold up a hospital expansion, extorted remodeling work from a builder in exchange for letting the hospital project proceed. Three years for conspiracy and extortion.
Orville Hodge - Illinois Auditor of Public Accounts from 1953-56 - His job was to prevent fraud and embezzlement, but he wound up embezzling over six million dollars worth of state funds. Sentenced to 12-15 years, served six-and-a-half.
Otto Kerner - Governor from 1963-68 - didn't get busted until he became an Appeals Court Judge. Made under the table deals, got over $300,000 of stock in Arlington Park Race Track in exchange for favorable racing dates and highway exits.
Paul Powell - Secretary of State from 1965-70 - After his death in 1970, a friend found shoe boxes full of cash in his hotel room, to the tune of $800,000.
George Ryan - Secretary of State from 1991-99 and Governor from 1999 to 2003. As Secretary of State, Ryan's office sold truck driver licenses for bribes which wound up in Ryan's campaign fund. One of the people that bought one of those illegal licenses was involved in a crash that killed six children.
I could go on (and on), but you get the idea.