4th Illinois Governor in 35 Years Headed to Prison

The term “corrupt politician” is, of course, redundant. But what does it say about the decision making ability of the Illinois electorate when 3 ex-Governors in the last 35 years have been sentenced to prison, and a 4th has just been indited?

Maybe they need to heed the sage “Fool me once . .. ” adage of President Bush:

The systemic corruption in this kleptocracy is just staggering. Let’s start with today’s indictment of the sitting Ill Governor:

A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.

The affidavit said Blagojevich discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.

It said Blagojevich also talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director’s fees.

He also allegedly discussed getting campaign funds for himself or possibly a post in the president’s cabinet or an ambassadorship once he left the governor’s office.

“I want to make money,” the affidavit quotes him as saying in one conversation.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement that “the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering.”

“They allege that Blagojevich put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States senator,” Fitzgerald said.”

Otto Kerner

In 1969, Marge Lindheimer Everett, manager of Arlington Park and Washington Park race tracks admitted bribing then Governor Otto Kerner and his Finance Director, Ted Isaacs, to gain choice racing dates and to get two expressway exits for her Arlington Park racetrack. The bribes were in the form of stock. Amazingly, the scandal came to light because Everett had deducted the value of the stock on her federal income tax returns under her own theory that bribery was an ordinary and necessary business expense in Illinois.

Following a 1973 trial in which his prosecutor was future Illinois governor James R. Thompson, Kerner was convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison and fined $50,000.

Daniel Walker

In 1987 he was convicted of improprieties related to the First American Savings & Loan Association of Oak Brook. Media at the time reported he received over a million dollars in fraudulent loans for his business and repairs on his yacht, the Governor’s Lady.[5] At his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ann Williams stated, “It’s clear to this court that a pattern was established and that you, Mr. Walker, thought this bank was your own personal piggy bank to bail you out whenever you got into trouble.”[5] The First American Savings & Loan Association of Oak Brook was declared insolvent with a deficit of $23 million[6] and was later bailed out by the United States Federal government. He was sentenced to seven years in federal prison, and served 18 months at a Duluth, Minnesota correctional facility.

George Ryan

On September 6, 2006, he was sentenced to serve six and a half years in prison.[

“Mr. Ryan steered contracts worth millions of dollars to friends and took payments and vacations in return. When he was a sitting governor, he lied to the F.B.I. about this conduct and then he went out and did it again.” He charged that one of the most egregious aspects of the corruption was Ryan’s action after learning that bribes were being paid for licenses. Instead of ending the practice he tried to end the investigation that had uncovered it, Fitzgerald said, calling the moment “a low-water mark for public service.” Ryan becomes the third Illinois governor in recent history to be convicted of white-collar crimes, following Dan Walker and Otto Kerner. Ryan becomes the second Illinois Secretary of State with evidence of an affinity for cash, following Paul Powell who upon his death was found to have $800,000 in shoe boxes in his hotel room.

Electing criminals has become quite the tradition there in Illinois. They’re batting average for electing criminals is higher than Ty Cobb’s.

The worst part about it is for every careless act of hubris that results in one of our elected officials getting caught, there must be 50 that go uncaught and unpunished.

I submit that this corruption occurs because we give our government too much power. A nanny state that caters to our every whim may sound good in theory, but in practice it always leads to corporatism and systemic corruption.

Ultimately, we must conclude that “The Government that governs least, governs best” and vote accordingly.

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