The new standings are out, and Illinois remains No. 3 in the nation when it comes to political corruption. This is according to a University of Illinois study of 2013 data. On a per capita basis, only Louisiana and the District of Columbia had more political and government corruption convictions in federal court than Illinois did. Political science professor Dick Simpson says it's part of the culture here, going back centuries, which he blames on political machines in many Illinois counties.
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"They set up a system in which you as an individual taxpayer would expect to pay a bribe to get what you needed done by government, and I as a government official would expect to get a bribe if you were gonna get a zoning variance or a crooked contract," he said.
Simpson is the author of Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality.
The third-place ranking is unchanged from 2012.
In terms of corruption convictions from 1976, when the federal government started keeping track, through 2013, New York is first with 2,657 public corruption convictions, California is second with 2,549 convictions and Illinois is third with 1,982.
The Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, the suburbs, Elgin and Rockford, had 45 corruption convictions in 2013 - more than any other federal court district in the country.
Simpson suggests reforms, including more inspectors general, especially in the Chicago suburbs, civics education, public financing of campaigns, term limits and election of better public officials.