Is There Something Different About Illinois?
"If it isn't the most corrupt state, it's certainly one hell of a competitor." -- Robert Grant, FBI, 12/9/08 Rod Blagojevich is ...
"If it isn't the most corrupt state, it's certainly one hell of a competitor." -- Robert Grant, FBI, 12/9/08
Rod Blagojevich is the fourth Illinois governor in as many decades to be indicted. Two went to prison for abusing their office, including Blagojevich's predecessor, Republican George Ryan.
Ironically, Blagojevich was lobbying for President Bush to pardon Ryan just last month. And Blagojevich owes his career -- or the lucky breaks that made his career possible -- to corruption.
The dysfunction of the Illinois Republican Party in the wake of the corruption scandal that plagued Ryan led to Blagojevich's election in 2002 -- the first election of a Democrat to the Illinois governorship in more than 30 years. Continued dysfunction and the bad name of the Illinois GOP allowed Blagojevich's reelection in 2006, despite low approval ratings.
Blagojevich also was positioned for the governorship due to the corruption of others. Dan Rostenkowski, the longime chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, lost his seat in 1994 and eventually went to prison due to corruption charges. Rostenkowski lost to a nonentity named Michael Patrick Flanagan.
Flanagan was a ripe target in the overwhelmingly Democratic district in 1996. Blagojevich beat two rivals in the party primary, thanks to support from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Alderman Richard Mell, one of Chicago's last strong ward leaders -- and Blagojevich's father-in-law.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
The Week in Politics: Indiana's Tight Governor's Race, Election Law Rulings and More18 hours ago
Governor Unveils New Plans for Louisiana Flood Recovery Housing51 minutes ago
New Mexico Cash Reserves Hit Zero as Budget Troubles Mount1 hour ago
Chicago Raises Taxes to Fund New Schools Budget1 hour ago
House Calls from Doctors Might Save Medicaid Money for States1 hour ago
Obama Creates New Protected Lands in Maine, Sparking Outrage from Governor1 hour ago