Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality
Kindling a fire to clear the tangled undergrowth of Illinois politics
Public funds spent on jets and horses. Shoeboxes stuffed with embezzled cash. Ghost payrolls and incarcerated ex-governors. Illinois' culture of "Where's mine?" and the public apathy it engenders has made our state and local politics a disgrace.
In Corrupt Illinois, veteran political observers Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson take aim at business-as-usual. Naming names, the authors lead readers through a gallery of rogues and rotten apples to illustrate how generations of chicanery have undermined faith in, and hope for, honest government. From there, they lay out how to implement institutional reforms that provide accountability and eradicate the favoritism, sweetheart deals, and conflicts of interest corroding our civic life.
Corrupt Illinois lays out a blueprint to transform our politics from a pay-to-play–driven marketplace into what it should be: an instrument of public good.
"Political scholars Thomas Gradel and Dick Simpson have written a path breaking book from The University of Illinois Press on corruption in the state of Illinois. This book is the most comprehensive survey of corruption in the state of Illinois ever published. The lessons here are useful well beyond Illinois."--New Geography
"Gradel and Simpson do not intend to simply chronicle political corruption but also to motivate a public demand for reform. . . . The authors recognize that certain recent reforms have been implemented and that Illinois is less corrupt than in the past, they make the somber conclusion that the battle against the political machine requires diligent and sustained work over the coming years. Citizens interested in this work of reform will find the book an informative and very worthwhile read."--Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
"Corrupt Illinois is the most comprehensive account of corruption in our state ever published. It proposes cures, which will take decades to implement fully, but which deserve our attention now."--Governor Jim Edgar, from the foreword
"Gradel and Simpson have chronicled corruption in Illinois for decades. Here they sum up their findings in distressing, damning detail. The authors propose important steps to tamp down this corruption."--James A. Nowlan, former state representative and co-author of Fixing Illinois: Politics and Policy in the Prairie State
"Corrupt Illinois documents the vast scope and depth of corruption in Illinois politics, which is a monumental achievement in itself. Of equal importance, it explores the underlying roots of that corruption, building an understanding of its dynamics and the policy changes necessary to address it."--Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science, University of Illinois at Springfield
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