Corrupt Illinois authors: Schock is not unique

GradelS15When Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock announced he’d be resigning from the U.S. Congress it was seen by many as yet another example of the state’s seamy political underbelly.

As detailed in Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality, Aaron Schock is not the first Illinois congressman to get into trouble for allegedly using campaign funds and/or taxapayers’ money for personal items. Illinois congressmen Jesse Jackson Jr., Dan Rostenkowski and Mel Reynolds were all convicted on public corruption charges.

As Corrupt Illinois co-author Dick Simpson notes in Crain’s Chicago Business, it doesn’t end there.

“Ten other Illinois congressmen over the past 30 years have been connected to shady dealings and unethical behavior,” Simpson writes. “What all of these wayward congressmen share is hubris and arrogance.”

Observers of Illinois politics can now add Schock’s phantom SUV mileage to a long list of other schemes detailed by Thomas Gradel and Dick Simpson in Corrupt Illinois which range from a creative stamps-for-cash exchange to old fashioned bank fraud.

The authors note that 1,913 government officials and their cronies were convicted in federal court of public corruption from 1976-2012.

Along with the rouges gallery, Simpson and Gradel shine a light on the environment that has made Illinois an incubator for political malfeasance. There are prescriptive measures the authors say can be taken to restore the system.

As Gradel writes, “It is time to cure the culture of corruption that produces Aaron Schocks.”

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