Feds targeted these Illinois politicians for corruption in 2022
Illinois saw more than its fair share of corruption and misconduct again in 2022, but some politicians stood out in a crowded field.
The holidays are a time for giving, but Illinois politicians too often are taking – no matter what the season is.
Here are some of the notable public corruption and misconduct cases from 2022.
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was indicted in March on federal racketeering charges.
Madigan allegedly ran a criminal enterprise, exchanging influence on key legislation for job opportunities for constituents and other allies. Court documents state Madigan netted $2.85 million in illegitimate funds.
But Madigan denies all of it. He claimed jobs were given to his constituents because of good recommendations, not illegal influence.
State Sen. Emil Jones III
State Sen. Emil Jones III was charged with bribery as part of a federal investigation into red-light cameras. He ran unopposed in his 2022 election, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has called for his resignation.
Jones is the sixth state senator to be hit with federal corruption charges since 2019 when Pritzker took office. The Chicago Tribune reports a seventh senator, state Sen. Elgie Sims of Chicago, is also under federal investigation.
State Sen. Michael Hastings
Pritzker also called for state Sen. Michael Hasting, D-Frankfort, to step down. Hastings’ wife accused him of domestic violence and his former chief of staff accused him of harassment, both combined have cost the state nearly $150,000.
Former state Sen. Thomas Cullerton
The Villa Park Democrat will still collect a $2 million pension even after spending time in federal prison for embezzlement.
Former state Rep. Luis Arroyo
Former state Rep. Luis Arroyo, 67, pleaded guilty to bribery in May in exchange for 57 months in federal prison. The former Illinois House assistant majority leader pleaded guilty to accepting and soliciting bribes to expand sweepstakes gambling legislation in Springfield.
Chicago Ald. Ed Burke
Chicago’s 14th ward Ald. Ed Burke announced he won’t seek election while under indictment for extorting two Burger King executives into using his law firm, Klafter & Burke. Court documents also state Burke talked with then Ald. Daniel Solis 23 times about extorting the Old Post Office into using Burke’s firm during renovations.
Other public corruption
2022 also brought these public corruption cases:
- Chicago transit employee tried to steal $357K from pension fund
- Union boss receives 19-month prison sentence for extorting $325K from film studio
- Chicago-area mayor guilty in red light camera bribery scheme
- Chicago alderman from Daley family implicated in bank embezzlement
Corruption costs Illinois
Illinois in 2022 saw a record number of ethics complaints involving conflicts of interest from elected and unelected officials.
By 2016, Illinoisans had the lowest trust in their government of any state’s residents, according to Gallup polls.
Whether in treasure or trust, corruption costs Illinois. Vigorous federal prosecution can help curb it, but not much will change until state leaders get serious about ethics reforms.