Report: Chicago area most corrupt in America

Report: Chicago area most corrupt in America

Chicago is the most corrupt metropolitan area in America for the fourth consecutive year and Illinois is the second-most corrupt state, according to a new report from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Corruption can cost Illinois taxpayers up to $550 million per year.

A new report found Chicago is the nation’s most corrupt metropolitan area and Illinois is the nation’s second-most corrupt state.

Chicago led the nation with 41 corruption convictions per year, or 1,824 total, from 1976 to 2021, according to an analysis by the University of Illinois-Chicago using U.S. Justice Department data on federal public corruption convictions.

Illinois was second of the states for per-capita convictions, with 1.75 for every 10,000 residents. Louisiana was on top with 2.85 per 10,000.

Total Illinois convictions hit 2,224 from 1976 to 2021, or an average of nearly 50 per year. About 4 in 5 of those were out of the Chicago area.

From 2000 to 2018, corruption cost Illinois $550 million per year in lost economic activity and investment. Political science professor Marco Rosaire Rossi noted Illinois corruption was down slightly in 2021 compared to other years, but far from where the state should be.

“However, just because corruption is becoming less frequent does not mean it is still not shamefully prevalent, nor that its impact on the state is less pernicious in terms of tax dollars wasted and lost in public trust,” he wrote.

Most recent cases stemmed from the indictment of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, former Chicago Ald. Ed Burke and red-light camera bribery convictions.

Burke was the longest-serving Chicago alderman in history, keeping power through control of city finances and patronage jobs. His corruption trial began with jury selection Nov. 6.

Madigan was the longest-serving legislative leader at the state or federal level in U.S history. His trial is scheduled to begin April 1, 2024.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers could thwart another Madigan and hinder another Burke with commonsense reform such as barring legislative leaders from acting as party chairperson. They could also ban state and local lawmakers from participating in property tax appeals cases – a way both Burke and Madigan leveraged their influence.

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