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A New Low Replaces A Low Water Mark

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Soon to be more household-nameish U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald pointed out that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich "has taken us to a new low." Well, that's partly true. Indicting a sitting Illinois Governor is a bit remarkable, but indicting them isn't even remotely novel, and Fitzgerald used almost exactly this line with his last Illinois Governor indictment, saying that "a low-water mark for public service," had been reached when George Ryan was indicted for misuse of campaign funds. It's not surprising that Fitzgerald sounds repetitive. Five of the last nine Illinois Governors have been indicted for something making it the undisputed champion of state corruption. To wit:
William G. Stratton 1953-1961 (Republican) Indicted for tax evasion related to his use of campaign funds. (Acquitted).
Otto Kerner, Jr. 1961- 1968 (Democratic) Convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges when Marge Lindheimer Everett deducts the bribe from her federal income tax return as a "ordinary business expense." Sentenced to three years.
Samuel H. Shapiro 1968-1969 (Democratic)
Richard Buell Ogilvie 1969-1973 (Republican)
Daniel Walker 1973-1977 (Democratic) Convicted in 1987 for obtaining fraudulent loans used to support his business and his yacht "The Governor's Lady." Sentenced to seven years, served 18 months.
James R. Thompson 1977-1991 (Republican)
James Edgar 1991-1999 (Republican)
George H. Ryan 1999-2003 (Republican) Convicted on several counts of misuse of campaign funds (funneled to his many daughters, housekeeper, etc.) and selling business licenses for cash and political favors while he was Secretary of State. Sentenced to six and a half years. (Appealing... still).
Rod R. Blagojevich 2003-Present (Democratic) Indicted for bribery, etc. related to shaking down businesses (Tribune, etc.) for state assistance.
Shaking down Bank of America was just the more public of his muscle flexing, it would seem.


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