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Dick Simpson: Chicago Is Most Corrupt City In Country

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 17, 2012 11:15PM

Dick Simpson
It doesn't surprise anyone to find corruption in Chicago government. Live here long enough and one may even experience it.

UIC political science professor Dick Simpson has more experience than most on the subject; as a former alderman he's widely regarded as an expert on the subject.

Simpson released a report earlier this week that calls Chicago the most corrupt city in the country, Illinois the third-most corrupt state, and summarized the report in his Chicago Journal column.

"For instance, of the last seven Illinois governors, four have been convicted of corruption — getting a secret deal on race track stock, manipulating savings and loans, selling driver licenses to unqualified drivers who killed children in car wrecks, and negotiating to sell a U.S. Senate seat. Chicago City Hall qualifies as an equally famous crime scene. Since 1973, 31 Chicago aldermen have been convicted and gone to jail.

"The truth is that the governor’s mansion and the city council chambers have a far worse crime rate than the worst ghetto in Chicago."

Simpson based his report on data from the Justice Department and estimated the cost of corruption to taxpayers at $500 million, which he called a "corruption tax."

Simpson also said cities such as Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong have had worse corruption, but rehabilitated, and offered some fundamental changes to City Council that could turn the tide here.

"Allow aldermen and their staffs to be investigated by the city’s inspector general if accused of corruption. Don’t allow double-dipping on multiple government payrolls. Allow citizens to sue to recover damages if public officials steal public funds. And pass the constitutional amendment supported by Gov. Pat Quinn to let voters enact ethics reforms at the ballot box.

"We know how to end most of the corruption and to clear our city’s besmirched name. But as Mayor Richard J. Daley taught me when I fought for reform in the City Council in the 1970s, we can’t win if you don’t have the votes. Unless Chicagoans give a damn, we will never have the votes at the ballot box or in the city council to end the endemic cultural of corruption which has plagued this city since the first public corruption convictions in 1869. "

Will City Council listen?

Simpson's report is below.

Leading the Pack