Illinois’ newest General Assembly began Wednesday with the swearing into office of not one, but three Democrat legislators facing criminal charges. One might expect in a state with such a history of sending governors to prison, there would be a real initiative underway to stop the corruption, or at least to stop electing the corrupt. But in Illinois, there is no such luck, or sense.
Rep. Derrick Smith was arrested and charged for accepting a $7,000 bribe last year, just before the February 2012 primary election; however that didn’t stop him from winning that primary. And despite being removed from office by the legislature, Smith still won the general election handily this past November, sending him back to Springfield.
AP reports that state law prevents Smith from being expelled from the legislature again for the same charges.
Rep. La Shawn Ford faces bank fraud charges for allegedly making false statements to get an increase in a bank credit line. Ford Allegedly used the funds to buy a car and run his 2006 campaign, instead of rehabbing investment properties as he claimed he would.
And having the toughest gun laws in the country, what kind of state would Illinois be without having politicians who get in trouble for illegal possession of a firearm? Sen. Donnie Trotter was arrested for trying to bring a gun through airport security. Trotter claims to “work in security” and said he forgot his gun in his bag.
All three of the legislators have pleaded not guilty.
The AP also reports that Chicago has the most public convictions of any federal jurisdiction nationwide, with more than 1500 in the northern district of Illinois since 1976. On a statewide level, Illinois only falls short to California and New York with 1800 convictions in that same time.
With such a high conviction rate, look on the bright side—they are catching some of their crooks. With the corrupt reputation that the state truly deserves and one of the nations worst pension crisis, is it any wonder why United Van Lines reported just yesterday, that 60% of their business is moving people out of Illinois?