According to a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs, Chicago is the most corrupt city in the nation and New York State is the most corrupt state.
Since 1976, 2,522 people have been convicted of federal public corruption charges in New York State (70 per year). Since 1976 the Chicago metro area has had 1,531 federal public corruption convictions.
For complete list of states and cities making the top 10 list for federal convictions check out the study, which recommends adopting the following reforms to address corruption in Chicago.
1. Amend the City’s Ethics Ordinance to cover aldermen and their staff;
2. Give the Inspector General access to all city documents including those held
secret by the Corporation Counsel;
3. Ban all gifts to all elected officials and public employees except those from
4. Bar all lobbying of other governmental bodies by elected officials and city
5. Prohibit double dipping, patronage and nepotism with real penalties including
6. Improve the city’s ethics training and bring it up to at least the State of Illinois
I live in DC now but I’m a New Yorker, and let me tell you the amount of corruption in NYS government absurd. Albany is broken like nothing I’ve ever seen. Voting out a representative is near impossible. One example (which I’m sure is everywhere, but is rampant in NYS) is that if there is a district with a close race, and the majority party has the incumbent, the party will threaten to cut off the money to organizations receiving assistance in the district if their candidate doesn’t win. Blegh.
I would like to point out that since Rahm took office, the city has released hundreds of data sets and passed new ethics rules. (See the full story at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/28/rahm-emanuel-ethics-refor_n_912545.html Those rules were a stop gap measure while a task force is revamping the whole thing based on best practices from across the nation. It should be out sometime in April.
As a practical matter, I disagree that elected officials or public employees can’t lobby other branches. Rahm should be free to play ball in Springfield if that means getting politices enacted that benefit the city. It’d be malfeasance not too.
It’s still going to take a bit to clean up the mess, but bringing open government to Chicago is a big first step.