Thursday, December 11, 2008

A House of Ill. Repute

If the Land of Lincoln "isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor" - ROBERT D. GRAN, FBI Special Agent

Now that Illinois Governor Rod "B-Rod" Blagojevich was busted and hauled off in cuffs, Neely Tucker of the Washington Post was kind enough to refresh our memories of Blago's rougish predecessors, who have likewise walked the perp walk and talked the perp talk:

Gov. Otto Kerner Jr. (1961-1968)

One-time member of LBJ's "Kerner Commission" that probed the 1967 race riots, his cardinal sin was accepting 300K in cut-rate stocks while in office to give a business boost to a racetrack director. Was convicted on 17 counts of bribery, perjury and a cornucopia of other bad things. After spending time in prison from 1974 to 1975, he died a year later after obtaining a early release due to terminal cancer.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Seth Perlman

Gov. Dan Walker (1973-1977)

Parlayed his outrage over police misconduct during the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention into a stint in the governorship. After he seved his term, he ran a chain of auto oil-change shops, then greased the skids with $1 million in funky loans from an S&L he ran and operated from his yacht, the Governor's Lady. Fessed up to three felonies and was freed after serving 17 months in prison from 1988-1989.

Photo credit: CNN

Gov. George Ryan (1999-2003)

While he was idol-worshiped for suspending executions and commuting death sentences to life imprisonment, he was a dirty rotten scoundrel in the eyes of the feds, who proceeded to bust him for a fedora of crimes: licensing unqualified truck drivers, lying to federal investigators, trading state contracts for personal favors. Now serving a 6 1/2 year prison sentence that began in 2007.

Given this pattern of crime and corruption in Illinois' governorship, Arianna Huffington had ths to day about the Blago scandal:

One thing is certain: Rod Blagojevich is not a student of history. Since the 1970s, three governors of Illinois have been convicted of corruption charges, including the man who preceded Blagojevich in office, George Ryan, who is currently better known as Federal Inmate Number 16627-424. He is serving time in a medium security facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. Probably not the location Blago had in mind when he said: "I can parachute me there."

Now why does all this keep going on and on? Trust me, the state of Illinois deserves better than this melodrama.

In the meantime, I'll pop in a DVD and watch "As the Stomach Turns," the sudsy soap opera parody from the old Carol Burnett show.

No comments: