It’s been almost 5 years since former Illinois governor Rod Balgojevich was unceremoniously removed from office. For 4 years prior to that he had been under Federal Bureau of Investigation watch for corruption. But when Blago, as he became known in the tabloids, attempted to “sell” the now-vacated seat of former United States Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, things came to a head quickly.
Soon details about Blagojevich’s ties to one Tony Rezko, himself later convicted of wire fraud, became public knowledge. The Illinois Attorney General declared him not fit to serve, and asked that he be removed. That move failed. Finally, the Illinois legislature impeached him and had him removed.
Blagojevich has been convicted, appealed. And time will tell where that appeal goes. But one thing is for sure: Rod Blagojevich comes from a long line of colorful Illinois politicians, especially in and around the Chicago area. In fact, the corruption and dealings of Illinois politicians has become so well-known and well-documented that it has spawned a term all it’s own: Chicago-style politics.
If that political genealogy is any indication, one should not count Rod Blagojevich out. He could still yet be back.
During the reign of Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, many members of his administration were jailed on charges of corruption, though the Da Mare himself never was. Daley himself is remembered fondly by many as overseeing a time of growth in Chocago, when O’hare Airport, the Sears Tower and lots of other projects were realized. They say that, were it not for “Hizzoner”, as they call him, Chicago could be in the straits of a Detroit or Cleveland now.
Later under the watch of his son, also a Chicago mayor, Richard M. Daley, there were also arrests for corruption.
Entire films and television series have held the corruption of Chicago – and other cities – at the heart of their story lines. One such show is Boardwalk Empire, with its depiction of a Chicago political machine “encouraging” factory workers to vote Republican in an upcoming election, using bats and night sticks.
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