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Corruption Watch

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If you thought Chicago's corrupt past had been relegated to bedtime story, think again. A new study by University of Illinois at Chicago poly-sci prof Dick Simpson pegs Chicago as the most corrupt city in the nation. Serving a stint on the front lines himself as a former Alderman, Simpson estimates official corruption costs taxpayers $500M a year (one sixth our annual budget). This would involve everything from police brutality to bribes to ghost payrolling and other fun stuff. The Northern District of Illinois (which includes Chicago) has accumulated 1,531 convictions of public officials since 1976, miles ahead of L.A.'a Central District, the runner-up. The statewide total of 1,828 is third highest in the nation, behind much more populous California and New York. Need more ammunition? Four of our last seven governors had corruption convictions. In Simpson's words, "We have had machine politics since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Machine politics breeds corruption inevitably." [CBS]