Along with Chicago, Los Angeles topped the list of the most public corruption convictions in America, based on the number of federal corruption convictions between 1976 and 2017. Chicago had 1,731 convictions during that time period, while the Central District of California had 1,534. The Manhattan area had 1,327 and Miami had 1,165, according to the report. Washington, D.C. had 1,159.
Drawing information from the Department of Justice, the report shows 25 public figures were convicted of charges tied to corruption in 2017 in the City of Chicago and the northern third of Illinois. 2017 was the most recent year for which the DOJ data was available, the report says.
More than 30 Chicago City Council members have been tied to corruption cases since the 1970’s, with Ald. Edward Burke (14th) becoming the latest Chicago politician to make headlines after being charged with one count of attempted extortion on Thursday, Jan. 3 for allegedly trying to use his power on the City Council to solicit business for his private law firm.
The charge against Burke, Chicago’s most powerful and longest-running City Council member, comes on the heels of two FBI raids carried out in his offices late last year. After serving the city’s Southwest Side for 50 years, the charge puts Burke on the ever-growing list of disgraced city officials.
Although Chicago accounts for 82 percent of the state’s public corruption convictions, according to the report, federal corruption is a statewide problem.
Statewide, Illinois ranked–on a per capita basis–as the third most corrupt state in America. In 2017, the state had 34 convictions for public corruption.
California, Florida, New York and Texas all had more public convictions than Illinois, but those states have much larger populations so they ranked lower on a per capita basis.