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NCJ Number: 64607 Find in a Library
Title: ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE - A STUDY IN CORRUPTION
Journal: HARPER'S MAGAZINE  Volume:229  Dated:(AUGUST 1964)  Pages:74-78
Author(s): P SIMON
Corporate Author: Harper's Magazine Co
United States of America
Date Published: 1964
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Harper's Magazine Co
New York, NY 10016
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE CORRUPT WORKINGS OF THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE ARE PRESENTED BY STATE SENATOR PAUL SIMON, AND INCLUDE GAMBLING, HORSE RACING, SYNDICATE INFLUENCE, AND PAYOFFS.
Abstract: STATE LEGISLATURES, THE 'FOUNTAINHEADS' OF REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT IN THE UNITED STATES, ARE POLLUTED BEYOND BELIEF BY CORRUPTION. LAST YEAR, THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE, THE LAWMAKER AND PUBLIC CONSCIENCE OF THE NATION'S FOURTH MOST POPULOUS STATE, ENACTED A REDISTRICTING PLAN SO BLATANTLY UNREPRESENTATIVE THAT THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT UPHELD THE GOVERNOR'S VETO OF IT. A COLLEAGUE WHO HAS SERVED 11 TERMS IN THE HOUSE ESTIMATES THAT 33 PERCENT OF THE MEMBERS ACCEPT PAYOFFS. IF QUESTIONED, THE RECIPIENT SIMPLY DENIES THAT THE PAYMENT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY; THIS MAKES IT TECHNICALLY LEGAL. A SOMEWHAT SMALLER NUMBER OF PAYOFFS ARE NOT VEILED AT ALL. THERE ARE NO REAL SAFEGUARDS AGAINST CONFLICTS BETWEEN THE PUBLIC'S AND THE LEGISLATORS' PRIVATE INTERESTS. AMONG THE CHIEF BENEFICIARIES OF LAX LEGISLATIVE STANDARDS ARE THE STATE'S RACETRACKS WHICH ENJOY ONE OF THE LOWEST TAX RATES IN THE NATION. THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM OF THE SENATE HAS LONG BEEN A TRACK STOCKHOLDER. IN ADDITION, A BIPARTISAN CHICAGO GROUP KNOWN AS THE 'WEST SIDE BLOC' CONSISTENTLY AND SUCCESSFULLY OPPOSES EFFORTS TO CLEAN UP ELECTIONS, STREAMLINE CHICAGO GOVERNMENT, AND PASS MAJOR ANTICRIME LEGISLATION. THIS COALITION INCLUDES ONE STATE SENATOR AND SEVERAL REPRESENTATIVES. GAMBLING, HORSERACING, AND THE SYNDICATE ARE NOT THE ONLY OBJECTS OF LEGISLATORS' BENEVOLENCE. THERE IS ONE SENATOR WHO OWNS A FINANCE COMPANY WHICH IS SO LOOSELY REGULATED THAT IT CHARGES INTEREST RATES AS HIGH AS 36 PERCENT. BUDGETMAKING IN THE LEGISLATURE IS HANDLED BY A CLINQUE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, AND THE SPOILS SYSTEM OF STATE JOBS FLOURISHES. LACK OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY SERVES AS AN OPEN INVITATION TO CONTINUING CORRUPTION. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Corruption of public officials; Fraud; Gambling; Illinois; Organized crime; State government
Note: AS TOLD TO ALFRED BALK
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64607

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