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December 10th, 2008
07:21 PM ET

Why is Illinois so corrupt?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/09/blagojevich.profile/art.rod.rx.gi.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, shown here in 2003."]
Eamon Javers and Fred Barbash
Politico

A visibly disgusted FBI special agent Robert Grant stood at a podium in Chicago during a press conference Tuesday announcing the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and hurling his contempt at the entire political culture of the state of Illinois.

“If it is not the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” Grant said, his disheveled shock of black hair giving some indication of the dramatic and stressful events of the day.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald termed the events leading up to the governor’s early-morning arrest by the FBI, “a corruption crime spree,” and said it was “an appalling statement about what’s been happening in Illinois government.”

So just what is the problem with Illinois?

It certainly seems like Illinois has a particular sweet spot for corruption: Blagojevich’s own predecessor as governor, George Ryan, went to jail in 2007 in a 6-1/2 year sentence for corruption of his own.

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Filed under: Eamon Javers • Fred Barbash • Rod Blagojevich