For Illinois, Blagojevich Is Only the Latest to Fall
By MONICA DAVEY
CHICAGO — After jurors this week convicted Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, of trying to sell his appointment of a replacement in the United States Senate for President Obama, they were asked what they had come to think of politicians in their home state.
Not much, apparently. Connie Wilson, the jury forewoman and a former church employee from the suburbs, said she had warned her husband against pursuing politics. But she also said she thought the verdict in the case — 17 convictions on federal felonies that could send Mr. Blagojevich to prison for years — would send a loud and clear warning to anyone else out there playing the same games. And law enforcement officials here voiced optimism that Ms. Wilson was right.
“Perhaps the long national embarrassment for the state of Illinois over the last two and a half years has finally come to an end,” said Robert Grant, the F.B.I. special agent in charge in Chicago.
But this state’s embarrassments are actually rooted deeper. For more than a century, political corruption has touched even the lowest government post here, Democrats and Republicans alike. By one university’s count, 1,000 public officials and businessmen have been convicted of public corruption since 1970.