Report: Chicago is the most-corrupt city in the country
CHICAGO (RNN) – The Windy City is known for its politicians and gangsters. Now it has the ranking to go with it.
A new report out this week from the University of Illinois at Chicago puts Chicago at the top of its most-corrupt city list. Illinois is the third-most corrupt state.
"What we find is a very dreary picture," lead author and political science professor Dick Simpson told WLS. "In nearly every sector, whether you talk about aldermen, you talk about Chicago schools, you talk about contracts, in every area corruption is still rife in the city of Chicago."
The corruption rankings are based on 40 years of data.
During that timeframe, there have been more than 1,700 federal corruption convictions in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where Chicago is located.
Simpson said the corruption knows no political boundaries.
He called former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett the corruption poster child for taking $2 million in bribes.
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, was convicted in a sex abuse scandal.
Congressman Aaron Schock, another member of the GOP, was indicted on fraud and theft charges.
And there's a pending case against Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran, a Democrat, for bribery and extortion.
"What that means is that it's harder to get businesses to come here because of its corrupt state," Simpson said. "We're losing population and corruption is one of the reasons we're losing population. We have undermined faith in government."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel questioned Chicago's ranking, citing a series of corruption reforms he's enacted during his seven years in charge.
"What's important is do you have the political will to make fundamental changes in the system," he said. "And while we're not resting on our laurels I think we look where I was on day one and where we are today. We made those a series of changes."
So far, those changes haven't done much to influence public opinion.
A 2016 Gallup poll showed Illinois ranked last in a national survey. Only 25 percent of residents said they felt confident in the state's government.
North Dakota was tops at 81 percent.
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