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Crime Sat Dec 01 2012
Humor is the best way to maintain one's sanity when analyzing the consistent and intimate relationship that Illinois elected officials seem to have with federal investigations, corruption, and/or the inside of a jail cell. Here's the latest on the people we voted for currently fighting the law.
Jesse Jackson Jr., who was re-elected despite being on leave as he seeks treatment for bi-polar disorder and under federal investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds, finally resigned from congress last week, breaking his pre-election promise to return to duty once he dealt with his medical issues. Chris Good of ABC News thinks the re-election could cost Illinois $5.1 million. While we wait for another election to fill the seat of the 2nd district, several possible candidates have already thrown their hat in the ring. One of them is former 90's congressman, and former state and federal convict Mel Reynolds. He served state time for 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and child pornography. He would have served more time in federal prison for unrelated bank fraud, but his sentence was commuted by President Clinton. You would wonder if the constituents of the 2nd district would vote for a former felon, but they did just elect an absentee congressman who is currently under federal investigation -- by a landslide no less. Other candidates that may be interested in the seat range from the bombastic -- former Rod Blagojevich and R.Kelly attorney Sam Adam Jr., to the more expected such as former representative Debbie Halverson (who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Jackson in the primary), or State Senators Donne Trotter and Toi Hutchinson. We hope whoever is elected can serve their term without being investigated by the Feds, but this is Illinois after all.
The Tribune reports that in another part of Chicagoland, state legislature LaShawn Ford was indicted on "federal charges he made false statements to a bank to obtain a $500,000 increase on a line of credit." Allegedly the money was used for credit cards and casino debts when it was supposed to be used for real estate rehabilitation. He has told the media that he is innocent of the charges. Though we have to wait for the judicial process to determine his guilt, it's difficult to suppress the cynicism. Illinoisans have heard "I'm innocent" many times before.
Derrick Smith, the state representative who was expelled from the Illinois General Assembly because of his federal indictment for alleged bribery has his trial date scheduled for October of 2013. In September I wrote about Smith being projected to win his seat for re-election, and despite his obvious ethical concerns, he was in fact re-elected. Though he won't be able to serve in the General Assembly, his seat won't technically be given up unless he's convicted of the bribery charge. Until then, it will be another constituency without representation.
If Jackson, Ford, and Smith do find themselves incarcerated as a result of their respective federal charges, they'll at least be in familiar company. George Ryan will be in prison at least through next July, and Rod Blagojevich will be there for quite some time.