Why Is Illinois So Corrupt?

Chicago Magazine has a great story about corruption in Illinois.

Big truth here:

Of course, most generous donors don’t give merely out of purity of heart. “Those large sums of money from all kinds of special interests—they’re invested for a purpose,” says Adlai Stevenson III, the former U.S. senator and two-time unsuccessful candidate for governor of Illinois. “Who’s going to invest in an honest politician?” Many donors expect to be rewarded with lucrative contracts, changes in policies that favor their interests, or other politically directed largesse.

Thank you Adlai for telling it like it is.

And then there is this:

It’s easy to fault public servants and criticize unsound laws, but ultimately the local political culture “comes down to what the voters will put up with,” says James Merriner. Over the years, Illinois voters have shown themselves to be a tolerant lot, viewing corruption as the grease that helps get things done. “It’s worked well enough for most of the people,” says Cindi Canary. “It’s been seen as the price you pay for relatively efficient government.”

(Full story here.)

Basically, it’s because the voters say it’s ok.

The story comes up with all kinds of ivy-tower answers from ivy-tower kinda folks.  Some may have some merit, maybe not.  But I agree with these two reasons right here.  Money and apathy.

It’s worth reading the end of this story.  The truth is that apathy may be ending because people are about to get tax at a level never seen before.  You take enough money from someone and you get their attention.