Illinois - (ECWd) -
Once again we see that Illinois leads the way in corruption as yet another elected official has been indicted. In this case, it is former Republican Congressman Aaron Shock. And for the record, don't be fooled by the party identifier as corruption knows no party in Illinois. This state has managed to produce some of the most brilliant criminal minds in the country and from both sides of the political isle.
As reported by ABC a few years ago:
- Rod Blagojevich was governor from 2002 to 2009. He was convicted of numerous corruption charges in 2011, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat. He is currently serving a 14-year sentence at a federal prison in Colorado.
- Dan Walker, governor from 1973 through 1977, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and other charges in 1987 related to his business activities after leaving office. He spent about a year and a half in federal prison.
- Otto Kerner, governor from 1961 through 1968, spent three years in prison after being convicted of bribery-related charges.
And NPR's reporting on Gov. Ryan says it all.
- A federal jury convicted Ryan in April 2006 on fraud and racketeering charges. Federal prosecutors had alleged that under Ryan, the state of Illinois was basically for sale. They accused Ryan of presiding over state government offices that were thoroughly corrupt for at least a decade.
We broke the story on Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino's questionable spending in this article, which has now lead to criminal investigations by the US Attorney's office and State Board of Elections complaints that have yet to be resolved. Is Mautino the next Aaron Shock?
We exposed more illegal activities at the College of DuPage than we ever dreamed possible for a community college. That exposure led to meetings with criminal investigators that took the information and is now an ongoing criminal investigation into the actions of the past President, COD Foundation members, and vendors to the College. Will any of those people be the next Aaron Shock? (Most of those articles found at this link)
What does all this have to do with Aaron Shock? We have said for many years; Illinois has a culture of corruption. Over time, that corruption becomes a way of doing business that people accept and even come to believe it's legal. When you have County Board Chairman that publicly acknowledges an act they are about to take violates Illinois Law yet they go ahead and do it while making excuses (2:30 mark of the video), that is an acceptance that laws don't matter. That is how corruption festers into our system of society and grows like cancer. We ignore what is perceived to be small issues and before you know it, the mindset of "it's ok to ignore the law" becomes the way of doing business.
Eventually, that mindset becomes a criminal operation. One that strategically plans on how to circumvent the law from playing word games with statutes to outright organized theft of funds through bid rigging and self-dealing. We have exposed so much of it in Illinois it has become second nature for us to see it well in advance of people sitting at the table who are supposed to be protecting the taxpayer.
Reading the indictment of Aaron Shock appears to fit the very pattern of what we have seen as common practice in Illinois Local Governments. We believe this is a learned behavior from within our political system in this state. Now don't get me wrong, there are some very great and upstanding public officials in this state, but I guarantee if you ask those very people about the culture of corruption in this state they will be the first to tell you it is in fact out of control.
You need not look any further than the indictment of Aaron Shock. It truly reads like a crime novel. I suspect you could make a movie out of it. We won't know for some time but when reading it, it's clear others were a party to his actions and enabled a lot of what he was doing. We can only hope those people were the ones that exposed it to the authorities. If not, they are a part of the extablished culture of acceptance of wrongdoing for personal gain.
I urge each and every citizen of this great country to take a stand against corruption and self-dealing by our elected officials. You can make a difference, but as long as you stay silent, you are condoning it with inaction.
To better understand what I'm talking about, read the indictment for yourself.
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