Chicago Called Most Corrupt City In Nation

UPDATED 02/15/12 10:36 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Chicago alderman turned political science professor/corruption fighter has found that Chicago is the most corrupt city in the country.

He cites data from the U.S. Department of Justice to prove his case. And, he says, Illinois is third-most corrupt state in the country.

University of Illinois at Chicago professor Dick Simpson, who served as alderman of the 44th Ward in Lakeview from 1971 to 1979, estimates the cost of corruption at $500 million.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports

It’s essentially a corruption tax on citizens who bear the cost of bad behavior — police brutality, bogus contracts, bribes, theft and ghost payrolling to name a few — and the costs needed to prosecute it.

“We first of all, we have a long history,” Simpson said. “The first corruption trial was in 1869 when alderman and county commissioners were convicted of rigging a contract to literally whitewash City Hall.”

In the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, there have been a total of 1,531 public corruption convictions since 1976, Simpson found. A distant second is California’s central district in Los Angeles with 1,275 public corruption convictions since 1976, Simpson found.

Statewide, that number hits 1,828. Only California and New York have more, but those states have much higher populations. Per capita, only the District of Columbia and Louisiana have more convictions.

Since the 1970s, four of Illinois’ seven governors have been convicted (Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich). In addition, dozens of Chicago alderman and other city and county public officials have been found guilty, Simpson said.

Corruption, Simpson said, is intertwined with city politics. Simpson found that about a third of sitting alderman since 1973 have been corrupt.

“We have had machine politics since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871,” he said. “Machine politics breeds corruption inevitably.”

Simpson says Hong Kong and Sydney were two similarly corrupt cities that managed to change their ways. He says Chicago can too, but it will take decades.

Simpson is set to present his full report Wednesday morning, and testify before the new Chicago Ethics Task Force at City Hall Wednesday night.


In his report, Simpson recommends the following:

  • Governor Pat Quinn’s proposal to allow Illinois citizens to adopt ethics reforms by referendum should be passed;
  • Amend the City’s Ethics Ordinance to cover aldermen and their staff;
  • Give the Inspector General access to all city documents including those held secret by the Corporation Counsel;
  • Ban all gifts to all elected officials and public employees except those from family members;
  • Bar all lobbying of other governmental bodies by elected officials and city employees;
  • Prohibit double dipping, patronage and nepotism with real penalties including firing; and
  • Improve the city’s ethics training and bring it up to at least the State of Illinois level.
  • Jim

    Brought to you by the Masters of the Obvious!

    • Roger Keats

      There is a solution, I moved to Texas!

    • Sean

      I would have thought Washington DC was the most corrupt. I guess DC is the most corrupt city with the most power. Either way, corruption is what we get when there are only two political parties and both parties are bought and paid for by special interest groups.

      • KenWP

        DC *is* the most corrupt on a per capita basis by a factor of 10 over Illinois (see the full report).

    • Jer

      President Obama is a product of Chicago corruption. Provided he doesn’t bring this great Country down to a third world socialist regime in the time he has left, and even if the American will overcomes his ideological hatred for our Country, he will surely be judged in history as the worst President all time! I cannot fathom the destruction he will cause should he be given another four years! Never in my memory have I witnessed a President who is a serial liar without a degree of remorse! God help us!

      • Hank Hamilton

        “Exposing the cover up” thanks for the link. It makes total sense and I can see why government paid trolls are trying to divert people’s attention.

      • Scott

        “exposing the cover up” : You are on every comment section on the web. Go away. You’re a moron. I’m not saying that Obama doesn’t totally suck, because he does, but you’re a conspiracy nutbag.

      • ExposingTheCoverUp

        If only you knew the whole story regarding president Obama that the media cannot report on. Sarah Palin was planted in the last election with no intention of winning.

        Our next election is shaping up to be as big of a sham as the last. Do you know why Sarah Palin’s bus tour was really canceled? Do you know why she stayed 30 miles away from the second debate and chose the death of Steve Jobs to announce that she’s not running? Know what leaked out? Sarah Palin and Cain aren’t in the race for the same reason, the truth leaked out.

      • Scott

        “exposing the cover up” : You are on every comment section on the web. Go away. You’re a moron.

      • Scott

        You know Sandy, Its amazing… you Obamaites are broken records… the only response to the incompetence of this president is “What about Bush!?!” Even if what you say was true about Bush,which it isn’t, it doesn’t change the fact that this president is the biggest serial liar in history and absolutely corrupt. Try putting an argument together with your very own brain without trying to blame Bush for all the problems of the world.

      • bruce brinkmann

        There was Clinton. Now he was an exceptional liar, and Obama has been taken to school by him. The student has surpassed the teacher. We have a liar in chief.

      • James

        Corruption has been in Chicago since this city was founded. Obama was not born in Chicago. And corruption didn’t start with him. Using words like “worst” just shows how much of an extreme crackpot you are. I’m from Chicago and frankly, you sound like one of the corrupt city officials in City hall. I’m sure Daley, Stroger and Blago would love a Kook like you. Take you political games elsewhere.

      • WuzYoungOnceToo

        – “And yeah, Obama started here. But he wasn’t as deeply entrenched as some. ie: Daley, et all.”

        LOL! Not as deeply entrenched as some other crooks? That’s quite the ringing endorsement, eh?

      • Sandy

        Oh please! Did you forget the WMD BS? Where Bush was trying to make up for his daddy’s failure and show how big his pickle was at the same time?

        You’d have to be an idiot to not know Chicago is one of the most corrupt cities. And yeah, Obama started here. But he wasn’t as deeply entrenched as some. ie: Daley, et all.

      • Z1

        Just with everything else. Now that we know its corrupt, what is going to be done to change it? Just like we know we have economic problems, what is being done to fix it.?

      • Chris

        A city that actually prides itself on corruption is America’s most corrupt city? Go figure…

    • jimonthebeach

      Corruption in Chicago! Go figure. When you look at Chicago, you can see the furure of the USA if Obama is re-elected. That’s change we don ‘t need.

      • My opinion

        Agreed. And then they just get a new job in either DC or Chicago and rotate to cover the corruption.. Notice the same people from here-go to DC, then back-always someone to “cover” whatever may be accidentally left behind….
        Although- I do like how Rahm has cracked down as mayor on non paying ticket people, deadbeats, etc… I think even DC scared him! And I don’t say that often about Dems.. Illinois has been leeched dry-there’s no one left to sponge off…

      • bruce brinkmann

        Obamao took that corruption to the white house.

      • LTG

        Agreed! Convinced Yet?! VOTE!!! (or you may not be afforded another opportunity)

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  • Vincent Kocan

    “Chicawga ain’t ready fer change”..Paddy Bauler……

  • The Big Cheese

    we’re number 1! we’re number 1!

  • Dave

    Vote out the Democrats. It’s not rocket science.

    • CFLC


      • Alfred Hussein Neuman

        @NWA – I vote for my best interest. Let me keep as much of the money I earn as possible. I give a lot to charity – as every study done shows, conservatives give give much more than liberals to charity, even when religious organizations are excluded – and I don’t want a liberal reaching into my pocket taking obey to buy the votes of moochers.

        As far as paying my fair share, the moochers in Atlanta enjoy all of the same benefits I do – same fire and police department, same parks, same schools, same roads and services – except I am paying for them. They are not. How is it I am not paying my fair share.

        In Atlanta, we have 6th generation families on welfare, housing and food stamps. And the liberals say – ask nothing from these people. They don’t need to modify their lifestyle one bit. And to suggest anything different is racist. And the corruption in Atlanta increases every year, as democrats continue to control the city.

      • AtlasObjectivist

        It’s obviously too late, the Democrats have destroyed another great American city.

      • On The 7th Day GOD Pooped and The Black Man Was Created

        Are you the same NWA that we all know as the worthless trash talking racist that generally comments on the stories where african americans murder innocent people?


        Jared, AttackWatch is owned by bi rth ers. Obama-Biden is just an !diot.

      • NWA


        Jared, I simply cannot understand how some of you Republicans continue to vote against your better interest. I mean, if you vote Democrat we won’t take away your right to get rich, we just want you to pay your fair share of taxes for the right to earn the money. So Jared, you can stop fakin’ and just bring yo po @zz on over to the dark-side.


      • Jared

        @ OBAMA-BIDEN 2012: YES WE CAN… AGAIN!

        Way to go, brown shirt. You don’t find it odd that you are being used to narc on fellow citizens? Doesn’t bother you at all, huh?

        You keep on pulling that lever for the handouts and reduced liberty. I’ll keeping Hoping for a Change.

      • OBAMA-BIDEN 2012: YES WE CAN... AGAIN!

        Not to worry. I just reported the above post to

      • Corky Boyd

        Vote Democrats out?

        That is impossible in Chicago. As Stalin once said, it’s not who votes, it’s who counts the votes that counts.

        Holder won’t pursue Chicago corruption, Patrick Fitzgerald (special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case) surely won’t go after Emmanuel or any of the Daly machine. Chicago you are stuck with highest sales taxes, overtaxed gasoline, and the highest murder rate. Learn to like it or else.


    • Smitty77

      Sure! Vote of the Dems and get Boehner and McConnell! As for lying, what about WMD’s and Mission Accoumplished, and Iraqis will throw rose petals in front of our troops. What about Nixon and Watergate – What about LBJ and the Gulf of Tonkin fiasco? Be careful what you wish for as you may be disappointed!

    • James

      When they said the most corrupt. They meant ALL politicians (Republican and Democrat). So voting out one won’t stop corruption. Take your political gang banging elsewhere please.

      • Ruzty

        There are no Republicans governing the city of Chicago. It’s under the complete control of machine Democrat politics. All the blame goes squarely onto a single party when it comes to corruption in Chicago.

    • 4sailing

      To the Dems it is, but then so is tying their shoe.

    • Vote Early and Often

      But the Democrats have more dead people voting than the Republicans do. The GOP need to launch a “Bring Out Your Dead” program at election time. Hmmmmm, sounds like Monty Python.

      • Rob

        It boggles my mind how looking at Chicago, the most corrupt city in the Nation that has been run by Democrats since 1900. Not only is it corrupt it has the highest taxes, the biggest deficit $8.4 Billion, bigger than Texas’s deficit. Highest crime rate of any major city. How could anyone vote democrat seeing the results of their work. Now we are getting those same results Nationally. 10% unemployment, gasoline up 46%, food stamps up 50%, household income at 35 year low, Housing sales lowest in 50 years, record foreclosures. All of this is a result of six years of democrat control not to mention two of those years democrats had 100% control. Now we have medical care up 30%, Doctors leaving the profession in droves. All of these negatives going on and the Democrats still want to drain more money out of the private sector. Higher taxes on the rich will only stall the recovery. If any democrat watched CSPAN Monday night they would have learned how excessive regulations by Obama give more advantages to foreign corporations than to Home grown. Even China realizes the government should help their Corporations compete against other Nations, while Obama penalizes our Corporations for being American, how stupid is that?

  • tony

    Loevy and Loevy Law Firm is one of the biggest thiefs they take money everyday from the taxpayers of chicago and cook county.they file lawsuits after law suits knowing the city and county keep paying.Lawyers are the biggest threat to the taxpayers of America.

  • Afro

    Our Government is nothing more than a bunch of little pyramid schemes set up all across the country and it is filled with maggots who back bite, lie cheat, murder and steal to work their way up the pyramids to the top. I thought pyramids were illegal in the US.

    • city ways

      And if you don’t play along they will do a Blagojevich on you…..

      • Afro

        indeed they will

  • Chivi

    I’m out of here!! This tax payer is leaving Chicago.

    • Spanky Spankster

      We can’t wait until we can get out of Illinois…

      • Tamalezebra

        When you get moved to your new city don’t vote for democrats. They think this is the land of the free loader and not the free.

      • Spanky Spankster

        AmShank: Don’t worry – I’m conservative.
        In fact a lot of Illinois is conservative. The problem are is just one county – Cook. In the 2008 election, the entire rest of the state voted for McCain/Palin by 300,000 votes. Then Cook County delivered a 700,000 vote margin for Obama/Biden – which sent the entire state to the Dems. Cook County is the real problem.

      • Don Ron

        But where will you get great pizza n’ Italian Beef sandwiches??!!

      • AmShank

        Spanky: you are welcome to come to red America but do not bring liberal voting habits with you. Look what has happened to Colorado. The same people who caused California’s problems by voting for the left, are voting for the left in Colorado and changing it for the worse.

      • Talon's Point

        I wonder how many of those Cook County Dem votes were live, legal voters.

    • Vote Early and Often

      Good for you! I’m betting lots of people are jealous.

      • Isa Almisry

        Got that right.

  • The real James Hamilton
    • jpviy

      It can secede to become a territory but no way I want Chicago to send two senators to Washington. It it’s a territory, it’ll even lose it’s representatives and send only a non-voting delegate. Come to think of it, I think that’s a great idea for LA and a few other major urban areas, too.

  • CFLC

    Chicago #1, State of Illinois #1. Is that a Chicago Flag flying over the White House? You are right Chivi, the tax payer is leaving Chicago. Let’s review the situation after Nato/G8.

  • Vicky Kujawa

    Now there’s a news flash for us.

  • John

    We’re number one !
    We’re number one !
    We’re number one !

    Finally number one at something !!
    All these years we were thinking we were only a number tow city !

    • Jeff

      Chicago has been number one for a long time, not just political corruption but violent crimes too and Chicago doesn’t even recognize forced rape as a violent crime, but robberies as well, if you would get your heads out of your aszes up their in Chicago and stop acting like a bunch of Liberal Fa ggggots you could do something about it.

      • James

        “J W Majors Majors” take your juvenile Skinhead lies back to the trailer where you and your wife (sister) belong

      • J W Majors Majors

        Hard to believe a city could be worse than Detroit or Philadelphia. Mercer’s book” into the Cannibals pot” showed what happened to South Africa when the Nation went majority rule. Whites are routinely killed and robed by the barbaric blacks and the black police participate. A living hellhole. Just a little look into the future coming to America. Vote Obama and enjoy.

      • Mary

        And to keep Chicago #1 in crime they are closing several of the police stations!


        CHICAGO is the Capital City of our

        It’s FOR THE CHILDREN.

  • Walter T. Dawes

    Single term limits and independent accounting firms investigating the Cook County books might make a dent , but how do you wish to enforce this on the Cook County Government employees? If you are not willing to enforce these requirements , you are just making noise . Politicians will always use the Law to control you.

    • Spanky Spankster

      Term limits will NOT fix the problem – they may make it worse.

  • iris

    Is anyone surprised?.

    • hammerhead

      Sadly NO! Chicago is a cesspool and has been for the last 4 decades or more… That’s what 6 plus decades of Democratic Mayors will get you.. People of Chicago you get the government YOU deserve!!!

      • p3orion

        The problem is, they foisted Obama on the country, so we ALL got the government Chicago deserves. Only in a Democrat-controlled cesspool like that could someone with his background and no qualifications have made it past community organizer.

  • Centurion

    More corrupt than Moscow? More corrupt than Tel Aviv? More corrupt than Baghdad? More corrupt than Kabul and that slimebag Hamid Karzai? Now that is an incredible feat.

    • p3orion

      Go back and read the headline (if not the story): “Most Corrupt City in NATION” not “in World.”

      Although Chicago could certainly be in the running for world-class corruption.

      • whodat1

        Still, that they are more corrupt than DC is saying a lot!

  • Martin

    This is News? Well, its news…but not ‘news’ to anyone that lives with-in 100 miles of Chicago.

  • non

    It took a college professor to figure this out?

  • gram

    Obama played a Mulligan to get D.C. off the hook..

  • Illinois makes Greece look good

    Hey Wisconsinites,,,,,This is what the Democrat/Unonistas want to turn your state into

    • THEE Yard Ape

      @IL makes Greece look good -GREAT COMMENT!!!!! BRAVO !!!!!!!!!!!

      • No m e S an e

    • Brown shirts still exist

      The only border fence I want is on the southern border of Wisconsin.

      • Spanky Spankster

        A fence around Madison or Dane County would do the trick.

  • John Moser


  • John Moser

    What states are more corrupt than Illinois? I’m drawing a blank.

    • Zabadoo

      California & New York come to mind, as does New Jersey and Michigan. Basically any state heavy with Unions & Democrats is a contender for most corrupted filthpile.

      • J W Majors Majors

        Still not as bad as South Africa yet. But closing in. In South Africa no white woman is a virgin unless she can outrun the nearest black cop.Sad truth is the remaining whites have no where to go and are slowly being exterminated.

      • p3orion

        Don’t forget Nevada, which managed to re-elect Harry Reid. In fact, Las Vegas had to be pretty close to the top of the “Most Corrupt Cities” list, along with Detroit and New York City.

  • Dwayne Golden

    Lol!!…..Happy Bloody Valentines Day, Chicago!

  • Carl

    duh…Big Red truck

  • Norman

    Fifty years ago when I moved from Chicago to Calif my biggest surprise was that you couldn’t bribe traffic cops. In Chicago we’d keep a $10 bill folded in with our driver’s license so the cop could just pocket it.

    • old goat

      Chicago drivers license

  • Rahm and Barack on the Down Low

    Is it any wonder this is the case given that Ballet Dancer Rahm “Top” Emanuall and Kenyan/Muslim POTUS Barack “Bottom” Hussein Obama did most of their political deals down at Man’s Country?!?!?!

    • THEE Yard Ape

      LOL !!!!! Take a bow !!!!!!

    • Barack and a burning urge inside

      I hear from the WH Staff that’s the story behind Barack’s Mother-In-Law living in the WH rent free. She takes the night watch, and makes sure that Barack’s “urges” are kept in check and that he doesn’t do anything stupid that will wind up on the front pages…

      • Coo Coo for Coco Puffs

        When was the last time someone threw an ash tray at an American President inside of his own home? The correct answer Jeopardy fans, is who is Hilary Clinton? It’s time to update this bit of presidential trivia. It looks like there are two new entries to the roll call of First Ladies whose husband’s affairs have intruded into the family residence.

        What caused the latest flair up in the White House is old news, but when President Obama brought the commie czar Van Jones into the White House as the GREEN czar, he had given the green, commissar a mission. That meant bringing in green technology and that is where trouble began. Some remember the White House plumbers that brought down Richard Nixon. The communist green (I know this is redundant) brought his own plumbers into the White House.

        The Stealth Ultra High Efficiency .8 GPF with Elongated Bowl toilets were installed in the First Lady’s bathroom and the water saved with the new efficiencies would not suffice to extinguish the fire storm that ensued.

      • Marianne Robinson is the night watch woman to Zero

        The WH staff has leaked to their closest friends that mother in law Marianne Robinson is living rent free in the WH so that she can perform the night watch to ensure that President Zero doesn’t sneak out to pursue his “down low” urges.

      • Lyndia

        Are you implying that THE PRESIDENT IS HAVING SEX WITH HIS MOTHERINLAW? YOU ARE ONE SICK ASS B222222. Just because you believe in incest and is a product of such, that is no indication that everybody lives like your freakest family. Sick

  • David Moore

    This is news
    Dd not our anointed one rise up from these humble beginnings.
    All I can say is GOD help us if Barry is not gone in 11 months

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