The study by the University of Illinois at Chicago documented criminal convictions or conflicts of interest affecting more than 60 suburbs in Cook and surrounding counties and more than 100 public officials and police officers.
Former Chicago Alderman Dick Simpson, now head of UIC’s Political Science Department, led the study, and on Monday said corruption in the suburbs, in some cases, is worse than in the city.
“This isn’t a minor problem,” Simpson said. “This is a major problem.”
The IG could either be created by lawmakers and the governor, by each county, or by a consortium of suburbs. It would cost about $1 million annually, far less than the $500 million estimated cost of the problem, according to the study.
So the “Chicago way” extends past the city borders and even Cook County. I wonder if it is even easier to be corrupt in smaller communities where there is less of a media spotlight and relatively few residents are heavily involved or are knowledgeable about local government.
Even if the corruption is widespread, would officials and the public be willing to support an independent inspector general looking into these matters as it creates another layer of government?
It would be interesting to know how these numbers compare to corruption in other metropolitan regions: is Chicago that unusual in this regard?