If there was a Super Bowl for corruption, Illinois might have to play Louisiana.
Take that, Louisiana.
Revelations this week that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff have been charged with trying to sell the Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama have sparked a perverse debate over which state is the nation’s most corrupt, with partisans rushing to defend the (dis)honor of their native lands.
By David R. Sands
The Washington Times
Popular liberal blogger Josh Marshall of talkingpointsmemo.com triggered a firestorm when he suggested that Illinois, Louisiana and newcomer Alaska were the clear front-runners, as outraged residents of New Jersey, Nevada, Arizona and other contenders weighed in.
“Who could leave Rhode Island off the list of most corrupt states?!!” poster “JP” demanded. “This is defamatory!! Ocean Staters will NOT be insulted in this way!!”
But New Orleans poster “BB” said no “wannabe” state could compete with Louisiana’s heritage of political vice, from legendary governors such as Huey Long and Edwin Edwards to indicted and just-defeated Rep. William J. Jefferson, a Democrat whom prosecutors accuse of stashing $90,000 in illicit funds in his freezer.
Above: Rep. William J. Jefferson, who has been charged with money laundering, was asked about “$90,000 in a freezer”
“Louisiana will let any state in the union pick the turf and the time,” BB wrote.
“You want state-level corruption? Local? Bring it. Historical tradition? Game on. Recent scandal? Easy money. You name the category, any category, and we’ll have a big dog in that fight.”
Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, said the Illinois vs. Louisiana smackdown is akin to a Big Ten vs. SEC clash in college football’s Bowl Championship Series.
“If there was a BCS for corruption, I think right now you’d have to put Illinois in the title game,” he said. “They’re showing why they’re a true contender.”