Share the article: Don’t Forget: Illinois’ Corruption Hurts Residents, Increases Prices

CHICAGO — As Americans across the country filed their taxes, Illinois residents should remember: Corruption costs taxpayers billions of dollars. When corrupt politicians lie, steal and cheat, the people of Illinois pay the price.

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“Plenty of forces enable corruption to thrive in Illinois – loophole-ridden ethics laws, policymakers unwilling to confront the problem head-on and a drastically shrunken nonpartisan press corps that once kept a close eye on political chicanery.”

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“The ComEd bribery also produced a direct cost to millions of ratepayers across northern Illinois, as the utility’s balance sheets took on a gold-plated hue.

In last spring’s ComEd trial, a senior company executive testified that one piece of legislation that was part of the Madigan bribery scheme generated a $1.8 billion windfall for ComEd.

That same 2016 law included another $2.3 billion over 10 years for ComEd corporate parent Exelon to bail out two of its cash-draining nuclear power plants. That money largely came from ratepayers, though ComEd has said that energy efficiencies allowed under the 2016 law also helped customers save money.

Northwestern University law professor Juliet Sorensen teaches courses on corruption and is a former federal prosecutor.

“Corruption . it’s a killer of economic growth and development,” Sorensen said. “The ComEd case is a stark example. It looks like the jury understood it to be as well.

“Some cases are more subtle. A hand-to-hand bribe transaction may not directly impact me in my daily life. But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t negatively impact the place I live and the economy that I live in.”

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