Illinois' History of Corrupted Poltics

By WEEK Producer

July 4, 2011 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 2:10 AM CDT

On this Fourth of July weekend, a time to think about the country's history.

In Illinois, that inevitably means thinking about the fact that four of the State's Governors over the last 35 years have ended up in prison.

Jim Thompson has a unique claim to fame in Illinois. As a U-S Attorney, he prosecuted former Governor Otto Kerner, then became himself the Governor of Illinois, serving four terms.

His Lt. Governor, George Ryan, who Thompson --now as a private attorney--defended against charges of corruption...

With the recent conviction of Rod Blagojevich, Jim Thompson has a special perspective about corruption in Illinois politics...

"And I'm constantly amazed at the failures of convictions of high ranking politicians to deter others down the line. They all think they're smarter than the guy who got caught and convicted. And, of course, they're not. And they're eventually caught and convicted...but it's just sad to see," says Thompson.

Thompson was interviewed by WMAQ reporter --and WEEK News 25 alum--Mary Ann Ahern.

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