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Will Blago's Sentence Deter Illinois Corruption?

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Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich quotes Rudyard Kipling in brief remarks to the media after he's sentenced to 14 years on corruption charges.

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Blago Attorney Vows to Appeal

An upset Sheldon Sorosky said little to reporters as he leaves the Dirken Federal Building, but said he'll fight Rod Blagojevich's sentence in the appellate court.

Quinn: Justice Was Served

Gov. Pat Quinn -- Rod Blagojevich's former running mate -- assures the public that he believes in ethics and integrity, and touts the reforms he's enacted since assuming office.
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Judge James Zagel and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said they hope the stiff sentence for Rod Blagojevich will help deter further corruption in Illinois.

But that's a tall order when experts believe Illinois is one of the most corrupt states in America and back-to-back governors go to prison.

Blagojevich will be behind bars while his predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan, is still finishing his 6 1/2-year sentence. Will a hefty 14-year term for Blagojevich be a deterrent?

"If there's a public official out there thinking of committing a crime, boy, they outta be thinking twice," Fitzgerald said Wednesday following the sentencing. After Blagojevich's first trial, which ended in a deadlocked jury on all charges but one, Fitzgerald ordered him retried.

"As Judge Zagel put it, 'When a governor goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is tor,' " Fitzgerald said. "We've had too much fabric torn in Illinois. In any state it would be awful if two governors were convicted in a century, yet we've seen it happen twice in the last five years."

On the corruption scorecard, Illinois has seen more than 1,000 public officials and businessmen convicted of political corruption since 1971. They include 30 Chicago aldermen and four of the eight last governors.

Though Illinois seems like the worst, that dubious honor goes to Florida with the highest number of guilty officials. If you measure convicted politicians per number of constituents, North Dakota takes the prize. On the flip side, Nebraska can say government is running as it should with the fewest guilty officials.

"The bottom line is the voters, myself, everybody needs to be more diligent about who in the heck we elect to these offices," said Sen. Kirk Dillard.

"I hope we don't have this ever again," said current Gov. Pat Quinn. "It's been an ordeal. And today's the final chapter of this ordeal. It began on Dec. 9, 2008."

Since that 2008 date, lawmakers have taken a few steps toward limiting campaign contributions, but the damage done by Blagojevich likely won't disappear overnight.

"We have more work to do," Quinn said. 

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