Burris, Jackson Are Among "Most Corrupt"

Watchdog group publishes list of 15 most corrupt Congressmen

By Matt Bartosik
|  Thursday, Sep 17, 2009  |  Updated 2:28 PM CDT
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Two Illinois Pols Among Congress' "Most Corrupt"

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Two of Illinois' lawmakers have made the "most corrupt" list.

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Last year, Roland Burris began working on his own Oak Woods Cemetery memorial, including a wall inscribed with his achievements. Well now he has one more thing he can add to that list.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington published their annual list of the "15 most corrupt members of Congress." And—surprise, surprise—Senator Roland Burris makes the cut.

But he isn't the only Illinois politician accused of wheeling and dealing. He shares the dishonor with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Hurray Land of Lincoln!

Both liars—er, I mean, lawmakers—are under investigation for their possible participation in the former governor's alleged attempts to sell the Senate seat.

"It's all about the Blagojevich matter," said Melanie Sloan, the group's executive director, reports Crain's.

According to the group's report, "Sen. Burris, by deliberately lying to senators about the conversations he had with Gov. Blagojevich and others connected to the governor in order to be appointed to a seat in the Senate, clearly engaged in improper conduct reflecting upon the Senate."

Rep. Jackson is under investigation by both U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago and the Office of Congressional Ethics. Allegedly, his supporters were raising money to pay for Blagojevich's support of Jackson's Senate bid.

"That made him a natural for the list," said Sloan. "He's not cleared, and the allegations are pretty serious."

Considering that CREW had 535 Senators and Congressmen to choose from, the fact that two of them are from Illinois is no small feat. And while both are indeed Democrats, Illinoisans will remember that former Governor and current convict George Ryan was a Republican, so neither party is safe from corruption.

Maybe we shouldn't feel too bad, though. After all, four Californians made the list: Reps. Ken Calvert, Jerry Lewis, Laura Richardson, and Maxine Waters.

Still, why can't we seem to get it together, Illinois? Is it completely impossible for our state to practice politics with some sense of legitimacy?

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, wants a state government he can believe in.

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