Chicago's Bizarro Sister City: Denver

Rocky Mountain Way better than the way we have

Like the lonely Maytag repairman, FBI agents in Denver have no public corruption cases currently pending.

This stunning - to Chicagoans - piece of news comes as almost aside in an AP report that nationwide interest in the travails of Rod Blagojevich has inspired the Denver authorities to open a hotline and e-mail account for tipsters with knowledge of public corruption.

The FBI there, apparently, is dying for some work!

It's just another reminder that the way politics works in Chicago, and Illinois, is not the way it works everywhere, is not inevitable, and is not necessary in order to conduct business.

It does keep our agents employed, though.

In 2005, FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant added a third public corruption squad to his office; it was the second time in two years that the FBI expanded its public corruption force here, which is larger than any other in the country. New York and Los Angeles have only two such units.

And it's pretty clear that the Chicago FBI could add a fourth and a fifth unit and find plenty of work for them, too.

Meanwhile, the folks in Denver are still teaching the public what corruption is in a way that, sadly, would get them laughed out of Illinois.

"Public-corruption crimes usually involve someone who is a government contractor or employee who uses their position for personal gain," the Denver Post explains.

"This could be anything from legislative corruption to judicial corruption to election fraud and even law-enforcement corruption," Special Agent Kathleen Wright of the Denver FBI says.

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