from David Morrison, Deputy Director ICPR
The jury today has ratified the sense of millions of Illinoisans, that Rod Blagojevich was a pox on Illinois' political system. His conviction also serves as a warning that no one is above the law and that anyone today thinking of abusing the public trust for their private benefit should consider the very real consequences. The jury today made clear that criminal acts are not "just politics." Blagojevich, and many of his advisors and staff, are facing serious prison time, financial penalties, and separation from their families and friends.
Illinois has taken great strides to ensure that the next scandal will not follow the Blagojevich blueprint. Today's laws make it much harder to commit yesterday's actions. But preventing tomorrow's scandals require more vigilance. Voters must demand accountability from candidates. Officeholders must stand ready to call out their wavering colleagues. Staffers must understand the risks they take when they follow criminal orders. Reform is possible, one step at a time, and Illinois has a long road ahead.