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Don't Worry, Chicago Is Still the Corruption Capital of America

Published On 07/15/2015 Published On 07/15/2015

While the Second City is proudly second to none in lip fuzz and brunching, it also ranks first in something more sinister than crappy deep dish pizza: corruption.

Everyone knows Chicago has a lousy record when it comes to crooked politicians -- if you haven't heard of the Chicago machine, you've been living under a voting booth --  and yet, the tradition appears to be alive and well. According to a recent report by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Windy City has again been named the “corruption capital” of the United States, more corrupt than Los Angeles (second) and even NYC’s Manhattan (third).

Officials might lie, but the numbers don't. Researchers found that the Federal Judicial District for Northern Illinois, which includes Chicago and several nearby counties, saw 45 public corruption convictions in 2013 and as many as 1,642 convictions since the US Department of Justice started tallying the statistics in 1976. The put this in perspective, Chicago had more corruption convictions in 2013 than LA (19) and Manhattan (13) combined. 

Despite being home to the "corruption capital" and all those former governors sentenced to prison time, Illinois placed third in the report's ranking of states with the most corruption, coming in behind familiar suspects like New York State and California. So it's not all bad?

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and did some reporting on Chicago's corruption in journalism school, and got to interview a famous whistleblower. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.

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