"Chicago-style politics"- it's a term that is often used across the nation and sometimes even the world. But just exactly does it mean?
Wikipedia defines the term we have all heard thrown around in the media, everyday discussions, activist organizations, documentaries, news reports, political campaigns, religious leaders and beyond as:
“Chicago-style politics is a byword used to designate a set of characteristics associated to the less commendable aspects of the recent political history of the American city of Chicago, Illinois, (i.e., corruption, patronage, nepotism, authoritarianism) which is often cited as an example of blatant corruption. A study conducted by the University of Illinois has found that since 1972 three Illinois governors before Governor Rod Blagojevich, and a total of 1,000 Chicago public officials and businessmen have been convicted of public corruption since 1970.”
The administration of the city under Mayor Richard J. Daley is believed to incarnate this style at its worst, several of Daley's subordinates being jailed for corruption. However the most significant systemic trait of Daley's Administration, regarding Chicago-style politics, was its extended reliance on a heavy political machine, the so called Chicago Machine, with all its venal implications, which not only served to seize the power but also to exert control and to perpetuate political hegemony. Sociologists have demonstrated that this kind of political organization antedates Daley's mandate and can be traced as far back as 1928, being in fact a long political habitus, whose roots and scope go well beyond the formal political party sphere and affect the social structures at community levels.
Today, Chicago politics is largely a racist dog whistle used by the Republican Party to energize their base.
Rod Blagojevich: Governor from January 13, 2003 – January 29, 2009 was convicted on 17 corruption counts last year and another in 2010 totaling a maximum prison sentence of 305 years.
George Ryan: Governor from 1999-2003, Illinois secretary of state from 1991 to 1999. Found guilty in 2006 on 18 federal counts regarding actions during time as secretary of state and as governor. Sentenced to 6½ years, imprisoned from 2007 to present, with an estimated release date of July 4, 2013.
Otto Kerner: Governor from 1961-1968, federal appeals court judge from 1968 to 1974. Found guilty in 1973 on 17 federal counts regarding actions during time as governor. Sentenced to 3 years, but imprisoned for less than a year (from 1974 to 1975) because of poor health.
Dan Walker: Governor from 1973 to 1977. Pleaded guilty in 1987 to three federal counts regarding actions occurring after he left office. Initially sentenced to seven years, but released after a year and a half (from 1988 to 1989) because of health concerns.
Other Illinois politicians
Dan Rostenkowski: Congressman from 1959 to 1995. Pleaded guilty in 1996 to two federal counts regarding actions during time in Congress. Sentenced to 17 months, imprisoned for 15 months, from 1996 to 1997.
Mel Reynolds: Congressman from 1993 to 1995. Found guilty in 1995 on state counts related to having sex with a minor. Sentenced to five years. Then found guilty in 1997 on 15 federal counts regarding actions during campaigns for Congress. Sentenced to six and a half years. President Clinton commuted his sentence in 2001.
Betty Loren Maltese: Cicero town president from 1993 to 2002. Found guilty in 2002 on six federal counts regarding actions during time as town president. Sentenced to eight years, imprisoned for seven years, from 2003 to 2010.
Jim Laski: Chicago city clerk from 1995 to 2006. Pleaded guilty in 2006 on one federal count regarding actions during time as alderman and city clerk. Sentenced to two years, imprisoned for less than a year, from 2007 to 2008.
Tom Keane: Alderman from 1945 to 1974. Found guilty in 1974 on 18 federal counts regarding actions during his time as alderman. Sentenced to five years, imprisoned for less than two years, from 1976 to 1978.
Add Miriam Santos Chicago treasurer, Ed Vrdolyk alderman, Paul Powell secretary of state and countless others- adding to over 1000 according to a University of Illinois report.