By one measure, Illinois is not even close to the nation’s most-corrupt state; North Dakota may hold that distinction instead. says USA Today. On a per- capita basis, Illinois ranks 18th for the number of public corruption convictions the federal government has won from 1998 through 2007, says an analysis of Department of Justice statistics. Louisiana, Alaska, and North Dakota all fared worse than Illinois.
Alaska narrowly ousted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens last month after he was convicted of not reporting gifts from wealthy friends. In Louisiana, Democratic Rep. William Jefferson was indicted in 2007 on racketeering and bribery charges after the FBI said it found $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer. Jefferson, who has maintained his innocence and will soon go to trial, lost his seat to a Republican. Why North Dakota? Don Morrison of the non-partisan North Dakota Center for the Public Good, said it may be that North Dakotans are better at rooting out corruption when it occurs.