It was two-and-a-half days before Illinois Gov. George Ryan was to leave office in 2003. I sat in a crowded auditorium in Northwestern University's Law School in Chicago, where Ryan was expected to make a major announcement on capital punishment.
Federal prosecutors say they've uncovered a "political corruption crime spree" involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who allegedly hatched a variety of bribery schemes to enrich himself and his family while silencing critics.
Since moving to Chicago 4½ years ago from Texas, I've been amazed to watch the political machinations in this state, and see how easy it is for residents to dismiss the rampant corruption of some political officials as nothing more than the cost of doing business.
Over the past 15 years, federal prosecutors in Connecticut have indicted four mayors, taken down the state treasurer, put palm-greasing bankers behind bars and won a guilty plea from a top aide to the governor. But in the past four months, their corruption probe of former Gov. John G. Rowland's administration has taken a particularly aggressive turn.