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We look good by comparison

Speaking of Blagojevich . . .

Some RI officials have maintained our reputation for corruption is overstated and inflated by our small size.

I looked at the issue, and the significance of prosecutors examining the private sector (something that hasn't panned out much) in 2006, with the question, Is RI still a state for sale?

Meanwhile, things in the Land of Lincoln make us look like pikers by comparison.

From Slate:

How do we know that Chicago's so corrupt? The most straightforward way to measure corruption is to check the number of convicted local officials. Between 1995 and 2004, 469 politicians from the federal district of Northern Illinois were found guilty of corruption. The only districts with higher tallies were central California (which includes L.A.), and southern Florida (which includes Miami). Eastern Louisiana (and New Orleans) rank somewhat further down the list.

But a high conviction count doesn't necessarily mean more corruption. It could mean that a district happens to have very strict transparency laws or a zealous and effective federal prosecutor—like Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago. You might try to measure corruption by checking the number of city employees per 1,000 people. (Bigger governments suggest patronage-style politics.) Or you could check to see how long it takes to acquire a construction permit through legal means. (Long delays may reflect a system of rampant bribery.)

Public perception may be the most useful measure. If the inhabitants of a city view corruption as a given, they'll be more inclined to forgive politicians who have already been tainted by scandal, like Chicago's current mayor, Richard Daley.

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