Republican candidate for Rock Island County State’s Attorney Eric Reyes argues that by operating under their own self-serving guidelines, the majority of lawmakers in Springfield are only worsening Illinois' issues of fiscal and ethical solvency.
“When there is corruption through government and that trust is called into question, we’re no longer governing ourselves as intended," Reyes told Rock Island Today. "We’re being governed by an elite group of people and they have a different set of rules that apply to them but not the rest of us.”
Reyes believes that the findings in a new Harvard University Center for Ethics survey proves that such a two-tier system can have serious consequences, with researchers concluding that Illinois now ranks as the second most corrupt state in the country while Chicago rates as the nation’s most corrupt city. And the state’s losses have been more than just damaging its image, with Illinois Policy Institute pegging the loss in economic activity resulting from political corruption at almost $10 billion since 2000.
Republican candidate for Rock Island County State’s Attorney Eric Reyes
“Illinois is in the middle of a population exodus while every other state around us is growing,” Reyes said. “That’s for a whole host of reasons, but part of it is people think of Chicago as mafia-run city."
In the last 10 months alone, taxpayers have had to endure the spectacle of seeing a veteran state representative arrested on federal bribery charges, the home and offices of a longtime state senator raided in connection with a kickback scheme, and at least three political insiders with connections to longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) targeted by federal agents as part of a widening probe.
“If people are corrupt, especially government officials, that needs to be dealt with,” Reyes said. “You've got people being convicted for victimless crimes, then you have people who have been given the public trust, and now they’re doing things that violate that trust and call the legitimacy of our entire government into question. Those need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent. I see where politicians do something anyone else would go to jail for, but they’re given a golden parachute. We don't disincentivize corrupt actions well enough in our state."