Miller: Corruption so endemic we are the butt of jokes
State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland) says that Illinois’ reputation for public corruption has become so pronounced he now has friends that joke federal prison systems have taken to reserving wings of the facilities for local politicians.
“We are now the butt of almost every joke, and late night talk shows are getting more famous based on dialogues about the state’s corruption,” Miller told the East Central Reporter. “You almost have to laugh to keep from crying.”
Miller’s jumbled emotions might just bubble over given the results of a new University of Illinois-Chicago analysis that found that Chicagoland and northern Illinois have witnessed more public officials being jailed for corruption since 1976 than any other part of the country.
Over the last 41 years, ending in 2017, some 1,731 public officials have been jailed on federal public corruption charges, the Illinois Policy Institute states.
Miller, who defeated Democrat Shirley Bell in the 110th District with 60 percent of the vote in November, says he does not think things are about to change soon.
“I think for that to happen there has to be sincerity in government, and I don’t get that vibe in Springfield,” he said. “People didn’t send us there to continue the waste, fraud and abuse, but that’s what we’re getting. We were sent to Springfield to reform government, but the truth is it’s still silly season.”
Miller said that view is painfully hammered home by what the General Assembly has thus far focused on in the new legislative session.
“Attacking legal gun owners, taxpayer-funded abortions and a minimum wage hike we can’t afford—all the kinds of things we’ve brought to the floor,” he said. “There hasn’t been one word about the things that are crippling the state, like the pension system, waste in government and how to fix the deficit issue. I can tell you no one is leaving because of all the social engineering; it’s because this state is run as poorly as it is.”
The 110th House District includes Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Edgar and Lawrence counties.