Monday, April 17, 2006

Former Illinois Governor Convicted on Corruption Charges

A jury convicted former Illinois governor George Ryan on charges of racketeering, mail fraud, false statements, and tax evasion today, as Matt O'Connor and Rudolph Bush report in the Chicago Tribune.

As Secretary of State of Illinois, Ryan arranged state deals that benefited his cronies, who in turn directed money, gifts, and benefits to Ryan and his family. Ryan then lied to federal investigators about the schemes while he was governor. Ryan also diverted state resources and employees to his political campaigns.

Also while Ryan was Secretary of State, his office traded driver's licenses for bribes with people who couldn't legally obtain licenses. The recipient of one such license was involved in a car crash that killed six children. The driver couldn't understand the warnings (in English) from fellow truckers that a piece of metal was dangling dangerously from his truck. The metal fell and punctured the gas tank of the van in which the children were riding, causing a fiery explosion.

One of the charges against Ryan was that he gutted the investigative arm of the Secretary of State's office, which precluded an investigation of the car crash.

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