Here’s an interesting fact: With former Governor Rod Blagojevich headed for what’s almost sure to be a long stay behind bars (his most important ally, Tony Rezko, just got a 10 1/2 year sentence) Illinois will have the dubious distinction of being the first state in U.S. history to have two former governors in civilian prisons at the same time.
Blagojevich’s predecessor, George Ryan, although briefly released to be with his dying wife, still has a few years left on his sentence. (Most politically prominent southerners, including those out of power, were at least briefly taken into federal custody during Reconstruction.)
Four of the last eight Illinois governors have been convinced on corruption-related charges (one for crimes committed after his time in public office) and, best as I can tell, no other state has come close. Actually, putting reconstruction aside, only one other state–Louisiana–has even had two governors go to jail since 1900 and they served their time more than six decades apart.
So…congrats to Illinois…or something like that.