Republican Senate candidate Chris Kasperski traces much of the ongoing corruption in Springfield to the same starting point.

“Corruption cements itself in our government when officials have held on to the reins of power for too long,” Kasperski told the Lake County Gazette. “Speaker (Mike) Madigan has been in power my entire life and he has far more control over a state than any other person in American history. Being the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party gives him absolute control over his party and being the speaker of the house gives him absolute legislative powers.”

Kasperski, now running against longtime incumbent state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, in the 31st District, argues such an arrangement has taken a heavy toll on the state as evidenced by a recent University of Illinois at Chicago study that found Illinois is now home to more public corruption convictions than any other state in the country since the year 2000.

Within that mix, four of its past 10 governors gone to prison, with current Gov. J.B. Pritzker now under federal investigation over his removal of toilets from a Gold Coast mansion that saved him upward of $331,000 in property taxes.

While multiple bills are awaiting hearings during the current legislative session that seek to enact ethics reforms, Kasperski argues that should be only the start.

“We need to elect new representation that will not prop up Speaker Madigan and the party machine that he controls,” he said. “Federal investigations into the corruption in Springfield are also a welcome change. The powers that be have failed to address the corruption that has been going on under their noses, and we should not believe that they will get it right if only we elect them again.”

In the end, Kasperski argues there is only one way reform can truly come to Springfield.

“As long as Speaker Madigan controls the Illinois Democratic Party and all legislation that is to see the light of day, I'm afraid that corruption will continue to linger under his nose,” he said. “Madigan has had more time than any other American legislative leader in our nation's history to shape the culture within the state government. The results indicate that he has presided over more corruption than anyone else in our nation's history. As long as his party and all legislation remain under his control, I expect corruption to continue to plague Illinois.”


Story by Glenn Minnis, Lake County Gazette