Update 12/7/2011: The judge has spoken: Blagojevich gets 14 years n prison.
With the news that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been convicted on 17 of 20 counts of corruption, it's time to freshen my list of recent Illinois governors whose legal trouble reached felony level. As I said back in 2003, when George Ryan, Blagojevich's predecessor, was indicted on federal corrupion charges, Prairie State governors have racked up quite a record over the past half-century:
William G. Stratton (in office 1953-61): Indicted (1964) for income-tax evasion (acquitted).
Otto Kerner (1961-68): Indicted (1971) and convicted (bribery and other charges).
Sam Shapiro (1968-69): Never charged with anything, but then he only had eight months in office.
Richard Ogilvie (1969-73): Clean, so far as we know. Probably why he only served one term.
Dan Walker (1973-77): Indicted (1987) in his post-politics career as an S&L thief. Pled guilty.
Jim Thompson (1977-91): His career was about indicting other people, for a change.
Jim Edgar (1991-99): No dirt so far.
George Ryan (1999-2003): Indicted (2003) and convicted on federal corruption charges.
Rod Blagojevich (2003-2009): Convicted for influence peddling, including an alleged conspiracy to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. (For a glimpse at government at its very best, it's worth reading the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. It's a 12-page PDF. Among the highlights: "In a conversation … on November 11, the charges state, Blagojevich said he knew that the President-elect wanted Senate Candidate 1 for the open seat but "they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them." The full 78-page complaint, in PDF form, is available here: United States of America v. Rod R. Blagojevich and John Harris.)
Nine governors. Five indicted. Four convicted. One acquitted.