Past Event

Café Society: George Ryan (and Illinois Politics?) Found Guilty

“I hope that this case begins the end of political prostitution that seems to have been evident in the state of Illinois, and brings the resurrection of honest government services in the state that so many people have demanded.”

–Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office

“The federal government has cobbled together a number of unrelated, innocent acts…There is nothing in here more than the fabric of what goes on in Illinois politics.”

–Dan Web, defense attorney for George Ryan

On Monday, April 17, 2006, former Governor George Ryan was convicted on all 18 felony charges against him, including racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During his career, Ryan earned bipartisan praise for his political acumen and skills in creating compromise. He often touted his ability to get things done and campaigned on his reputation as a dealmaker.

However, his mastery of Illinois’ political processes lead to ethical lapses for which he is facing a sentence of 3-20 years in prison. Will his conviction have an impact on the notoriously corrupt governments of Illinois and Chicago? How will this influence the current race for governor? Does this conviction put politicians on notice that the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable?

What distinguishes between a deal, a favor, and a crime? What are the expectations for political accountability by the citizens of Illinois?

Come to a Café Society near you to voice your opinion.

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.