This is Paper #42 in the Simon Review Series.


Scholars, pundits, and citizens know Illinois is at the forefront of corruption, as reported in the popular fact that four out of the last eight governors of Illinois have spent time in federal prison. We chalk up corruption to officials misusing their public role for their own private good. However, when we talk about corruption, even when we use inclusive language, we see the actor as a man, as corruption occurring in “old-boys networks,” and in dark and hidden backrooms of Springfield and Chicago, full of kickbacks and cigar smoke. What is missing from that analysis is an examination of the types of corruption that occur when we look at women in public positions and the corrupt acts they engage in. Illinois also ranks highly on several factors that measure the number of women in political positions of power (Center for American Women and Politics 2015), and so the question is raised: what is the role of women when it comes to corruption?