Illinois is one of the most corrupt states in the US. The consequences of that corruption are about to get real, as the state is now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. A recent documentary — Madigan: Power, Privilege, Politics — tells the story of how it got this point.
It focuses on the political career of Michael Madigan, the 30-year Speaker of the House of Illinois and Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, whom many believe to be the spider at the center of the web of Illinois’s crisis. Per the Chicago Sun Times review: “The movie is geared toward casual political observers, ones who wonder how Illinois has become the fiscal train wreck it is today. And the film answers that question with two words: Mike Madigan.”
A measure of the level of corruption in Illinois is that it was risky even making this film. Per the Illinois Review, “Making a documentary about the most powerful politician in Illinois is not for the faint of heart. Interviewees feared for their livelihoods. Three in-state production companies wouldn’t take the job, saying they couldn’t risk reprisal. The crew that decided to make the film received death threats. This is Illinois’ political culture under House Speaker Mike Madigan’s reign.”
No one knows exactly what bankruptcy could mean, but it will be big. Cities have gone bankrupt and failed, and in such situation people and businesses typically leave. It happened in Detroit. For a state to go bankrupt, however, is unprecedented, and not in a good way.
The full documentary may be viewed online here.