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Do Crooked Politicians Deserve Longer Jail Sentences?

A state representative thinks so, calling for five years to be added on to felony minimums in corruption convictions involving elected officials. Rep. David McSweeney says his bill would work to deter corrupt practices that cost taxpayers in the Land of Lincoln. It comes amid a wave of investigations by federal authorities into alleged malfeasance by state and local lawmakers and a push for the creation of an ethics panel to keep them in check.

The Barrington Hills Republican, who also is sponsoring legislation that would restore capital punishment, says the time for bureaucratic approaches has passed. Bipartisan support for harsher penalties exists in the House, where a fellow Republican is proposing the creation of a task force that would pursue conflicts of interest. Recent months have seen an FBI raid prompt the resignation of the Senate Transportation Committee chairman, the Feds file embezzlement charges against another senator, and a third quit amid bribery allegations resulting from still another federal inquiry.