If Illinois has the most corrupt politics ...

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... then North Carolina is a competitor, though arguably a second-rate one. If may not be http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2008/12/is_illinois_the_most_corrupt_s.html

Most fresh in local voters' minds is probably Jim Black, who the Raleigh News & Observer called the "most powerful elected official in North Carolina history to be convicted of public corruption." The former state House speaker in 2007 pleaded guilty to a federal public corruption charge after admitting to accepting funds from chiropractors who had legislation under consideration in the legislature.

But our fair state has a rich history of elected officials doing time. Here are a few of the most recent:

• Controversial Davidson County Sheriff Gerald Hege, known for his preening boasts and tough-on-crime stances, was charged with 15 felonies: five counts of embezzlement by a public officer, five counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of endeavoring to intercept oral communication, one count of aiding and abetting to endeavor to intercept oral communication and one count of aiding and abetting to obtain property by false pretenses. He received three years probation.

• Former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by three years supervised probation. Prosecutors said Medford took more than $300,000 in bribes from illegal gambling operators during his time as sheriff.

Of course, others are awaiting charges, such as Rep. Thomas Wright. Wright's facing five charges of fraud and one charge of corruption of justice.

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