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Spending money as if it had gone out of style, Orville Hodge, auditor-general of Illinois, was thought to be privately rich. The probe into the affairs-financial and romantic -- of the prominent Republican achieved national publicity and became a stain on the Eisenhower hound's tooth as well as an Illinois state disgrace. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Thiem reports the case in easy, lucid newspaper style. The test of the book's worth comes in the chapters on high, free-wheeling finance which are easily understood but could have been incomprehensible. Hodge was amiably corrupt, surviving through bi-partisan moral laxity. Documenting the case from court records, police files and interviews, Thiem leads the reader through the intricacies of state graft that web together gambling, lobbying, campaign funds, bank fraud and that ""watch-dog of the treasury"", the finally convicted Hodge, who stole from the public till to play host, check-grabber and sugar daddy. The chapters dealing with business and influence peddling and the thousand ways to steal the taxpayers' money are valuable -- not as a how-to-do-it, but as a how-to-stop-it. Readable material on state legislative processes is hard to find and this record of how big corruption grows from big temptation and public apathy lifts the book above the mere state and regional scandal to one of wider interest, especially to those intrigued by the national publicity the case received.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1962
Publisher: St. Martin's Press