At a press conference earlier this week detailing allegations that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich allegedly try to auction off his appointment of President-Elect Barack Obama’s successor in the U.S. Senate, Chicago FBI Chief Robert Gates said, “If [Illinois] is not the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor.” That comment has prompted several news organizations to pose the question: What is the most corrupt state in the nation? Not surprisingly, La., with its rich legacy of corrupt officials from Huey Long to William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson, finds itself right at the top of every list.

A 2007 report from Corporate Crime Reporter , which has recently been picked up in stories by NPR, CNN, and politico.com lists the Bayou state as No. 1, followed by Mississippi and Kentucky (Ill. is ranked No. 6). Meanwhile, The Washington Post lists Louisiana, Illinois and New Jersey as the obvious top 3 and is asking readers to vote in an online poll which state is most corrupt? This morning, with just under 1,000 votes in, Illinois was leading the pack with 50 percent of the vote. La. was second with 30 percent, followed by New Jersey’s 11 percent and 6 percent who voted for other states.

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