Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Leavenworth, this week became the latest in a long string of Illinois pols who've sinned after years of – as they are inevitably prone to say – serving constituents whom they profoundly regret disappointing. We're neither disappointed nor surprised by Sandoval's guilty plea to bribery charges. Indeed, we're proud of the disgraced Sandoval for upholding an Illinois tradition of describing corruption as if at Golden Corral, where the trough is deep and the meal never ends. "Do you have a bologna company or something innocuous?" he asked a wire-wearing mole when the subject of $20,000 in potential campaign contributions came up – better, he thought, to have Oscar Meyer or somesuch be the source than a red-light-camera company that clearly had something to gain from an elected crook who clearly had clout to provide it. Social media went a-flutter, with folks recalling that Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, still in office and under indictment for allegedly strong-arming developers, was caught on tape asking if the tuna had landed. Considering Burke's alleged involvement in a suspect fast-food restaurant dealio, a Chicago Sun-Times headline writer called the case "Burger Sting." In 2014, former state Rep. Derrick Smith, convicted of bribery and extortion, used the word "cheddar" to describe payoff. Thomas Hawkins, a Cook County board of review bureaucrat imprisoned in 2014 for accepting bribes to reduce property taxes, referred to ill-gotten gains as "lettuce." Our favorite, though, is the late Secretary of State Paul Powell, whose 1970 death was notable for $800,000 in cash found in his office and quarters at the St. Nicholas Hotel here in Springfield. "I can smell the meat a'cookin'!" Powell declared in 1948, when Democrats took over the House of Representatives and patronage jobs were in the fridge. According to Wikipedia, they found two cases of creamed corn amongst shoeboxes stuffed with cash after Powell's demise. "There's only one thing worse than a defeated politician, and that's a broke one," he once said. Of course. Jailhouse commissaries don't give Cheetos away.

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