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Illinois Wins End to 50-Year Oversight of State Employment

  • Appeals court cites progress on ending patronage, corruption
  • Consent decrees sought to curb power of political machine
The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.

Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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A federal appeals court in Chicago ended five decades of oversight of Illinois government employment practices, citing the state’s progress in addressing its “embarrassing history” of political patronage and corruption.

The decision Friday closes out one of the so-called Shakman consent decrees dating back to 1972, which placed Illinois under court oversight to curb the practice of tying state jobs to political loyalty. But Governor J.B. Pritzker had sought to ditch the oversight, arguing the state had adopted robust reforms to prevent abuse.