Greising: Extortion: There Oughta Be a Law! (But There’s Not in Illinois.)

The story of why extortion remains legal in Illinois, after all these years, gives some insight into the way the legislative sausage is made in our state — or not made, as the case may be.

Illinois State Capitol (Éovart Caçeir)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

When the director of the Illinois Board of Elections, Steve Sandvoss, was targeted in an online extortion attempt last week, he reportedly took the matter directly to the Illinois State Police.

That was a logical response, except for one fact: Extortion is legal under Illinois law.

That’s right. In a state that has suffered a generations-long struggle against public corruption, extortion is not prohibited by the Illinois criminal code.

Well-meaning public servants have tried to criminalize extortion but failed so far. When state Attorney General Kwame Raoul was still in the state Senate, he won approval for an extortion bill three times, beginning in 2015. The last two times, the vote was unanimous.

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