Philadelphia politicians under federal scrutiny are not alone; the Feds are taking a hard look at public officials in places like Atlanta, San Diego, and Chicago. The Justice Department's Public Integrity Section - which prosecutes political corruption cases - reports 43 convictions or guilty pleas at mid-year, compared with 51 for all of 2004 and 48 in 2003
According to research by The Dallas Morning News, the Public Integrity Section has a proven record of effectiveness. Between 1984 and 2003, they achieved convictions for 20,393 of the 23,320 people they indicted. That’s an 87% conviction rate. Success is predicated on the propensity of federal prosecutors to indict only when the evidence is strong and its probative value provides a high likelihood of conviction (see story).