Nearly 100 years ago,Â a scandal from Illinois led the nation to change the way US Senators were selected, from being elected by state legislators as originally laid out in the Constitution, to direct election by the people.Â The Progressives were the ones that cleaned up the mess. Predictive?
Early 1900s Illinois scandal led to direct election of U.S. senators — chicagotribune.com
The Chicago case of alleged corruption played a prominent role in the nation’s decision to amend the Constitution and allow state voters to elect their senators. It was a solution that seems to have worked for 95 years, or until now.
Lorimer, an immigrant from England and a dapper, popular politician, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1895 when he was 33. In 1909, after a long deadlock in the Illinois legislature, Lorimer was chosen to represent the state in the U.S. Senate.
But a year later, the Chicago Tribune reported on allegations that bribes were paid to secure Lorimer’s seat, including an admission of a state representative that he had received $1,000. Lorimer vehemently denied the charges and called for a Senate investigation. Lorimer at first was cleared, but a year later the Progressive Movement picked up the cause and the Senate reversed itself. Lorimer was ousted from the Senate on a 55-28 vote.