Ryan served as the Republican Governor of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. Investigations into Ryan began in 1994 when he was serving as Illinois Secretary of State in what would become known as the license-for-bribes scandal. That year, an explosive car accident in Milwaukee killed six and left their two parents significantly burned. An investigation found that the driver, who did not speak English, had possibly used a bribe to receive his license. An investigation began into the sale of drivers licenses for money, though Ryan tried to stop it from proceeding. An eight-year investigation would reveal that the secretary of state’s office had given licenses to unqualified truck drivers for bribes.
In 2003, Ryan’s ex-chief of staff and campaign manager was convicted of racketeering and fraud. In Decemeber of that year Ryan was indicted along with lobbyist Lawrence Warner on 22 counts including racketeering, bribery, money laundering, extortion, and tax fraud. Ryan was accused of forwarding numerous state contracts to Warner and other associates, taking campaign funds for personal use, and obstructing justice in trying to stop inquiries into the license-for-bribes scandal. Ryan's trial began in late 2005 and in April 2006 he was found guilty by a jury on all counts. Ryan appealed the verdict but in September of that year he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison. He is scheduled for release on July 4, 2013.