Daniel J. "Dan" Walker (6 August 1922 - 29 April 2015) was a Democratic politician and the 36th Governor of Illinois from 1973 - 1977. Although his term as governor was largely successful, his post-political career was marred by Walker's guilty plea to bank fraud and perjury in 1987.
Walker announced his candidacy for Governor of Illinois in 1971 and attracted wide attention by walking 1,197 miles across Illinois in 1971.He narrowly won the 1972 Democratic primary against then-Lieutenant Governor Paul Simon. Though Simon had a "good government" reputation, Walker attacked Simon for soliciting and accepting the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party chaired by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, which Walker charged reflected servility to the "Daley Machine".
In the 1972 general election, he defeated incumbent Republican Richard B. Ogilvie by a 51-49 margin. In the early 1970s, Walker was discussed as a possible presidential candidate.
In 1976 Walker was defeated in the Democratic primary, losing to Secretary of State Michael Howlett, the candidate supported by Mayor Daley, by 54 - 46. In the general election, Howlett was overwhelmingly defeated by James R. Thompson.
In 1987, Walker was charged with Federal bank fraud based on two loans. A private contractor borrowed $279,000 from First American to build schools. Walker later personally borrowed $45,000 from that individual on a "handshake" basis. Those two loans ("borrowing from a borrower" while serving as a director) constituted bank fraud. Walker agreed to a plea bargain with Federal prosecutors; he pleaded guilty to bank fraud in the loan, perjury (based on dealings by the Association with his son), and filing false financial statements. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment for bank fraud, three years for perjury, and probation for false financial statements. News media reported Walker received over a million dollars in fraudulent loans for his business and repairs on his yacht Governor's Lady. As part of a plea agreement no charges were laid against Walker for any other loans, and no other loans by First American were described as fraudulent. Walker served a year and a half in prison before being released on compassionate leave, and was placed on probation until he could pay off the two fraudulent loans. He did, and was released from probation. Walker died of heart failure in California in 2015, aged 92.