Blaggo in the Wind

The Kid Governor's administration has been hit with four rapid fire subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney's Office. The same prosecutors that have former Governor George Ryan on trial in a Chicago courtroom on corruption charges. The same prosecutors that have interviewed Mayor Daley in their on-going city hall indictments. Gov Blaggo campaigned that he would be a “reformer” to end the pattern of political corruption. But the local press has reported that the allegations against the Gov's campaign operatives and staff appointees are that it is business as usual in state government; political patronage, favoritism, tangent bribes, public ghost payrollers, shakedowns for public contracts.

The US Attorney in Chicago has been following the money. And he is finding that a large chunk of taxpayer dollars is being funneled into the bank accounts of politicians, families and friends. It does not matter what political party is involved; the corruption and indictments appear to be standard operating procedure in Illinois. The Department of Child Services was the latest mega State Agency to get a subpoena. It appears that the prosecutors are going through the Illinois government phone directory to investigate the hiring, appointment and public contracts of each agency. At the pace of the rapid fire nature of the investigations, it is possible that the every single state agency may yield an indictment or two.

The use of the do-little state boards, multiple state pension stuffing, fees and kickback consulting deals for public bond financing or pension money management contracts are only a few of the methods to rip off the public. The Chicago city hall scandals included hiring dump trucks to do city business but never show up to provide any services, city asphalt trucks being rerouted to private parking lot work, hiring connected but unqualified kids to building inspector jobs at a high starting salary, taking personal gifts, vacations and money in exchange for sweetheart deals with the city departments. The State scandals appear to center around political operatives or large campaign donors selling their “access” to their government official-friends in exchange for huge do-nothing consulting contracts. The money trail could lead back to the campaign coffers or even individual politicians or family members. Such is the Circle of Public Life in Illinois.

The Kid Governor does not seem to understand the gravity of the situation. He merely continues to maintain a stealth campaign for President in 2008 by promising to spend millions and millions of dollars on any program that can draw a national media reporter. It is press op-photo op and maybe a mention in the New York Times. He won't explain the massive amount of state borrowing (estimated near $25 billion) to pay for operating expenses or long overdue Medicaid bills ($1 billion borrowed last month). There is no plan to repay this debt; the debt is the short term solution to get him re-elected to higher office. That is also the Circle of Life in Illinois; office musical chairs so the career politician can receive multiple six figure public pensions.

The Kid Governor may be taken to the wood shed soon. So his opponents have begun primary campaigning more than 18 months before the election. Expensive mailing and telephone call centers started this summer to get voter name recognition. And this is from the ousted Republicans --- the state wide party that imploded into dust during the last election. Anyone running for Illinois public office today must have blinders on - - - how can they not realize that the feds are investigating EVERYONE holding a position of power which could be abused. Who would in their right mind want to throw themselves into this snake pit?


Opinion, Commentary, Editorial Cartoons by Ski.

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