Thursday, August 16, 2007

United Services Delivers for the Governor

Cross-posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

Gov. Blagojevich first sought office on a promise to end business as usual. And he does seem to have developed some new practices. In the past, state contracts were, on occasion, granted to companies known to support the patron's campaign fund. Now, today's press reports suggest, contractors are showing support for their patron in new ways.

United Services of Chicago apparently paid for busses to send people to the State Fair on Democrats' Day, some of whom wore Blagojevich t-shirts and who boo'd Blagojevich's chief rival in Springfield, House Speaker Michael Madigan. Some even told reporters that they were working for the Blagojevich campaign.

United Services has many financial ties to the Governor. Contracts with the group grew from $1M in FY04 to $1.9M in FY07, and the group appears to be in line for $2.3M in state money in FY08. Press coverage has focused on a $775K DCEO contract on FY07, but the bulk of state funding appears to be through IDHS and IDOT.

Press reports suggest that Eddie Read, head of United Services, ran a PAC that gave money to Blagojevich's campaign fund. That would, of course, be the old way of doing business. The new way, apparently, is to have supporters who will pay for busses to deliver protestors to hound your opponents.

The contracts, the campaign contributions and the busloads of support raise too many questions and - once again - make Illinoisans question the fairness and honesty of their state government. A partial solution would be to enact legislation prohibiting state contractors from contributing to the officeholder who awards the contract. HB 1 and other "pay-to-play" legislation is pending in the Illinois Senate. Now that their day of State Fair play is over, legislators should get serious and pass legislation to limit opportunities to pay-to-play.

7 comments:

Anonymous,  12:23 PM  

House Bill 0001 would decimate the employee populations at I.D.O.T. and the Illinois Tollway. There so many unqualified hacks roaming the halls, not showing up for work or sleeping at their desks it’s truly boggles the mind.

Anonymous,  4:59 PM  

Blago and Jones will push HB0001 when the Feds start drawing closer to their corrupt ways.

Anonymous,  5:28 PM  

Wasn't there, but heard the paid chimps were in an uproar at MJM.

Anonymous,  5:47 PM  

well i think you are mistaken about Mr. Read contributing to blago. i believe if you dig deeper he reimbursed money for election day activities which nothing is improper or illegal about that. in addition if you checked deeper the people brought to democratics day were on earnfare which with the governors announcement on wednesday makes total sense. the earnfare workers do not have healthcare now but would be eligible for insurance under the governors expansion.

Anonymous,  10:32 PM  

Oh, okay. Silly me - I concluded the governor was just another common crook elected to office. This one is as bad or worse than George Ryan. When will they learn? After prosecutions under HB001 passes I guess. But Emil Jones the President of the Senate will need to stop BLOCKING it from being called for a vote. Emil and Blago, two crooks in a pod. God help save Illinois from them!

Anonymous,  10:44 AM  

There were a lot more people booing Madigan than this group. I don't agree with it but many dems are unhappy with what has gone on.

Anonymous,  7:00 AM  

The House of Reps would be fools to override the Gov's veto. Pork before healthcare? The Senate President will not even call the overide for a vote. Then again, the mindless democratic state reps need to follow the leader to get campaign help from Madigan. Those that did not vote against the budget were told they could have no pork.

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