Monday, September 29, 2008

Do we want to offer police protection only to candidates who can afford it?

I've been neglecting my duties.

Anyone who reads this blog can quickly figure out which politicians I prefer over others.

But I'd like to think that when the candidates I like take positions with which I strongly disagree, I will say so.

I've put off writing at length about the controversy over the "bill" some folks want to charge President Bush of the Aaron Schock Congressional campaign for the $38,000 in police and security services provided during the July 25 fund raiser at Weaver Farms in Peoria.

Frankly, I'm not a fan of Schock. I think Democratic challenger Colleen Callahan would make a better Congressperson.

And I chortled to myself as Callahan and Peoria City Council member Gary Sandberg scored points with the voting public by complaining about the costs the city picked up providing protection during this rather elitist affair.

But I am somewhat amazed it's getting as much traction as it has. Folks, I hate to break it to you, but it is the job of local police to provide assistance to the Secret Police when they are in town protecting the life of the the leader of the free world. This is true whether the event features a lame-duck incumbent raising cash by charging $5,000 a pop for a photograph at a closed-door event, or if it's some junior senator (without a shot in Hell of winning his party's nomination for President) stumping for a former colleague outside the Peoria County Courthouse.

Putting a dollar amount on the services of the men and woman of the Peoria Police Department cheapens their contribution to the city. They are not hired guns. They are not security guards. To be asked by the Secret Service to coordinate and cooperate in the protection of the president of the United States of America is both their duty and their privilege. It has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with protecting the public.

But if you want to take politics into the equation, consider this: Do we really want elections in which candidates have to pay municipalities for the protection they receive? If minor party candidates and independents like Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney or Chuck Baldwin had to pay even a fraction of $38,000 every time they made a campaign appearance, they wouldn't be making a lot of campaign appearances.

During a presidential race, candidates might make eight stops a day. Some of them are fund-raisers not dissimilar to the one we're discussing. Add that up over a year-long presidential campaign, and we're talking about huge sums of money. I'd ask anyone griping about the elites who showed up for Schock's Weaver Farms event to stop and consider how adding millions of dollars to the cost of a campaign will make for easier for non-elites to get involved.

It would be the easiest thing for the Schock campaign to just write a check (which is something I suggested as a way to end the controversy). But I'm thinking now that it would set a precedent, so let's forget that idea.

And don't worry, I'll be going back to giving folks reasons to vote for Colleen Callahan soon.

Crossposted to Peoria Pundit.

1 comments:

corrupt politicians and police protection,  6:18 PM  

Santiago corruption
October 1st - 6:15 p.m.
COURT TOLD OF SANTIAGO GIFT TO BERRIOS.” Chicago Tribune. Matt O’Connor. 01/15/1999. below

-State Rep Miguel Santiago is accused of giving $11,000 to Joe Berrios at a time corresponding when he went on the County Treasurer payroll as an alleged ghost employee.
Theris Gabinski
October 1st - 6:15 p.m.
No candidates, however, had bigger political heavyweights in their corner than Santiago. In addition to her husband, state Rep. Miguel Santiago (D-3,Chicago), she was supported by 32nd Ward Alderman Theris Gabinski, 33rd Ward Alderman Richard Mell, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-22, Chicago), state Rep. Joseph Kotlarz (D-20, Chicago) and Illinois' outgoing incumbent U.S. senator, Alan J. Dixon.
ghosts come back to haunt
October 1st - 6:17 p.m.
In 1999, Genson won an acquittal for former state Rep. Miguel Santiago (D-Chicago) on ghost-payrolling charges.

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