How did all of this work? First, folks like Cellini and Rezko became top fundraisers for the likes of Governor Rod Blagojevich (and one former State Senator now on the cusp of being President). Once they became indispensable allies of the man in charge, they used that influence to influence most of the political apparatus of the state government.The real power in the state government lies in the UNELECTED bureaucracies liek the Teacher's Retirement System. Because most folks know who is on the board of most of these bureaucracies, let alone what sort of business is conducted there, those that want to corrupt the system through these bureaucracies have free reign.
For instance, one of the charges that Cellini is facing is influencing the Teachers' Retirement System. After raising millions for Governor Blagojevich, Stuart Levine, one of Cellini's associates, became a member of the board of the TRS. Then, Levine, Rezko and Cellini worked behind the scenes to put as many of their cronies on the board. Then, the TRS doled out contracts and other monies to Levine, Rezko, Cellini and their friends.
This was the modus operendi for Rezko, Levine, Cellini and other political insiders. They bought influence by becoming top fundraisers for politicians like Governor Blagojevich. Then, they used that influence to put themselves and their own cronies in as many influential places as possible throughout the State Government apparatus. Once in place, the shadow government was in a position to dole out as much State government money as possible to themselves and their friends.
In order to take the government back, the citizens must demand transparency from each and every bureaucracy. Of course, we can't count on the state government to do it. We must take transparency back by force.
As such, citizen watch dog and policy groups like the Illinois Policy Institute, the Citizen Utility Board, and the Citizens Against Government Waste along with any political activist must identify each and every bureaucracy in the Chicago, Cook County, and Springfield government. After they are identified, someone must attend each and every meeting. Any bureaucracy that has closed door meetings must be identified, and the citizens must put the pressure on to force transparency in these groups. Furthermore, citizen activists must get more involved in overseeing the city council, Cook County Board, and even State Legislature meetings.
It's clear that the media in Illinois will not do this job. As such, the job of keeping an eye not only on the elected officials but much more importantly the unelected bureaucrats falls on those citizen activists that are sick and tired of a chronically corrupt government. The way to stop these back room deals is for citizen activists to be in the back rooms when they occur. Imagine if a citizen activist were there when the Teacher's Retirement System was meeting to witness the power play that Cellini was starting. Before Cellini had a chace to infect the TRS with cronies, friends and allies, citizen activists could have reported on his behavior and its ramifications.
The time to take the government back from the political fixers is now. The way to do it is to keep an eye on the fixers. If the citizens bring the government out of the shadows and shine the light of transparency on it, the fixers will have no place to hide. The shadows are found in each and every government bureaucracy. In order to bring the bureaucracy out of the shadows, each and every one must be identified, observed and reported on.