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Friday, December 12, 2008

Unraveling the Magnitude of the Task of Confronting Illinois Corruption

Earlier this morning, I wrote about what needs to done to unravel the web of corruption that infects the politics of Chicago, Cook County and Springfield, Illinois. Essentially, what needs to happen is that each and every layer of bureaucracy must become transparent because it is the layers of bureaucracy that the corruptors use in order to influence the government. Today, I have realized the magnitude of this task. Here is a snippet from a Hot Air story.

It’s not just businessmen involved in this fundraising effort, either. One prominent Illinois official took part in this plan. Rajinder Bedi runs the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Trade and Investment and serves as a close aide to Blagojevich, according to the Tribune. Another businessman, Harish Bhatt, supposedly wields great influence in state politics. A prominent pharmacist, he allegedly installed the state regulator for pharmacists through Blagojevich in order to
ensure a friendly ride, and who allegedly helped Bhatt fend off Medicaid fraud investigators.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is exactly the sort of government bureaucracy that a corrupt power broker can use to create influence and opportunity. This bureaucracy has two state offices and several offices outside the country. All of them operate in the shadows of the state government. This department gives out business licenses, small business loans, small business zoning, trade, among a plethora of commerce activity. Talk about an opportunity for a corrupt business man in Illinois, that opportunity is DCEO.

A watchdog would need to find out what is going on at each office in Illinois and at each office outside Illinois. The watchdog would need to run a background check on everyone in a position of power within the bureaucracy and then figure out how all of these folks relate to those in a position of power in the government. Every contract, loan, and license must then be examined in order to see if any are tainted with conflict of interest.

If you look at the bottom of the site, you find an icon for State of Illinois Business Portal. Going to this link, you find out that the task is even more monumental. On the side of this link, you find another link Find an Agency. This link then goes to a list of about 20 more government bureaucracies that all would need to be examined in the same close manner as the DCEO. One such bureaucracy that is fraught with potential corruption is the Illinois Liquor Commission. It's directors are Irving J. Koppel, Chairman,John M. Aguilar, Daniel J. Downes, Sam Esteban, James M. Hogan, Michael F. McMahon, Stephen B. Schnorf and each one would need to be vetted. Furthermore, the liquor commission meets regularly twice a month, once in Illinois and once in Springfield. Each meeting must be attended. All business at that meeting must be vetted, and then the Liquor Commission, and the Liquor Commission only, would be properly vetted and be properly transparent. Yet, I have identified more than twenty such bureaucracies with more than fifty offices just from the offshot of one such bureaucracy.

Everyone should not only understand the monumental nature of the task but exactly what has caused the governments to become so corrupt. It is clear that the sheer size of the government is the main culprit of corruption. It is one thing to keep track of everyone we elect, it is quite another to keep track of the tens of thousands of bureaucrats that aren't elected, operate in the shadows, in bureaucracies most people haven't heard of.

Bill Cellini, Jerry Levine, and Tony Rezko corrupted among many other bureaucracies the Teacher's Retirement System. The DCOE has likely also been compromised, but this only scratches the surface. In order for there to truly be clean government in Illinois each and every bureaucracy must be examined under the watchdog version of a microscope. The magnitude of such a task cannot be overstated. For this to happen, the state will need many, many activists all working together to finally bring it all out of the shadows.

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