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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Illinois Politics At Its Most Cynical

Even before Rod Blagojevich allegedly attempted to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, the Illinois legislature attempted to stamp out the practice of pay to play with a new Ethics Bill that would forbid any politician from taking any money from any company in front of their committee that would be in a position that get any contract worth $50,000 or more. This ethics bill grew out of the scandal that ultimately convicted Anton Rezko on similar acts of pay to play.

The Ethics Bill just passed however there was an exemption for transportation contracts. Now, this local ABC report details just how deep in the pockets of major transportation contracts Blagojevich is.

Now that Blagojevich is under a dark cloud one would think that legislators would stay as far away from Blagojevich as possible. Not so. Last summer, legislators from both sides supported something called the Capital Bill. This is a $30 plus billion bill that would update the infrastructure on the highways in the state of Illinois. Now, just recently, they watered down the Ethics Bill to exempt transportation contracts from the legislation. In other words, any company that stands to be the recipient of any part of this $30 billion can continue to contribute to the very campaigns of each and every politician in a position to make this law, including the Governor. As the ABC report details, many of them have and continue to contribute in the very way that leads to pay to play.

So far, while all politicians on both sides have stood in unison in trying to remove the Governor from office, none of them have come out against their initial support for the Capital Bill. As such, the Capital Bill stands to possibly be passed with the Governor's signature as one of his last pieces of legislation before these same politicians remove him from office. Not only that, but it will be passed leaving in place the very structure that lead to the corruption that will likely remove him.

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