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Daily Herald Researches Blago Campaign Finance

By vouchey in News on May 2, 2005 6:54PM

Campaign finance is always a tricky issue, but Governor Rod Blagojevich has become a major lightning Rod, especially when it comes to election dough. Besides the fact that he's got a reported $10 million war chest, his father-in-law Ald. Dick Mell (33rd) accused him of trading contributions for state board appointments, and then in early spring he promised campaign finance reform that would "rock this state." Since his main 2002 campaign pledge was to "end business as usual," folks expect the usual to end.

A major series of six articles in yesterday's Daily Herald seems to suggest that the usual is still going on. The series, investigating relationships between contributions to the governor and who gets state contracts and appointments, is like looking at a long math equation on the blackboard with every step completed except for the final solution. All the work is done for you, but the Daily Herald allows you to draw your own conclusion. Yet with the information they present, it's pretty hard not to come to the conclusion that something is not quite right.

Among the findings:

  • $7.34 million in campaign contributions from firms with special state contracts
  • $3.81 million in campaign cash comes from companies that hold contracts with state agencies and the tollway authority
  • $3.53 million is from campaign donations by appointees

“We set the bar high. We knew there were going to be snarky articles,” a Blagojevich spokesman said. That's well and fine, and Chicagoist looks forward to the Governor's promised campaign finance reform bill. In the meantime, the Chicago Tribune is calling him "Governor Pay to Play", and you can be sure that nickname will show up in some opponent's campaign commercials.