Blago State Campaign Finance Reform: DOA
Earlier this week, Chicagoist reported Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich "roaring" with a new proposed campaign finance and ethics reform. Guess we got a bit ahead of ourselves -- since the proposal has turned out to be little more than a whimper.
Ignore for a moment the expected Republican invective against the proposal, but Blago's own State Representative, John Fritchey (D-Chicago), responded to the proposal by, "pick[ing] up Blagojevich's press release, crumpled it and handed it back to a group of reporters." Then word comes that concepts of the proposal were never discussed with House Speaker Mike Madigan or Senate President Emil Jones, both Democrats. And oh yeah, while details of the proposal were neatly laid out in a press release, there still isn't any legislative language -- so the bill can't move. And considering the General Assembly's spring session ends May 27, it would seem that the legislation doesn't have a very good chance of happening any time soon.
So far, the Governor's reform seems to be a lesson how not to pass legislation. Democratic legislators are lining up to bash it:
"It's very foolish." Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills)
"Having Rod Blagojevich come up with campaign finance reform is sort of like having Mike Tyson run a sensitivity training seminar," said Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock).
Of course, Republicans are getting their shots in too. Starting with State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, a potential candidate for governor next year. Topinka ratched up the rhetoric yesterday by challenging the governor to show his real committment to reform by zeroing-out his $10 million-plus campaign war chest, then she would zero-out her $1 million fund. Calling it a "cheap political stunt," Blagojevich declined the challenge.