OCTOBER 06, 2006
A Democrat governor already in trouble for bungling government programs and awarding his cronies with state jobs and contracts is under fire for accepting a $1,500 check from a friend who he helped get a state job.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich actually came up with a creative explanation for the money, which he received soon after the friend got the cushy, high-paying state job. Blagojevich said it was a birthday gift for his 7-year-old daughter. Then, he changed course and said it could also have been a christening gift for his other daughter. One thing the governor, who is running for a second term in November, knows for sure is that the money had no connection to the strings he pulled to hire his buddy.
Blagojevich has been involved in lots of controversy since being elected governor in 2002 and his credibility has diminished with time. His administration is notorious for doling out lucrative state contracts and jobs to his politically connected friends and the state auditor has issued various reports detailing Blagojevich’s mismanagement, including spending $1 million on a prescription drug plan that violates federal law.
Like a good politician, Blagojevich campaigned with lofty promises to combat corruption, which is rampant throughout the state – from convictions at Chicago City Hall to FBI raids on Cook County government offices and the recent conviction of Blagojevich’s predecessor, George Ryan.
Evidently, Illinois voters have discovered that he has not lived up to his promises of cleaning up the statewide corruption epidemic. At least one recent major state poll says so, although in the Prairie state that doesn’t mean much. Illinois voters have in the past elected and re-elected all sorts of corrupt officials.
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