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More reform and renewal - pigs at the perpetual trough edition

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006

The party never ends.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration, seeking a contractor to oversee the establishment of a major Southern Illinois recreational facility in late 2003, bypassed the downstate firm that had already done the master plan for the project.

Instead, the administration handpicked a Chicago company that had contributed almost $30,000 in charter plane flights to Blagojevich’s 2002 campaign.

Since then, the Sparta World Shooting & Recreational Facility, heralded by Blagojevich as a boon for Southern Illinois’ economy, has also been a boon for that contributor, Knight E/A Inc. The Chicago engineering firm has received more than $2.5 million so far from its no-bid contract as construction manager of the Sparta project. […]

Knight Infrastructure, meanwhile, had already become a major political supporter of Blagojevich. During the 2002 campaign, records show, Knight donated charter plane services to Blagojevich on six occasions, at a value of more than $29,726. Wolfe, the Knight company president, gave Blagojevich a personal $10,000 contribution in September 2002, and another $5,000 in June 2003 - right around the time the administration was deciding how to proceed on the Sparta project.

Yet another unintentional coinkidink, according to the Blagojevich administration. Those contributions may look carefully timed and influential, but they weren’t. Nope. That would be wrong.

Peruse more stories on the relationship between Knight and the governor here and here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Saturday “expert” roundup

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006

The major punditry sites usually update their election prognostications on Friday. So, this will be a regular feature through election day. You can comment all you want, but comments won’t be visible until Monday morning, when I waive my magic wand.


* National Journal:

15 ILLINOIS Rod Blagojevich (D) Last Ranking: 16

Say this for Blagojevich: The press delivers him ethics lemons and he turns around and bashes Topinka for knowing George Ryan. That’s the power of money. Is Gov. Rod this year’s Gray Davis?

* CQPolitics:

Leans Democratic Ill. — Blagojevich

* Charlie Cook:

Leans Dem - Blagojevich - IL

* The Washington Post’s The Fix “prognosticator” used the Sun-Times/NBC5 outlier poll as its sole basis for analysis, so, once again, there’s no reason to put any stock into what Chris Cillizza writes about any races, gubernatorial or congressional.


* National Journal:

23 ILLINOIS-06 Open Seat (R) Last Ranking: 23

Immigration has emerged as a contentious issue in this campaign. Besides the Southwest, the Midwest has been one of the few areas of the country still responding to the immigration issue.

* CQPolitics:

No Clear Favorite - Ill. 6

* Charlie Cook has not updated his rankings since Sept. 20.


* National Journal:

[Moved race out of “top 30.” Race is now at 31.]

* CQPolitics:

Leans Democratic - Ill. 8 — Bean


* National Journal:

48 ILLINOIS-17 Open Seat (D) Last Ranking: 48

* CQPolitics:

Leans Democratic - Ill. 17 — Evans (open seat)

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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