* The Sun-Times has a story today about people who asked Rod Blagojevich for jobs shortly after Blagojevich was first elected governor. Some of the jobs were civil service, which weren’t supposed to be patronage-based…
Many of the clout hires got low-level state jobs like toll collector and highway maintenance worker, despite a long-standing court order that bans political hiring for such jobs.
Mary Lee Leahy is the Springfield attorney who won the landmark 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made political hiring for most Illinois state government jobs illegal. When he took office, Blagojevich hired her as a personnel consultant, but Leahy said the administration apparently ignored her advice and set up a patronage system she was unaware of.
Leahy said she’s “sickened” by what the records obtained by the Sun-Times under the state’s Freedom of Information Act reveal, and she points to a recent political scandal for perspective.
Blagojevich was using Leahy’s good name all along as a front for his patronage operation. She didn’t realize it until it was far too late. Some of us knew this would happen from the get-go, but that’s life, I suppose.
* Still, the fact that Democrats asked the first Democratic governor in 26 years for jobs is hardly surprising. A whole bunch of people who didn’t see the train wreck coming six years ahead of time are gonna get tarnished by this, including a US Senate candidate…
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheryle Jackson, former communications director for Blagojevich. She is listed as having secured a deputy directorship for her husband, Charles Jackson, with the Department of Public Health in April 2003. Jackson’s press secretary did not respond when asked for comment.
You can see some other Democratic sponsors here, here and here.
The problem for Jackson, of course, is that this just brings her even closer to Blagojevich, if that was possible. I have a hard time seeing how she wins this thing.
* Meanwhile, The Hotline has more on their interview with Alexi Giannoulias…
– IL SEN will be a classic surrogate race, one where the fates of Giannoulias and Rep. Mark Kirk are tied to bigger names of their respective parties. While Giannoulias hopes that “name” is Obama, GOPers prefer another one: Blagojevich. (For his part, Giannoulias seems unfazed. “Folks in Illinois know I was never close to him,” he said of the ex-gov).
– Meanwhile, watch for IL Dems to return to their ‘06/’08 playbook in ‘10. Asked if tying Kirk to George W. Bush will still be a workable strategy next year, Giannoulias smiled and said, “Yes.” GOPers say they aren’t worried. Said the NRSC: “If Giannoulias wants to use a failed 2008 playbook in 2010 with George Bush out office, Rod Blagojevich on trial … this will be an easier campaign for Mark Kirk to win than we thought.”
…Adding… Forgot to post this…
Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful David Hoffman late Thursday released copies of his federal income tax returns for the past five years and, with a sharp shot at competitor Alexi Giannoulias, challenged him to do the same.
The returns show Mr. Hoffman and his wife reported annual adjusted gross income of between $247,000 and as much as $630,000 between 2004 and 2007.
The fluctuation was largely due to activity in the Hoffmans’ brokerage account, with large capital gains and income from dividends reported in some years.
Mr. Hoffman has been a federal prosecutor most of his adult life, but an aide says the brokerage assets reflect money he and siblings received from their grandfather, a founder of Geico Insurance. The former Chicago inspector general is worth $2.8 to $6 million, according to his campaign, with a detailed disclosure to be released later this month.
I wonder how much more cash he’ll actually be able to put into that campaign.