* OK, I’m gonna give you a hint about how to read news stories. When you don’t see a hard number right away, it’s a tip off that the problem being claimed isn’t as large as the lede might suggest. For instance…
Dozens of state jobs involved in a dispute over whether they should be free of politics were filled by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration with candidates who were politically connected or gave campaign contributions to the governor’s party, an Associated Press review of state documents shows.
* Four paragraphs in, we see that “dozens” is about two dozen…
In an analysis of about 45 Quinn administration hires described in the government emails, the AP found more than half had connections. For instance, four held jobs in Quinn’s office or worked for another Democrat before moving to IDOT; nine are relatives of officeholders, party officials, union representatives or others who are politically connected; seven are politically active, either as officeholders or party officials; three have donated to campaign committees; and two have served on campaign payrolls, including for legislators.
I’m not trying to minimize this revelation or the reporting at all, but if the administration thought those jobs were exempt, then of course they’d put political hires in there. The only thing that truly surprises me is that it wasn’t 45 out of 45. /snark
Again, it’s clear that those jobs shouldn’t have been classified the way they were. Whether anybody knowingly broke the law is now what’s in question.
* And along those same lines, do we really want to go down this road?…
The Illinois transportation secretary says it would be too difficult to reopen the hiring process for jobs contested in a federal lawsuit. […]
Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider told a Senate appropriations committee Thursday that people in those jobs are union members and repeating the hiring process would lead to costly lawsuits.
Republican state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine says taking no action could lead to future illegal patronage hiring.
I can see Murphy’s point, but it’ll cost a whole lot of money to fire these folks, who aren’t really guilty of anything. It was IDOT’s fault they got those jobs, not theirs. But perhaps you disagree and I’m all ears.
An Illinois tollway director appointed by Pat Quinn also heads a union that is a major financial player in the governor’s re-election campaign, most recently giving $250,000 to the cause in January.
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, whose president is tollway Director James Sweeney, has donated more than $450,000 to Quinn’s campaign fund since the 2010 election, state records show. Sweeney also is chairman of the Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC that contributed $150,000 to Taxpayers for Quinn in 2010 and 2011.
The contributions don’t breach any ethics laws but they’re troublesome, some government experts say, particularly given past cronyism at the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
“It’s worrisome to see so much money coming from one source, especially since the head of (Local 150) is also a member of the tollway board, where so many road construction dollars have been spent,” said Susan Garrett, chair of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
I can also clearly see Garrett’s point, but you can’t deny that Sweeney knows a thing or two about building roads.