* A recent news roundup from the Bruce Rauner campaign…
Over the weekend, two stories broke about possible pay-to-play in the Quinn administration. First, Lee’s Springfield Bureau offers a “behind-the-scenes look at the jockeying underway to grab a piece of the newly legalized medical pot business” by politically connected Quinn insiders. Second, the Associated Press reported that a political firm with ties to Governor Quinn was contracted to work directly under the governor on health care implementation in Illinois and has billed the taxpayers at a rate exceeding similar contracts in other states.
On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration “handed out $800,000 in anti-violence money to a politically influential South Side community group even after the nonprofit filed documents with the state acknowledging it suffered from years of financial missteps.” A review of state records “also raise questions about when top Quinn administration officials learned of problems in the program and how swiftly they responded.” Meanwhile, the group’s leader continues to give money to Illinois Democrats as the Quinn administration holds off on collecting money owed to the state.
And after months of Pat Quinn and his administration denying any wrongdoing in a lawsuit alleging illegal patronage hiring practices at the Illinois Department of Transpiration, the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday reported that the Illinois Transportation Secretary’s own stepdaughter may have a gotten her job at IDOT through patronage hiring.
* The medical marijuana thing probably ain’t pay to play. It’s just a bunch of insiders going for the brass ring. If there weren’t so many harsh regulations on med-mar, the money guys wouldn’t need lobbyists to give them a hand. But it is an impressive roster of insiders. Go check out the story.
We discussed the second point yesterday.
The Tribune story was about The Woodlawn Organization, which used to be a highly respected South Side group. But years of mismanagement questions have combined to put it on the outs with the state. After putting TWO in charge of some programs, the governor’s office kicked it out of the anti-violence initiative. Still, you can clearly make the case that the governor’s office should’ve known that it was taking a big risk with TWO.
* And that brings us to the IDOT story. I really find this explanation hard to swallow…
[Schneider’s stepdaughter Ashley Carpenter] said she was at her IDOT job when, one day, generic personnel paperwork arrived on her desk, which she filled out and turned in. Shortly after, Carpenter said, she learned she had been promoted to a staff assistant. She said she never applied or interviewed for the job or discussed it with Schneider.
“Honestly, I have no idea how I became full-time,” Carpenter said. “I have no idea who put that stack of papers on my desk.”
Carpenter was hired as a staff assistant using the “Rutan-exempt” process, in which politics and other subjective factors are allowed to be used as a basis for hiring, according to IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell and documents obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
An IDOT spokesman said Schneider did not help Carpenter get either job. Schneider would not agree to an interview request.
So, you’re telling me that the stepdaughter of IDOT’s then-director of finance and administration was promoted out of the blue and without her even knowing it and the director wasn’t at all involved?
As the old saying goes, I was born at night, but not last night.
* Chicago was just released from nearly fifty years of judicial oversight on patronage hiring. While Mayor Emanuel was cleaning up the hiring process, Quinn was apparently going the opposite direction. Yes, Quinn stopped the questionable hiring practices after he was called out on it, but IDOT obviously is long overdue for a top to bottom house cleaning. That place has been a patronage dumping ground forever.