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Redfield on the audit

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005

Kent Redfield’s take on the CMS audit fallout.

An auditor general’s report that is critical of financial mismanagement in Illinois government could lead to stronger campaign finance laws for the state, according to political studies professor Kent Redfield. […]

“The fallout is going to be primarily political. It is going to make it much more difficult for the governor to talk about reform and renewal and a new way to do business,” said Redfield, associate director of the Illinois Legislative Studies Center at the University of Illinois in Springfield. […]

“… (E)mbarrassment and scandal have helped us get lots of our campaign finance reforms in Illinois,” Redfield said.

If they’re buzzing about an auditor general’s report in Quincy, this thing is getting noticed a lot more than the governor’s office may have expected. Then again, the Herald-Whig is an excellent small-town paper that takes its politics seriously.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Drew Hibbard - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 8:59 am:

    Thanks for the Quincy plug, Rich. :)

    The audit thing made the front page of the Herald-Whig, so it is quite a big thing going on. Rep. Art Tenhouse was there too, so he probably used it as an opportunity to rip on Rod.

    I had Kent Redfield as a professor here, and I have to say that he is an excellent guy and very intelligent researcher. From what I know of him, talking about the CMS audit was probably a side note at this event since he would mostly focus on talking about his research in campaign finance reform.

    I’ll be checking the editorials and such to see what more is said about it in the next few days.

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 9:04 am:

    Blago quote: the dispute between CMS and Auditor General William Holland is “a prizefight between accountants - not a lot of muscle there, but a lot of argument and quarrel.” To borrow one of you recent headlines Rich, Are You Kidding Me? The blagobraintrust is saying we only care about results, not how you get there. They must have missed the portion of the audit where they can’t doucment the savings claimed by the IPAM blagocontributing contractor. That seems to be their line. What about all the chest-beating about ethics? They aren’t disturbed about the details outlined in this audit. Unbelievable…. Is it just me, or does this seem like a very arrogant response?

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 10:09 am:

    Blago’s got his ducks in a row. Obviously, to anyone who knows anything about this — this is not simply “accountants” arguing back and forth.

    I didn’t expect that — but I see how it makes sense. Most folks hate accountants — so, yeah, this is just some shrill little thing going on between braniacs and academics and everybody you love to hate.

    Gotta hand it to Blago — spin machine continues to get an A+.

    These guys are Washington bound.

  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 10:23 am:

    Unfortunately, a sitting gov with no opposition, and upwards of 10-20 million dollars available can sit around and twittle his thumbs if he wants to. There is nothing IL. can do about it, unless he committs a crime.

    Unless Lisa takes him on in a primary, we’ve got 6 more years of this.

    I am a Republican and I don’t see anyone beating him in the general election because of his war chest.
    He could make a whole darn documentary with that kind of money.

  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 11:28 am:

    If Rod is counting on his political war chest, he’s making a big mistake.

    If the GOP nominates someone whose not drooling spit, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove will make sure they have all of the resources they need.

    And yes, I agree with the earlier poster, Rod’s quote was more than arrogant. Rod is dismissive of the Auditor General’s accounting standards and accountants in general because he’s doesn’t really believe in accountability, atleast not to anyone else.

    I loved the quote from CMS that all of this debate — over whether these outside contractors we paid millions of dollars to save us money actually delivered on their promises — “misses the big picture”.

  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 12:41 pm:

    The issue landed on page one, above the fold in the Rock Island ARGUS and Moline DAILY DISPATCH.

  7. - Shelbyville - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 1:38 pm:

    Yellow Dog - I hope that you are right. I would like to see some of those “if the election were held today” polls. The war chest scares me.

  8. - Tom Joad - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 7:08 pm:

    Yellow Dog Democrat sounds more like a Blue Dog Democrat to me. I think there are many scenarios in which Rod can win again even if the Repubs can raise money. A candidate will have to do more than “not be drooling spit” to beat him. A yellow dog Democrat would be supporting a Democrat regardless of what he does–he would support a yellow dog if it ran on the Democratic ticket. That’s where the name came from.

  9. - Tom DeLay's Mom - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 8:26 pm:

    CMS-Gate is just the appetizer in what should prove to be a full scandal buffet served cold at Chez Blago.

    Some of the previous posts suggesting the governor has somehow dodged a bullet on the CMS audit obviously have not read the front-page headlines in daily newspapers across Illinois.

    Expect a few more follow-up stories in the days to come - graduating to scathing editorials over the weekend - followed by a vigorous round of “public outrage” opinion/editorial pieces and letters to the editor. Let’s not forget the GOP - knives are sharpened and they’re eager to pile-on too!

    Shrewd Democrats in the House plan to seize the opportunity CMS-Gate presents to put a little distance between themselves and the governor’s anemic poll numbers with a full round of House hearings. Guess who’s invited? The Illinois media!

    This news cycle is essentially still incubating. Rest assured, the governor will have plenty of chances to try to spin this scandal - but the glib “prizefight between accountants” one-liner clearly isn’t cutting the mustard with the media.

    Timing could not be worse for the governor as we enter the 2006 Primary season. Several “business as usual” scandals are brewing that betray Blagojevich’s mantra of “reform and renewal” and empty rhetoric.

    Blatant hypocrisy is a pretty tough to mitigate for any incumbent and the governor is no exception to that rule.

  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 9:57 pm:

    Hey Tom DeLay’s mom –

    Your indignation about Governor Blagojevich’s problems is surprising, especially given that previous Republican Governors set the standard and the bar pretty damn low (Edgar in MSI scandal, Ryan in countless scandals, Topinka using state staff to run her campaigns, etc etc.).

    Secondly, look for those all-too-eager Republicans to use those sharpened knives on themselves as they overreach in their typical hysterical way that will go nowhere. If they act and look like opportunists in all of this, they will lose the public support.

    But I will shut up now and let the GOP self destruct on all of this.
    They can’t help themselves when they get a chance to go negative.

    I just got done coaching a Little League baseball game. And I can assure you that mainstream Illinois
    will not tolerate drooling Republicans with long knives.

    On the other hand, if you all behave with civility and let these issues take their natural shape, you might come closer to achieving what you really want.

    Otherwise, why don’t you spend your energy trying to get the President of the United States to start creating jobs in Illinois. His record is pathetic.

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 10:47 pm:

    To Team Blago’s little league coach:
    The CMS audit findings can’t be spun as a partisan issue when Auditor General Bill Holland is a DEMOCRAT with no aspirations for higher office. The GOP is right to be indignant on this one and a lot of the Democrats are too, if you haven’t noticed.

    I know auditor general isn’t a big-name job but in digging up the dirt to try to discredit him you’d think Team Blago might have found out that Holland is a Dem with lots of Dem friends. Does Blago think his re-election is helped if he makes people so mad they forget his fortress of cash and get in the primary anyway?

    I also kind of doubt that Team Blago considered that given the nature of the auditor general office (ten-year term) even if Blago gets re-elected his agencies are STILL going to face scathing audit after scathing audit until the agencies shape up.

    You would have thought the Democratic Party burned the Dan Walker gubernatorial playbook when he went to prison at least. Then again, it’s possible some of the crack out-of-stater Team Blago staff found it some session night they were bored playing in the executive mansion’s attic.

    “In the 1970’s there was no clamor for innovative or expensive programs, and the major concern has been the financing of education and public aid. Walker, like some governors from other states, sensed the public mood. However, he never proved his campaign claim that millions were being wasted by state government and he found himself smothered by the overwhelming cost of public aid, with which Otto Kerner and Ogilvie also were familiar. The response was a repeated squeezing of agency appropriations to keep budgets within theoretical balance. He spent more on education, but he could not give school boards and university faculties all they had been promised. He tapped a new revenue source in the state lottery and sold its tickets aggressively among lower income groups. In a running fight he held the line on taxes while expenditures exceeded income, month after month. His economizing went to such an extreme that some bills have been left for the incoming governor to pay.”

  12. - EvilTerry - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 11:15 pm:

    People are acting like this is the first salvo in the “Blago may not be a good honest governor parade.”

    Jeesh- it wasn’t too many months ago that we had state troopers carrying his hair brush gate, the “rumor” gate, the “all jobs for sale” gate, father-in-law gate, etc., etc., etc. Maybe people ought to start thinking its a freaking pattern!!

  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 11:43 pm:

    Hey, keep the wisecracks about my son’s little league team to a minimum. They just got beat 1-7 up here in the Quad Cities.

    Here’s my point. Republicans overreach by, let’s say, maybe a hundred political miles at the first site of blood in the water.
    They have no manners, no civility.

    Now, during my Springfield days when we had a string of less-than-sterling GOP Governors with a string of scandals the Dems I knew basically kept their mouths shut instead of all of this immature hyperventillating I see on this blog.

    Get a grip and get a life!

    Go out and coach Little League and figure out real issues that matter — like how to grow this economy under this pathetic Bush Administration’s anemic job-growth record.

    Now, sure, this Administration has its share of challenges with this CMS audit. Sure they have some explaining to do. Sure they have some house cleaning to do.

    But spare me your false indignation, when most of you sat silently when Edgar’s MSI scandal simmered and when Ryan’s massive scandal broke.

  14. - Tom DeLay's Mom - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 12:30 pm:

    Dear QC Little League Coach:

    I’m a loyal Democrat who supported Governor Blagojevich in 2002. So spare me the GOP label please.

    As for your “surprise” at my indignation regarding Blago’s latest embarrassment - I was just as disgusted when Edgar and Ryan played fast and loose. Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t expect better than those two tarnished administrations?

    It appears this administration has invested a little money in a PR contract with a Little League Coach in the Quad Cities - perhaps we should check to see if it was one of the illegal contracts approved by Blagojevich’s CMS?

    There are a lot of loyal, GOP-hating Democrats like me that are absolutely disgusted that the governor is giving Democrats a bad name in the state of Illinois.

    Apparently the only Dems that seem to find kind words for the governor either work for him at the state or are private contractors sucking at the public teet, at the expense of taxpayers.

    I’d suggest you stick to coaching Little League baseball.

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