Apparently, the Secretary of State’s office is being run like a family business. Meaning they hire every relative in sight.
Last week in this space, I wrote about how Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has been spending your money â€” specifically, how he put his biographer on the payroll at $73K a year, tripled his daughter’s salary in seven years and allowed the hiring of his chief of staff’s wife as a $25-an-hour part-time secretary.
Given Mr. White’s reputation as the nice guy of Illinois politics, I figured that would be it. We all mess up sometimes. On to more important stories, like Wal-Mart wages or who’s telling the biggest whoppers about Illinois finances.
As it turned out, last week’s column just scratched the surface.
Thanks to a series of phone calls and e-mails, I now have a fuller picture of who’s drawing taxpayer-funded checks in Mr. White’s office. Bottom line: There’s no need for family feuds here, because everyone’s making a buck. Even Chicago’s famed Roti clan â€” known for having every odd nephew and in-law on the city payroll â€” might be able to learn a few tricks. […]
On the other hand, the 18 job-holders referenced above are related to just 10 suits in the secretary of state’s office: Mr. White and nine senior executives that I specifically asked about. Who knows what else is going on?
Go read the whole thing for the details. There’s a lot more than this, I’m told, but White’s office doesn’t appear to be too concerned yet.
UPDATE: From a Dan Rutherford press release:
…Reconfirmed in published reports was that White accepts cash for Christmas gifts from his top employees, those he determines annual salary increases, like his predecessor George Ryan. He has also received a number of significant campaign contributions from his top staff.
“With just the examples included here, these few employees easily earn over $500,000 in taxpayer-funded salaries and contracts,” said Rutherford. “We are clearly seeing a pattern of impropriety coming to light. The people of Illinois saw Jesse White’s predecessor convicted for improprieties akin to what White is doing today.” […]
Rutherford called on Jesse White to make public his Personnel Policy with regard to hiring and promoting family members and his policy on awarding no bid contracts to family members and friends that do personal favors.