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Quinn wants to “fumigate” government

Monday, Jan 5, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Pat Quinn is tapping Pat Collins to draft new ethics legislation

Launching a spring ethics push, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn has asked the same lawyer who prosecuted former Gov. George Ryan to recommend ways to “fumigate” state government.

Quinn Monday will name former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins to chair a panel to draw up legislation and other reforms to respond to the litany of alleged wrongdoing tied to Gov. Blagojevich.

* But Scott Reeder is not impressed

As sleazy allegation after sleazy allegation came to light during Blagojevich’s first term, Pat Quinn kept his mouth shut.

Quinn has tried to burnish an image as an “elder statesman” by attending the funerals of Illinois soldiers and Marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He saluted as “Taps” was played and the cameras clicked funeral after funeral. But we didn’t hear boo from him as vets were shunted aside when seeking state jobs.

The administration gamed the state’s hiring system to give preference to political cronies over veterans. Middle-aged folks were hired into lucrative so-called “intern” positions to avoid the legal requirement of giving preference to veterans.

* And the goo-goos are upset about an upcoming fundraiser by the Senate Democrats, even though there’s no evidence that anything is amiss

David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, which helped push through the new anti-pay-to-play legislation, said he was surprised when told of the amounts of money being asked for in the Cullerton letter.

“Thirty-five grand is a lot of money for one event,” Morrison said. “At that point,” he added, admitting it was somewhat of an exaggeration, “you’re almost bumping up against average household income.”

But Cullerton told me there’s a big difference between regular fundraising and illegal activity in which Blagojevich is alleged to have participated.

Exactly. Not all contributions are tainted. Most aren’t, in fact.

* Related…

* Quinn plans ethics panel

* Quinn: IL is ‘international laughing stock’


  1. - Pat collins - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:20 am:

    Not all contributions are tainted. Most aren’t, in fact.

    But if you think, as many who champion campaign finance reform do, that “money is the problem in the system” then indeed ALL fundraisers are at a minimum, “not good”.

  2. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:20 am:

    Reeder sounds like a reporter looking for his 15 minutes…who cares what he thinks?…there is NO comparing Blago to Quinn…my view is that from day one Rod shut Pat out of everything in the new administration in 2003…in retrospect, it is the best thing that could have happened for the Lt. Gov…Quinn made his own way the last several years and he, Hynes, and Franks were the first elected Dem officials to denounce the Gov’s way of doing business…the facts speak for themselves here Scott whoever you are…

  3. - Speaking at Will - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:22 am:

    I love the mental visual I get when Pat Quinn starts talking about “fumigating” state government. I get a picture in my mind of Quinn dressed up like John Goodman from Arachnophobia. You gotta love Quinn’s taste for rhetorical flourish.

    Here is the visual in all its glory.

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:27 am:

    After decades as a maverick, you’d think would Quinn would have his ethics legislation ready to go without a panel.

    Is this a way to showcase Collins for some future run? He sure is on TV and radio a lot.

  5. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:30 am:

    Is Quinn full of great ideas like shrinking the legislature again? I like the guy, but his image has taken many hits since Dec. 9. Why not have a special election for Sentaor, Governor AND Lt. Gov…?

  6. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:31 am:

    Quimby: Get over it pal, not gonna happen…

  7. - Will County Wiseguy - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:31 am:

    Re the Senate Dem fundraiser: All Illinois politicians are bought by special interests to some degree or another. Pay-to-play will live well beyond the Blago era. He was just stupid enough to say it loud and clear for the microphones knowing he was under investigations. He also tied contributions to specific acts or legislation. Others are much more subtle, like asking for a gazillion dollars for a fundraiser and knowing exactly which organizations and individuals kicked in large amounts. Of course those organizations and individuals expect something in return and they usually get it, usually to the detriment of the majority of folks who cannot or will not pay exhorbitant sums for access to our “public servants”.

  8. - Ghost - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 9:52 am:

    IL has been struggling to pass real ethics reform for years. I applaud QUinn for using the opportunity when people are keyed in on the issue to try and get more substantive ethics reform passed.

  9. - Cassandra - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 10:14 am:

    Well, I hope he fumigates the upper echelons of DCFS and DHS. DHS is responsible for the Howe Developmental Center, where the appalling conditions led to a number of patient deaths. Supposedly, it will be closed soon, but the bureacracy is no doubt putting up a fight–they always do. Taxpayers are paying an extra $30 mil a year while Howe remain open, since the facility lost federal
    certification and funding a couple of years ago. .

    Over at DCFS, where ever couple of weeks brings fresh disaster, hundreds of kids are being left in inappropriate placements (psych hospitals, jails),
    according to a December Trib article. The ACLU, which sued the agency in the 80’s for, guess what, the same problem, is raising concerns again. If they decide to reactivate the lawsuit (now a federal consent decree) because the very very well paid DCFS upper management can’t get it together under our Blago, that’s going to cost us, yup, big bucks. The lawsuit that resulted in the current decree cost many millions to taxpayers.

    And this is only two agencies. One can only imagine what bureaucratic horrors await in state govt as a whole when Quinn takes over, if he takes over.

  10. - Read up Scott - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 10:22 am:

    Did Scott Reeder start his job yesterday? Apparently Reeder is a writer, but not a very good reader. Scott’s missing a lot while mocking the honor of fallen soldiers and their Gold Star families. Quinn has called for review and explanation of how Gov. Blagojevich has handled veteran’s employment issues in state government jobs. Quinn has honored and fought for veterans in numerous ways for decades. Among the initiatives championed by Quinn: The “Let Them Rest in Peace Act” which protects military and civilian funerals in the Land of Lincoln from protest-style disruptions by insult-shouting hate groups. “Veterans Care” providing comprehensive, affordable health insurance to Illinois veterans who have no health care. The “Illinois Military Family Relief Act” to provide financial assistance for families of reservists and National Guard members who have been called to active duty in the Global War on Terrorism. As state Treasurer in the early 1990’s, Quinn supported low-interest loans to veterans. Many Quinn initiatives for veterans have become models for action nationwide. Wow, Scott, avoid writing while impaired by reading before writing. Start here:

  11. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 10:42 am:

    Once again we are watching guys who have worked in the Blagojevich House of Corruption pretending to be Sergeant Schultzes after the Feds opened the doors surrounding them and started asking questions.

    I’m tired of the feigned stupidity. It is insulting for elected officials at their level of responsibilities act as though they didn’t know how this Administration worked or weren’t concerned about the deals being made around them.

    Pat Quinn’s feigned ignorance is another form of lying to Illinoians. It is time for him to come clean and set an example by telling us why he held his nose and served as Blagojevich’s Lt. Governor. At this time, citizens are able to handle an old fashioned, “I needed a job”, or “I hated the guy, but I was thisclose to being a governor for six years”, and other less-than-noble honest answers from Quinn. He can’t do worse than what we’ve been dealing with over the past decade, and his honesty would be refreshing.

    Blagojevich is scum and we all knew this by 2006. Those willing to polka with him after watching him destroy the Office need to be held accountable. While Blagojevich is the parasitic host on the Body Politic, there are many others Illinois Democrats who collaborated with him, knowing full-well that this day would come.

    The State is better off when these people are exposed and shown the door. They witnessed wrongs and kept their mouths shut until Fitzgerald telephoned them. It is this atmosphere that creates conditions for Illinois governmental corruption. Until we end this ugly farce, we are only lancing the Big Boil without cleaning the patient.

    Quinn Monday will name former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins to chair a panel to draw up legislation and other reforms to respond to the litany of alleged wrongdoing tied to Gov. Blagojevich.

    Well duh! - That is like reading that Louisiana is interested in flood control after Katrina.

  12. - Nose for News - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    Speaking of Pay to Play…isn’t time for H&S GOPs to release the MOUs they signed with Blagoof last spring?

    They did their deal with Blagoof and then went out with Jay Hoffman to bash Madigan and others….maybe impeachment committee member Jim Sacia could share what he signed before he wandered to Rockford on June 10, 2008 for the bash fest there.
    He is, as he likes to re-remind everyone everyday, the former FBI agent, blah blah blah.

    Maybe Jay, Cindi, Morrison et al could start asking some questions

  13. - curly - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    The ethics panel should have been convened 6 years ago by a Governor who ran against business as usual. There is still a pressing need for it. How about campaign finance reform? Quinn should be praised, not belittled, for doing the right thing.

  14. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 11:17 am:

    Whether you like Pat Quinn or not is immaterial to the proposal.

    Illinois needs fumigating and Patrick Collins has shown that he could do it. It is an extremely positive proposal that is sure to be killed by the very same people who criticize Quinn.

  15. - Pay to Play - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 11:31 am:

    Pat Quinn wants to move up in politics. Pat Quinn loves the limelight. Pat Quinn ran for reelection with Blago in 2006. The Blago/Quinn ticket spent 25 million “Pay to Play dollars” to win reelection. Pat Quinn wants Blago to step down because Pat Quinn wants to be Governor. Pat Quinn wants a new reform measures because Pat Quinn is thinking about this September when the nominating petitons for the office of Governor begin circulating. If not for those 25 million in pay to play campaign contributions Quinn would not be poised to be Governor of Illinions. Pat Quinn should raise 25 million and then donate it to Civic Organizations that battle pay to play politics the same pay to play politics that got Quinn where he is today.

  16. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 11:55 am:

    PtoP: Quinn did not run his campaign in ‘06 with Rod’s money…check the ISBE site if you need to be convinced…don’t let the facts get in the way of your ranting and your version of the “truth”…

    Mike Madigan did however, co-chair RB’s re-election campaign when it was evident that the Governor was losing it politically and otherwise…

    Consider this: would you rather leave things as they are or hand over the management of State government to Quinn…yeah, I thought so…

  17. - Suzanne - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 12:11 pm:

    Mr. Morrison needn’t modify his comments. Other than perhaps Lake or DuPage County, $35,000 is in fact quite close to the annual median household income of most Illinoisans. (See:

    However, Senator Cullerton’s comments in the linked S J-R article seem to be premised on a definition of pay-to-play that is so narrow as to miss the point and the problem.

    He essentially makes the claim that without something tangible changing hands, without some quid-pro-quo, mega dollars contributions don’t qualify as a form of pay-to-play. But swapping jobs and contracts for contributions isn’t the only form of pay-to-play, it’s just the most extreme.

    Those of us that earn tens of thousands of dollars a year, rather than donate it, understand what many of our elected officials seem oddly reluctant to acknowledge—big dollar contributions buy access and influence—the kind of access and influence that a working Joe or Jane have no hope of ever achieving.

    It doesn’t take too much lead to draw the line from that dot to this one: With only big dollar contributors working the phone, the room, or the negotiating table, it not just the players and contracts that get creamed, it’s the policy-making, the stuff that effects everyday people.

  18. - Scott Reeder - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 1:05 pm:

    Anonymous45, yes Pat Quinn had his own campaign fund. But since his candidacy was linked with Blagojevich in the general election, every dollar Blago spent also benefitted Quinn. It was impossible to vote for one in the general election without voting for the other. So yes, Quinn benefitted a great deal from Blago’s campaign cash. In regards to the veteran’s issue, can you point to a single instance during his first term that Quinn spoke out publicly against the administration’s efforts to bypass veteran’s preference rules in state hiring?

  19. - Pay to Play - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 1:10 pm:

    anonymous45: In 2006 Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn ran for reelction. You could not vote for Rod and not Quinn or Quinn and not Rod. They were ran as a team and were elected as a team. When Rod raised and spent 25 million in pay to play dollar both he and Pat Quinn beneifitted by being reelected. If not for the 25 million in pay to play campaign funds Quinn would not be Lt Gov and now in a position to become Governor. The only elected official that stood up to the Blago/Quinn pay to play was Lisa Madigan. The AG showed that she does more than talk the talk when in 2006 she refused to endorse the Governor/Lt. Governor ticket.

  20. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 2:04 pm:

    Your comments make it abundantly clear that both
    Reeder and PtoP are outsiders to state government operations the last several years…please reread my post of 9:20 am and I’ll emphasize the words “shut out of everything”…Quinn was viewed as a joke to folks in the upper echelons of Rod’s administration…it only got worse after 2006…beating your chest that Pat was on the same Dem ballot as Rod and therefore benefitted from it is just that: chest thumping…show me a Blago-Quinn joint campagn piece from either 2002 and/or 2006 and you’ve got a leg to stand on…otherwise enuff hot air fellas…folks were trumpeting a Quinn ascension to the Gov’s office soon after Nov 2006…even Quinn’s detractors in and outside government thought this was a good trade off…why the sour grapes now that the switch is imminent?

  21. - what about ... - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 2:24 pm:

    Someone needs to look into how Gov Blago held up approving the Rock Island Casino license/move request until a fundraiser was put together to benefit the Governor. Anyone listening?

  22. - Niles Township - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 2:51 pm:

    Good move by Quinn. Pat Collins is the real deal.

  23. - UIC Ethics Seminar - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 3:01 pm:

    Apparently the gov’s administration is pushing an ethics seminar at UIC for IDOT, the Tollway, CMS, and Revenue this Thursday, including a panelist from
    fitz’s office (Rodger Heaton).
    Don’t miss the fantastic speakers and great round table discussion! You will receive continuing education credits and you will pay no registration fee. The seminar will be simulcast throughout the state so you will be able to watch it at a location near you!

    This will be Illinois’ first multi-agency, simulcast ethics seminar.

    View the 2009 brochure including agenda.

    Featured Speakers and Round Table Participants:
    Dean Martinez, Deputy Governor
    Clayton K. Harris III, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor
    J. Dennis Hastert, former United States Speaker of the House of Representatives
    Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice of the First District
    Rodger A. Heaton, United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois
    James A. Wright, - Illinois Executive Inspector General
    Sydney R. Roberts, - First Deputy Illinois Executive Inspector General/Chief Operating Officer
    James M. Brennan, Illinois Ethics Commission Member and Director of Compliance for Reyes Holdings, L.L.C.
    Michelle T. McVicker, Special Agent in Charge USDOT-OIG Chicago Office
    John (Jack) B. Tieder, Senior Partner in the law firm of Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, L.L.P.
    James E. Wolfe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Knight Engineers & Architects.

  24. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 3:16 pm:

    UIC: OMG 2 funny!

  25. - Bookworm - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 4:32 pm:

    Whether Pat Quinn did enough to call out Blago or “benefited” from being his running mate are questions best asked if and when he decides to run for a full term as governor in 2 years, Right now, however, and for the next two years, he’s the only choice for governor we have if we want to get rid of Blago, so at least give him a chance.

  26. - Not Even - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 4:43 pm:

    Mr. Reeder:
    If you add up all the folks who allege to do good for veterans preference issues, veterans health care issues, veterans employment issues, or how about leading the entire state of Illinois on a campaign to support Full Mandatory Veterans Health Care and related issues; Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn rises head and shoulders above the crowds of veterans supporters. Mr. Quinn doesn’t have to be perfectly positioned on all issues, but even as he stands right now; he is far ahead of most wannabes. If you haven’t been following the Full Mandatory Funding For Veterans Health Care epic-battle between veterans, veteran supporters vs. Congress which has been going-on for years, then you are clearly out of the “veterans priority of service” information pipeline. Mr. Quinn has been at the forefront of this critical piece of legislation for years…where have you been? You might want to look-up Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn’s picture on the marquee of political photos of Who’s Who in American Veterans’ supporters at Operation Firing For Effect 2008’s website. Lets all stand together for veterans’ issues!

  27. - Ols Timer - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 5:37 pm:

    I hope that Governor Quinn looks at all the temporary assignments that have been given out at IDOT with an 8% salary adjustment increase to skirt the personnel rules. Also, a close look needs to occur at the number of Individuals that received bonus checks at IDOT.

  28. - "low level paper pusher" - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 5:58 pm:

    After Quinn becomes Governor, while he is fumigating, he ought to fire every single Blagojevich appointee. I know this is not nice, but when they took the appointments they knew they could be gone at any time. That is the risk you take when you take highly political jobs.

    We need a fresh start in state government.

  29. - Pay to Play - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 6:09 pm:

    FYI, they start circulating petitons in September for the February 5th Primary.

  30. - Bookworm - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 7:11 pm:

    I believe how a public official treats their employees is one of several ways to gauge their overall character. Blago, of course, has been notorious for his treatment (or mistreatment) of state workers. Anyone know firsthand, or even secondhand, what it’s like to work for Pat Quinn?

  31. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jan 5, 09 @ 8:55 pm:

    UIC Ethics-is that speaker list a joke or for real?

    Could you post a link to their site to that all of us ethically impaired Springfield hacks may become more enlightened?

  32. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 6, 09 @ 2:31 pm:

    One little mistake, Roger Heaton is not from Fitzgerald’s office. They are both US Attorneys running separate offices, one in Chicago, one in Springfield.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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