Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s office has offered an expansive college internship program during his tenure, giving more than 100 students tens of thousands of dollars in summer pay — and a plum for their resumes.
But the path to those jobs is often layered in clout, according to a Chicago Sun-Times review of the office’s program.
Documents obtained by the Sun-Times show the treasurer’s office maintained a list of applicants, alongside a notation indicating their referral.
Who made those referrals? Some of the biggest power players in the state, including elected officials, lobbyists, onetime political workers, donors.
* Telling context…
But the way that paid internships under Rutherford ramped up quickly raises questions about whether clout played a role in their hiring. In 2011, the office hired 48 interns, in 2012 it hired 51, in 2013 it was 58, and this year the number dropped to 21.
A spokeswoman with the office of the governor said the office has five unpaid interns this summer – who work for college credit. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office does not have an internship program, paid or unpaid. The Comptroller’s office has 14 paid internships this summer.
If you read the whole thing it’s pretty clear Rutherford used the internship program to curry favor with other politicians and enhance his 2014 prospects. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge problem, but with other allegations of campaign/government mixtures, this could cause him some real trouble.