* Joe Cahill on Gov. Pat Quinn’s month-long goodies tour…
But lately Mr. Quinn has authorized some big-money discretionary grants to companies that agree to expand in Illinois. Like Amazon, many had strong business reasons to add staff here without state funding. This month alone, the governor gave a total of $22 million to four Illinois-based companies. We’re talking direct transfers of state money here, not loans or tax credits.
I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking the same thing: The governor is giving away our money to generate favorable headlines about new jobs in Illinois a month before voters decide whether or not to give him another term.
The commerce spokesman acknowledges a halo effect. “In most cases, I think the timing largely had to do with the companies and when they were able to go forward,” he says, but adds, “We have a good story to tell — and do I want to tell it before Nov. 4? Yes. Is that a crime?”
Joe doesn’t identify the spokesman and agrees with the spokesman that it’s not illegal.
I dunno about that. At minimum, an admission like this is bound to create an uproar over an inappropriate mixture of government and campaigning at DCEO.
And, really, what kind of a doofus admits to election day motivations for pushing state corporate subsidies out the door after the lousy year his governor has had with the 2010 NRI program? And less than a week before election day at that?
This ain’t good, campers.
*** UPDATE *** From the Rauner campaign…
“Pat Quinn is already under federal investigation for misusing millions in October of 2010, and now it looks like he’s pumped out half a billion dollars this month to boost his campaign once again. He’s throwing around taxpayer money in October in the hopes of raising your taxes in November. Throwing around more money in the last six days won’t change the harm Pat Quinn has caused Illinois over the last six years.” - Rauner spokesperson Mike Schrimpf
As of today, Pat Quinn has doled out nearly $500 million in the last four weeks. In the last two days alone, he doled out $36 million.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Well, at least now we know who the doofus is. From an AP report posted yesterday…
While Amazon’s Misener said the timing of his company’s announcement was “a complete coincidence,” a spokesman for the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said that agency had been in regular contact with Cronus Chemicals hoping the announcement would happen before the election.
“We have some good news here, and, yes, we wanted everybody to know about that before the election,” DCEO spokesman David Roeder said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
How brazen can he get?