« Please, lawmakers, spare us the Do Good bills | Main | Shirley, may your tribe prosper »

August 03, 2005

Feeding the politicians

"Here chickie chick chick, here chickie chick chick..."

For some reason, that childhood refrain -- chanted while throwing cracked corn to the farmyard chickens -- came to mind this week as I browsed through the latest money reports filed by the Illinois political crowd.

Maybe it's the indiscriminate nature of the giving: Many of the committees spreading money around don't seem to have any party or even philosophical allegiances. They're just tossing it out there: "Here politician politician politician..."

A few examples, from the many you'll find if you spend a little time looking through the reports, available online at www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure.

In the six months ended June 30, the Manufacturers PAC put a total of $3,000 into the campaigns of three prospective Republican gubernatorial candidates, but was even more generous with Democratic legislative leaders: $5,000 for Senate president Emil Jones and $500 for House Speaker Mike Madigan.

The Illinois Cable PAC gave Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich $40,000, but also tossed $1,500 to prospective GOP candidate Steve Rauschenberger. The cable guys further hedged their bets by giving a total of $10,000 to GOP legislative committees and an additional $10,000 to House Republican leader Tom Cross. By the way, your cable bill gone up lately?

The Illinois Federation of Teachers covered Gov. Blagojevich ($1,000) and prospective GOP guy Rauschenberger ($500), but put bigger bucks into legislators' pockets -- $3,000 each for House D leader Madigan and R leader Cross.

The docs, through the Illinois State Medical Society PAC, passed out $206,650. Among the gifts there were $25,000 for the governor, $5,000 for prospective challenger Judy Topinka and $2,000 each for Rauschenberger and Brady. There was also $10,000 each for Senate leaders Jones (D) and Frank Watson (R). The docs' PAC, incidentally was sitting on well more than a half million bucks as of June 30.

The Illinois Hospital Association PAC also was generous. It tossed $50,000 to Blagojevich, while supporting prospective GOP candidates Rauschenberger ($12,000) and Topinka ($25,000). The hospitals also had more than a half mil on hand as of June 30.

I'm sure, though, none of this has anything to do with the ever growing cost of health care.

The bankers, through Illinois Bankpac, gave the gov $5,000 and also supported three prospective GOP challengers -- $1,000 for Brady, $1,500 for Rauschenberger and $1,000 for Topinka.

"Here, chickie chick chick..."

Course, what's getting tossed around here isn't exactly chicken feed.

Posted by jcb at August 3, 2005 01:38 PM


John, I first read this piece in print, and now, browsing, found it again. What a well written piece.

Illinois politicians, particularly those holding or seeking state offices, toss bait to the voters just as you describe. And worse luck, the voters eat it up.

No wonder Illinois is so bereft of political integrity in both state parties.

Posted by: Peter at August 18, 2005 10:22 AM