Corruption continues unabated

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Sounds like the Gov-ajobavich got caught with a hand in the proverbial cookie tub. Not that anyone would be surprised. A Tribune analysis of state records shows

that more than one quarter of individuals and businesses that have contributed at least $50,000 to Blagojevich have also received state business during his first term in office.

Many, though not all, of those contractors did state business before Blagojevich. Still, there was no letup in their campaign giving when the new governor took office, despite his pledge to change “business as usual” in a state government.

Nevertheless, Blagojevich has been prolific when it comes to tapping not just state vendors but a wide variety of sources for campaign cash. In just four years, he raised $36.4 million. That amount is expected to shoot up dramatically on Monday when his campaign is required by law to release new data showing how much he raised in the last six months of 2004.

As part of its examination, the Tribune also looked at a subset of state contracts known as “professional and artistic” that are not always subjected to the bidding process.

During the 12-month period that ended June 30, at least 38 of the 51 businesses awarded professional and artistic contracts worth $3 million from agencies closely linked to the governor's office had also donated.

The professional and artistic contracts reviewed were with the governor's office, Bureau of the Budget, Capital Development Board, Office of the Inspector General and the Departments of Central Management Services, Commerce and Economic Opportunity, State Lottery and Transportation.

Political connections have long been part of government contracting, but Illinois is especially fertile ground for manipulation because there are virtually no limits on campaign donations.

“The appearance is just as corrosive as the reality,” said Kent Redfield, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “The more times the public sees linkages, whatever the reason for linkages, that increases their cynicism.”

Yowsa, you know that's right. Color me cynical.

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more corruption:

The new analysis of state records shows that some contributions to Blagojevich from state vendors have come before contracts are awarded, while others have followed shortly thereafter.

Bearingpoint Inc., an Atlanta-based company the administration hired to review computer and telecommunications systems, contributed $3,000 to Blagojevich before winning a $10.5 million contract. A few months after the contract award, it gave an additional $25,000.


Kelly, who could not be reached for comment, has said in the past that he has no financial interest in Castle.

But he does have several business links to Castle, which has worked on many local government projects in Chicago and is run by Robert Blum, whose company did not respond to several requests for comment.

Kelly has leased space for his BCI Commercial Roofing Inc. from Castle, and the two firms have worked on a joint project at O'Hare International Airport. BCI has also worked as a Castle subcontractor and Castle helped guarantee a bond that BCI needed to get a contract at O'Hare.

State records show Castle is linked to yet another construction firm, MBB Construction, which also lists Blum as its president. MBB had not received any state contracts in recent years, until it won two worth up to $353,000 in the current fiscal year.

Kelly's BCI and Blum's MBB have also given generously to the governor. BCI contributed $125,000 in 2002, while MBB gave $17,500 in cash in 2001 and provided a $100,000 loan in 2002.

Chicago-based Dynasty Group is one firm that had done little work for the state before the Blagojevich administration.

The company has two no-bid contracts worth $400,000 for land surveying and engineering services in the current fiscal year. It has contributed $37,000 to Blagojevich in the last 18 months.

and also

IGOR The Watchdog Group has done business with the state for years, but the Tinley Park firm has done especially well under Blagojevich. The company has up to $5.4 million in contracts for the current fiscal year, four times the state business it did in any of the five previous years.

IGOR, which among other things delivers I-PASS Illinois tollway transponders to grocery stores, has benefited from a surge in demand since Blagojevich moved to increase tolls for vehicles without the devices.

Michael Guthrie, IGOR's president, has contributed $51,000 to the governor's campaign fund, almost all of it after Blagojevich was elected. Guthrie, who declined comment, had previously contributed almost exclusively to Republicans.

smelly, smelly smelly.

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How well is Illinois managed? The Government Performance Project released state report cards yesterday for each state. See Illinois state report card to see the grades for Illinois.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 31, 2005 5:05 PM.

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