Monday, November 21, 2005

For Love or Money?

When I first read Phil Kadner's article in Sunday's Daily Southtown, I just took it as another hard-hitting piece about George Ryan.

Ryan does not think of himself as a prostitute.

Yet he solicited money from people during the course of his political career. And in exchange for that money, it is apparent that he performed certain acts.

His claim that he "earned every penny of it," does not distinguish him from the common street walker.

But it also raises some interesting thoughts about the whole role of money in the Illinois political process. Nothing new necessarily, but I think that it's worth pondering the impact of all of the scandals over the years.

The public is already rightfully dismayed by campaign finance issues, but I think that the scandals cause the public to see no line whatsoever between any legitimate role of campaign contributions and the acts that lead to the indictments that have become so commonplace. I don't really have time to pontificate on this right now, but I just wanted to throw it out there.


At November 20, 2005 at 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stroger and Daley are political whores. Patronage wouldn't be so vile if there also wasn't a Shakman decree. What an amazing conspiracy, corruption, and cover-up. I am embarassed to be from Chicago.

Are there no good leaders?

At November 21, 2005 at 7:35 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Now, There is an intelligent, well informed opinion.
To the bill, Mr.Blogmiester:
The role that contributions play in politics should not be judged by the aberration that is George Ryan. Contributing to a candidate or party that an individual or organization feels best represents their interests in a particular office is a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Voters who lack the financial resources to contribute can support their candidates by volunteering their time and effort. It makes the process more participatory. The fact that Ryan allegedly chose to taint the democratic process and personally profit from it does not mean the process is bad only the individual.
I believe that most people and organizations contribute not for a quid pro quo but to support good honest candidates who they feel will vote their conscience and do what they think is right. At least I hope that is the case.

At November 21, 2005 at 8:38 AM, Blogger Angry Jolietan said...

I concur with Bill's analysis.

If you make a political contribution based on a candidate's beliefs, swell.

Problem these days is that too many contributions (like corporate ones at the federal level) are based on a quid pro quo motivation, not on political beliefs.

At November 21, 2005 at 8:43 AM, Blogger The Dude said...

You make a point, but the media DEFINATELY blows the connection between money and influence out of proportion. The Mayor said something like "do you think I'm going to direct a multi million dollar contract to this company because they wrote me a $500 check?" I know you would say that its not the $500 contributions which you are speaking about, but the press was reporting this as a scandal. However, some real campaign reform (along the lines of what the governor proposed last session) is exactly what the state needs. I hope that he continues to push for this important legislation.

However, newspaper sales are in the crapper, so they have to sensationalize everything to recapture their readers. Its really pathetic. The papers are reporting rumors and accusations as facts and are doing harm to many innocent, hard working state officials and employees. John, you know what I mean here. You were recently slandered in the papers. Even if you sue, they will report the story as it was, with a follow up saying that the story was later recanted after you threatened to sue them. Its stupid.

At November 21, 2005 at 8:52 AM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Now these are the types of comments that make doing the blog worthwhile. Thanks folks.

At November 21, 2005 at 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think it is the multitude of guilty pleas, convictions and indictments that is generating all the publicity around campaign contributions. The media are not writing stories in a vacuum.

I have no problem with criticizing the media for their sometimes sloppy reporting, but in light of the Ryan trial, the City Hall investigation, the probes into the Blagojevich administration and the Cook County contract scandal, I believe it is entirely appropriate for the media to give those stories a lot of coverage.

Finally, in some of the guilty pleas in Operation Safe Road and in the Hired Truck investigation it is clear that some campaign contributions were extorted or contracts were give in part in exchange for campaign contributions. The contributions angle does not exist in every instance, but often enough to justify more scrutiny of contributions.


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