The Chicago Tribune editorializes today about the spending spree the governor of Illinois has embarked upon, to ensure re—election. Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich campaigned against pork barrel spending when he defeated Republican Governor George Ryan. But times have changed:
...Blagojevich and a few legislators awarded $12 million in after—school grants last year. They'll hand out another $24 million in the next school year. How some of that money has been thrown away would make you laugh——if it wasn't your money getting thrown away.
Sen. Rickey Hendon's sister got $25,000 to run a drama program that wound up with only four students. They were going to put on a play——but skipped that idea.
A Chicago woman and her son received $30,000 to conduct a hip—hop exercise class at a shopping mall. They say they had 12 to 20 students.
One group got money to run an arts education program but wound up providing lunchroom monitoring.
Some grant money went to pay off personal debts and taxes that recipients owed the state.
The applicants for these grants received only superficial review and follow—up. Why would they? They had political sponsors, which in the Ryan, and now Blagojevich, tradition apparently exempts applicants from needing to show experience, success or accountability.
It is disgraceful. When Republicans do it and when Democrats do it.
Ed Lasky 6 29 06