Post Number: 3159
Best of Black Box? N/A
|Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 5:42 am: |
Thank you so much for contributing this information. I was trying to navigate through a stack of news archive articles about DuPage County corruption yesterday. It was a DuPage guy, Scott Fawell, who was the right hand man of Illinois Governor George Ryan, correct? Sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for diverting state resources to campaigns.
The charges against Ryan are part of a federal investigation that began by focusing on bribes paid for commercial driver's licenses and branched into political corruption. Charges have been filed against more than 70 state employees or others, and more than 60 have been convicted or have pleaded guilty. Ryan, a Republican, was secretary of state - the official whose office handles motor vehicle licenses - from 1991 to 1999 and governor from 1999 to 2003. He gained nationwide attention as governor for his actions against the death penalty.
Ryan is charged with " racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud, filing false tax returns and making false statements. " The Judge also denied Ryan's request for a separate trial.
Birkett, by the way, accepted more than $100,000 in campaign loans in a single year from criminal defense attorneys who handle cases in DuPage County. Birkett also accepted a $10,000 loan for his Republican campaign for attorney general from a sitting judge in DuPage county.
In researching the book "Black Box America" which deals with the people & procedures behind American elections, DuPage will probably be used as an example. John Glennon, who was indicted on Chicago kickback scheme recently, was being paid to get loans for DuPage county and, at the same time was being paid commissions from the lender on the loans he lined up. Some of these double-dipped loans were used to buy voting machines.
Conflict of interest -- like public officials who assign work to their own companies -- appears to be a fine old tradition in DuPage.
This is also a county that flaunts public records laws.
I will object to the characterization that it's just Republicans up to their old tricks. A quick trip down the freeway gets you to Democratic stronghold Cook County, which is still reeling under the Hired Truck scandal, with public officials rolling over on each other right and left in their hurry to cut a deal with the prosecutor.
I should also mention that -- although it looks bad to have an obvious political partisan handling election issues -- there is no evidence that Frank Salvato has broken any laws or done anything inappropriate in elections. There is an appearance of impropriety. Jim March suggested an area to look into that may peel another layer off the onion, to determine whether Salvato's assignment was appropriate. Will fill you in on that as soon as possible.