Corruption

Illinois Politicians Can't Handle Handing Out Scholarships Without Being Crooked

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too corrupt for chicago voters

Illinois is on the verge of abolishing its legislative scholarship program, a program where state legislators hand out two scholarships a year toward state-sponsored colleges and universities.  Said the sponsor of the bill that banned it, Fred Crespo, a Democrat: "This program has been around for like, a hundred years. Maybe back then it was good public policy… Right now I fail to see any public policy value in the way that this program existed." 

So what happened? What else, corruption! Federal prosecutors are trying to find out if one Democrat, Annazette Collins, defeated in a primary earlier this year, handed out scholarships as favors to campaign donors. The legislators couldn't be trusted to hand out scholarships to residents in their district or even to provide the basic level of accountability that would prevent such an obvious fraud.  The website for the program even helpfully notes not to bother asking the Board of Education for an application.

Crespo also rightly pointed out that the scholarship program helped drive up the cost of tuition for other students, as most government interventions into higher education is bound to do. Congress of course last week passed a continuation of an artificially suppressed interest rate on student loans, just part and parcel of federal efforts to drive tuition up.

Reason on student loans

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  1. Corruption? In Illinois? That cannot be.

  2. I was appalled at the open and widely tolerated corruption in Chicago. At the time, the governor was Jim Edgar, who I believe wasn’t the standard governor/felon that Illinois prefers. Naturally, he and Daley were at loggerheads.

    1. George Ryan is scheduled to be released from Prison July 4th of next year. Looks like the Republicans might have a serious contender again.

  3. Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure

  4. This is exactly what David Frum is talking about. All of this transparency crap is just an excuse to hound our noble leaders and prevent them from by god getting things done.

    1. Look, if scholarships can’t be used to reward campaign donors, how the fuck do you expect anything to get done, Hugh? What are you, an anarchist?

      1. The real problem here is all of this transparency bullshit. If these politicians didn’t have to say who they were giving these scholarships to, we never would have had any of these problems.

      2. You like roads don’t you? the Internet? Heliocentric orbit? Then quit asking where the bodies are buried.

        Massive institutional corruption is the price we pay for civilization.

        1. How the hell would they get the Hoover Dam or the interstate highway system build if politicians are not allowed to steal?

          1. If they tried to build the hoover dam today, it would end up as fifty little partial dams, one in each state, oriented not to hold back a river but so that the attached solar panels face the optimum angle, with locally sourced fish ladders, and enough bronze plaques dedicated to the selfless folks who conceived of, designed, financed, built, fought against, fought for, and cut the ribbons at the opening ceremonies to keep each state’s “Vital Bronze Casting” industry afloat for a decade.

            1. If they tried to build Hoover Dam today it would just be on giant and never ending NEPA suit.

              1. It would end in nice bronze plaques for all involved.

        2. Corruption is not the price we pay for civilization. It IS civilization itself, pure, unadulterated, fresh out of the teat raw civilization.

  5. Federal prosecutors are trying to find out if one Democrat, Annazette Collins, defeated in a primary earlier this year, handed out scholarships as favors to campaign donors.

    Gosh oh golly, who could possibly have foreseen that it would be used that way?

    1. You mean that’s not what the program was for? “Oops”

  6. Is this one of those unintended consequences?

    I mean, give legislators a goody to hand out, and who could possibly have foreseen that they would use it as their side of quid pro quo?

    1. Interestingly, it wasn’t enough to change the outcome for Annazette!

      1. C’mon, gaijin, you don’t know that?she probably just picked the wrong donor.

    2. Is this one of those unintended consequences?

      nah..it is one of those all-too-predictable consequences. When politicians can hand out free ponies, not hard to figure that the power will be misused.

      1. Technically speaking, “unintended” and “predictable” aren’t mutually exclusive.

        1. Don’t you start, CMS.

          If you do something, you intend that all the foreseeable results of doing that something occur. You may not want all the foreseeable results, but you intend that they happen nonetheless. Ergo, “unintended” and “predictable” are mutually exclusive for purposes of assigning responsibility.

  7. Alt-alt-text: “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?”

  8. it happens at the national level too. my congresswoman, Eddie Bernice Johnson, relatives seemed to win all the scholarships.

    1. Nah… Just keep laughing at Chicago and pretend it’s not going on anywhere else.

    2. My Congresscritter got a “personal loan” from someone with business before Congress.

      He also manhandled (not in a Sandusky way) a 12-year-old black kid who made the mistake of leaving a YMCA at the same time Congresscritter was entering.

      And nothing else happened.

  9. Congress of course last week passed a continuation of an artificially suppressed interest rate on student loans, just part and parcel of federal efforts to drive tuition up.

    Artificial is right. Of course, since Congress created the federal student loan program, every interest rate is artificial by our definition.

  10. I wonder who Blago pissed off to make them come after him so hard? Everyone knows his colleagues were doing much worse. He has to have made somebody vewy, vewy angwy.

    1. “I wonder who Blago pissed off to make them come after him so hard?”

      His father in law, the guy who put him in power in the first place. It’s not so much that they went after him, it’s that he lost his protection.

      It’s hard to understand Illinois politics until you understand that Chicago’s 33rd Ward committeeman wields more power than the Governor of Illinois. Like from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “his job was not to wield power, but to distract attention away from it.”

  11. I wonder who Blago pissed off to make them come after him so hard?

    I’m guessing Jesse Jackson, Jr., who Blago turned down for the open seat. JJ Jr. is tight with Obama and Holder, so you do the math. . . .

    1. JJj is also being hospitalized for “exhaustion”… that has to be a great story. The information blackout there is interesting. Only a very few situations are serious enough to get JJ sr. to keep his mouth shut, and none of them involve good news.

      1. My guess is that the old man chewed him out for his carelessness with all of this stuff.

        I think he’s probably legitimately depressed. He’s staring down the barrel of prison and the best case scenario is that the wonderful life he leads has been obliterated.

        It’s hard for me, because he’s not really the sort I have the slightest amount of sympathy for, but I know clinical depression a lot better than I would like, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Even a corrupt pol.

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