December Ninth is a significant day in Illinois' political history ... for better, and for worse. IPR's Amanda Vinicky explains:
I'll go in chronological order, with the help of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform's David Morrison. "December 9th, 2003"
"The State Officials and Employees Ethics Act was signed into law."
That was Illinois lawmakers' response to the Hired Truck scandal that landed former Governor George Ryan in prison. It created inspectors general with subpoena power, limited lobbyists' wining and dining of officials, and set conduct standards for state workers. Five years later -- also today -- was when Ryan's successor, Governor Rod Blagojevich, was arrested -- in part for rewarding donors with state contracts or jobs.
"And that began the whole process that culminated in him going to jail."
Illinois lawmakers had a response to that scandal too. On Dec. 9, 2009 - they passed a limit on campaign contributions. This would have been the first governor's race with caps, but ultra-wealthy Republican Bruce Rauner triggered an exception, since has donated more than a million dollars to his own campaign. That means all candidates for governor can raise unlimited piles of cash from whomever they want.
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