Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Hasn't Illinois Media Noticed The Corruption Of Its Latest Governor?

Believe it or not, things have changed little in Illinois despite the fact that the state's last two governors are currently serving sentences in federal prisons for public corruption charges. Although no other Illinois politician has carried the mantle of political reform during his long political career more than the state's current governor, Pat Quinn, some things haven't changed. Some would argue that pay to play is still the Illinois way. A Chicago area blog is wondering why a recent news media report about a questionable $300 million Lottery contract is getting such little attention by the media and federal prosecutors. The contract in question was awarded just weeks before Quinn was elected to a full term in 2010 after succeeding the impeached former governor to office. The company that received the contract had funneled $1.5 million to Quinn's re-election campaign. A state Auditor General's report in a scathing report questioned whether Quinn's administration had even bothered to read the contract bid proposals before it awarded the contract to the large campaign contributor. The Chicago Daily Observer blog discusses the story written by a State House reporter for an online publication that the media has largely ignored:
The story was written by Scott Reeder of Statehouse News Online and a writer for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, I have enjoyed Reeder’s columns and excellent writing for years. 
GTECH, a leader in the gambling industry, formed a consortium with its arch-rival, Scientific Games, just before proposals to privatize the lottery were to be submitted in 2010, Reeder said. The consortium was named Northstar. GTECH and Scientific Games control 90 per cent of the instant ticket market in the U.S., Reeder wrote.
Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who specializes in lottery issues, told Reeder it was “unprecedented” for “enemy” companies to work together like this. State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) is requesting the state auditor look into this, saying he was “perplexed” by Quinn’s decision to let two competitors to submit a bid together.
Byron Boothe of Intralot, an unsuccessful bidder for the contract, told Reeder that GTECH included Scientific Games in its proposal so it would not submit a competitive bid.
Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland told Reeder that he wrote a scathing report on the deal, and said Quinn’s panel that recommended Northstar could not have read and analyzed the proposals before a contract was awarded. Holland added that some people on the panel did not write reports until after the contract was given to Northstar.
In fact, Reeder said that one of the men on Quinn’s panel, Victor Golden, was named deputy lottery director at a salary of $109,248. Golden is paid by the state, but he is working for Northstar — the company he recommended.
Boothe told Reeder it was “clear from the beginning” that state officials had their minds made up about Northstar. McGowan likened Quinn’s deal to Blagojevich’s attempt to sell a senate seat.

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