I spent the first few months in Seattle after a year in Chicago being constantly surprised at how easily shocked everyone seemed to be by
I spent the first few months in Seattle after a year in Chicago being constantly surprised at how easily shocked everyone seemed to be by the whiff of political misdeeds.
Don't get me wrong; holding people accountable for following campaign finance rules is a noble and worthy effort. But where our politicians lean more toward overaggressive special interest bargaining or coordinating campaign spending (see yesterday's Seattle Times on Rob McKenna), investigating public corruption in Illinois is shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. In fact, I suspect candidates would have trouble getting elected to state and city offices if voters didn't think they had some kind of mob ties--how would they get anything done?
To illustrate the point, here's a run down of some local political debacles and the much more interesting/shocking/f-bomb laden Illinois counterparts:
Watch Your Mouth
Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders to Attorney General Michael Mukasey: Standing at a meeting of the Federalist Society: "Tyrant! You are a tyrant!" (Seattle Times).
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on Barack Obama: From the affidavit on his arrest: "ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants are telling him that he has to 'suck it up' for two years and do nothing and give this 'motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him'."
Mike Lowry faces sexual harassment allegations: An aide quits accusing then-Governor Mike Lowry of "putting his hand on her midriff near her breast or touching her leg." (Seattle Times).
Illinois U.S. Senate Candidate Jack Ryan's ex-wife says he took her to sex clubs: Jeri Ryan said her then-husband took her on three "surprise trips" in the spring of 1998 to New Orleans, New York and Paris, during which he took her to sex clubs. She said she refused to go in the first and went into the second at his insistence.
"It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling," she said in the court document, adding that her husband "wanted me to have sex with him there, with another couple watching. I refused."
She said on arriving at the third club, in Paris, "people were having sex everywhere. I cried. I was physically ill. [He] became very upset with me and said it was not a 'turn on' for me to cry." (CNN.com)
Bad Fundraiser, No, No
Dino Rossi accused of bolstering his war chest by helping the BIAW raise cash on his own behalf--a no, no in this state: [E]vidence uncovered by some dogged anti-BIAW attorneys suggests that Rossi, in fact, helped to solicit money for the BIAW's political war chest back in the summer of 2007, before he had officially announced as a candidate. Rossi's dollar-dialing--if proven--could render nearly all the BIAW's spending in the governor's race illegal. Instead of being "independent," the BIAW would be subject to the limits on direct campaign contributions--$3,200 per candidate--whereas right now the BIAW appears poised to spend more like $7 million.
Tony Rezko convicted of graft: Rezko, a Chicago developer and political fundraising mercenary, is convicted on 16 counts of "using his influence in Blagojevich's inner circle to squeeze cash from firms seeking state business." (Chicago Sun-Times)
If only Christine Gregoire would take millions from builders for the chance to get in on the viaduct construction, under which she builds a sex club where she becomes known for getting drunk in her favorite leather ensemble and calling Patty Murray an unholy bitch on open mic night. That, Seattle, is a political scandal.