As a liberal former resident of the Land of Lincoln, I admit to a more than passing interest in the local politics of the state of Illinois. Previously the Jack Ryan/Jerry Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager's 7 of 9) divorce debacle was the crowning achievement of Republican ineptitude in the state, especially given that it led to the U.S. Senate candidacy of social conservative wingnut Alan Keyes. Though I haven't been terribly thrilled at the performance of Barack Obama thus far, it was enjoyable watching him trounce Keyes by a record margin.
Still, that level of joy has been eclipsed by the grand spectacle that is the corruption trial of former Governor George Ryan. For those who think that George W. Bush is a cronyist, know that he's but a rank amateur compared to Ryan (no relation to Jack).
From the Rock River Times:
Several influential politicians, lawyers and a judge are among the locals that appear on Scott Fawell’s “master list” that he used to track political favors performed by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office during the 1990s. Fawell is the star witness in the corruption trial[.]
[T]he following Republican Party members appear on Fawell’s clout list: State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-34); State Rep. Dave Winters (R-69); Winnebago County Board members John Sweeney (R-14), W. Timothy Simms (R-14) and Tom Owens(R-1). Also on the list are former Winnebago County Republican Central Committee chairmans Seven G. Vecchio and Mary J. Gaziano.
Vecchio is currently an associate judge in the 17th Judicial Circuit.
This level of corruption is especially ironic, given the protestations for years by the Republican party about corruption and cronyism in the Daley administration in Chicago. You have to hand it to these "big government" Republicans: they think big! Why stop with one city when you can extort taxpayers state wide?
More so on this than on many posts on A Beginner's Mind, I recommend perusing the article from The Rock River Times. The corruption of the Ryan Administration is like a fountain flowing deep and wide. It includes many, many fellow Republicans and even some prominent figures in the Chicago mob. Again, at least Republicans aren't small-time crooks; when they go corrupt, they go state and nation wide!