Veteran Illinois watchers like me smelled bullshit. You don't get anywhere in this state politically unless you cut some kind of Faustian bargain. I figured Quinn was just as lousy, he just hadn't been caught yet. Quinn started strong, talking about fiscal responsibility. He even famously flew coach to Washington DC instead of a private jet. Then, instead of cutting state money, he started increasing fees and taxes to cover the deficit. Bad, yes, but not enough to call him a typical politician yet.
Merry Christmas, suckers!
Last week, Illinois members of the American Federation Of State, County, And Municipal Employees publicly endorsed Quinn for governor.
On Monday, word got out that Quinn is redrafting a deal that would keep the 50,000 AFSCME union members on the state payroll from being laid off. Originally, he was just going to make sure there was plenty of money to keep from downsizing them. This would prevent anyone from downsizing them, even if there was a budget crisis. This deal would extend through the next governor's administration, whoever it is.
The deal was ginned up by state budget director David Vaught. On Tuesday, it came out that Vaught accompanied Quinn to his endorsement meeting with the union.
Conflict of interest? What conflict of interest? Quinn says Vaught was there on personal time, and only there in case budget questions arose, and Quinn is beyond reproach for this.
41 days, my fellow Illinois citizens. 41 days to make your choice....