Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn - the top Democratic politician in the state widely known for political corruption as its last two governors have been incarcerated - is under the gun for patronage hiring in his state, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Wednesday. Quinn is being spotlighted for the practice after Michael Shakman’s lawyers filed the federal court motion Tuesday in Chicago. In the case, a judge is being asked to investigate state job hirings made under Gov. Pat Quinn. The case alleges that there is an embedded culture of patronage practices as to how jobs have been filled during Quinn’s tenure as the state’s chief executive.
With the court filing, Quinn is being accused of improper political hiring in the Illinois Department of Transportation. A Better Government Association’s report from last year reveals that hundreds of jobs may have been filled incorrectly. Those wrong job appointments may have been filled due to one’s clout with the governor of Illinois instead of one’s own competence, says the BGA report.
The Illinois Department of Transportation’s spokesperson, Guy Tridgell, came out and said that IDOT is to perform an audit immediately in response to the report of corrupt hiring. Tridgell said that at least 50 employments considered exempt from a state rule banning political hirings will be reclassified, according to a CBS report. Additionally, the spokesperson says that, in the future, those (approximately) 50 positions will be filled by persons who are not to be considered for hiring by subjective standards – which, of course, would include politics.
Quinn has been governor of Illinois for the past five years since former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, another Democrat, was kicked out of the job for corruption. An allegation of corruption is the last thing Quinn needs as he is struggling with an extremely poor job approval and popularity rating among his constituents throughout the Land of Lincoln. Many reports have said that the only thing Quinn has going for himself in recent times is that people trust the man. With the patronage hiring, that one positive characteristic is basically trashed. Republican Bruce Rauner is challenging Quinn for the governor’s mansion in the midterm elections this November.
Recently, Quinn has faced a great deal of negative publicity for the job he is doing as governor - all fault of his own. He recently stood before his constituents during a budget address and told Illinoisans that his temporary 67 percent tax increase is now to be permanent. He claims that he still needs the extra money to come in because it is needed for education. Constituents are reportedly aren't buying it. He promised the tax was temporary when he added it and they expected him to live up to the promise.