Judy Barr Topinka, the Illinois comptroller, has been accused of asking for a family-advantage due to her political standing by political opponent Sheila Simon. The accusation coming from most any other politician in Illinois may settle better than the accusation coming from the daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon. A criticism of family-advantage clout coming from Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, the late Sen. Paul Simon’s daughter – who undoubtedly benefitted incredibly on her family name – hits one's raw nerve. The criticism came after Illinois Comptroller Topinka was caught on a live microphone speaking about her son to Gov. Pat Quinn, according to an NBC News report on Wednesday.
As the story goes, a video has surfaced in which Topinka was at an event for tornado relief in the Land of Lincoln. At the July 7 event, she was with Gov. Pat Quinn and other state persons of notoriety. As the photo op had just completed, Topinka is heard on a live microphone softly speaking to Quinn about her son. According to the Sun-Times, Topnka said an inaudible phrase ending with the words “…get my son to SIU. He loves to teach.” Quinn responded, “Oh, really?” She said, “Yeah. And he’s got the qualifications, too.”
While it isn’t a direct request, from Topinka to Quinn, to get her son a position at SIU, you would think that was the case from the allegations being made by Sen. Paul Simon’s daughter. She is reportedly even running campaign ads making the suggestion as she is running against Topinka in the upcoming Illinois election to unseat her. Simon has stated sometime ago that she was no long interested in the Lieutenant Governor’s position in politics.
A spokesperson for Simon said that only someone who has been a politician in Springfield for 30 years, like Topinka, would show up at a bill signing to benefit the victims of tornado damage and ask for a job for a family member. The spokesperson said that the office of the comptroller cannot be entrusted to a person who treats taxpayer-funded jobs like bargaining chips. This over-assumed accusation is being called all too typical of Illinois’ dirty politics.
Simon also lashed out publicly and personally with an anti-Topinka Facebook advertisement. In the posting, Simon asks, “So did Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka really appear with Gov. Pat Quinn at a bill signing then ask the governor to help her son get a job?” A Topinka representative asserts that Topinka recalls mentioning that her son just completed 20 years of service in the military, that he has multiple degrees, including his J.D., and is interested in returning to Illinois, preferably southern Illinois.
The representative also said that it was no different than a million other conversations Topinka has had about her son in the past few months. It was said, “Like any mom and grandma, she would like to have her family closer to home.” It might also be asked, how much help would Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn give a Republican anyway? Again, these loose accusations of using family-advantage-styled clout are coming from Sen. Paul Simon’s daughter – Sheila Simon - who is now Illinois’ Lieutenant Governor, a position in political life she has acquired in life with blatant assistance of her family name.