Ryan, Blagojevich, & Ethics
3:59 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Notable Day in Illinois Political History

December 9 is a significant day in Illinois' political history -- for better and for worse.

On December 9, 2003, the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act was signed into law. It was passed in response to the Hired Truck scandal that landed former Governor George Ryan in prison.

Rod Blagojevich's mug shot
Credit Wikimedia.org

The radio story

The law created inspectors general with subpoena power, limited lobbyists' wining and dining of officials, and set conduct standards for state workers.

Five years later – on December 9, 2008 -- Ryan's successor, Governor Rod Blagojevich, was arrested, in part for rewarding donors with state contracts or jobs.

That began a process that culminated in him being sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.

Illinois lawmakers had a response to that scandal too.  On December 9, 2009 they passed a limit on campaign contributions.

The 2014 election would have been the first governor's race with contribution caps, but ultra-wealthy Republican Bruce Rauner triggered an exception.

Rauner has donated more than $1 million to his own campaign, which means all candidates for governor can raise unlimited piles of cash from whomever they want -- at least for the primary.