April 12, 2014

4 in 5 Illinois Officials ignoring Anti-Corruption Law

April 12, 2014. Springfield. One imagines that if you were an executive bureaucrat in the most corrupt state in the nation, you’d ignore all the laws guaranteeing transparency and open government too. A recent investigation by a taxpayer watchdog shows that more than 80 percent of state agency heads in Illinois are blatantly disregarding the anti-corruption laws.

This hat says it all. Image courtesy of the Huffington Post.

“Eighty-one percent of Quinn appointees leading agencies are not in compliance with mandatory Open Meeting Act training and certification,” For the Good of Illinois founder Adam Andrzejewski reported, “These executive appointees failed to sit for and/or pass the mandatory training, or failed to even respond to our request to review their certifications. It’s willful disregard for basic law or incompetence.”



Illinois Open Meetings and Open Records laws

Below is the wording from the Illinois Open Meetings Act, passed in what appears to be a futile attempt to snuff out the widespread corruption plaguing Illinois government:

It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business. In order that the people shall be informed, the General Assembly finds and declares that it is the intent of this Act to ensure that the actions of public bodies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.’

Similar to Illinois’ Open Meetings law, the state also has its own Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) called the Open Records law. According to the same study, not one of Illinois’ 17 state agencies is in compliance with the law. One of the worst offenders on the list also happens to be the state’s top criminal prosecutor, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, also the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).

While Attorney General Madigan has been widely condemned for refusing to prosecute government corruption cases in the most corrupt state in the nation, her own agency has a 100% rate for not having a single one of her 820 department employees in compliance with the anti-corruption law. Perhaps hidden in the secrecy is the reason Madigan refused to prosecute a certain Illinois bank even though surrounding states did and won back the stolen money for their tens of thousands of victimized customers, often with awards of double and triple the damages. According to documents from Lisa Madigan’s staff, prosecuting local banks for defrauding their customers isn’t her job.

Only 8 of 41 Illinois State agencies in compliance with anti-corruption laws

According to the study from For the Good of Illinois, of the 41 state agencies listed on the Attorney General’s website, only 8 are in compliance with the state’s transparency in government laws. Rather than list the 33 agency heads thumbing their nose at anti-corruption laws, we’ll just republish the list of agency directors that are in full compliance (from For the Good of Illinois):

  • Labor Relations Board: Melissa Mlynski
  • Labor Relations Board: John Hartnett
  • Department of Insurance: Andrew Boran
  • Employment Security: Jay Rowell
  • Pollution Control Board: Deanna Glosser
  • Human Rights Commission: Martin Castro
  • Veterans Affairs: Erica Borggren
  • Prisoner Review Board: Adam Montreal
  • Emergency Management: Jonathon Monken


Among the leaders of Illinois government thumbing their noses at the watchdogs, corruption-busters, and seemingly the law, the study takes another particular bureaucrat to task. Michelle Saddler is the Secretary of the Dept of Human Services. The state agency that seemingly decides which Illinois children will be homeless based on the color of their skin has good reason to keep their activities secret from the public, and the courts. Saddler apparently didn’t have time to become trained and certified as required, but she had plenty of time to star in an IBM commercial filmed on taxpayer time and on taxpayer property.

The taxpayer watchdogs at For the Good of Illinois close their announcement by asking, ‘If state government is not in compliance with Open Meetings, why should any of the other 7,000 governments in Illinois comply?’ The fact is, if Attorney General Lisa Madigan won’t even hold herself or a single member of her own agency in compliance with anti-corruption laws, she’s never going to demand the rest of Illinois’ government officials abide by them.

For more information, visit For the Good of Illinois

 

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