'Snarky' Stories Will Just Have to Do until Governor 'Rocks System'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Slusher

Snarky (snar ke) adj. Slang Irritable or short-tempered; irascible. (From dialectal snark, to nag, from snark, snork, to snore, snort, from Dutch, Low German snorken, of imitative origin) - American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition

It is interesting to contemplate what we would have done had political writer Eric Krol spent three weeks cross-checking the governor's campaign contributors against his appointments and the contracts he controls only to find little or no relationship. Considering how things operate in Springfield, that would have been news, and it certainly would have demonstrated Gov. Rod Blagojevich's oft-stated commitment to change "business as usual" in Illinois government.

But - surprise! -Krol's painstaking review found that more than 10 percent of Blagojevich's whopping (I hate that word, but how else do you describe a number that nearly doubles the previous governor's record $20.7 million war chest?) $37.6 million campaign fund came from companies with state contracts. It found another $4 million from people Blagojevich appointed to state posts or their companies, relatives or associates. And it showed that, if you have a contract for work on the Illinois tollway, chances are four in five you gave money to the governor.

True, if you want to serve on a state panel managing, say, the tollway authority, a major state university or just the distribution of money to arts projects, it is not critical that you contribute to the governor. Krol's analysis found that four out of five Blagojevich appointees did not give him any money. But it is intriguing to wonder how many contributors seeking appointments did not get them. That number is impossible to determine, of course, but when 20 percent of the governor's appointees double as contributors, it seems reasonable to assume that if you want a position on a state board, it doesn't hurt to give the governor a little working cash.

Blagojevich told us Wednesday there is no connection between the contributions he gets and his appointments or state contracts. …