Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday And Can I Keep My Job

No one has a gun to their head over at the office of the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk. No one is being forced to buy expensive tickets to Clerk Dorothy Brown's grand birthday bash and campaign fund-raiser.

It's pure coincidence that the group putting on the posh affair are all employees of the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, Dorothy Brown.

For only $125, a friend of Dorothy Brown can attend her party, but of course they're really a 'friend' if they give $1500. The platinum grade requires a hefty donation of $25,000, a price well within the reach of the highest paid employees if they turn half their annual salary over to the boss.

This sort of political fundraising has been going on in Chicago for longer than anyone can remember, and the politician benefiting from the party has always insisted that not one of the employees is under pressure to pay.

That's what George Ryan said when his employees were accepting bribes from folks who hoped to obtain a driver's license in the State of Illinois. The cash had to come from somewhere, didn't it? The average clerk doesn't make anywhere near enough to cover the price of those party tickets, and if someone got a driver's license who wasn't qualified, well, it was more important that Governor Ryan got his campaign donations.

Pity that Senator Barack Obama didn't say something, voice a protest or make a strongly worded statement, back when he was in the Illinois State legislature. He's a real corruption fighter, that one.

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