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Challenging the Culture of Corruption: Game-Changing Reform for Illinois

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In this important book, Patrick Collins gives a first-hand account of the federal investigation and trial that landed former Governor George Ryan in prison and demonstrated the cost and tragic consequences of Illinois' "culture of corruption." Collins also reflects on his recent service as chair of the Illinois Reform Commission and calls on his fellow citizens of Illinois In this important book, Patrick Collins gives a first-hand account of the federal investigation and trial that landed former Governor George Ryan in prison and demonstrated the cost and tragic consequences of Illinois' "culture of corruption." Collins also reflects on his recent service as chair of the Illinois Reform Commission and calls on his fellow citizens of Illinois to launch a longterm, concerted effort to change that culture. He outlines four specific reforms that could have a "game-changing" effect on "business as usual": - Passing True Campaign Finance Reform to eliminate the "pay-to-pay" nature of politics by closing loopholes that give preferential treatment to legislative leaders and party bosses, experimenting with public financing of judicial campaigns, and pursuing ways to make media advertising less costly to candidates. - Creating a Fair and Competitive Election Process to improve our democracy by dramatically altering the way we draw our legislative districts. - Enhancing Corruption-Fighting Tools to allow state law enforcement officers the same tools that federal agents utilize successfully to expose wrongdoing by public officials. - Improving Voter Access and Participation to encourage enhanced citizen participation in elections and governance.


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In this important book, Patrick Collins gives a first-hand account of the federal investigation and trial that landed former Governor George Ryan in prison and demonstrated the cost and tragic consequences of Illinois' "culture of corruption." Collins also reflects on his recent service as chair of the Illinois Reform Commission and calls on his fellow citizens of Illinois In this important book, Patrick Collins gives a first-hand account of the federal investigation and trial that landed former Governor George Ryan in prison and demonstrated the cost and tragic consequences of Illinois' "culture of corruption." Collins also reflects on his recent service as chair of the Illinois Reform Commission and calls on his fellow citizens of Illinois to launch a longterm, concerted effort to change that culture. He outlines four specific reforms that could have a "game-changing" effect on "business as usual": - Passing True Campaign Finance Reform to eliminate the "pay-to-pay" nature of politics by closing loopholes that give preferential treatment to legislative leaders and party bosses, experimenting with public financing of judicial campaigns, and pursuing ways to make media advertising less costly to candidates. - Creating a Fair and Competitive Election Process to improve our democracy by dramatically altering the way we draw our legislative districts. - Enhancing Corruption-Fighting Tools to allow state law enforcement officers the same tools that federal agents utilize successfully to expose wrongdoing by public officials. - Improving Voter Access and Participation to encourage enhanced citizen participation in elections and governance.

18 review for Challenging the Culture of Corruption: Game-Changing Reform for Illinois

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Patrick Collins, now in private practice, was the assistant U.S. Attorney who secured the conviction of Illinois Governor George Ryan on corruption charges in 2006. After the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich in December 2008, Lieutenant Gov. Pat Quinn called Collins and asked him to head a reform commission to figure out what the f*** is wrong with us here in Illinois. You can view the commission's final report here (http://www.reformillinoisnow.org/). This tiny book (128 pp, 7.5" x 5.5") is a tru Patrick Collins, now in private practice, was the assistant U.S. Attorney who secured the conviction of Illinois Governor George Ryan on corruption charges in 2006. After the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich in December 2008, Lieutenant Gov. Pat Quinn called Collins and asked him to head a reform commission to figure out what the f*** is wrong with us here in Illinois. You can view the commission's final report here (http://www.reformillinoisnow.org/). This tiny book (128 pp, 7.5" x 5.5") is a truncated version of their recommendations. The ideas in it are excellent, and you couldn't have picked someone more honest and reform-minded than Collins to try to light fires under people's rears, but the culture of corruption in both Springfield (headed by pharaoh-like House Speaker Mike Madigan) and Chicago (many-tentacled) is too entrenched to be swept away by one man, or a 15-member commission. The commission's recommendations pretty much went nowhere. Reform bills are proposed, and die, down in Springfield. The four main recommendations are: 1. Pass true campaign finance reform. True reform would mean public financing of campaigns. Yes, this will cost money, but the financial costs of corruption are enormous and we are paying them without even realizing it. The Illinois "corruption tax" is estimated at about $500 million per year. 2. Create a fair and competitive election process. The decennial redistricting in Illinois is a crazy process. If the two political parties can't agree on how to carve up districts, and they never can, a lottery is held. Literally, a piece of paper with a Party's name on it is picked out of a hat (a replica of Lincoln's stovepipe hat) and the winner controls the redistricting process for the next 10 years, making sure that incumbents are heavily favored and won't lose their districts, and winnowing out disliked politicians of the opposing Party. All of the gerrymandering is done in secret, behind closed doors. Illinois is the only state with this nutso lottery system. 3. Enhance corruption-fighting tools. While the federal government (the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office) has wiretap authority, the state of Illinois does not. State prosecutors are thus hampered in their ability to fight corruption. Of course they can still bring corruption charges, but without recorded conversations, it is both more difficult to secure convictions, and more likely that prosecutors will be accused of harboring political biases based on the charges they bring. Many crimes could be charged at either the federal or the state level, and while it may seem more desirable to bring charges at the higher, federal level, federal prosecutors don't have all the resources in the world. If the state had wiretap authority for political corruption charges, the law could be more thoroughly and evenly applied. Collins notes that the state does have wiretap authority for cases involving guns, drugs, and gangs, just not political corruption. That's the way the politicians like it. 4. Improve voter access and participation. Healthy democracies want civic participation. Corrupt governments tend not to want it. By making it easier for citizens to vote and participate in government, democracy is enhanced. In Illinois, voter participation could be increased by moving the primary from February, when it's cold and no one wants to go outside (and it's impossible to pound a yard sign into the ground, as one commissioner noted) and we haven't had enough time to figure out if our legislators are doing good or evil, to June. Shortening the campaign cycle means candidates don't have to do as much fundraising; this benefits the lesser known candidates, and makes the incumbents focus more on governing than on fundraising. Our system of voting should have a mail-in component, which increases turnout. The Illinois legislature should allow bills with meaningful support to get to the floor and be voted on; as it stands now, if Mike Madigan doesn't like a bill, it dies in the Rules Committee. Finally, the political process, and government, ought to be transparent. The things our politicians and legislators are doing should be posted on the internet in close to real-time; this would enhance FOIA and if it were done right, ultimately render FOIA obsolete.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Romero

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jules

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  5. 4 out of 5

    Benson

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Scully

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marlena

  8. 5 out of 5

    Britney

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pete

  10. 5 out of 5

    Misha

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dbekov1

  12. 5 out of 5

    Grace Hewitt

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bushra

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

  15. 4 out of 5

    L Suzanne

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ishani Singal

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}

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