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Former Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate Rich Whitney on the arrest and criminal charges against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

press release from Rich Whitney sent to

Carbondale civil rights attorney and 2006 Green Party candidate for Governor Rich Whitney has issued the following statement today on the arrest and criminal charges against Governor Rod Blagojevich. Whitney has not formally announced himself as a candidate for governor in 2010
but has publicly acknowledged he is making preparations for such a run:

We’ve all heard the expression, “I hate to tell you but I told you so.” But in this case, I honestly don’t hate to say it: We did tell you so. While I did not make any specific allegations against Mr.
Blagojevich during the campaign, every informed Illinoisan knew that pay-for-play was endemic in our State and that illegal job patronage had not stopped but had gone underground. But it was only the Whitney campaign and the other campaigns of the Illinois Green Party that raised the issue of serious campaign ethics reform, front and center. Indeed, one of my campaign themes was to clean up government, along with cleaning up the environment and the budget mess.

Now we’re even deeper in the hole financially and we have truly hit bottom – I hope, anyway – in terms of corruption in government.

In announcing the criminal charges against Blagojevich today, Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, stated that they “reveal that the office of the Governor has become nothing more than a vehicle for self-enrichment, unrestricted by party affiliation and taking Illinois politics to a new low. While I understand the sentiment, I would respectfully remind Mr. Grant, and Illinois voters, that there is one political party that has stood up for the principle of not accepting any corporate campaign contributions whatsoever, and that has stood firmly on a platform of making serious campaign ethics reform a top priority. And that is the Illinois Green Party.

I would also remind voters that this problem goes beyond the corruption of one man. This is a systemic problem that demands a systemic solution. The people of this State need to mobilize to gain
control over what is supposed to be their government. And the way to do that is by building a grass-roots political party that is beholden and accountable only to the people, not the same big-moneyed special interests who have made practice of buying and selling politicians.

As an attorney, I have combated illegal job patronage. As a candidate, I called for all non-policy-making State jobs to be selected on the basis of objective criteria by an independent bureau. I also promised to appoint an Inspector General from an opposition party, to prevent and root out illegal job patronage and help remove the cloud of corruption over our State. I advocated the formation of a Citizens’ Budget Review Commission, to review proposed budget proposals to help ferret out wasteful pork spending and political favoritism. And I called for campaign contribution limits of $500 per candidate per campaign.

And of course, as with all Green Party candidates, I declined to accept any corporate campaign contributions – and advocated making a ban on corporate contributions the law of our State.

Today’s news is but the latest symptom of a much more pervasive disease. The Democratic Party has had complete control of Illinois State government for several years now – and everyone can see for themselves that it has given us a completely dysfunctional government that has now led us into the abyss. Yet the Republican Party is just as cravenly supportive of the same corporatist agenda; they have simply been even less effective politically.

If the state of Illinois politics today doesn’t demonstrate the need for the people to embrace and build the Green Party – a true party of, by and for the people – I don’t know what will.

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One Comment

  1. scooterbird scooterbird December 10, 2008

    Three cheers for Rich Whitney and the GP! A record number of voters in Illinois stood up and voted for us in 2004 thanks to Whitney’s straightforward and truthful talk. Now there are many, many more who are ready to hear it again!

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