The State Journal-Register asked Quinn for a list of the people who received the 1,997 free State Fair concerts tickets given away by his office and the Department of Agriculture. Quinn’s response: We didn’t keep a list.
Most of the tickets went to TV and radio stations, which gave them away in on-air contests -- a form of free advertising for the fair. Quinn’s office distributed 75 tickets -- mostly to families of veterans killed in action, Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson told the newspaper.
“There just wasn’t a list,” said Annie Thompson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn, whose office received 144 tickets and distributed 75 of them.
Thompson said she believes most of the governor’s tickets were given out to Gold Star families, families of veterans who were killed or have died. That was in addition to the 222 already allocated to those families.
The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform believes the state should keep track of tickets, to ensure they’re distributed fairly.
“It would seem prudent to keep a list,” deputy director David Morrison said. “On each individual ticket, it doesn’t matter whether it goes to a reporter or some group that’s sponsoring the event or some veteran who’s been fighting our freedom. The overall picture does matter and goes to how well the event is being managed.”
In another FOIA controversy, the Southern Illinoisan wants Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate how the Carbondale police department quashed a report of a gun stolen from the police chief -- a gun that was later used in a homicide.
In “Open letter to state Attorney General Madigan,” the SI suggested the gun might have been recovered if the entire department had known it was missing, and had this question for Madigan:
What we’d like to know, Ms. Madigan, is where the flow of information stopped, why a follow-up report was described as an “Animal Complaint” (can such a mistake actually be a “typo” as suggested?) and why many FOIA requests involving police records are denied because the records are linked to an ongoing investigation. …Transparency is not just a popular "buzz word" concerning governmental accountability. It is a duty for everyone paid by taxpayers' contributions. Please, Ms. Madigan, get involved and assure us that everything possible is being done to let the sun shine in.
And while you’re at it, tell the governor to keep track of his ticket freebies.