Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Quinn and Brady Both Lapsed Ethically, But it's Quinn Who'll Pay Most Dearly

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As suspected all along, Pat Quinn vetoed the McCormick Place reform bill -- but it wasn’t because he was losing the power to appoint the director. It was because those mobbed-up Teamsters -- the union of Jimmy Hoffa and Jackie Presser -- paid him off.

    Now, Bill Brady is asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan to look into a $75,000 campaign contribution the Teamsters gave Quinn just before his amendatory veto that would have allowed the Teamsters to absorb a smaller union. Quinn says it would have made McCormick Place more competitive by reducing the number of unions. Brady says it looks like one hand washing the other.

    “It appears to be another shameful example of pay-to-play politics,” Brady said.

    Quinn’s campaign calls the suggestion “completely offensive.”

    Was Quinn's veto suspect in light of the Teamster contribution? Yep. Surprising? No. Any different from Brady's own support of a housing development that would benefit his own business? No again.

    Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune reported that Brady had voted for legislation that would have benefited his home building business. After the state announced plans to build an I-57 interchange near Champaign, Brady announced plans to build a 300-home subdivision there. The next year, he voted to allow local government to take land for sewers near the interchange. Houses need sewers, so Brady’s development -- which was never built -- would have benefited.

    Quinn never really called Brady out on this matter. Could it be because of Quinn's own impropiety? Mayhap.

    But here's the nut: Democrats support unions, who then give them money. Republicans support housing developments, because many of them -- or their contributors -- are developers. Is that pay to play? Sure it is. Is it unique to Illinois? No. It’s part of the identity of the two parties, and the business of politics.

    The truth is, neither Brady nor Quinn have a leg to stand on in this debate. Unluckily for Quinn, though, he's the governor -- and the McPier veto was a very high-profile veto. His decision affects thousands of jobs and untold dollars for the state.

    Odds are the voters hold him more accountable on his ethical lapse than they will Brady.