Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Former Governor of Illinois Indicted
US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald charged George Ryan today for racketeering and fraud while serving as Governor of Illinois. This sad story began when a trucker killed six children in an accident in Wisconsin. It was later alleged that the trucker was among many who had obtained a trucking drivers license through bribes to Ryan's political campaigns. The real costs of corrupt government started hitting home for Illinois residents when they saw this. Details are here in the Chicago Tribune.

Yet another example about how money has corrupted the moral integrity of our elected officials and indeed our entire political system. If money is the root of all evil, we must start to make things better by getting big money out of political campaigns.

US Attorney General Found Guilty of Campaign Law Violation
The Federal Elections Commission, not known as the most vigorous enforcer of campaign finance laws, has found Attorney General John Ashcroft guilty of violating federal campaign finance laws. Ashcroft, you may remember, ran for President in 2000. As part of the buildup to his campaign, he started a PAC called the Spirit of America. Contributions to this PAC didn't count as contributions to his campaign, but Ashcroft used the Spirit of America PAC to build up a mailing list at a cost of $1.7 million dollars. He then transferred that list over to his presidential campaign, in violation of federal law. Unfortunately, the toothless FEC only fined his campaign $37,000 for the offense, basically inviting him or anyone else to do the same procedure again. Here's a story in the Washington Post.

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