When a coal company spent $3 million to help elect the Chief Justice of the West Virginia
Supreme Court and that Chief Justice turned around and overturned a $50
million jury judgment against the company, many commentators thought it
stunk of corruption and that the judge should have recused himself from
New York's Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, is in the midst of a two-year investigation into kickbacks paid to state political staff in exchange for the opportunity to
profitably manage the investments of New York State's public pension
fund. That investigation has now prompted a national effort with a multi-state task force and the Securities and Exchange
Commission working together to uncover rampant pay-to-play abuses.
Nationally there is over $2 trillion in US public pension assets.
With one former Governor in jail for racketeering and another removed
and indicted for selling political appointments for large campaign
donations, now might just be the time that Illinois finally reforms its
government. The new governor, Pat Quinn, has formed the Illinois Reform Commission. The
Commission is tasked with making recommendations within 100 days on how
to reform the government and finally stemming the corruption for which
the state has long been famous. The commission has already identified loose
campaign finance regulations and the lack of transparency as the
primary drivers of corruption in state government. Now they are
traveling around the state to hear from experts and citizens on what
they think needs to be done.