Gov. JB Pritzker, D-Ill., campaigned on ending corruption in Illinois.
And as Gov.-elect, Pritzker pledged, "We’ve got to rid our state of corruption. We’ve got to have transparency in government, change the campaign finance system, we’ve got to get rid of the conflicts of interest that people have."
During his second state of the state address back in 2020, he declared, "We have to work together to confront a scourge that has been plaguing our political system for far too long.
"We must root out the purveyors of greed and corruption — in both parties — whose presence infects the bloodstream of government."
He went on, emphasizing, "It is no longer enough to sit idle while under-the-table deals, extortion, or bribery persist. Protecting that culture or tolerating it is no longer acceptable."
That’s public Pritzker; however, private Pritzker tells us a much different story.
How easily one forgets back in 2008, Mr. Pritzker was caught on an FBI wiretap talking with then Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., about a political appointment — asking the governor about making him Illinois treasurer.
"That’s the one I would want," he told Blagojevich.
It was no secret in Illinois that Pritzker has always had billionaire-sized political ambitions — and what the FBI wiretaps in 2008 revealed was how Pritzker secretly leveraged his billionaire status to elevate his own political profile.
He was hungry for power and influence.
Since he was one of Gov. Blagojevich’s biggest campaign contributors, he could call Blagojevich behind the scenes and make these requests because his money bought him this political access, which he ironically criticizes publicly.
When Pritzker ran for governor in 2018, he spent over $171 million dollars of his own money, according to the Chicago Tribune of June 3, 2018.
Again, he was seeking power and influence.
When Pritzker was elected governor of Illinois in 2018, he donated a total of $10 million dollars to campaign accounts controlled by then Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan — the most powerful political leader in Illinois.
Because Madigan had complete and total control of what pieces of legislation passed the legislature — and lining Madigan’s campaign accounts with lots of cash meant Pritzker’s legislative agenda would face very little opposition.
But that’s not all.
According to an investigation by WBEZ, Pritzker filled at least 35 state jobs with people on Madigan’s personal "clout" list.
In other words, there was a quid-pro-quo.
Pritzker would donate $10 million dollars and fill his team with Madigan’s people, and in return, Madigan would support his legislative agenda.
A win-win for both these men and a perfect example of deals which Pritzker pretends publicly to disapprove.
In January of 2022, Pritzker donated another $90 million to his re-election fund.
Again, he is hungry for more power and influence, seemingly setting his sights on the presidency and needing a successful reelection bid for Illinois governor to set him on his way.
If the pay-to-play tactics with Madigan weren’t enough, just recently it was revealed that Gov. Pritzker is directly involved in an allegation of worker’s compensation fraud by a former state employee who was also a campaign staffer for the governor.
The case involves former Illinois State Police Merit Board employee Jenny Thornley, a personal friend of the Pritzker’s and a 2018 campaign aide who filed a worker’s compensation claim and listed the governor’s office as her employer and Gov. Pritzker as her direct supervisor.
Thornley never worked for the governor’s office, nor was the governor ever her supervisor.
Gov. Pritzker denies that he had any knowledge of this matter, yet there are text messages from Ms. Thornley to MK Pritzker, his wife saying, "I need JB to know."
Thornley was filing for worker’s compensation benefits after claiming that she was sexually assaulted by her direct supervisor.
An independent investigation that cost taxpayers nearly $550,000 dollars determined that the allegations leveled by Thornley were unfounded and not true. An article in the Center Square highlights this investigation.
The work comp fraud case was referred for prosecution to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, a friend of Pritzker who received $1 million dollars in campaign donations from then House Speaker Mike Madigan’s fund — a fund where Pritzker donated $10 million dollars in 2018 — but his office refuses to prosecute the case raising numerous excuses such as the attorney general’s office doesn’t have jurisdiction, or that a conflict exists.
However, the attorney general's office does have jurisdiction and if in fact a conflict did exist, the attorney general can ask the court to appoint a special prosecutor.
As of today, no special prosecutor has been requested by the attorney general, notwithstanding this clear case of purported fraud has been known for months.
Shocker. But what is this really about?
Gov. Pritzker has presidential ambitions, and any scandal associated with his office could be a distraction. So, you bury anything that links your administration with anything questionable.
While Pritzker hopes the issue goes away, Thomas DeVore, the Republican nominee for attorney general is making sure that it’s not. And he’s forcing Pritzker and Raoul to do what they’ve avoided all along — having to talk about it publicly.
DeVore is demanding the alleged work comp fraud matter be prosecuted, even if members of Pritzker’s administration are involved.
If Kwame Raoul won’t prosecute it because of his political relationships, he needs to petition the court for the appointment of a special prosecutor argues DeVore.
Pritzker is right, we need transparency in government.
He can start with his own administration.
Mark Vargas currently hosts a radio show, "Mark My Words with Mark Vargas" on AM 560 The Answer. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markavargas. Read Mark Vargas' Reports — Click Here Now.
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