Illinois recall measure gets more support

The curse heard round the state this week came from the mouth of Rep. Jay Hoffman who, on the floor of the Illinois House on Wednesday, exclaimed, “End the cycle of finger-pointing. Stop the bull—-!”

Of course, it’s pretty easy to condemn some vulgarity, claim the moral high ground and move on. But the more compelling narrative is what the Democrat from Collinsville was referring to: efforts to put a means to recall state elected officials like Gov. Rod Blagojevich in place.

In the fall, we thought that Illinois voters could be responsible with such a power. That thinking hasn’t changed. But this week has brought an avalanche of news that makes us more convinced than ever that the administration can barely move forward with its ever-increasing load of dirty laundry.

The burden got heavier Wednesday when Deputy Gov. Louanner Peters took another bullet for alleged administration impropriety when she failed to answer lawmakers’ questions about a $1 million grant to restore a church in Chicago during a hearing at the Capitol. Concerns about church and state separation meant that money ended up going to a church tenant, a private school whose Blagojevich-friendly administrator got a pardon for a felony conviction. But that’s not all according to an Associated Press report.

The school is not only closed, it has a nearly $30,000 lien against it for unpaid federal taxes. The school even used the state money to buy a Chicago condo from a business associate of – wait for it – Tony Rezko. You might remember him, he’s the fundraiser for Rod “Public Official A” Blagojevich who’s currently embroiled in a federal fraud case.

Despite prior requests for information being sent to administration officials presumably familiar with the mess, Peters pled ignorance in Springfield. What’s more telling about the current mentality of the governor’s office is a spokesman’s advice to Peters when she encountered reporters as she left the building: “Walk fast.” We doubt reporters misheard.

Spending money the state doesn’t have, dodging perfectly fair questions from the press and his chilly relationship with lawmakers are all evidence of Blagojevich’s ineffective managerial style. But the outlook for his administration grows darker as his relationships with unsavory characters and criminals become clearer.

Hoffman’s pleas to end the finger-pointing ring hollow. The problem isn’t the finger-pointing. The problem is that most of the fingers are being pointed at the governor and his administration. Indeed, the most popular way to break that cycle may well be to get rid of him completely.