Illinois State Senator Terry Link (D-Lake County) is finding his campaign, and likely himself, in a bit of a bind. Having used the typical Chciago Democrat logic that dead people's pens are mightier than living people's votes, two of Link's nominating petition signature gatherers have been indicted by a grand jury. The issue was brought up by Link's Dem primary opponent, but was not substaniated in time to make a difference on the primary ballot. Of course, the workers were not just volunteers for Link, no. They were paid:
"(Signature-collector) Davison testified before the state board of elections that he got paid by the page," (prosecuting attorney) Zaler said. "It appears to us that he was just trying to make more money."
Well, there's a shock. And while it is not terribly uncommon for such signature collectors to be paid, it seems that Link did not use any good judgment at all in the hiring process:
"I had to be [in Springfield], so I could not be [in Lake County] coordinating things," said Link, a Waukegan Democrat who leads the party's Lake County wing and is the Senate majority caucus chairman. "We paid people who were generally unemployed and were trying to help people out."
Though it's nice for Link to help the unemployed, perhaps he could have used some sort of follow-up process to ensure that everything was legit. But, alas, he did not.
The article claims that over 1,000 signatures have been verified as authentic, however, so Link can remain on the ballot for the moment. But, the two indicted workers apparently collected about 2700 of the 3300 or so overall signatures; so, in theory, this could get a lot worse for Link very quickly. Oh yeah, and remember, the workers were paid, so "worse" could mean "over".Link's GOP opponent is Keith Gray, who issued a statement calling for Link to be taken off of November's ballot. Gray even has a plan to address campaign corruption (quite the novelty in Illinois, btw):
- Candidates for public office sign all documentation filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections in order to be accountable for business conducted by the candidate’s campaign;
- Campaign organizations file quarterly finance reports with the Illinois State Board of Elections, requiring all transaction amounts to be fully disclosed (currently only semi-annual finance reports are required and transactions under $150 are not itemized); and
- Increase civil penalties for those who violate campaign ethics laws.
Disclaimer: As of now, Terry Link has not been accused of engaging in this fake-signatures-for-cash scheme. But, for him to knowingly hire people who consistently have no income, pay them by the page, and then not verify the legitimacy of their work is enough to accuse him of incompetence in my book.