March 29, 2005

Blago appointee donated $83,000 to campaign

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has appointed a Bloomington attorney who donated more than $83,000 to his campaign to the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees.

David V. Dorris, 57, his wife and law firm have also contributed nearly $202,000 to other candidates and political causes in Illinois since 1995, according to the State Board of Elections.

(And here's the punch line...)
Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said political contributions were not a factor in Dorris' appointment.

"We examine each candidate for an appointment on their merits, on their work experience and any other experience that may be relevant to the position that we are considering them for," Rausch said on Friday.


At 3/29/2005 7:42 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

I would have to know a lot more in order to know how I feel about this.

I realize that the first impression of the story, without further thought, is that there is something corrupt about the appointment of a political contributor. However, political contributors are most often more politically or socially involved than those who do not contribute to a campaign. Could we reasonably argue that those who contribute to a candidate cannot thereafter participate in that candidate's governmental administration? If that be the case, then we would not contribute to any candidates whom we support, so that they might someday be able to call upon us to have a role in their administrations. Presumably, if I donate to a candidate, it is because that candidate embodies political idealogies similar to mine. Presumably, then, that renders me a more attractive appointee, not because of my donation, but because of my active, parallel idealogy.

Second, we should not assume that all political appointments are so cushy for the appointee. Sometimes, many times, in fact, an appointee accepts an appointment not because it is a great gift, but because it is a further sacrifice for a candidate whom he or she supports. I do not know whether a U of I Trustee position pays anything. I do not know what benefits come with the position. I do not know what sacrifices must be made to fulfill its responsibilities. And I do not know the qualifications of Attorney Doris. Absent that information, I am simply not so quick to reach the conclusion to which the initial impression of this story might lead.

At 3/30/2005 12:41 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I agree with your points, however, perhaps there should be a contribution limit. $83 big ones is a lot of scratch.

Then there is the flip side of the coin. That this practice creates the atmosphere where a person who desires an appointment feels that they have to donate ever increasing amounts in order to have a shot at it.
This obviously excludes those who don't have a spare $80,000 laying around.

It doesn't prove any corruption per say to appoint contributors, but there is certainly the appearance of impropriety which is supposed to be avoided.


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