J.B. Pritzker, gubernatorial candidate
Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is under fire from Republican leaders in Illinois for his silence during a scandal surrounding Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.
An investigation by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune has unearthed “a persistent pattern in Berrios' office of improper hiring and firing, arbitrary staffing decisions and resistance to change,” according to the Dec. 19 report, the Illinois Republican Party said in a press release.
At the center of the scandal is Berrios’ alleged use of “patronage, favoritism, and nepotism” as the basis of hiring decisions, according to the release.
Aaron DeGroot, spokesman for the Illinois Republican Party, links Pritzker’s silence about the investigation to his approval of Berrios’ methods.
"There's a reason why J.B. Pritzker is silent on his allies' use of patronage - Pritzker has been on the receiving end of (then-Gov. Rod) Blagojevich patronage himself," DeGroot said in the release. "If elected, J.B. Pritzker would use state government to dole out patronage jobs to his allies and cronies of (House Speaker Mike) Madigan's Chicago Machine. Illinois taxpayers can't afford J.B. Pritzker's tacit approval of patronage and corruption."
Capitol Fax reported that in 2002 Pritzker received his chairmanship of the state Human Rights Commission in exchange for an initial $10,000 donation to Blagojevich, which later grew to $120,000 with additional contributions in 2005 and 2006.
The Chicago Tribune has also reported on corruption among other Pritzker supporters, including Secretary of State Jesse White, who was accused in a 2000 report of staffing his administration from a pool of party loyalists. White endorsed Pritzker in a TV ad, Capitol Fax reported in October.
The Illinois GOP release said Pritzker has “dabbled in (the) same corrupt system himself.”
“If elected, J.B. Pritzker would use state government to dole out patronage jobs to his allies and cronies of Madigan's Chicago Machine,” the GOP said in the release. “Illinois taxpayers can't afford J.B. Pritzker's tacit approval of patronage and corruption."