Illinois’ now cancelled Hastert statue plans reveal spending addiction

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Illinois' now cancelled Hastert statue plans reveal spending addiction

Illinois signBy John Ruberry

On Thurs­day a fed­eral grand jury indicted for­mer House Speaker Den­nis Hastert for break­ing bank­ing laws and lying to FBI agents. Prior to his entry into pol­i­tics, Hastert was a teacher and a state cham­pion wrestling coach at Yorkville High School 50 miles south­west of Chicago. The charges are rooted in a sex­ual affair with a male stu­dent at that school – the over $1 mil­lion the man nick­named “Coach” in Con­gress was appar­ently hush money to keep the man quiet.

Amid the reports of the bomb­shell Hastert indict­ment was news that leg­is­la­tion autho­riz­ing a $500,000 statue of the for­mer speaker for the grounds of the state capi­tol was intro­duced ear­lier this month by state House Speaker Michael Madi­gan, a Chicago Demo­c­rat who is also chair­man of the state party. Accord­ing to AP, Hastert, cit­ing the ongo­ing state bud­get cri­sis, declined the offer. Or more likely, he saw his indict­ment on the horizon.

Madigan’s pro­posed 2016 Illi­nois bud­get includes a $4 bil­lion deficit – despite con­sti­tu­tional require­ments that the state bud­get must be bal­anced. But Madi­gan, who was arguably the most pow­er­ful Demo­c­rat in state gov­ern­ment even when Illi­nois had a Demo­c­ra­tic gov­er­nor, some­how found money – or maybe he didn’t – to put the Coach in bronze.

Worse, Illi­nois’ pub­lic worker pen­sions are unfunded by an astound­ing $110 billion.

Democ­rats are not seri­ous about cut­ting spend­ing in Illinois.

As for Hastert, his speak­er­ship was of the Illinois-​kind. House Repub­li­cans who played Denny’s game were rewarded ear­marks – and that reck­less spend­ing con­tributed to the end of the GOP major­ity in the House in 2006.

The Coach also played foot­sie with Illi­nois Democ­rats – and he was a leader in the bi-​partisan graft machine dubbed the Com­bine by Chicago Tri­bune colum­nist John Kass.

So in a way, while Hastert is deserv­ing in a twisted way of the honor of $500,000 statue, pre­ciously scarce tax­payer funds should not be squan­dered on this monument.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

Illinois signBy John Ruberry

On Thursday a federal grand jury indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert for breaking banking laws and lying to FBI agents. Prior to his entry into politics, Hastert was a teacher and a state champion wrestling coach at Yorkville High School 50 miles southwest of Chicago. The charges are rooted in a sexual affair with a male student at that school–the over $1 million the man nicknamed “Coach” in Congress was apparently hush money to keep the man quiet.

Amid the reports of the bombshell Hastert indictment was news that legislation authorizing a $500,000 statue of the former speaker for the grounds of the state capitol was introduced earlier this month by state House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who is also chairman of the state party. According to AP, Hastert, citing the ongoing state budget crisis, declined the offer. Or more likely, he saw his indictment on the horizon.

Madigan’s proposed 2016 Illinois budget includes a $4 billion deficit–despite constitutional requirements that the state budget must be balanced. But Madigan, who was arguably the most powerful Democrat in state government even when Illinois had a Democratic governor, somehow found money–or maybe he didn’t–to put the Coach in bronze.

Worse, Illinois’ public worker pensions are unfunded by an astounding $110 billion.

Democrats are not serious about cutting spending in Illinois.

As for Hastert, his speakership was of the Illinois-kind. House Republicans who played Denny’s game were rewarded earmarks–and that reckless spending contributed to the end of the GOP majority in the House in 2006.

The Coach also played footsie with Illinois Democrats–and he was a leader in the bi-partisan graft machine dubbed the Combine by Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass.

So in a way, while Hastert is deserving in a twisted way of the honor of $500,000 statue, preciously scarce taxpayer funds should not be squandered on this monument.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.