And We Expected A Chicago Machine Politician To Clean Up Washington?

This is pretty incredible, even by the general standard for Illinois scandals:

In one e-mail exchange, University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman forced the law school to admit an unqualified applicant backed by then- Gov. Rod Blagojevich while seeking a promise from the governor's go-between that five law school graduates would get jobs. The applicant, a relative of deep-pocketed Blagojevich campaign donor Kerry Peck, appears to have been pushed by Trustee Lawrence Eppley, who often carried the governor's admissions requests.

When Law School Dean Heidi Hurd balked on accepting the applicant in April 2006, Herman replied that the request came "Straight from the G. My apologies. Larry has promised to work on jobs (5). What counts?"

Hurd replied: "Only very high-paying jobs in law firms that are absolutely indifferent to whether the five have passed their law school classes or the Bar."

Props to Heidi Hurd for such a sharp response.  The scale is pretty staggering:

Gov. Pat Quinn convened a state commission to investigate the U. of I. admissions process after the Tribune revealed that more than 800 undergraduate applicants in the last five years received special consideration because they were backed by U. of I. trustees, legislators and others in powerful posts.

That's 160 a year!  I don't know how large the law school is, but that must be a respectable portion of the class.  via Glenn Reynolds

Postscript: Remember what I said on January 20th:

There is some sort of weird mass self-hypnosis going on, made even odder by the fact that a lot of people seem to know they are hypnotized, at least at some level.  I keep getting shushed as I make fun of friends' cult behavior watching the proceedings today, as if by jiggling someone's elbow too hard I might break the spell.  Never have I seen, in my lifetime, so much emotion invested in a politician we know nothing about.   I guess I am just missing some gene that makes the rest of humanity receptive to this kind of stuff, but just for a minute snap your fingers in front of your face and say "do I really expect a fundamentally different approach from a politician who won his spurs in "¦. Chicago?  Do I really think the ultimate political outsider is going to be the guy who bested everyone at their own game in the Chicago political machine?"


  1. Steve:

    It looks like the "800" is the number of UNDERGRAD applicants, not LAW SCHOOL attendees.

  2. bill allen:

    Do you still think the Obama is better than most politicians as you stated in Jan.?

  3. Mesa Econoguy:

    Just to riff off bill’s comment above, are you significantly surprised by anything this guy (& his party) have done to date? Seriously, the packaging is fantastic (and mostly illegal in various forms and ways), but the content (the important part) is nothing we haven’t seen already, with some amplification and a little more extreme in some very alarming ways.

    Does anyone (besides those who voted for this fool, and his party) not know what goes on in Chicago, or it’s well deserved shady reputation?

    These people are just getting started, and if you think this is bad so far, just wait. There’s more. A lot more.

  4. Bob Hawkins:

    What gets me is, why are so many people going to so much trouble to get into... Illinois?

  5. spiro:


    in response to your question from January, I too think it is a genetic thing, b/c I never got caught up in it either, but many of my well-educated and normally rational friends did. Now, of course, they are starting to be "disappointed" in Obama, but they still contend that his overtaking major private industries and plans for nationalized healthcare are good ideas b/c they *might* work.
    I don't get it. How could these friends of mine, who are hard-working people that carefully planned their own life decisions be so flippant with the Leader of the Free World?
    I equate it too the girls in the 60's that were passing out at the sight of Elvis and the Beatles. My mom never understood what got into those other girls, so I must have inherited the "ultra-rational, doesn't get easily impressed by shiny objects" gene from my mom.

  6. Sam L.:

    I think you mean "disrespectable" portion.