Illinois Official Questions How Guv Paid Game Law Legal Fees

March 26, 2008 -
Although Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) trumpeted the passage of Illinois' 2005 video game law, the failed legislation has turned into an ongoing source of embarrassment for the state.

Before the year was out, a federal court judge would rule that the law was unconstitutional. And then came the legal bills, which amounted to more than one million taxpayer dollars.

Nearly three years after passage, the video game legislation is still a source of concern. The Associated Press reports that Auditor General William Holland is questioning why the Illinois Public Health Department was billed for 14% of the legal fees in the case. Apparently, the Blagojevich administration can't explain:
Holland says Public Health has no documents showing how costs were allocated among agencies paying for the unsuccessful defense of a law restricting access by children to violent or sexual video games.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff says six agencies were tapped to pay the special assistant attorney general assigned to the case in which a judge ruled the law unconstitutional.

Because it lost on constitutional grounds, Illinois was on the hook for $510,000 in legal costs incurred by the video game industry. The state also paid private attorneys to defend against the industry lawsuit.

UPDATE: Ars Technica has an expanded feature on this story...

Comments

@DCOW
Agree 100%

What a criminal! People who spend ridicules money on things and end up failing, should pay a a minimum of 25% I personally would prefer 50% but I will be nice. This should be on the news but I don't they would want to cover something like this.

Isn't Blago the most heavily investigated governor ever? At least that's what I heard during the last election. I am not from C(r)ook county, but I am just past the border to DuPage county, so we still get a lot of their crap, with the exception that every gas station out here has signs in front that say "NO COOK COUNTY CIGARRETTE TAX". Although Blago wasting this money is just a drop in the bucket, since isn't the sate a TRILLION dollars in debt?

@Belgarion, thanks from giving the state a new nickname: The land of corn and soybeans. Better than the land of milk and honey, deep-friend and covered in cheese

So we have Illinois using health care money to support their unconstitutionality. We have Louisianna using Katrina money to support their unconstitutionality.

What other states are screwing over their people trying to be unconstitutional and what are they syphoning money from?

@E. Zachary Knight

whawt do you expect, they are politicians. They can't be expected to pay OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS now can they?

All the money Public Health is saving now that it is illegal to smoke in IL, they shouldn't be complaining. Chicago will continue to run the rest of the state as it pleases. Just like it has always done. And when Blagojevich's term is up, he will end up in jail, just like every other governor we've had.

I'd like to say I'm surprised by this, but a large part of the problem with politics is a lack of personal accountability. They have no reason to fear running up $1M in fees; they can just strip money from other places. Doesn't cost the ones who made the error a dime, so why should they stop?

Another crusader taking on the wrong causes, rather than try to solve REAL problems

All I gotta is, thank God I live in McHenry County IL, far away from Springfield. Our State Rep is a big opponent of Blagojevich for exactly things like this.

They recently had to bail out the CTA (Central Transit Authority - They run the trains and buses) to the tune of over 100 million dollars. The CTA operates in Chicago, not out where I am. Of course, Chicago only got a .50% tax hike, whereas we got a .75% tax hike. -_-

Blagojevich is a piece of crap that likes to scam money from wherever he can...

Hope he gets moderately (but not life threateningly) injured & has to wait in a queue at the hospital because of budget cuts.

Is this the one that was waffling?

@Aliasalpha

Doesn't matter if he gets injured, taxpayers pay his paycheck so he can go to private doctors.

Frankly, I'd be happy if Chicago removed itself from Illinois. Every governor we have treats Chicago as the only responsibility they have to Illinois and I'm tired of my area gettin shafted because dumbfucks blew budgets up there again...

@EZK

pretty much all of them. Most cities, and every major population center, has a legal fund that is held aside to pay for things like lawsuits against the cities, legal fees, etc. States, like Illinois, have a similar fund, but, if I remember correctly, the states fund had been tapped out by several lawsuits involving some state patrol officers, child services, etc.
The rule of thumb is to spread out the damage amongst all the branches of the government, even those who have nothing to do with the issue at hand. 10% here, 10% there, etc. to ease the burden.
However, I fully concur that there should be some sort of personal responsibility. Why was a private firm hired, at a cost greater than what the ESA had to fork over, to fight this?
I am certain there are public defenders willing to get a bit of reprieve from criminal works to try their hand at litigation, and they are already on the payroll (before anyone fires off a salvo, I am aware of the vast differences between civil and criminal law). It would seem sloppy to not have a lawyer on the payroll of the state, that deals with litigation...then again, it also seems sloppy to pass legislation that has been deemed Unconstitutional in several others states.

Blago fucking up is nothing new. I don't even feel any shock anymore. Honestly, I don't know whose worse, him, or Todd Stroger (the Board President of C(r)ook County, where Chicago is). Both are incredibly fiscally irresponsible, but the Toddler does nothing but give his family with double digit IQ's six figure salaries.

For those of you who don't live in the Land of Corn and Soybeans, a good portion of Balgojevich's staff is under some kind of federal indictment or another. Also, Illinois has some of the most corrupt politics in the nation. All you have to do is drive on the tollways outside Chicago and you can see his name above them emblazoned like some medieval Pope. The sad thing is, the GOP had a chance to get this guy out of office, and totally dropped the ball by choosing someone EVEN MORE CORRUPT to run against him.

Yikes. That's... ...wow. No words for my anger, here.

That My friends, is the very definition of FAIL!!

@Sylvire

If he needs a broke bone fixed at 7 in the evening, he'd still likely be landing in the ER.

@Belgarion89

All you have to do is drive on the tollways outside Chicago and you can see his name above them emblazoned like some medieval Pope.

Heh, that reminds me. On my way into Maryland (I live in VA) several months back, I noticed that the "Welcome to Maryland" sign had the governer's name on it. I could help but think "So how much money did that waste?" Particularly as, as far as I know, Virginia's had the same "Welcome" sign through several governers.

So... while video games are destroying the planet.... Illinois is squandering cash it could be spending on improving poor areas of town, help homeless/jobless find homes and jobs, counseling, health care for poor residents.. etc..

Yep, sounds to me like spending money trying to make laws against video games was a much better way to spend money. It's not like it would have helped the education system in the state or anything.

Blago is well-known in Illinois for wasting taxpayer's money.

Unlike previous governors, he does not stay at the (taxpayer-funded) mansion in Springfield during the legislative week.

He flies back and forth between Chicago and Springfield every day, on the taxpayer's dime.

As for corruption in Illinois government... it has been going on since the days of Al Capone. I lived in Naperville for 2 years, and during that time I remember seeing every few months, the news about "Operation Silver Shovel", a campaign to catch corrupt Chicago aldermen (city council) and city commissioners. In the 25 months I lived there, they probably caught a dozen corrupt politicians taking bribes under this program.

Tax payer money gets misappropriated, News at 11....

"Blago is well-known in Illinois for wasting taxpayer’s money."

As a Chicago resident I can attest to this. Everyone was agreeing to disagree on the county's budget and they were so close to take it to civil court to settle.

"They recently had to bail out the CTA (Central Transit Authority - They run the trains and buses) to the tune of over 100 million dollars. The CTA operates in Chicago, not out where I am. Of course, Chicago only got a .50% tax hike, whereas we got a .75% tax hike. -_-"

Wow, and here I thought Chicago has the highest sales tax in the country. Does this mean you get a 10.5% rate?

At least the CTA got bailed out before "Doomsday". Paying $3 one-way = teh suck.

I think this is the biggest win yet for gamers.

Having a standing theme around video game laws that shows it backlashes financially is a huge deterrant for more of them appearing. This will make gaming laws politically unpopular.

Does anyone know if that Massachusetts media law ever got past go?

Loudspeaker:

Still in committee, last I heard.

I'm tellin' ya: The lawmakers and the lawyers got together and cooked up this sweet lil' racket. Everybody's gettin' what they want out the deal. But for the taxpayers. All they get is the shaft.

Yah know, I wonder how many of the lawyers that worked on this case were friends of the Governor of Illinois? They may be "embarrassed", but they still have the loots.

Man, that's a pretty big dose of "FAIL" to swallow.

The more i hear about this Blagojevich guy, the more i hate the guy. He should have had to pay the legal fees out of his own damn pocket for his retarded bill. Using Health care money to pay for his failed pro-censorship, anti-youth bill is disgusting.

Blago squandering money?? Why am I not surprised? Oh, yeah, that's right: Every governor we elect to office is corrupt! I could go for hours about the many things our tax dollars were wasted on, and that's just my home of C(r)ook County!

Oh yeah, and this stuff you hear from IL residents is definitely NOT exaggerated. It's really that bad.

@SmashPro1

I'm from downstate(Bloomington), and even the dozen or so Democrats down here(that DON'T go to Illinois State) don't like Blaggy. In fact, since you're from north of I-80, most people down here consider you part of the problem. You seem like a good person, so I'll spread the word at the feed store you're not ALL bad.

Interesting note on the investigations: The chief prosecutor is none other than Republican Patrick Fitzgerald, Barack Obama's predecessor in the Senate.

Belgarion, that is so odd, since I have a cousin who lives in Bllomington

@Belgarion

Trust me. Even us out in the burbs don't even like Chicago either. They gave us the Stroger gravy train, unnecessary cigarette laws, taxes up the arse, and more kickback waste than you can shake a stick at.

Who're the main players that oppose Blago? From reading the Trib and Sun Times up here, you wouldn't know there's any politicians in Springfield other than Blago, Emil Jones, and Madigan.

Oh, and everyone else: Don't ever trust a politician who served in Illinois. This includes a certain guy whose initials are "B.O."
 
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