Report: Hoffman 'tops, by far' in favors doled out by Blagojevich

Ann Knef Oct. 23, 2009, 6:09am



In the six years Rod Blagojevich held office as Governor of Illinois, his downstate ally State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) built a substantial campaign war chest. He also helped pass a slew of laws ranging from workers' compensation issues to the creation of the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center at SIUE.

And in the governor's first two years in office, Hoffman also garnered the most favors among legislators who asked for jobs and the like, according to a Chicago Sun Times report, "Politicians begged Blagojevich for jobs."

Blagojevich's abbreviated second term ended in impeachment in January following his arrest in December over charges he attempted to sell the Senate seat held by Barack Obama.

The Sun Times article published Oct. 17 reports that between 2003 and 2005 Hoffman asked for 205 jobs, raises and appointments from the Blagojevich administration and received 140.

According to the article, Hoffman's requests were "tops, by far," among the 81 legislators listed in a patronage data base obtained by the newspaper. The list had been seized by federal authorities investigating Blagojevich.

Hoffman was contacted for comment, but had not returned a call by press time.

Hoffman, who won a ninth term last November, raised more than $1.1 million during the 2007-08 election cycle.

But since Blagojevich was ousted from office, contributions to Hoffman's campaign committee have shrunk, according to records available from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

In the first half of 2009, Hoffman raised 43 percent less than he did during the first half of 2001—before Blagojevich was chief executive. Hoffman has received $28,150 in individual and political action committee donations as of June 30. In the first half of 2001, Hoffman received $48,695 in individual and political action committee donations.

Other election cycles:

In 2001-02, Hoffman raised $360,579.

In 2003-04, Hoffman raised $824,334.

In 2005-06, Hoffman raised $862,104.

In 2007-08, Hoffman raised $1,105,979.

Hoffman, who served as Blagojevich's House floor leader, sponsored more than 100 bills during the first two years of Blagojevich's administration.

In 2003-04, Hoffman was the chief sponsor of 103 bills, of which 10 became public acts.

In 2005-06, Hoffman introduced 73 bills and 11 passed.

In 2007-08, Hoffman introduced 67 bills and six passed.

This year, Hoffman was chief sponsor of 43 bills, of which five have become law.

His opponent in the last election, Glen Carbon businessman Dwight Kay, said the Sun Times report shows that Hoffman engaged in "cronyism."

"It is clear that Mr. Hoffman used his admittedly close relationship with impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich to engage in cronyism," Kay said in a statement. "The patronage list seized by federal authorities leaves no room for doubt. Hoffman was hard at work getting jobs for people in the area - jobs for people on this list. "

Kay, a Republican, has indicated he will run again in 2010.

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