It's not what you know, but who you know. That's what counts. That's the key to getting a job in Illinois--the Land of Linkin'.
It's been that way for politicians like State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) who during Rod Blagojevich's tenure as governor, was the number one go-to guy for securing employment with the state.
Between 2003 and 2005 Hoffman was granted 140 requests for jobs, raises and appointments from the Blagojevich administration. Jay and Blago were tight.
If you didn't know Jay then, you were out of luck. But don't bother getting to know him now. When Blago got busted, Jay's influence bubble burst.
Jay did pretty well for himself and his friends as long as Blago's star was in the ascendant. In the six years prior to his pal's impeachment, Jay built a campaign war chest that topped $1.1 million in the 2007-08 election cycle. Some of those contributions came from grateful jobholders. That's how it works in the Land of Linkin'.
Jay won a ninth term last November, but contributions to his campaign committee strangely have shrunk since he lost his close personal connection to the public job dispenser.
He may have to rough it for a while. We hope it's a long while.
Maybe he'll learn to empathize with the hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans who are unemployed or underemployed in part because of the misguided policies of self-serving politicians like him. While Blago reigned Jay didn't worry much about out-of-work folks he didn't know or who didn't promise him donations in return for some employment clout. He didn't have time to be concerned about the unemployed Illinoisans suffering in a state economy crippled by cronyism.
He was too busy taking care of his friends and counting his piles of campaign cash.
Jay Hoffman isn't that different than some of his colleagues in Springfield. who use their positions to enrich themselves at our expense--making inside deals, selling jobs and favors, and peddling influence.
It's time to end the Land of Linkin' and become a principled Land of Lincoln.