New scandal reaffirms Brady's call for Quinn to fumigate state
Since 2006, senator led investigations and demands for agency clean up
Bill Brady today reiterated his call for Governor Pat Quinn to thoroughly clean out the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board and other agencies, following a new scandal involving one of the board's former chief figures.
"I've been sounding this alarm for years," Brady said. "What is Pat Quinn waiting for? This board and many of the people surrounding it have been part of one of the most corrupt operations in Illinois history. And yet Pat Quinn lets the same crowd continue to run this agency today. This is part of the unacceptable pattern of the Blagojevich/Quinn/Rezko administration carrying on like nothing has changed."
Brady pointed out that three quarters of the state's agency directors overall who served under former Governor Rod Blagojevich still hold their positions with Quinn.
Yesterday, the Sun-Times reported that the records of Dr. Eric Whitaker, who oversaw the board's budget, have been subpoenaed by federal authorities. Whitaker was appointed as public health chief in 2003, after then-State Senator Barack Obama recommended him to insider Tony Rezko, who had been filling state positions. Part of Whitaker's responsibilities included overseeing the board's budget.
"This is just one more reminder of what I have been saying since even before any impeachments or indictments took place," Brady said. "It's not leadership to wait for federal investigators to come in. I hope this newest chapter will finally drive the governor to clean up this agency and fumigate the state."
Allegations surrounding the planning board are closely entangled in the case against Blagojevich, Rezko and others. As a State Senator, in 2007 Brady helped form of an official reform panel to clean up the board. While some recommendations were adopted, Quinn has not removed its key officials.
Brady first started raising questions about the board's operation in 2006, before any indictments even came down. Last May, he called for Quinn to remove officials from the board, including board member David Carvalho. He was supported in his call by other lawmakers. State Senator Susan Garrett (D) has said Carvalho acknowledged being recommended by Rezko, and Brady at one point called on Whitaker to testify before the reform panel about Rezko connections but was refused.
Brady stressed that he is not accusing any individuals of illegal or unethical activity beyond current formal allegations and convictions. But he said Quinn should show leadership by fumigating the agency. The subpoenas for Whitaker's records are related to activities as public health chief but also serve as a clear reminder of the need for Quinn to make a clean break from the past, Brady said.