Thursday, July 12, 2012
Legislative Scholarships Done But Investigation Continues
The political and legal fallout from Illinois’ legislative scholarships won’t soon go away, despite Gov. Pat Quinn's signature on a bill ending the program Wednesday.
For a century lawmakers, with few rules, gave tuition waivers to public universities. Over time, cases of clout and corruption came to the fore, leading to calls to abolish the program. “Legislative scholarships are a perfect example of a program created with the best of intentions and then sadly hijacked by a small band of craven lawmakers with the worst of intentions, awarding friends and neighbors and cronies and political allies rather than deserving students,” said Andy Shaw, president of the Better Government Association, a government watchdog group.
At least one lawmaker is being investigated for how she distributed tuition waivers. The U.S. Attorney’s office has started a criminal probe of Sen. Annazette Collins, D-Chicago, according to the (Chicago) Sun-Times. The federal government is seeking 11 years’ worth of documents relating to how Collins decided to allot the waivers and who got the waivers, according to the newspaper. The Collins investigation is the second federal investigation regarding the program in less than a year. In August, the federal government began seeking information about former state Rep. Robert Molaro’s tuition waivers.
The legislation Quinn signed Wednesday doesn’t immediately stop lawmakers from giving tuition waivers. Legislators can distribute the waivers through September.
You can read Andrew's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/8991/legislative-scholarships-leave-lasting-scars/