Instead of directing court ordered payments to the developmentally disabled, the Illinois comptroller massively funded Planned Parenthood, spent taxpayer dollars on lobbyists, paid thousands of dollars in checks to a political blogger, and used the state plane as her personal taxi.
For decades the powerful insiders in Illinois – the connected contractors, influential organizations, politicians, and other powerbrokers – always received their checks first. Conversely, people with real needs – but without political clout – were paid last, if at all. It’s the bi-product of a morally corrupt government and bi-partisan, entrenched political culture.
Sure enough, Illinois ranks 51st in the funding of the disabled.
On June 30, 2015 a day of reckoning was forced on the new Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ordered the state to make all payments to the developmentally disabled. Munger dithered. On August 18, the judge reiterated the order
. She ordered the state to make July’s payment for services to developmentally disabled people totaling approximately $120 million by Friday, August 21, 2015.
Sadly, in Illinois, reform seems to always come from the feds.
Yet, Munger still didn’t make the payments. So, the judge threatened her with contempt of court. The Comptroller argued she had "cash flow" problems. Yet, she managed to spend a lot of money in other areas, just not to the disabled under court order.
So, instead of prioritizing payments to the disabled under court order, who did the Comptroller actually pay? Here’s what we found…
1) Planned Parenthood. In short, prioritizing Planned Parenthoods payments ahead of care for the developmentally disabled is morally reprehensible. At the start of fiscal upheaval, between June 17 - July 22, 2015 "Grants and Awards" of $1,592,850 went to Planned Parenthood – five times higher than the previous month.Between August 21- August 27th, $195,100 flowed to Planned Parenthood. These payments occurred while the Comptroller was claiming lack-of-funds and after seven videos exposed Planned Parenthood for a morally revolting, if not illegal, aborted baby-parts-for-sale national scandal.
Over the last eight months, Munger prioritized $3.6 million in "grants and awards" to Planned Parenthood and $700,000 in "contracted" payments.
2) In July 2015, the Comptroller ordered payments to Ahead of Our Time Publishing – a company owned by the self-described ‘political blogger’ Rich Miller. Data at OpenTheBooks.com shows that over $269,000 flowed to Miller’s company from 70 state agencies since 2005. Last year, Miller’s firm received $43,000 – the most ever. In July, an additional $4,000 was processed during the start of the budget standoff.
3) Between January and June 2015, Comptroller Munger paid-out $30,000 to Shea, Page & Rogal – lobbyists- including $5,000 in June. In fact, since 2009, the comptroller’s office appropriated and paid over $320,000 in taxpayer money to this lobbyist firm. (In Illinois, it’s illegal for a state agency to contract with a lobbyist firm.)
While Shea, Page & Rogal was receiving payments, official state filings show that Shea Page was also ‘lobbying’ the comptroller on behalf of other clients!
4) Munger also undercut new Governor Bruce Rauner’s agenda. After Rauner issued a January order to ground the state airplanes, the Springfield Journal-Register investigated Munger and found
she used the state airplanes seven times as her personal taxi – to shuttle back and forth from Chicago to Springfield.
Leslie Munger is the state’s top auditor and Illinois could use a good audit. It’s time to start identifying and cutting the waste, fraud, corruption and abuse rather than looking the other way, or worse, perpetuating waste and fraud during a budget crisis that is hurting the disabled.
Recently, Comptroller Munger issued a press release saying that she has cut $500,000 from her office expenses. We applaud her for this action. But, we want to know when she’s going to stand-up to the politically connected insiders and politicians and put the disabled ahead of her special and personal interests.