State contractors continue contributing to Gov. Blagojevich

It is still business as usual for Gov. Blagojevich, the only statewide officeholder taking campaign contributions from companies with state-paid contracts awarded by his office or agencies under his control.

Yesterday, the Blagojevich campaign committee filed campaign disclosure reports for the first half of 2008, and we have found dozens of contributions from people and businesses connected to state contracts. In a preliminary look through his report, we found 70 that appear, on their face, to be from businesses or employees of businesses that have FY09 contracts from agencies under his control worth more than $50,000. Those donations total $238,500. That's about 22% of his itemized individual donations, or 12.6% of all the contributions to his campaign.

We did not look too closely for parent, sibling, or subsidiary businesses with contracts, or for people for whom the campaign did not provide occupation and employer information, so the numbers with contracts could be higher.

Of course, we're interested in these contributions by contractors because House Bill 824 awaits action by the Governor. If signed into law, HB 824 would prohibit large state contractors from making contributions to the political committee of the officeholder awarding the contract. Passed without any dissent by the General Assembly, HB 824 would limit pay-to-play opportunities in state contracting.

If you want to do your own searching, we recommend the Comptrollers' contractor search site. (http://www.wh1.ioc.state.il.us/QuickTake/Contracts/index.cfm). Its Open Book service is terrific. But because new campaign reports were just filed with the State Board of Elections, it may be a bit out of date today. Give it a week or so go catch up. The contractor search page is updated daily, and covers most of the statewide officers (some agencies, like the Illinois Finance Authority, are not included, but most are).

Here are some of the highlights of what we found:

Alfred Benesch and Company has $17M in FY09 contracts, up from $7.5M in FY08. That includes $12.4M with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and $4.6M with IDOT. The company gave a single $5K check on June 27 and employees gave another $19,500 over the course of the six month disclosure period.

Burns + McDonnell Engineering has $14.4M in FY 09 contracts, up from $5.1M in FY08. That includes $12M with ISTHA and $2M with IDOT. The company gave $15K on June 4.

Civiltech Engineering has $7.5M in FY09 contracts, up from $5.1M in FY08. That includes $4.6M in ISTHA and $2.8M in IDOT. The company wrote a $10K check on June 17.

V3 Companies of Illinois has $9.5M in FY09 contracts, up from $4.9M in FY08. Nearly all of the money is with ISTHA. The company wrote two checks: one for $4K on April 7 and a second for $10K on June 17.

Entran has $1.9M in FY09 contracts, down from $2.4M in FY08. Nearly all the FY09 contracts are with IDOT. The company wrote one check for $13,750 on June 20.

Let us know what you see!