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Guv cand Rich Whitney (G-IL) on the Blagojevich Verdict

Picture of Rich Whitney, Green Party candidate...

Rich Whitney

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney reacted to the outcome of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s trial by calling for reform of the Illinois political system. For Whitney, the actions of Blagojevich are a result of a corrupt political system that fosters such behavior. He explained that

Rod Blagojevich’s conduct is a symptom of a much more widespread disease. There is a pervasive mentality—in the corporate media and in the two corporate-sponsored parties—that politics and political success is all about raising money and almost nothing else.

Mr. Whitney believes this same system encouraged the attitude of the former governor. He stated that

Blagojevich’s other unethical behavior—rewarding supporters with jobs or contracts, i.e. pay-to-play, ultimately including a U.S. Senate seat as a golden prize—all flows from that same premise. The issue for Illinois voters today is not whether Blagojevich was found guilty or innocent. There is no question that he engaged in unethical behavior: trafficking in the awarding of political favors in exchange for campaign cash.

Whitney continued that “This is verdict is not exoneration. That Blagojevich was not convicted of these particular crimes at this time does not mean he is innocent. Corruption is still corruption. Pay-to-play is still wrong and unethical. And a political system completely overrun by an overwhelming and obscene focus on raising tons of cash, above all else, is still a disease that we must combat and overcome.”

He continued that “we have to stop this and through the Green Party and my campaign, we can stop this. This is a systemic problem that demands a systemic solution. And the way to do that is by building a grassroots political party that is beholden and accountable only to the people. It is the Green Party that has stood up for the principle of not accepting any corporate campaign contributions whatsoever and that has stood firmly on a platform of making serious campaign ethics reform a top priority. This devotion to grassroots democracy is what makes me and the other Green Party candidates the best choice for voters who seriously want to clean up Illinois government.”

Rich Whitney is a 55-year-old civil rights and employment lawyer from Carbondale. As a lawyer, he has fought for working people who have lost their jobs or had their rights violated. A founder of the Illinois Green Party, he has long been politically active in support of the labor, health-care reform, environmental, civil rights, and peace movements. In 2006, he served as the Green Party’s first candidate for Governor, winning over 360,000 votes and making it possible for Illinois voters to have a third choice on the ballot statewide.

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