Over the past five years, roughly 60% of contract spending approved at the taxpayer-funded Metropolitan Water Reclamation District went to MWRD Commissioner campaign donors.
COOK COUNTY –(ENEWSPF)—February 27, 2018
Pay-to-play is nothing new in Chicago politics, but the coziness between government contractors and the campaign committees of the elected Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is impressive even by Cook County’s warped standards.
An analysis of campaign donor and MWRD contracting records conducted by the Illinois Green Party and released Monday found that roughly 60% of all contract spending approved by the MWRD Board of Commissioners went to businesses that had donated directly to the campaign committee of at least one of the Commissioners voting on the contracts.
Over the past five years, the Board of Commissioners approved more than $722 million in taxpayer-funded contracts for their campaign donors. Campaign donor firms received more than 15 times as much contracting money from the MWRD, on average, as the agency-wide average for contractors.
Apart from the recently deceased Timothy Bradford, all sitting Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (as well as former Commissioner Cynthia Santos, who left the Board at the end of 2016) took campaign contributions from MWRD contractors, totaling more than $400,000 to the various Commissioners’ campaign committees.
Illinois Green Party candidates for the MWRD Board of Commissioners have vowed to campaign without corporate donations, arguing that it will allow them to evaluate MWRD contract bids without bias or favoritism.
The Green Party is running five candidates for the MWRD in 2018, including write-in candidate Geoffrey Cubbage for the “Vacancy of Bradford” write-in-only ballot line on the March 20th primary ballots.