WINNER: JOHN P. MCCORMICK, MARIE DILLON
& BRUCE DOLD, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“The Illinois Culture of Political Sleaze”
It has been three days since Gov. Rod Blagojevich was named in a criminal complaint that sets out charges of audacious behavior, including a campaign to sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. Three days, and the governor is still in office. Virtually everyone in the state is telling him to scram, but he’s not taking the hint.
What part of even-the-next-president-of-the-United-States-says-go-away doesn’t he understand? … It’s time to start the process to impeach him. This should be fair and deliberate. It should not be slow.
In 2008, Chicago Tribune editorial writers John P. McCormick, Marie Dillon and Bruce Dold intensified a lengthy and blistering fight to expose the corruption of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and raise the ethical standards of Illinois government.
Their 10 editorials told Tribune readers in blunt fashion about the tentacles of corruption that ran through the Blagojevich administration. They campaigned to give the citizens of Illinois the power to recall corrupt and incompetent public officials.
Judges noted that, in late 2008, “federal authorities charged that then-Gov. Blagojevich had demanded the firing of those who wrote these editorials as a condition of state assistance in the selling of Wrigley Field.”
Senior Vice President and Editor Gerould W. Kern points out that Blagojevich’s “plot failed. Tribune Co. executives did not cave to pressure, and the editorial board continued its campaign to expose corruption.”
Judges said: “While it is apparent that passionate outrage underlies these editorials, their impact comes from well-reasoned arguments and persuasive supporting detail. It is easy to understand why a Tribune reader wrote: ‘How ironic that our governor would target Tribune editorial board members when it is they, and not the governor, who were looking after the best interests of the citizens of this state.’”