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04/19/2010

Cullerton's Son, State's SUV, Your Money

  I don't know about you, but the minute I heard of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton's 26 year old son's DUI arrest, I immediately focused on the fact that Garritt Cullerton reportedly was driving a 2009 Ford Escape "registered to the state Senate".

  Garritt, who reportedly worked for the state House until November of last year, reportedly lives with his parents on Chicago's northside.  A statement from the Senate President's office said John Cullerton was "disappointed" with his son's arrest and that Garritt was using the vehicle "without his (John's) authorization".

  The allegation that Garritt's blood alcohol level was over twice the legal limit is a matter for police, prosecutors and the young man's lawyers.   What gives this story "legs" are all the questions about the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV):

  Why does the Senate President need a state owned/leased vehicle?  Doesn't he use the state airplane to travel to and from Springfield?   When he's in Chicago, do taxpayers need to pay for his short commute from the northside to his office in the Thompson Center?

  Isn't the state of Illinois broke?  Who authorized the purchase/lease of a vehicle in 2009 when the budget deficit was soaring to record levels?  Aren't Illinois lawmakers considered part time?  How many other legislative "leaders" have state owned/leased vehicles?  Who buys the gasoline?  

  If John Cullerton is "disappointed" by the weekend events think about what Governor Pat Quinn is feeling as the General Assembly's scheduled May 7th adjournment nears. 

  As Quinn tries to muster support for an income tax increase to help solve the Illinois budget crisis, his political opponents and taxpayers now find out that the state provides an SUV for millionaire lawyer John Cullerton.   And to make matters worse, police arrest Cullerton's adult son cruising in the vehicle on the Gold Coast Saturday night.

  Stay Tuned. 

  Depending on how it plays in the media, the Cullerton SUV could be another "coffin nail" for the Governor's dying tax increase plan.

Comments

Had Mr. Thomas asked he would have learned that Mr. Madigan does not have a car assigned, but does use car from time to time for events outside the state house.

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