Illinois Lawmakers Just Can’t Keep Their Hands Off Other People’s Money

State Rep. Connie Howard just pled guilty to spending $28,000 from a scholarship fund she created. Here we go again.

Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune 

As the Tribune reported today, another local politician has been siphoning off money for personal use.

This time, former South Side state representative Connie Howard has pleaded guilty to taking $28,000—money that was intended for a scholarship fund she created for needy youths wanting to study computer science—and spending it on her own personal and political use. In the words of prosecutors, that included buying tickets for her campaign fundraisers and to benefit an unnamed legislative aide.

From the Tribune:

From 2003 to 2007, she solicited and collected about $76,700 but awarded no more than five $2,500 scholarships. Along the way, she claimed more than 50 people had received scholarships, according to the plea. 

Last January, along with the Better Government Association, I published an in-depth investigation we called Lawmakers Gone Wild. The story revealed how a whole bunch of Illinois politicians are living large on their campaigns dime: Four-star dining, luxury cars, exotic vacations, sports tickets, and other extravagances that have little to do with getting reelected.

And here we go again.

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