Ethics Dunce: The State of Illinois


State lotteries are unethical, of course, being regressive crypto-taxes on the poor, dumb and gullible installed by gutless legislators to avoid more responsible revenue sources that might cost them votes. Illinois isn’t alone among the states engaging in these shameless scams; indeed it is in the vast, vast majority. This particular slippery slope also slipped exactly as the worst doomsayers predicted, with lotteries leading inexorably to widespread casino gambling and an explosion of gambling addiction and its attendant ruination. But never mind.

Illinois is not an ethics dunce for having a state lottery, although it is. Illinois is an ethics dunce for being the only state that has a state lottery and doesn’t pay up when one of those poor, dumb, gullible citizens gets lucky and wins a bundle. The state is in the throes of a huge fiscal deficit, and because the legislature and governor have failed to agree on a 2015-16 budget for the fiscal year that started July 1, the Illinois comptroller’s office doesn’t have  authority to write checks over $25,000. Lottery winners who have won that much or more when the ping-pong balls popped their way have been waiting for their giant checks. Meanwhile, the state continues to pay the salaries of those working inside the Illinois Lottery and the private company that manages it, and the lottery continues to advertise the games and sell tickets.

A lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago by Rhonda Rasche, who’s awaiting a $50,000 payout, and Danny Chasteen, who won $250,000. They seeks class-action status and the halt of lottery ticket sales. The suit also aims  to force the sate to pay lottery players who have won more than $25,000, with 5% interest, and asks that nobody who works for the Illinois Lottery or the private company that manages it gets paid until the winners are.

In the alternative, they could have someone break Illinois’s legs.

A bookie who behaved as Illinois is would end up on a hook somewhere. A taxpayer who made an excuse like this–“Sorry, I have the money, but I just can’t pay you!”—would be greeted, ah, unsympathetically. Meanwhile, selling lottery tickets knowing that winners won’t be paid is called fraud.

Or perhaps it’s just a test to see how dumb ticket buyers really are. Why not? If they’ll trust Illinois, they’ll trust anything.

10 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: The State of Illinois

  1. Well, I think Illinois is a very interesting case study. Their tax revenue is still coming in, but they are only paying expenditures that are required by state law. It isn’t required by state law that they pay the lottery winners. Despite failing on a huge amount of their obligations, Illinois still doesn’t have enough money. It is having to borrow money just to pay the legally obligated part.

    There are 2 things I find interesting here:
    (1) The budget case boils down to two sides. The Republicans are insist that spending is out of control and needs to be decreased and blame the Democrats for a spend now and worry later attitude. They seem to have decided to live or die on this mountain. The Democrats blame the Republicans for running up a deficit without a budget. They feel the deficit will go away when they start to spend more money because they feel that spending specified in a budget doesn’t can’t cause a deficit (and this seems to be common wisdom among Democrats).
    (2) The Illinois Supreme Court is requiring the state to pay bills it doesn’t have the money to pay and will not allow the state to reduce the payments or the obligations. When the state can’t borrow any more money to pay these expenses, will the Supreme Court mandate that taxes be raised? Will it mandate how the taxes are raised?

    Rahm Emmanuel has decided that the Detroit economic policy should be his model and he is going to ‘soak the rich’ to fund his city’s social programs. He has stated that police and fire protection will be the first things he cuts if he has to cut programs. Just think, he was the President’s chief of staff and this is the mentality that is running our country now. Doesn’t Texas think it can legally secede from the Union because it joined by treaty? Maybe I should look into that.

      • Toll booths are a thing of the past, in Texas. For now, you just get on the toll road between Seguin and Georgetown, drive to Georgetown and six months later, China sends you a bill for the miles you have driven. Cameras spotted along the way tell the Chinese builders and administrators how far you drove, and they have plenty of manpower to pore over those photographs.

      • Maybe I was spreading the gospel of free markets, de-regulation, low taxes, and liberty. I was like a pilgrim in unholy land.

        No, visiting my best friend and forgot to pay the tolls on time.

  2. George Gollin has been found in violation of the Illinois State Employees and Officials Ethics Act and fined $5,000. George Gollin “knowingly and intentionally used his state-provided email account to engage in prohibited political activity….” George Gollin admitted he knew he was misappropriating state resources when he sent “dozens” of campaign emails with his university email. The Executive Ethics Commission levied a $5,000 fine against George Gollin, the maximum allowed under the statute. The Commission also issued an injunction ordering George Gollin to comply with the state Ethics Act and UIUC guidelines concerning the use of university resources for political campaign activities.

    Click to access 14EEC011_Gollin_06_25_15.pdf

    This comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with George Gollin’s well-documented legal history of alleged extortion, stalking, civil rights violations, defamation, computer hacking, and a myriad of other contemptible and bizarre behavior. George Gollin seems to think that the taxpayer supported university is his personal playground, and its resources are to be exploited for his personal amusement

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