The Dupage County Board is responsible for the management of the County’s funds; in other words, the board chooses how to allocate taxpayer money for projects that are intended to serve Dupage citizens. Yet, in recent years under the Chairmanship of Dan Cronin, the Republican-led County Board has focused their financial allocation towards furthering a political agenda instead of delivering services to the people of Dupage County.
In 2011, the Better Government Association reported that the Dupage County Board hired Schirott Luetkehans & Garner, an Itasca-based law firm, to redraw district boundaries. However, simply hiring a law firm should not alarm Dupage residents. What should, and did, cause suspicion is that Republican board members have a tendency to hire their donors. Schirott Luetkehans & Garner previously donated to members of the board, and have continuously contributed to their campaigns—including Dan Cronin’s current reelection campaign. Illinois Republicans often criticize Democrats for implementing a “pay to play” political strategy, but Dan Cronin and his Republican colleagues have been faithful practitioners of this kind of politics.
In fact, since Dan Cronin has taken office as Chairman, he hired various firms that, prior to his election in 2010, did “little to no work for the county.” He hired firms such as Mesirow Financial, which employs Speaker Madigan’s son and Burke Burns & Pinelli Ltd, a law firm that counts state Sen. Harmon as a partner. Is Dan Cronin earnestly making a bipartisan effort by connecting with high profile Illinois Democrats, or is he simply trying to establish relationships which will assist him later in his political career? It appears as though Cronin’s political motives outweigh, in terms of importance, the needs of Dupage citizens if he agrees to spending money on law firms instead of necessary projects in Dupage County. More recently, the County Board has hired lobbyist firms, such as BGR Government Affairs LLC and All-Circo, Inc., in 2016 and 2017 to supposedly work better with Illinois legislatures. The county has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to pay for these firms, raising criticism from Democrats such as board member Liz Chaplin. It is truly ironic that a county board, which prides itself on eliminating waste, spends incredulous amounts of taxpayer money—not on projects, not on services or economic development for the poor and working families—but on lobbying and furthering the political careers of Republican board members, especially Chairman Cronin.