While many governors and other elected officials in other states are no strangers to hanging with the monied hoi polloi at inaugural events, the case with Illinois is a little special because it has the dubious honor of sending the most chief executives to prison than any other state. Of the last seven governors in Illinois, four went to prison: one was convicted of trying to bribe a judge, another was convicted of bank fraud, and yet another of racketeering. The fourth one, Rod Blagojevich became the first Illinois governor in history to be impeached, and was convicted on a slew of charges, including trying to sell (or trade for favors) Barack Obama’s old Senate seat when he moved over to the White House. Blago, as he’s colloquially known, was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years behind bars.
Illinois Governor-elect Rauner is a venture capitalist who campaigned on cleaning up state politics and his camp was successful in linking his opponent, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, to Blagojevich.
But Rauner’s pledge to clean things up sounds fishy if he’s spending all that money for an inauguration, say skeptical watchdog groups.
"We're seeing more and more inaugural activities that have become more expensive, more lavish, and they're being bought and sold by people who have business pending before government," says Craig Homan with the group Public Citizen.
Many of the Rauner inauguration events are free and open to the public, but if you want to get up close and personal with him tomorrow, you’ll have to be among those who’ve paid a pretty penny.