As if anyone needed further evidence that Tribune columnist John Kass is on target when he describes the state’s sleazy political power structure as a bipartisan Combine, Stuart Levine testified in the Tony Rezko trial that “Though he was Republican and made sizable donations to [Jim] Ryan and other GOP candidates, Levine said he also quietly slipped money through straw donors to some Democrats over the years,” the Tribune notes. “Levine said he did so at the request of Vrdolyak, whose political allegiances have flip-flopped between the Democratic and Republican Parties.
“[Prosecutor Christopher] Niewoehner asked Levine what he expected to get in return for his secret donations. Levine had a one-word answer: ‘Access.'”
It worked. When the Rod Blagojevich captured the governor’s mansion for the Democrats for the first time in 30 years, the chief benefactor of his opponent – Jim Ryan – was somehow perfectly positioned anyway. That’s the magic of the Combine.