On February 26, 2016, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the appointment of Tom Cross, former Republican leader of the Illinois House, to head the Illinois Board of Higher Education. According to the Illinois Pension Code, Cross will also serve as chairperson of the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) Board of Trustees.
-By Karl-Heinz Gabbey
In 2009, just after Madigan’s House of Representatives impeached Rod Blagojevich, Tom Cross sent me a form letter in which he justified his role in the impeachment; and that he would now work for “ethics reform.” I nearly choked. Who else got this letter? I was struck by the sanctimonious and hypocritical tone of his justification, particularly since I was quite aware that “pay-to-play” and Springfield fit hand-in-glove. Cross was no exception. I was particularly offended by Cross’ attempt to play us for fools. I called his office and unloaded all my indignation on his innocent staffer who, after my rant, asked me for my phone number. Phone number? Why did she ask me after I treated her so rudely?
To my complete astonishment, Cross called me at home the following morning, and we had a long conversation about “ethics and reform in government.” He was disarming and we had a civil discussion. At the end of our conversation, I asked him bluntly whether or not he had ever engaged in “pay-to-play.” There was a pregnant pause, a “dance,” and he never answered my question, when, as I recall, he needed “to get back to work.” I regret that during his “dance,” I didn’t stop him in his tracks to say I’ll take that as a “yes” answer.
If “pay-to-play” sent Rod to prison, a fair number of state legislators and senators should have been his cell mates, including Tom Cross. I didn’t know at the time that a sinister, corporate-financed organization devoted entirely to the corruption of our entire political process called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) existed, and that Tom Cross was and still is a prominent member.
Is it any surprise that Cross is in the forefront of “pension theft” again when this corrupt so-and-so sold his soul to the devil a long time ago?