Although he doesn't have an "official" role, Tony Rezko emerged as a powerful figure in the Blagojevich Administration. It appears he became such a trusted advisor that many of his associates were placed in a variety of important positions within the bureaucracy.
Did he become that influential because of his expertise in government? No.
Because he helped raise huge sums of contributions that fueled the Blagojevich campaign operation? Most likely.
In most states, candidates would be prohibited from accepting contributions as big as Rezko made to Blagojevich and as big as Rezko apparently brought to the Blagojevich campaign from other sources.
Our campaign finance regulations are so wide open that Illinois campaigns breed -- there's that petri dish again -- corruption.
Laws will not stop elected officials from trusting their "friends," who may use that friendship for their own profit. But limiting campaign contributions will make it less likely that some contributors will rise to positions of power.
Like most other states, Illinois should enact strict limits on how much money can be contributed to campaign committees, and also like most other states Illinois should only allow individuals and political action committees to make contributions -- not corporations, labor unions, non-profits or associations.