After Illinois passed a tough anti-corruption law in the wake of Rod Blagojevich's implosion, the Federal Highway Administration found it ran counter to U.S. law:
[T]he General Assembly passed a bill making it illegal for the governor or any agency he controls, like the Illinois Department of Transportation, to award a contract to any person or entity that donated more than $50,000 to the governor's campaign fund.
[S]tate Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and the House sponsor of [a second bill that lifted the cap on IDOT projects], Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), say they had no choice but to weaken the anti-corruption law because the feds told them they had to or Illinois could lose zillions in federal highway funds.
"However laudable the goals of such state laws, they have the effect of limiting competition in the awarding of federal-aid highway contracts," says the May 9 letter from FHWA Acting Deputy Administrator Jeffrey Paniati. Putting a brick on the proposals in Illinois and Jersey — which arguably is just as corrupt as Illinois — was "necessary to ensure compliance with federal law," the letter said.
Now, wouldn't it be an interesting twist, and typically Illinois, if the legislature passed the $50,000 cap to throw contracts to friends of the legislature instead of friends of the governor....
Nah, they're not that sophisticated, are they?