Dozens of rank-and-file lawmakers and congressmen have been identified as having tried to assist multiple students gain admittance to the University of Illinois.
The politicians have been named as part of an investigation by the Chicago Tribune into the use of clout in the admission process at the state’s flagship university.
Among them are Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana, who allegedly requested entry for 10 students. The Tribune noted that six were known to be admitted.
Johnson spokesman Phil Bloomer defended the congressman’s actions, saying he is merely acting on requests from constituents.
“I’ve been with Tim when he’s made these calls. There’s never been any hint of pressure or arm-twisting,” Bloomer said. “To suggest there’s something improper about that is way off the mark.”
“He makes no apologies for what he’s done,” Bloomer added.
State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, is listed as having made one request. He said he recalls making one phone call to a university official regarding an admission question.
“It was about a friend’s daughter,” Mitchell said. “As far as I know, she did not get in.”
The Tribune’s database shows Mitchell as having been successful in helping someone get admitted to the school. But, he’s unaware of whom that might be.
State Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville, also is on the list. He doesn’t believe he tried to exercise undue influence over the admissions process.
Others on the list include state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet; former U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood of Peoria; state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield; former state Sen. Todd Sieben, R-Geneseo; state Rep. Dan Reitz, D-Steeleville; state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; state Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa; state Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville; state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington; state Rep. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga; state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon; and former U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller.