Former Texas Senator and Presidential candidate from the 'let them eat cake' (or alternatively 'leave no corporation behind' wing of the Republican Party Phil Gramm is scheduled to testify at the George Ryan trial this week according to CBS's fantastic blog on the trail here.
Apparently, when Gramm was running for president in 1996 (the year that Bob Dole eventually won the GOP nomination), then-Secretary of State George Ryan decided to endorse him. In return -- well, that's what the trial is partially about, I guess, so I should say, at the same time, Ryan's daughters and two supporters were put on the campaign payroll. As the CBS blog puts it:
Ryan endorsed Gramm in March 1995 and prosecutors have alleged some $32,000 in consulting fees were funneled to two Ryan staff members and the governor's daughters until the senator dropped out in early 1996. The fees were allegedly laundered through a Republican management consulting company.So somehow, Phil Gramm is coming to Chicago to talk about George Ryan and the 1996 primary campaign. How bizarre. That this man might have been president. And that he's testifying in our former governor's criminal trial.
Did you see in Crain's, by the way, that Ryan's lawyers at Winston and Strawn are taking the case on pro bono? I hope they don't count that $10 or $15 million in legal fees that they waive for Governor Ryan as one of their good deeds to ramp up the firm on pro bono rankings like this one -- I always thought pro bono cases were supposed to be for poor people or the severely disenfranchised. I don't think white collar criminal defense really counts.