Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) spent a million dollars on his failed 2005 effort to legislate violent video games, according to Quad Cities Online.
The amount spent was uncovered by an Illinois House committee earlier this week. Accoring to QCO:
The governor raided funds throughout state government to pay for the litigation. Some of the areas money was taken from included the public health department, the state’s welfare agency and even the economic development department.
Rep. Jack Franks (D) said:
We had a strong suspicion that the governor was using funds appropriated by the General Assembly as his own personal piggy bank.
Added David Vite, head of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association:
It’s unfortunate that the state of Illinois spent taxpayer money defending this statute. This [constitutional defeat] is precisely what we told them would happen.
University of Illinois at Springfield Charles Wheeler III said:
In most people’s minds, the legislation was unconstitutional and it was clear it wasn’t going anywhere.
GP: We should clarify that the amount Illinois owed to the video game industry in legal fees was $510,000. We assume that the balance of the million bucks relates to legal costs Illinois incurred in unsuccessfully defending against the industry’s First Amendment challenge.
UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune confirms that the million bucks represent legal costs paid to both sides. That is, Illinois had to pay its own lawyers as well as reimbursing the industry for its legal costs.
As GamePolitics reported back on September 14th, 2005, Illinois hired a partner from Chicago law firm Hogan-Marren to defend against the video game industry’s constitutional challenge to the law.