There’s an episode of “Two and a Half Men” in which the dweebie chiropractor Alan Harper starts financially helping his hot new girlfriend with a car repair and visit to the dentist. His brother, Charlie, keeps warning Alan that it will spiral out of control and repeatedly offers to hit Alan in the head with a baseball bat as a less painful solution. Alan ends up delivering pizzas so he can afford the root canals and new car.
We’re reminded of that now that we learn one of the two female friends who got a state job thanks to state Sen. James Clayborne has had, shall we say, a tad of financial trouble.
Taxpayers hand Vonetta Harris $85,886 a year, plus a state car, plus a gas card to be a member of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. In exchange, her bankruptcy petition shows she does not pay $11,000 in federal income taxes for 2009, 2010, 2012 or 2013. She also hasn’t bothered to repay $306,000 in federal student loans for her three master’s degrees.
The state doesn’t check financial backgrounds, so Gov. Bruce Rauner in March appointed her to a six-year term on the board that decides whether state inmates get parole.
Harris’ ex-husband, Korey L. Rush, may be behind a lot of her financial woes. He went to federal prison for misusing a federal grant at Southern Illinois University’s East St. Louis campus.
But you have to wonder about a person with three master’s degrees getting duped by a federal prisoner and then deciding whether the public can trust state prisoners to be good if released.
And in the Alan Harper scenario, taxpayers are the ones who would have been better off had they been able to choose the baseball bat. Clayborne’s role we leave to your imagination.