Reditus CEO Rossi under scrutiny for his political contributions
PEKIN (WEEK) - Political contributions made by Reditus Laboratories Chief Executive Officer Aaron Rossi are being reviewed after his indictment two weeks ago on federal tax fraud charges, and pending civil lawsuits filed against Rossi.
The COVID-19 testing lab based in Pekin has been paid 100′s of millions of dollars in state contracts since the start of the pandemic in 2020, and about that time, either Rossi or his company started making thousands of dollars in contributions mostly to local Republican politicians, even though Illinois is generally under Democratic control.
“If you see someone donating a very, very large sum of money to a candidate, and then is the recipient of substantial government services, it’s worth exploring that relationship,” said John Shaw, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.
The list of politicians include Peoria-area Congressman Darin LaHood, former State Senator and GOP Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, and Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.
Contributions were made before and after Reditus expanded in Pekin with the help of city funding, and received about $245 million in state COVID testing contracts.
Shaw said political giving is legal, but there is a fine line.
“If I pay someone ‘X’ amount of dollars and then there’s a specific contract that is given, you’re walking across a precarious line,” said Shaw.
Illegalities occur when there’s a ‘quid pro quo’ in which money is contributed specifically to get something back from the official.
Shaw and another professor speaking with 25 News said a ‘quid pro quo’ rarely happens.
“Most times, there isn’t that direct connection between the campaign contribution and the work of an elected official,” said Bradley University’s Brad McMillan, executive director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service.
One of Rossi’s most $12,000 contribution was to State Rep. and Pekin Mayor Mark Luft, coming a day after Rossi’s tax fraud indictment.
Luft says he immediately returned that contribution when he found out about the indictment.
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