The University of Illinois system — which has endured more than a decade of corruption scandals — announced Thursday that it will present former President Barack Obama with an “ethics in government” award at a Sep. 7 ceremony.
The university did not explain what Obama had done to earn the award — nor did it explain how Obama qualified after the IRS scandal, the Benghazi cover-up, or his own “boneheaded” deals with corrupt Chicago figures, among other ethical problems.
The university stated in a press release:
The University of Illinois System will honor former President Barack Obama on Friday, Sept. 7, with the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government, presented annually by the system’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) to recognize public officials who promote the highest standards of public service.
Obama will accept the invitation of a national selection committee to receive the IGPA’s Douglas Award, which has been given annually since 1994 to public officials who have made significant contributions to the understanding and practice of ethical behavior in public service. It honors late Illinois Sen. Paul Douglas (1892-1976), who became known as the “conscience of the Senate” because of his deep commitment to high ethical standards while serving as a senator from 1949 to 1967.
Among the most notorious University of Illinois scandals was the admissions scandal of 2009, in which the university’s president was forced to resign after children of Illinois politicians were found to have been given preference. In 2004, the university was accused of cheating the organ allocation system to give its transplant patients prefence over those at other hospitals. More recently, in 2015, the university admitted that some senior officials had used private email accounts to conduct official communications; these emails had not been turned over when public records requests had been filed.