SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Trading favors

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* Trading a vote for a job or a project isn’t exactly new, but when you’re under the microscope, everything looks bigger than it is…

The legislative aide to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich suggested in a 2003 e-mail he could win a senator’s vote if the administration hired the lawmaker’s secretary.

The e-mail from Joseph Handley was obtained by The Associated Press. It seeks confirmation from Blagojevich patronage staffers that they planned to hire Rhonda Wood. She was at the time secretary to Senator Larry Walsh.

Handley wrote: “If this can be confirmed, it helps me with Walsh on important vote.” […]

Walsh is now Will County executive. He says he tried to help Wood but there was no discussion of votes on legislation. Wood wasn’t hired.

Quid that may or may not have been suggested, no real pro and the quo never went through. Not a huge story, but not a good way to start off the week, either.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Brady says he’s in

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* No surprise here, but it’s now at least semi-official

State Senator Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, told a roomful of people in Macomb Saturday that he will seek his party’s nomination for governor in 2010.

Brady was guest speaker at the McDonough County Republican Central Committee Lincoln Day Dinner, held on the campus of Western Illinois University and including guests from four surrounding counties. […]

“This state is in debt to the tune of $8,800 for every man, woman, and child who lives here,” said Brady. “Illinois is, unfortunately, broke. We are the highest debtor state in the nation…and it’s all because the Democrats don’t get it.”

Brady was critical of House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones as well as the governor. He said all three are driving voters into the arms of the GOP if the party can offer the right candidates.

“The people of Illinois are with us, just as they were with Jim Edgar when he ran for governor,” he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* The setup

Tuesday, April 1 is “Cheap Trick Day” in Illinois, a special day set aside to honor one of the most prolific rock groups to come from the Land of Lincoln.

Last year, the General Assembly passed a resolution making every April 1 “Cheap Trick Day” in Illinois.

* The question: Come up with another name for April Fools Day in Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

The motivation behind Zell’s moves

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* The New York Times had this unsurprising quote about Tribune owner Sam Zell yesterday…

“He actually dislikes baseball,” Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of Chicago’s crosstown White Sox, said matter-of-factly. “He never would have bought the Cubs if they didn’t come with the Tribune. It’s just another asset to him.”

Reinsdorf’s claim was essentially confirmed by team chairman Crane Kenney.

* This brings us to the uproar over the sale of the Cubs, Wrigley Field and the park’s naming rights. Crain’s has the story behind the story…

[The Tribune Co.] has about $12 billion in debt, most of it the result of Mr. Zell’s leveraged buyout in December. A first payment of $650 million comes due Dec. 4.

* Selling the team, the park and the naming rights would more than cover that first payment. And that was the initial plan. Zell doesn’t care about baseball. The team is just another asset to be dumped. But the stadium deal is taking longer than expected, to say the least. So Zell - who is facing a depressed advertising market - is now looking to sell other assets to cover his nut.

But that doesn’t take the heat off the Wrigley deal.,,

Tribune will quickly face another deadline: July 2009, when a $750-million principal payment comes due. That’s on top of an estimated $1 billion in yearly interest payments.

Zell is sitting on top of a shakey house of cards, so expect the pressure to intensify on the proposed state buyout of Wrigley Field, regardless of any interim asset sales.

* More…

* Cubs play hardball with rooftop owner

* Wrigley Field looking at changes as Cubs start season

* There was an old ballpark in Chicago . . .

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      

Nightmare ahead

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* Illinois isn’t alone in its budget mess

At least half of the nation’s states are facing budget shortfalls, some of them severe, and policymakers in most of the affected states are proposing and passing often-painful measures to trim costs and close the gaps. Spending on schools is being slashed, after-school programs are being curtailed and teachers are being notified of potential layoffs. Health-care assistance is being cut for the elderly, the disabled and the poor. Some government offices, such as motor vehicle department locations, will start closing on weekends, and some state workers are receiving pink slips.

* Things are really bad out in California…

California is facing the worst budget crisis, with a $16 billion shortfall, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a $4.8 billion cut in education services. About 20,000 teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and other support staff members have received notice of potential layoffs, according to the state’s Education Department.

* What makes Illinois different from all other states is the ongoing feud between Democratic leaders and the Tony Rezko corruption trial. Last year was bad, but this year could be much, much worse

[House GOP Leader Tom Cross] called Blagojevich “toxic” in a taping of WMAQ-TV’s “City Desk” program.

Cross said it was hard for the governor to advance his agenda because of the allegations coming of out of the federal trial of political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

“He has an inability right now to get that message out because he’s playing defense on the other issue. Right or wrong, that’s what’s happening. … It makes for an ineffective governor,” Cross said on “City Desk.”

* Because of Rezko and the feud, stuff like this will be all the rage at the Statehouse this spring…

State Rep. Jack Franks says his first priority when the General Assembly reconvenes Tuesday will be to get his constitutional amendment to recall state elected officials passed in the House. […]

House Speaker Michael Madigan also supports the recall amendment.

* Combine all that nastiness with a serious revenue shortfall, and you get a very negative session

State Rep. George Scully, D-Flossmoor, said it could be a rough year for anyone looking for new money as lawmakers focus on paying outstanding bills and getting a construction plan off the ground.

“I think this would be a bad year to bring up new topics,” he said.

* Throw in demands from Republicans for tax cuts, and it gets even more toxic…

Anyone purchasing motor fuels in Illinois could realize savings at the pump if Illinois legislators would pass House Bill 6318, sponsored by state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville. […]

Black said the majority of Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly are opposed to his current bill, saying the state cannot afford it, even though last year’s budget predictions on income from the sales tax were based on gas prices of about $2 per gallon.

* More budget stuff, compiled by Kevin…

* McQueary: Go ahead - give your input

* Kane County to lobby for share of capital bill

* Illinois must have capital funding bill

* EDITORIAL: State is left with gambling to fund capital plan

* Sen. proposes chance to recall Ill. officials

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Blagojevich pleads the 5th

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* The governor made a fool of himself in front of NBC 5’s Phil Rogers and several other Chicago reporters last week. Carol Marin has part of the play-by play

Rogers kicked off the questioning: Governor, did that conversation [regarding Stu Levine’s claim that Blagojevich allegedly told him, “Stick with us and you’ll do very well for yourself”] happen?

Blago: “Let me answer that question with an answer. I’m not a party in that [Tony Rezko] trial. I’m not following the trial. It would be inappropriate of me to comment on a trial I’m not a part in.” […]

Rich Samuels of WTTW: Did Blagojevich have a conversation on an airplane with Stuart Levine?

Blago: “You know it’s a good question. I’m not a party in that trial. I’m not in a place where I think it’s appropriate to comment on a trial I’m not involved in.”

Then Carlos Hernandez-Gomez of CLTV: Was the governor’s chief of staff Lon Monk clearing decisions through Tony Rezko as Levine has testified?

Blago (taking a noisy sip of water): “Let me answer that question. I’m not a party to that trial.”

Then Phil Rogers once again: What was the governor’s relationship to Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine?

Blago (another noisy sip of water, his eyes peering over the paper cup):

“Look I’ve asked and answered that a million times. You just ought to go back and take a look at your clippings.”

* Eventually, the governor did talk a little about the trial, contradicting his earlier statements that he couldn’t comment. When he did, Blagojevich tried, as his his wont, to pass the buck

“One of the ironies here is you’re talking about one person here, Mr. Levine, who gave $790,000 to Jim Ryan, my opponent for governor in 2002,” Blagojevich said. “If you want to ask about relationships, you ought to ask him about that.”

When it was noted that Levine has never suggested that he did anything illegal with Jim Ryan, which he maintains he did do with those close to the governor, Blagojevich responded, “You know that is not true.”

“You know that is not true, and the way you ask that question is dishonest,” Blagojevich said.

The question, Rogers reported, was asked a couple of more times in various forms, but the answer was always the same.

“I have said again, I am not a party to that case,” Blagojevich said. “It is a full-time job being governor, getting things done for people. It’s inappropriate for me to comment on that, and you know the answer.”

* To sum up: “I’m not gonna answer. I’m not gonna answer. I’m not gonna answer. But, look over there at those evil Republicans!!! OK, so you didn’t take the bait, therefore, I’m not gonna answer. Next question?”

Expect more of the same for the next three months.

* Meanwhile

Tony Rezko’s lawyers are trying to keep out of his trial portions of a secretly recorded phone call in which Republican power broker William Cellini talks of pay-to-play tactics in Gov. Blagojevich’s administration.

“Tony and Chris . . . are . . . essentially hammerin’ people . . . with contracts for fund-raising.” Cellini says on tape, according to a defense filing. “I’m a nervous wreck over it myself.”

Cellini is referring to Rezko and fellow Blagojevich fund-raiser Chris Kelly in a converstion with Stuart Levine, the government’s star witness.

All reporters have heard pretty much the same thing over the years. If you got a state contract, you got a follow-up call from a fundraiser. And the tactics were reportedly on the hardball side.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Hurckes attracts national heat

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* There’s little doubt that Jerry Hurckes - Congressman Dan Lipinski’s chief of staff - is a self-important buffoon. But now he has become a Republican target for allegedly violating House ethics rules.

The alleged violation surfaced after Hurckes objected to an Oak Lawn proposal to hire a federal lobbyist. Hurckes, who is an Oak Lawn trustee, had claimed that the proposal was a deliberate slap in his face because he uses his position to take care of the village…

[Hurckes] has, according to Roll Call, “used his employment with the House to help win local races, repeatedly claiming in campaign literature and public meetings that he is responsible for securing millions in federal ear- marks for the Village of Oak Lawn, while also racking up thousands in campaign contributions from companies with business before Lipinski’s congressional committees.”

* That Roll Call article quoted the House ethics manual…

“In dealing with the public, staff who serve as local officials should always make clear in which capacity they are acting. They should discourage any suggestion that their local constituents will receive special treatment from the congressional office, beyond that received by other residents of the congressional district… No local elective service may be performed in the congressional office or in a manner that utilizes any official resources, including the telephones”

* So, rather than “discouraging” suggestions that Hurckes was helping his village more than another, he promoted his federal position to his constituents. And that could mean that when Hurckes was advocating for Oak Lawn’s projects, he was helping his campaign, which is also prohibited. Oops.

* Hurckes responds

“(Oak Lawn doesn’t) get anything special, and they don’t get put on the bottom either,” he said. He admitted, however, that it can be “a very fine line” to walk.

That’s an awful thin line, particularly since Hurckes is currently running for mayor of Oak Lawn. Turns out, he’s been taking campaign contributions from companies which lobby Congressman Lipinski’s committee

Hurckes’ campaign finance reports also show that he has taken in thousands in campaign contributions from national entities with business before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on which both Lipinskis have been members, and in many cases have also donated to one or both of the Congressmen. Donors to Hurckes include UPS, CSX, BNSF and DMJM Harris Inc., a transportation consulting firm.

Interestingly enough, there are no ethics rules regarding this particular situation, probably since it hasn’t ever really come up before now. The reporter who broke the story told Ray Hanania the other day that he can’t find another instance of a congressional staffer who held local office.

* Hurckes was Bill Lipinski’s chief of staff before he worked for the son. He’s getting paid a congressional salary plus cash from both Lipinskis’ campaign funds for consulting work. Hurckes’ congressional salary, according to Roll Call, is just under the federal limit which allows him to have outside income. Convenient.

* The Roll Call article which disclosed the alleged violations was all the talk of DC last week, and the Republicans, who are facing setback after setback, including loads of members under dark clouds of federal investigations, are looking to make some national hay

Congress goes back into session next Tuesday, and when it does, Republicans may gleefully head for the House Ethics Committee to ask for an inquiry into Hurckes’ activities in Lipinski’s office.

Bet on it. And i’m sure they’ll dredge up the accusations of election fraud from his past, including this one recalled by Carol Marin

I once followed Hurckes out of the Bohica Bar on the Southwest Side, where he was “registering voters” who, perhaps confused by whatever they were drinking, listed the bar as their legal residence.

What a guy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Monday, Mar 31, 2008

* Diminishing state support for colleges cause for concern

* Global surge at the University of Illinois

For the first time, the state’s flagship public school is home to more international students than any other public university in the country. In fact, the number of foreign students at the Downstate Urbana-Champaign campus — well over 5,000 — is more than had ever attended any public university in U.S. history.

* ‘They just eat, sleep, breathe mathematics and science

* Koreans comprise largest foreign contingent

* State representative robbed in her home

* February primary post-election report from Cook County

* Rezko lawyers ask judge to bar call

* Youth prisons suffer teacher shortage

* The Challenge to Chicago Schools and other leaders

* Schools’ aim: Getting smaller to get better

* State releases school financial report card

* Several Springfield people linked to Rezko trial

* Once-vibrant Evening Republican Club disbands

* New life sought for work camp

It’s all evidence of life the Hanna City Work Camp once had. In its heyday, the facility - about 10 miles west of Peoria on Illinois Route 116 - housed about 230 inmates and employed 80 to 90 people.

* Three for three: Bad decisions, response and wiring

* Gov. Blagojevich announces partnership with Center for Economic Progress to help seniors, veterans

* Gov’t official says HUD chief leaving

* Get moving on staffing hate crime panel

* Foster delivers party response

* You can squeeze blood from a turnip

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   12 Comments      

* The clown show strikes again
* Here we go again
* Local media doing its job right
* "It's just not possible"
* Question of the day
* Today's number: 7 years
* I'd pay to see this ad
* The Democrats' year of the woman
* Too poor to make bail
* Don't even think about it
* Debaters showed more spark than the Cubs last night
* Cloonen ad lands on USA Today's "five worst"
* *** UPDATED x4 - Rauner admin response - Breast cancer task force responds *** I kinda doubt he'll take this question
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...






Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* Nixon, Michael Kors and Polar smartwatches replace Asus and Casio oldies in Google Store
* Amazon Rolls Out 'Alexa' Voice Assistant to its Fire Tablets
* LG’s mobile division reports another loss making quarter, revenue down 23% y-o-y
* Huawei Enjoy 6 debuts with 3GB RAM, large battery, fingerprint sensor, sub-$200 price
* LG Mobile loses whopping $380+ million in Q3, weak G5 sales mostly to blame
* Fossil Q Founder smartwatch with Android Wear scores 30 percent discount
* Galaxy Note 7 aftermath: lowest Samsung profits in two years, worst mobile quarter in nearly eight

* One possible White Sox future playing out in Toronto
* pnoles' offseason plan
* Three times the 2005 White Sox never happened on Monday
* White Sox developing promising OF prospects
* Josh Nelson's Offseason Plan
* Podcast: 2016 White Sox Outfield Review
* mikecws91's Offseason Plan


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Governor And Breast Cancer Awarness Advocates H.....
* Rauner ties cancer aid to budget - Herald & Review..
* Illinois governor pours in nearly $46 million a.....

* Celebrity chef Rick Bayless to be honored at the Smithsonian
* EXCHANGE: Joliet paint store to close after 140 years
* Chicago security plans for World Series include checkpoints
* Arrieta deals, Cubs awaken, top Indians to even Series at 1
* EXCHANGE: Joliet paint store to close after 140 years
* World Series spotlight shifts to Chicago and Wrigley Field
* View from bench: Former Supreme Court justice roots for Cubs
* Oil pipeline protesters brace for confrontation with police
* Arrieta deals, Cubs awaken, top Indians to even Series at 1
* Chicago-area man charged with trying to kill officers

* Bobcat hunting opponents seek permits, won't use them
* Opponents emerge against Illinois road fund ballot question
* Feds end lease with Illinois for state park, citing neglect
* Statehouse Insider: Tomorrow's a new day; in Illinois, that may not be good
* Cook County lawyer who posed as judge criminally charged
* 1,100 non-union state workers getting $3,016 bonuses
* Springfield veteran honored for volunteer work
* Central Illinois soldier killed in Afghanistan
* Rauner administration awarding more than $3 million in bonuses to non-union workers
* SIU injury-prevention program reinstated through stopgap budget

* Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens roots for Cubs
* Facebook says users can't stop it from using biometric data
* How a 105-year-old manufacturer came up with a new hit product
* CSO posts record ticket sales, $1.1 million operating deficit
* Groupon to buy LivingSocial

* More Republicans expect Clinton to win: new Reuters/Ipsos poll
* Tom Hanks will thrill devotees, newcomers alike in ‘Inferno’
* Obama guidance, press schedule Oct. 27, 2016. Biden, Obamacare
* Man shot in Austin
* 2 dead, 2 wounded in shootings Wednesday across Chicago
* Police: Man shot to death in Goose Island
* Police: 73-year-old man missing from Gage Park since August
* Cubs let good ties roll — leveling Series is huge for team
* Teenage boy shot in Englewood
* Cubs’ Contreras apologizes for untimely bat flip, quickly atones

* Morning Spin: Kirk, Duckworth in second debate tonight
* 3 dead, 3 wounded in Chicago shootings
* Cop who quit in face of firing for fatal shooting seeking disability pay
* First look at designs for Lucas Museum in California, months after Chicago lakefront plan collapses
* Kyle Schwarber's success no surprise to Cubs teammates
* First look at competing plans for George Lucas' museum designs for L.A., San Francisco
* BYU says it will stop honor-code investigations of sexual assault victims
* Jake Arrieta and Kyle Schwarber give Cubs big lift in Game 2 victory
* Anthony Rizzo hitting again, enjoying every moment of World Series
* Police to increase patrols, street closures in Wrigleyville for World Series

The widget AQL4JYGHIY powered by Feed Informer does not exist.

* Our View: U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis deserves third term
* John Bouman: We all suffer from Illinois' budget crisis
* Eugene Robinson: Hillary Clinton is blazing a momentous trail
* George Will: Republican Party needs to revert to nominating Republicans
* Bernard Schoenburg: 9 on Sangamon County Board opt out of pension system
* Bobcat hunting opponents seek permits, won't use them
* Opponents emerge against Illinois road fund ballot question
* Our Opinion: LaHood endorsed in 18th Congressional District
* Leroy Jordan: Race Riot site must be preserved, taught to students
* E.J. Dionne: Trump is not a GOP aberration

* All sponges on deck to see Cubs clean up at Series
* Score one for the good guy
* Dylan Brownlee scores TD for GCMS
* Rick's Six: Cubs win, road work and recycling questions
* Amanda's picks: 6 ideas for your Halloween weekend
* Bradley wants to 'finish the job' as state representative
* Severin's compassion leads him to run at 117th District seat
* 'Welcome to Awesometown:" Music and community come alive in Fulton
* Unsung heroes shine for one night at CONO awards
* Group works to install tiny homes for veterans

* Rozner: Rizzo leads Cubs' grinding offense to big win
* Fans toasting Cubs at Harry Caray's grave in Des Plaines
* Dawn Patrol: Cubs win Game 2, even series with Cleveland
* The Latest: Erdogan tells Obama that Ankara targeting Raqqa
* Cibulkova beats Halep, can still reach WTA semifinals

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* US Senate-Elect -

* Kirk, Duckworth Meet For First Televised S......
* Kirk, Duckworth meet for first televised S......
* Kirk, Duckworth Meet For First Televised S......
* Kirk, Duckworth meet for first televised S......
* Kirk, Duckworth meet for first televised S......

* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* I cast votes for a whole slew of judges, but don’t ask me who any of them are!
* The Jerk Stop Celebrates Its Grand Opening With 20% Off Your First Order
* Six No Trump
* Final 2016 Edition: Wrigley Special Event Parking Restrictions
* A Whiter Shade of Pale
* Party At the CPD's 20th District
* Drive-By Shooting in Sheridan Park Leaves Man In Critical Condition
* Drive-By Shooting in Sheridan Park Leaves Man Dead (Updated)
* CPD Announces DUI Strike Force Will Be Out Saturday Night

* Don’t be a Ghoul, Don’t Drink and Drive - Police throughout Illinois step up patrols for Halloween weekend
* Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and State flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Saturday, October 29, 2016 until Sunset, Monday, October 31, 2016.
* 25th Annual HIV/STD Conference - Celebrating Success, Shaping the Future - Sexually Transmitted Diseases increase while HIV decreases
* Workers’ Comp Commission Updates Technology at No Cost to Taxpayer - Another step in Rauner Administration’s modernization of state government
* Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Makes Lead Poisoning Prevention A Priority - October 23-30, 2016 - National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

      Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller