SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Fumigation and reform

Tuesday, Mar 31, 2009

* More fumigation

Four of the state’s largest public-employee pension systems would face a major shakeup at the top under a plan by key statehouse Democrats to purge holdovers from ex-Gov. Blagojevich’s scandal-tainted tenure, several sources briefed on the ethics proposal said Monday.

The plan, which will be unveiled today, would end the terms of the current gubernatorial appointees on the boards of the Teachers Retirement System, the State Universities Retirement System, the State Employees Retirement System and the Illinois State Board of Investment.

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column takes up the ethics issue and how it may play out in Springfield…

Both Gov. Pat Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan have said they’d like to see Illinois politics and government cleaned up before any deficit-closing tax increases are debated.

It’s doubtful, of course, that the two men are talking about the same sort of cleanup - with Madigan coming from the old school and Quinn being the decades-long reformer.

Madigan mentioned two targets for reform the other day when talking to public television: The pension systems and the state’s purchasing act. He didn’t elaborate much. A spokesman said ideas are being developed, but Madigan does want some of the state’s purchasing reforms from a few years ago applied to the state pension systems.

Quinn, meanwhile, has pushed binding public referenda, campaign contribution limits and a whole host of other ideas that are never very popular in Springfield. Good government groups and some newspapers have made contribution caps their top priority, partly because disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign funding apparatus was so obscene.

So, where does it go from here?

Senate President John Cullerton may have pointed the way last week when he told a downstate newspaper’s editorial board that he believes campaign contribution limits will become the law in this state. Illinois is one of just a handful of states that places no limits on contributions. Cullerton didn’t elaborate about how high he’d place the cap, but Madigan has said he worries that wealthy candidates or interest groups could overwhelm opponents with a huge barrage of uncapped spending.

If caps are put in place, they will likely wind up being higher than the federal government’s $2,400 per election for individuals and $5,000 per year for political action committees. A starting point may be Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno’s proposal to limit contributions to $10,000 per year from all sources.

Despite what you may think, gigantic contributions of $100,000 or more are the exception, not the rule in Illinois. But $25,000 checks are more common. The despicable Blagojevich apparently set $25,000 as his ticket price for appointments to some state boards and commissions.

Cullerton and Madigan co-chair a special bicameral committee created to come up with ethics reforms. But that legislative committee has a competitor out there, a special citizens commission formed by Gov. Quinn and run by respected former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins.

As I write this, Collins is preparing to unveil his commission’s proposals. It’s widely expected the Collins commission will propose far more radical ideas than the Madigan/Cullerton committee, and members will be way more wedded to their recommendations. One member of the Collins-headed commission told a Rockford audience at a recent town hall meeting that he would feel “very disenfranchised” if the commission’s recommendations were swept under the rug.

Quinn is proud of his reformer reputation, so implementing real change is one of his top priorities. But he also wants to pass a multibillion-dollar, job-creating capital construction plan, and he absolutely must have a balanced budget by the end of this spring’s legislative session. He needs cooperation from the General Assembly and their leaders to succeed, so he has to be somewhat careful how he proceeds on his reform agenda.

Collins and his commission have been operating independently from Quinn. The governor’s office has been given no real idea how far and wide the commission will go. And if they go too far and push too forcefully, Quinn will be put smack dab in the middle of any potential clash between the commission and the Madigan/Cullerton committee. The governor’s own commission could put him in a major political bind.

A saving grace might be the fact that Collins didn’t put any members of the state’s “good government” groups on his commission. While they’re often ignored at the Statehouse, if the groups decide to act as a sort of referee between the “too tame” and the “not gonna happen,” they could help shape the final product’s outcome.

And Quinn may have given himself a somewhat graceful way out if he has to pull the plug on the reform push. The governor said last week that he would initiate a statewide petition drive to make contribution caps the law of the land if the legislature fails to act. He probably can’t do that under the state’s constitution, but it’ll be a fun summer project for the guy.

* Related…

* Reform group includes Harper in complaints on Illinois lobbying: A new report by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform set to be released today shows Harper officials increased their spending on clout-heavy lobbyists last year by 50 percent, from $84,000 in 2007 to $126,000 in 2008. The report analyzes lobbying efforts from dozens of governmental agencies to highlight how much taxpayer money is being spent to lobby other taxpayer-funded entities, and cites Harper’s lobbying expense as a troubling example of the practical costs of passing legislation in Illinois.

* Panel discusses ways to change legislative redistricting in Illinois

* IL Senate President Says Some Privacy Needed in Government: “You always have to have certain privacy with regard to legislative strategy but debating public policy should always be open to the public.” A spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Madigan says a state committee on political reform could look at the issue as well. But he says that might not be necessary because all final legislative decisions are made out in public.

* Reform Politics in Illinois

- Posted by Rich Miller        


11 Comments
  1. - Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:42 am:

    Quinn needs to move away from his “Ready, Fire, Aim” appraoch if he expects to get things done. Its ok to be thoughtful and have a 5 year plan prepared with care in place of a 5 minute plan prepared with reckless abandon.


  2. - Truthful James - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:47 am:

    The huge craving for campaign contributions is a direct function of the length of the campaign season. Shorten the period between primary and general, for instance, and the costs of being elected go down.

    In addition there ought to be two limits.

    First — like the luxury tax in baseball — if a candidate spends more money getting elected than his stipend over the full term, he shall provide to his opponent an amount equal to a fixed percentage of that overage.

    Second, in addition, should the incumbent at retirement have in remaining campaign funds an amount greater than $XXX (to be determined) he will provide the overage to the State political party of his choice.


  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    Two comments?

    Sigh.


  4. - Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    I can repost my comments in pig latin if that will help


  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    Probably wouldn’t hurt. Those watching comments on RSS feed might wander over to see what the heck is going on. lol


  6. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:42 pm:

    FYI from the TRS website–

    Members
    TRS is governed by an 11-member Board of Trustees. Trustees include the state superintendent of education, four trustees elected by contributing TRS members, four trustees appointed by the governor, and two trustees elected by TRS annuitants. Currently, one appointed trustee position is vacant.

    The president of the Board of Trustees, by law, is the Illinois superintendent of education. The Board of Trustees elects its vice president from among its members. The Board of Trustees appoints an executive director who also serves as the secretary of the Board of Trustees. The executive director is responsible for daily operations at TRS.

    As an annuitant, I can vote for only two of the board positions. When I was still working, I could vote for four positions. Therefore, those whose pensions are in this system can vote for six in all whereas the governor appoints four members as well as the state superintendent.

    I would like to see the details of this proposal. Hopefully, they are meaningful and will cut down on the use of board appointments for personal gain.


  7. - carbon deforestation - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 2:44 pm:

    Harper College should have expected this kind of scrutiny years ago. Not because they hired a lobbyist, but because they hired someone who’s only qualification for helping pass legislation was that he raised gobs of money for RRB. Ronan is a real lobbyist, fine, but Milan Petrovich? Really Harper College? Really?

    Clearly the voters in that district should be asking more questions of their officials.

    Maybe it is all legal, but isn’t it time that we have a higher threshold for what our elected officials do on our behalf. I think so.


  8. - Leave a light on George - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 2:44 pm:

    I certainly hope this doesn’t stop with retirement board appointments. Dig into the agencies, deeper than the Director level and get rid of all Blago appointees.


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 6:31 pm:

    Quinn also needs some real reform cover to deflect the shots he will take for what undoubtedly will be a very unpopular budget.

    He needs to show the electorate that he did something nice for them. Problem is, everyone knows it.


  10. - what's up - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 7:02 pm:

    Hey Rich,
    i am wondering why has madigan’s firing list not ben printed. It aeems from the stanley moore firing that he is targeting the african-americans who held positions under blago but not the hispanics? This will not bode well for his daughters run for governor!


  11. - Quinn T. Sential - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:24 pm:

    Nothing but window dressing will have evolved from all of this. Whenever one door closes; another one opens. So long as the people who’s conduct you are attempting to regulate are in charge of making the regulations, then they will almost always build in the exception or the loophole which substantially mitigates the impact of the intended regulations.

    In the intervening period between the time the new law is enacted, and the first person is discovered to have bypassed its purported intent, all will be able to campaign on being a “leader” on reform issues.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* We interrupt this break for a special announcement...
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Afternoon updates
* Stop the satellite TV tax!
* *** UPDATED 1x *** Twitter suspends parody account @peoriamayor
* Lesson learned: Don't 'Leave'
* Fitch affirms Illinois GO Bond rating
* BGA: Rauner firm holds state contracts; political round-up
* Question of the Day
* CAPTION CONTEST!
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

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

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * OnePlus One CyanogenMod 11S and press photos show up ahead of launch
        * Android 4.4.3 imminent release hinted by Google Edu Device Setup app
        * Samsung Galaxy S5 features make it accessible for everyone
        * The Android Community Team: a bit of offline time
        * #Love: I’m Single, Therefore I Tinder
        * Hands On With Facebook Nearby Friends [Video]: No More Checkins
        * In Digital Health, Does Nike Have A Path To Victory After Fuelband?

        * Final Fantasy III Headed For PC (Rumor)
        * Bentley Hybrid Car Set To Wow
        * Samsung’s Milk Music has been downloaded 380,000 times
        * Game Of Thrones Hand Of The King USB Stick
        * Your Everyday Shed The Tetra Shed Is Not
        * These Glasses Have Eyes On Them So You Don’t Have To Feel Awkward, You Know, Looking At People
        * Grush is a Gaming Toothbrush That Turns Brushing Into a Game

        * Podcast: Jonah Keri Talks White Sox (and Expos)
        * White Sox Minor League Update: April 20-26
        * Danks heads to mound in series opener against host Tigers
        * White Sox 16, Rangers 2: No sweep, no normalcy
        * Strikeout stands after White Sox challenge
        * Dunn unimpressed with .304 batting average
        * Beckham close, but not back


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        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

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * US Sen. Durbin says he's taking Oberweis seriously..
        * Governor Announces Investments in Lake Michigan.....
        * ‘Quinnocchio’ character latest example of troll.....
        * 'Quinnocchio' character latest example of troll.....
        * District 300 set to pilot new teacher evaluations..
        * U.S. Sen. Durbin says he's taking Oberweis seri.....
        * Southeast Chicago residents take petcoke fight .....


        * Kids get codeine in ER despite risks, guidelines
        * Official: 5 children wounded in Chicago drive-by
        * Arrest made in death of Chicago man in Utah
        * Former death row inmate details difficulties
        * Cardinal: Could be last Easter as archbishop
        * Police: 6 people injured in Easter party shooting
        * Video gambling exclusion list prompts questions
        * Chicagoan to run 35th straight Boston Marathon
        * Authorities: Newborn baby found in plastic bag
        * Lawyer: No more appeals for Crundwell

        * Addiction experts: Illinois budget cuts could hurt drug treatment
        * Comptroller Topinka reports $125K in income
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Durbin, Oberweis spar over earmarks, minimum wage
        * Statehouse Insider: It doesn’t always add up in the General Assembly
        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at legislative hearing
        * Video gaming may get its own exclusion list
        * U of I officials seeking to prevent retirement rush
        * U of I asks state legislators to prevent retirement rush; could affect 200 at UIS
        * 2015 tax rates still far from settled
        * Strip club tax brings in much less than expected

        * Census: People are leaving all six Chicago-area counties
        * Trixie and Chad have kids!
        * Quinn administration funds Diana Rauner's nonprofit
        * Why Lenovo's Moto bid is looking smarter
        * Ignoring Shakespeare's butcher, law firm advises how to cut legal bills


        * $14 mil awarded to woman who suffered stroke after taking medication
        * 5 kids hurt in drive-by on South Side
        * In violent weekend, at least 7 dead, 35 wounded in shootings across Chicago
        * Police SUV flips in crash on S. Side
        * In violent weekend, at least 7 dead, 31 wounded in shootings across Chicago
        * Credit card fraud boss threatened rival would be ‘cut into pieces’: feds
        * Ex-death row inmate Anthony Porter angry, feels ‘cheated’ out of money
        * 4 kids hurt in drive-by on South Side
        * 7 dead, 22 wounded in shootings since Friday evening


        * 6 children shot Sunday night in violent Chicago weekend
        * No joke, Chicago is America's funniest city
        * Logan Square residents lament discovery of abandoned baby's body
        * Man in fatal DUI crash was nearly 3 times over the legal limit, prosecutors say
        * Police: Husband and wife -- both officers -- dead in apparent murder-suicide
        * 'Nothing is ever without hope,' ailing George tells Catholics on Easter
        * Man held on $1 million bail in Friday shooting
        * FBI looks for duo who robbed Austin neighborhood bank


        * Illinois Finally Gets 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver
        * U Of I: Illinois Pension Overhaul Had Costly Mistake
        * Fish fry dinners bring food, community to Catholics during Lent
        * Listen To State Week - April 18, 2014
        * Murray Center Advocates Win Appeals Decision
        * Employment Improves, But Illinois Still Lags U.S.
        * Nine Illinois lawmakers vote to fund Obama library - but only five members in attendance
        * WBEZ's Student Stories
        * Interview: John Tinker & The Landmark Case On Students' Right To Free Speech
        * State Legislation Hints At Marijuana Legalization


        * Our Opinion: Don’t drag feet on drone regulation
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Durbin, Oberweis spar over earmarks, minimum wage
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Durbin, Oberweis spar over earmarks, minimum wage
        * Statehouse Insider: It doesn’t always add up in the General Assembly
        * Statehouse Insider: It doesn’t always add up in the General Assembly
        * Armenta L. Johnson: Advocate for quality education to avoid segregation
        * Catherine Walters: Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault notes anniversary, awareness month
        * Video gaming may get its own exclusion list
        * U of I asks state legislators to prevent retirement rush; could affect 200 at UIS
        * Quinn grants 43 clemency requests


        * Fate smiles
        * Fern Anderson
        * George Loman
        * James Green
        * Phyllis McNary
        * Jack Snyder
        * John Adams Jr.
        * All together: Easter service at Bald Knob Cross unites people of many denominations
        * Local doctor battles childhood obesity
        * Scrutiny gaining momentum regarding e-cigarette sales and marketing


        * The 10th District money race
        * Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA
        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: In this ca...
        * Rep. Lipinski Honors Vietnam Vets on House...
        * Southwest Airlines Adding 9 Non-Stop Daily...
        * Lipinski Announces Southwest will Start Fl...
        * Lipinski Thanks Voters for Support in Unco...
        * Lipinski announces 2014 Congressional Art ...
        * Lipinski seeks artistic submissions - The ...
        * Lemont VFW honors Vietnam veterans - Subur...
        * Lipinski Votes to Protect the Paychecks of...
        * Meet the 8 House Dems who don't co-sponsor...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * Video: How To Move A Bridge 1 MPH Hour At A Time
        * Does Oberweis really want Kirk support? Or to put senator in place?
        * Wired: Free iPhone 5s deal proves Apple isn't so special
        * Wishing Buehrle back on Sout’ Side
        * Chris Christie’s pension theft in New Jersey. Nation-wide pension theft needs a nation-wide response.
        * GTCR is Rauner’s Bain Capital. So Squeezy gives him a state contract. Shaking up Springfield?
        * Sunday book review section. This is Not a Test.
        * The Library of Congress Pkwy?
        * Sen. Mark Kirk pokes at Eric Holder: Did NSA spy on Congress?
        * Democratic National Committee Executive Committee meeting in Chicago June 8


        * Governor Quinn Announces Investments to Conserve Lake Michigan Shoreline - Visits Volunteer Beach Clean-up to Announce Investments That Will Support Environmental Education and Stewardship Projects
        * Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action
        * Proposed Rules for Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act Filed
        * Adopt-A-Highway Spring Cleanup Begins Today - Annual Event Honors Earth Day, Tackles Roadside Litter After Harsh Winter
        * Illinois Schools Win No Child Left Behind Waiver - Federal Government Approves Flexibility Needed for Successful Implementation of State Strategies to Improve Student Learning




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