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Changes coming to reform bill?

Thursday, Jul 23, 2009

* I’ve been telling subscribers about this for a few weeks now, and Chicago Public Radio had a piece earlier in the week that I missed. Negotiations have been underway for some time to pass a bill that “strengthens” the huge controversial and widely mocked reform legislation approved by the General Assembly…

Three weeks ago members of the advocacy group Change Illinois met with Senate President John Cullerton and Senator Don Harmon, the [ethics reform] plan’s sponsor. Harmon says they talked about what’s known as a trailer bill. That could be passed later to change parts of the original campaign finance plan.

Change Illinois is drafting legal language the group’s spokesman expects will be sent to legislative leaders and the governor within a week or so. That language could be used by the governor to issue an amendatory veto of the bill, or later by lawmakers.

Quinn has until the end of August to act.

We’ll see what happens with the new language. One big problem is getting the House Speaker to agree to any changes. But this probe might prod him a bit

Cook County prosecutors have demanded records from the county tax appeal board amid questions about property-tax breaks awarded to businessmen who are political supporters of a state lawmaker, the Tribune has learned.

The grand jury subpoenas to the Cook County Board of Review seek records on tax appeal cases that are already the subject of an internal board investigation involving state Rep. Paul Froehlich (D- Schaumburg) and a political associate who used to work for tax board Commissioner Joseph Berrios.

One of three elected board members, Berrios is also chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and a Springfield lobbyist with close ties to House Speaker Michael Madigan, the state Democratic Party chairman.

Board members and their staffs have been investigating whether Froehlich used any “undue influence” through Victor Santana, the political associate who worked for Berrios, or anybody else to get the tax breaks for businesses in Froehlich’s district, Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr. said. Rogers said he was aware that investigators for State’s Atty. Anita Alvarez were looking at tax cases as well but wouldn’t say whether they were the same ones.

And, of course, it’s possible that some Chicago legislators could be subjected to some scrutiny over this…

The Inspector General for Chicago Public Schools has been asked to investigate how kids were picked for admission to some of the city’s most coveted public schools — a process long criticized and questioned.

Even an auditing firm has been pulled in to review whether the admission process for the system’s “selective-enrollment'’ schools needs to be improved, CPS officials said Wednesday.

And then there’s the ongoing U of I clout list story.

And who could forget Rod Blagojevich?…

Asked to explain why, exactly, an indicted ex-governor continues to host radio shows and appear on television even as he faces a massive criminal indictment, one of Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers gave it his best shot today: “We got a guy who’s innocent,” Sam Adam Jr. said. “When you’re innocent, you stand on top of the roof and yell it.”

On Sunday, Blagojevich hosted a two-hour talk-show on WLS (890 AM). He’s slotted to do the same this weekend.

The pressure is definitely on.

* Related…

* Chicago schools: District officials probe admissions at top public schools

* Want a contract in Cook County? Sox tix might help

* U of I dean: We admitted student pushed by trustee

* University Claims Fair Admission

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Steve - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 10:46 am:

    The property tax appeals business gives the appearance of challenged ethics when elected politicians have law firms dealing real estate appeals. Madigan, Cullerton ,and Burke are the three reason Illinois will never become a law property tax state: it would be bad for their businesses.,CST-NWS-watchdogs06.article

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 10:53 am:

    –The Inspector General for Chicago Public Schools has been asked to investigate how kids were picked for admission to some of the city’s most coveted public schools — a process long criticized and questioned.–

    Clout has been an open secret at these schools for quite some time.

    My neighbor teaches at Whitney Young, which has a waiting list as long as your arm. Yet somehow Jordan’s kid transferred right in from Loyola without hitting a speed bump. A year later, they won the state basketball title.

  3. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 11:13 am:

    Who is Change IL?

  4. - Obamarama - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    ===Who is Change IL?===

    Who isn’t Change Illinois would be a better question:

  5. - Speaking at Will - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 12:32 pm:

    Just testing to see if I can post. Seem to be having trouble today.

  6. - The Doc - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 12:34 pm:

    Color me skeptical. I can’t foresee a circumstance in which MJM would allow any meaningful legislation to advance.

    And I’m admittedly deeply cynical of Cullerton’s motives here as well. Feels like the Dem leaders have been successfully playing “good cop, sneaky bad cop”.

    Plus, how would Quinn spin his gushing about the original reform legislation? Wouldn’t he be accused of flip-flopping, yet again?

  7. - Cheswick - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 2:33 pm:

    Change IL is brought to you by the people at the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

  8. - Doubting T - Thursday, Jul 23, 09 @ 3:30 pm:

    The Leaders snookered the reformers in the first round; you can count on them to do it again.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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