llinois Treasurer and U.S. Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias said Tuesday that a “minimal” amount of the $70 million he and his siblings received in 2007 and 2008 dividends from Broadway Bank, the troubled Chicago lender the family owns, actually went to them individually.
That was obviously not the greatest choice of words, since he alone received $2.5 million before taxes.
So, rival Democratic US Senate candidate David Hoffman has responded with a “people in the street” video. The beginning is horribly dull and badly done, but it gets better about 15 seconds in. Watch it…
However, just to be clear, Giannoulias got to keep “only” $1.5 mil from that pile. As I already told you, the rest went for taxes.
…Adding… A minor point, but it appears that the video’s voice-over setup asks a different question than the “regular” people were asked. “What could people in Illinois do with $2.5 million?” appears to be the actual question, but the video claims it was: “What would two and a half million dollars mean for you and your family?” Again, no big deal, but the answers seem a tad bit confusing without that context.
U.S. Senate candidate Cheryle Jackson has garnered the support of more than a dozen black pastors and church officials whose congregations have thousands of members.
Jackson said Monday the ministers from Chicago and the suburbs are organizing pastors downstate to support her campaign.
From Jackson’s press release…
The group based its endorsement on Jackson’s experience fighting for jobs, education and health care. Jackson repeated her call to begin bringing troops and resources home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In attendance at the news conference were Dr. Brazier, Pastor Tyson, Pastor Gray, Bishop Tridestone, Pastor Drummons, Rev. Johnson Jr., Rev. Redwell, Rev. Harrison Sr., Rev. Turner, Rev. Greer, Rev. A Richardson, Pastor Andrews, Rev Michael Eaddy, Apostle Sylvester Brinson III, Jerry Harris and Mickarl D Thomas.
* Former governor/AG candidate John Schmidt has endorsed Dan Hynes. From a fundraising e-mail…
I don’t find it easy to oppose an incumbent Governor of my own party. But I have come to the conclusion - one that I find is shared by many others - that the incumbent is simply not capable of governing competently and effectively.
As Democrats, we have a profound obligation not to give our state another failed Governor. As citizens, setting aside any consideration of party, we have an obligation to do everything we can to elect a Governor who will govern competently and effectively at a time of enormous challenge to our state.
GOP Rep Mark Kirk, who’s running for Senate and facing a primary challenge from the right, is now claiming that if health care reform passes, it “could become law” for the government to deny coverage for mammograms.
Kirk’s Senate campaign is out with a new email that is presented as a questionnaire, asking: “Could the Government Deny Mammogram Coverage?”
* Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard has a new cable TV ad which features former Gov. Jim Edgar. Rate it…
It’s a $50,000 buy on Fox News for the week. The ad will be running throughout the day and evening on the cable channel.
*** UPDATE 2 *** As some commenters have pointed out, there’s more to the buy than just Fox News. But just barely. From my usual industry insider…
* Dillard booked a total of 95k statewide - broadcast and cable
* Markets - Champaign - cable only 4k total
Chicago- booked 50k on cable and 10k on broadcast
Paducah booked 5k broadcast no cable
Peoria- 19k broadcast, 3k cable
Rockford- 3,500 on cable only no broadcast
This is a very light broadcast buy, to say the least.
*** UPDATE 3 *** A pal with the Dillard campaign says Champaign network (WCIA) was bought this week.
[ *** End of Updates *** ]
* Meanwhile, in other political news, Adam Andrzejewski says he’s on a “fact-finding mission to Poland” with his dad…
I’m currently visiting the Republic of Poland as part of an economic and political fact-finding mission. My four day mission trip will include both official and familial appointments. The goal of the mission is to discover how the State of Illinois can improve its economic and cultural relationship with the Republic of Poland in order to promote job growth, economic vitality, and increased international trade between the two.
* Adlai Stevenson has endorsed Justin Oberman for state treasurer and Oberman is featuring Stevenson in a new radio ad. I’ll have the audio during the lunch hour, so watch for an update. For now, here’s the script…
Your state treasurer can be a big help in these troubled times—from improving state finances to creating new jobs. I know, because I served as state treasurer before you elected me senator.
I’m Adlai Stevenson and I’m grateful for your past support. But now I want to tell you about an outstanding candidate with a strong professional background and great plans for the treasurer’s office—including job creation.
Justin Oberman served our country in transportation and homeland security, managing a large staff and budget. He now runs his own financial firm helping green companies grow. His qualifications are unmatched for managing the treasurer’s office and investing state funds wisely. But he can also bring private investment back to Illinois, which will mean more new jobs.
I urge you to support Justin Oberman for State Treasurer in the Democratic primary.
Justin: Thank you for your support. Paid for by Oberman for Illinois.
Stevenson: It’s a new generation, but the name Oberman still means reform.
The first-term treasurer has been criticized by Democratic Senate opponent David Hoffman for large Broadway Bank payouts to him and his family.
In all, there were $70 million in payouts in 2007 and 2008. Giannoulias’ campaign said the payouts were was triggered by the 2006 death of Giannoulias’ father, Alexis, who founded Broadway Bank. His will called for estate and income taxes to be paid for with dividend payments from the sale of Broadway shares, the campaign said.
Alexi Giannoulias’ portion of those payouts totaled $2.5 million — $1 million of which he has said went to pay income taxes. The campaign has noted that Alexi Giannoulias didn’t have a say in whether to sell the shares because he divested himself of his voting shares when he was elected treasurer.
“I feel strongly about full disclosure in government, but I do not believe posting my personal tax returns, or the tax returns of the other candidates for governor, would further the public interest in any tangible way. I have yet to hear anyone make a compelling argument how this would benefit voters,” he replied to an Associated Press questionnaire.
Bill Brady released his returns the last time he ran for governor, but won’t this time. Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney also refuses…
“It’s time to stop looking at trendy gimmicks as a pathway to clean government, and time to look at the real public policies needed to establish it,” Whitney said.
* The Question: Do you think it’s important for candidates to release their tax returns? Explain.
* My latest Sun-Times column talked about Congressman Kirk’s rightward lurch and what it may mean…
I try hard not to hate. Hating is bad for your health. Plus, the holiday season has officially begun, so hating should be put off until at least after New Year’s Day.
But I have to admit that I absolutely hate the infantile, ear-splitting, hyperpartisan politics that emanates from our nation’s capital.
So, I probably should’ve known better when Republican Rep. Mark Kirk announced his bid for the U.S. Senate.
Soon afterwards, a national Democratic operative called to see what I thought about Kirk’s chances. I told her that Kirk would probably be a lock.
As a liberal Republican on issues such as gun control, abortion and gay rights, and as a strong voice within his party for paying attention to the needs and wants of suburbia, he fit the ideal Illinois profile.
One of the biggest problems that Republicans have had in this state, I explained, is that their nationally conservative party has scared the living daylights out of suburban women, who tend toward liberalism on guns and abortion and are more open to discussing gay rights. Without those votes, the statewide math doesn’t add up. You just can’t win without them, as the extraordinary Democratic surge in suburbia over the past decade or so clearly has shown.
Not only that, I told the operative, but the Chicago media tends to dote on socially liberal Republicans. No way, I said, would the city’s media turn on Mark Kirk.
The flaw in my argument was that I failed to take into account Kirk’s long exposure to DC-itis, first as a staffer and then as an elected official.
After initially citing strong national security concerns as a reason why he voted for the “cap and trade” energy bill in the U.S. House, Kirk flip-flopped almost immediately after he announced for Senate and blamed his vote on his congressional district’s liberal bent. Why? Because his party’s right wing viscerally opposes the legislation and it has become a touchstone issue, so he abandoned principle for party.
Then, Kirk reached out to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who is way more unpopular with women than she is with men, but is the darling of his party’s far right.
And if that weren’t enough, Kirk’s head all but exploded along party lines when the Obama administration announced that it wanted to buy a state prison and transfer in terrorist detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay.
Kirk’s over the top, hyperbolic, error-riddled, extremely partisan fear tantrum finally tipped the media against him. Just about every significant newspaper in Illinois, including this one, which endorsed Kirk’s re-election last year, mocked Kirk’s meltdown and severely chastised him for needless and baseless fear-mongering.
The general election is 11 months away, and the Republican primary is Feb. 2, so I figure Kirk will lurch back leftward sooner or later. Maybe that’ll be enough to regain his mojo with the media. Reporters and editorial writers could just chalk up his recent rhetoric to standard-issue politics and move on.
But I think there’s more at work here than just the usual rightward drift during a Republican primary. Kirk is clearly showing that he’s far too susceptible to our disgusting and mindless national political wars, which endlessly play out on those idiotic cable TV “news” channels. And all this makes me question how Kirk would behave if he were elected next November.
Somehow, Kirk needs to forget the stupid and divisive D.C. wars and find his own center and stick with it. Maybe some holiday introspection is in order.
* Governor takes first step to close and sell Thomson prison to feds: In documents filed with a legislative review panel, Quinn’s prison chief outlined why the administration thinks selling the facility to the federal government to house prisoners from the terrorist detention camp at Guantanamo Bay makes sense.
* Editorial: Get politics out of discussion about Thomson prison: But in the simmering atmosphere of a young election campaign, discussion appears to be the last thing Cross or any other political leader really wants. Partisan battle lines were drawn virtually the moment it was proposed to shift more than 100 Guantanamo Bay detainees to the underused prison in tiny Thomson, and the only talk either side appeared to want to engage in was to show how far it could puff out its chest.
* Illinois House Republicans call for slowdown on fast-paced Thomson prison deal: Steve Brown, Madigan’s spokesman, said today that holding hearings would be unproductive until there is a firm proposal from the federal government and an action plan from Quinn. But Brown said watching Republicans “flip-flopping” on whether to oppose or support the Thomson site has been “entertaining.”
* Quinn leaves port board hanging: Selling the state prison in Thomson to the federal government could bring jobs to northwestern Illinois, but officials in the region also are gearing up to launch what someday could become a major development along the Mississippi River.
* Irony alive and well in Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn’s push to sell the mostly vacant maximum-security prison in Thomson to the federal government has not only generated controversy among Republicans, but it is riddled with irony.
* Congressman Has More Concerns About Thomson Prison Proposal
* Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan can’t shake ties to corrupt player Stu Levine. The Sun-Times take a look at some contributions to Ryan’s last gubernatorial campaign while Levine was the finance director. The contributions seem curiously timed to some investment votes by the Teachers Retirement System, on which Levine served. The story relies heavily on Levine’s testimony at Tony Rezko’s trial…
When his testimony turned to the teachers’ pension fund, Levine told jurors he helped one firm — the John Buck Co. — win a deal to manage $100 million of real estate investment money for the fund.
Levine also testified he helped a second investment firm — Walton Street Capital — get a deal with the teachers’ pension fund to handle another $75 million.
The TRS approved the investments on Oct. 29, 2002 - just before the November election. And here’s the contribution timeline…
• On Oct. 1 — 28 days before the TRS board meeting — six employees of Bluhm’s Walton Street Capital and one from another Bluhm company gave a total of $33,500 to Citizens for Jim Ryan.
• On Oct. 11 — 18 days before the meeting — the John Buck Co. contributed $35,000 to Ryan and spent another $2,000 to host a Ryan fund-raiser at the Union League Club of Chicago.
Everybody denies a quid pro quo and Ryan’s campaign won’t give back the money.
* A challenge to state Rep. Deb Mell’s petitions was dismissed last week by Chicago Board of Elections hearing officer Barbara Goodman. From the transcript…
I find nothing in the Election Code that tells me that a candidate has to be a registered voter at all….I think we all agreed that the petition signers have to be registered voters at the addresses shown on their petitions, and I have a hard time understanding the logic used to require candidates to have a lesser connection to the voting process than petition signers. But there it is….However troubling I find this issue….I believe I’m compelled to grant the motion to dismiss.
The chief of staff for a state social service agency has left her job after allegedly using her state-issued phone to harass another woman because the two had a relationship with the same man.
Champaign County authorities also said Tamara T. Hoffman boasted of her position in state government in the threats to the Rantoul woman, threatened a police officer when he contacted her and posted photos of herself and the man holding guns on a social networking Web site belonging to the alleged victim’s daughter. […]
Rietz said Hoffman began repeatedly calling the Rantoul woman about Aug. 14. One threat, according to Rietz, began with an expletive and continued, “If you see him again, something bad is going to happen to you. I work for the State of Illinois, and you don’t know who you’re messing with.” […]
When a Rantoul police officer called Hoffman, Rietz said, Hoffman threatened him with unspecified retaliation from “investigators in the Illinois State Police.”
* But if you really want to get your weird on today, take a look at a short piece of fiction in New York Magazine’s latest issue, entitled: “The King of Mop - Blago in Vegas, looking to make a deal with Michael Jackson’s father”…
Threading through the Venetian, Rod cast an appreciative gaze at the painstakingly painted murals of Italian skyline, while gondoliers poled between linen-laid tables. Some folks pilloried Las Vegas for being fake, but they didn’t get it—the power and the glory of façade. It never rained in this dive, and its sun never set.
* Anti-corruption law: Supreme Court decision could derail ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s trial - Justices are asked to scale back or strike down prosecutors’ key tool for public corruption cases
With a roughly $11 billion budget gap of its own, Illinois can only duck a similar meltdown by raising taxes, says Daniel McMillen, an economist with the U. of I. Institute of Government and Public Affairs who co-wrote an analysis of the state’s fiscal crisis for an upcoming report on critical issues facing Illinois.
“In the end, I think we have to face up to the fact that Illinois has to have higher taxes,” he said. “Budget cuts can’t close a gap this wide and worsening. It’s just not possible with major expenses like pension and Medicaid obligations that you simply can’t reduce.”
The economists want a 50 percent increase in the income tax and a new tax on services. Combined, the tax hikes would bring in $11 billion a year…
McMillen says tax increases are long overdue in Illinois, where budget shortfalls have been mounting for nearly a decade.
“It really should have been done 10 years ago, when the economy wasn’t in bad shape,” he said. “But even though the recession is a bad time to raise taxes, I still think they need to do it right away.”
Four years ago during the last Republican gubernatorial primary, dairy magnate Jim Oberweis was sharply and widely criticized for running false newspaper headlines in his TV ads. Now, it’s happening again with a different wealthy gubernatorial hopeful.
Republican Andy McKenna’s latest TV ad stays with his original theme of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s hair.
The spot begins the same as his first ad, with a visual of a Blagojevich-like wig on top of the Statehouse and a Blagojevich look-alike walking into the shot. McKenna’s first TV ad placed the wig on several previous governors, including George Ryan and Dan Walker, as well as on a baby. The hair is supposed to be a metaphor for the state’s history of corruption.
The McKenna ad’s announcer then claims the state faces an $11 billion deficit while “Governor Quinn hides the truth.” The accompanying visual is the phrase: “Quinn hides the truth” and a reference to a Nov. 18 Chicago Tribune article.
Trouble is, the Tribune published no such article with that headline. The article itself is about a contentious public debate between Gov. Pat Quinn and his Democratic primary rival Dan Hynes, but nowhere in the article does Hynes accuse Quinn of “hiding” anything.
The McKenna campaign claims the reference is to the governor’s statement that day that his administration has had many “missions accomplished” during his first year in office. The Tribune reporters questioned the political smarts of parroting one of former President George W. Bush’s more infamous quotes, but the McKenna people say Quinn’s line “hides the truth” about what’s really happening in Illinois.
Obviously, that’s more than a little bit of a stretch.
It’s not like Quinn has hidden the grim realities about the state’s crippling budget deficit or the need for a tax hike. Considering that most Illinois politicians want to sweep this budget and tax problem under the rug until after the election, Quinn’s been downright honest about the whole thing.
If anything, it’s people such as McKenna who are “hiding the truth.” McKenna and the rest of the Republican candidates know full well that there’s no way to balance the state budget with cuts alone. The deficit is almost half of the budget, for crying out loud.
Here’s the “truth:” Most of the budget is education and health care. So, unless you want to cut most of the $8 billion in state kindergarten to grade 12 spending (which would just necessitate insanely high local property taxes) and kick tens and tens of thousands of children and poor people off of Medicaid, dump the mentally ill into the streets and then quit doing the other things that the state does, like patrol the highways, you can forget about balancing the budget.
Yet to hear McKenna and the other GOP candidates talk, all that’s really required is a nip here and a tuck there. Ridiculous.
Anyway, back to McKenna’s TV ad. You’d think he’d be more cautious about making up headlines, but he’s using an out-of-state media consultant who probably doesn’t know about the 2006 Oberweis fake headline blowup.
A Washington Post columnist claimed last week that McKenna’s “hair” ads are the best he’s seen this year, but the ads have yet to move McKenna past his rivals - probably because while they’re visually striking, it’s tough for most viewers to remember that the ads are for candidate McKenna. The spots have attracted plenty of media attention, however, and probably have been the subject of quite a few water cooler discussions.
McKenna is likely to stick with this “hair” visual throughout the primary, so people eventually may associate his name with the hair spot, although that may not work all that well, either.
McKenna, for one, has a nice head of hair himself. And associating such a strong negative image so closely with a candidate could be dangerous. McKenna could become the “hair guy,” and because “the hair” is portrayed as such a strong negative, that’s a risky proposition with low-information voters.
It’s also unclear how this negative ad will fare as we move into the holiday advertising season. Usually candidates try to avoid negativity starting about Thanksgiving because viewers easily can be turned off by a negative tone during the holiday season.
False and counterproductive. But, other than that, it’s a good ad.
City Council poised to vote Wednesday on Mayor Richard Daley’s new $6.1 billion spending blueprint […]
Austin said Daley’s budget proposal headed off more contentious budget hearings because this year he’s sparing aldermen the politically unpalatable task of voting on tax or fee increases.
Instead, Daley is relying on $370 million from the parking meter lease — far more than he initially planned to use when he persuaded aldermen to quickly approve the deal just days after it was unveiled in December 2008 — to fill a $550 million hole.
1. “Most TIF Funds don’t generate any money,” Daley said.
Wrong. Figures from the Cook County Clerk’s office show the funds brought in $495 million in 2008, the last latest year for which figures are available. “They generate a lot of property tax revenue — a substantial number of dollars in total,” said Woods Bowman, professor of public service management at DePaul University.
2. “Most TIF funds are used for schools, parks, libraries, ex-offender programs, job training, economic development to keep jobs here,” Daley said.
The number of elementary and secondary students in the system — which includes 255 schools in Cook and Lake counties — dropped by roughly 4.5 percent this year, or 4,158 kids, figures show.[…]
“The schools conduct interviews with families as to why they’re leaving, and … we’re being told by 90 percent of our parents that it’s really money,'’ Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, the schools superintendent, said in a recent interview with ChicagoCatholicNews. ‘’So it’s a reflection of the economy. …'’
* Illinois tuition savings program cost goes up Tuesday
Bargains drove people into the stores and to their computer screens, with 195 million shoppers visiting stores and Web sites over the holiday weekend, up 13.4 percent from last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
Shoppers weren’t buying more, though. On average, each shopper spent about 7.9 percent less: $343.31 compared with $372.56 a year ago.
It took those extra shoppers to keep sales practically flat from last year’s biggest retail weekend. Total spending was $41.2 billion, less than 1 percent higher than the $41 billion spent a year ago.
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — It took Google Earth, a little deer psychology and a freak shot for a bow hunter in southern Illinois to bring down one of the largest deer in the state so far this year — a 25-point buck.