Claypool and the big heat
Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010
* I just checked with the State Board of Elections about Forrest Claypool’s soon to be announced bid for Cook County Assessor as an independent candidate.
Claypool will need about
People who took partisan primary ballots in February can sign Claypool’s petitions, according to the Board.
* Claypool has apparently hired AKPD, the consulting firm once run by David Axelrod. Axe is gone, but they kept the “A” in the name. David Plouffe is also gone, but the “P” remains as well. Gov. Pat Quinn and failed US Senate candidate David Hoffman were both AKPD clients during the primary cycle.
* I’ve been saying for months that Speaker Madigan’s support of Board of Review Commissioner/Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios for Cook County assessor was gonna come back to haunt him but good, and the Claypool race is just one manifestation of that.
Last week, Assessor Jim Houlihan claimed Madigan and Berrios were in cahoots to delay property tax bills until after the November election, although the evidence seems to contradict that claim, as a Sun-Times editorial rightly pointed out.
For me, though, it was the fact that the two other Board of Review commisioners, Brendan Houlihan (no relation to the assessor) and Larry Rogers, both sided with Berrios and Madigan. Commissioner Houlihan was elected in 2006 over a Republican incumbent with big contributions from both Assessor Houlihan and Commissioner Rogers. Those two commissioners are not considered Berrios guys at all, so siding with him against the assessor was a telling moment for me. Instead, it looks suspiciously like a setup for Claypool’s announcement against Berrios, and the media ate it up.
* A Sun-Times editorial summed up the appearance of conflict of interest between Berrios and Madigan pretty well…
The G has looked at Madigan’s firm in the past and came up empty. The Tribune spent about a year looking at thousands of cases involving Madigan’s firm and came up with nothing earth shattering - and zippo on the Berrios/Madigan stuff.
But the appearance of impropriety is just far too much for the columnists and editorial writers and reporters to ignore. Madigan really screwed up and the big heat is coming.