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Brady voted for bills to help his company

Monday, May 24, 2010

* You have to read through 25 paragraphs of mostly rehashed material in the Tribune’s profile of Sen. Bill Brady’s business ventures to get to a buried nugget about how Brady voted three times for legislation that helped a real estate project he was working on

In 2003, the state legislature gave the [Champaign] local government authority to take land for sewers along Curtis Road east of Brady’s property. A final vote to enact the law occurred Nov. 4, as Brady was securing options on the land he planned to develop. He voted for it.

Three years later, when the legislature re-authorized the sewer plans, well after Brady began acquiring the land, he again voted in favor of the measure. In 2007, Brady also voted for similar legislation allowing Champaign and other local governments to seize property to build their share of the interchange.

Although the actions would help move the interchange project along, and affect the value of his land, Brady did not recuse himself.

“If I felt I had a conflict, I wouldn’t have done that,” Brady said. Later, in an e-mail, Brady said he believed the legislation had no direct effect on his Champaign property.

Read the whole thing and discuss.

* Related and other campaign stuff…

* Brady calls for more business sense in state politics

* Our View: Where’s Brady’s plan to balance state budget?

* Bernard Schoenburg: Schuh joining Brady’s campaign team

* Madigan to speak at Dem fundraiser

* Preckwinkle not changing her message

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - dave - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 9:15 am:

    Rich… you have a formatting error at the bottom of this post, starting with the link that starts with “Preckwinkle not… “

  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 9:16 am:

    What Brady has to do right now is hide behind Michael J. Madigan. If you recall, the Speaker was just attacked in a similar manner.

    Any questions further on this, should be addressed in a way that includes the Speaker’s name.

    By doing this, this entire thing will go away.

    Madigan isn’t going to want to have this albatross hanging around his neck again.

  3. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 9:39 am:

    Dennis Hastert was absolutely skewered by some dealings that were a lot more indirect than Brady’s regarding influence on a highway project that would bolster the developability of land that he (or his company) owned. I would expect no less public scrutiny in this case.

  4. - Barton Lorimor - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 9:56 am:

    Thanks, Dave. The link has been fixed.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:03 am:

    I don’t see how Brady doesn’t feel like he had a conflict. He certainly had a clear financial interest in the legislation.

    It would have been easy enough to disclose and recuse, and it would have passed anyway.

  6. - MrJM - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:07 am:

    ‘”If I felt I had a conflict, I wouldn’t have done that,” Brady said.’

    Okay, so this is about your terrible judgment rather than your self-serving dishonesty?

    – MrJM

  7. - Anonymous - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:08 am:

    Seems like a reach. Unfortunatley in Ill these minor conflicts of interest are ignored all the time. Ask madigan about how well his clients do, or ald. Burke how his clients do, daleys law firm from which he still recieved an income handles alot of clients with the city. State laws forcing eye exams for students have enriched the practice of certain state lawmaker. In ill politics is about making money.

  8. - shore - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:25 am:

    Brady is not having the best coming out party. I think there’s a path for people in the suburbs to overlook his social conservatism and vote for him based on the economy, but this stuff does not help. Most people on the north shore if they know him, know him as a coservative which will not help.

    These kinds of stories also hurt especially when they come from the media because people up here at least in thought prefer “high minded politicians” and this does not help his case.

  9. - shore - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:27 am:

    I also continue to be stunned by the lack of serious opposition research that happened in the winter campaigns. That murphy couldn’t figure out that plummer was a paper tiger and that mckenna couldn’t use his millions to do this kind of research is another indictment of those campaigns.

  10. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:29 am:

    Leave it to the Trib to bury the lede so badly. HELLOOOOOOO!!!! Ethically challenged state has yet another candidate running for governor with an enormous ethical blind spot.

    We have no hope on either side.

  11. - Amalia - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:32 am:

    Brady is a set of contradictions. The much played and analyzed
    tv commercial has words about how Brady would go for term
    limits. Has he term limited himself? i’d say that state house and
    state senate since 1992 is a very long time in office for the man
    to now cry stop on others. Why did he not term limit himself?

    Brady is a big do as I proclaim kind of official and it’s not good.

  12. - Ghost - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:36 am:

    That Brady does not see the obvious conflict should give every voter cause for alarm.

    Quinn has problems, but overall I trust him not to do such things. Brady seems focused on gaining control of the Govt to enrich himself. Brady has realised the job is more bleeping golden then his current gig.

  13. - jonbtuba - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    Hiding your tax returns (rather your lack of paying ) is one thing. Brady’s conscious decision to involve himself in several legislative conflicts of interest comes off as self-serving. It’s alarming, though Brady seems to specialize in having revelations like this on a weekly basis

  14. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    Now the Trib can go back to busting Ds — their vision for the future.
    BTW maybe the Champaign County SA can knock this around a little.
    Many thanks to NoTaxBill for turning the campaign around. Does CampaignMasterJerry get credit?

  15. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:01 am:

    Doesn’t this sort of information qualify as basic opposition research? Of all the Republicans that have run against Brady in the primary since 2003, it seems like one of them would have found this and used it.

    Or is it all about the candidate beating his chest about taxes in the GOP primary?

  16. - unspun - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:09 am:

    Brady has been very selective of late as to which bills he will cast a vote. I can only assume he was equally selective when bills that benefitted him financially were called, and he hit the YES button. The bills in question were very specific bills, targeting very specific issues. So, either he voted for the bills and didn’t know what he was doing, or he knew exactly what he was doing. Either way, he screwed up.

  17. - just sayin' - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:11 am:

    This is a major bombshell. Isn’t this pretty much the textbook definition of a corrupt official, i.e. one who votes on bills expected to benefit himself financially?

    Why not just vote to give yourself a suitcase full of cash? It’s really the same thing and in a real way would be more honest. (That was sarcasm, not a suggestion people.)

    Brady’s throw away statement that he “believed the legislation had no direct effect on his Champaign property” is meaningless. That’s just his lawyers trying to say there was no intent, a necessary element to prove a theft or fraud related crime.

    Good luck with that Bill Brady. At this point it probably doesn’t matter if Plummer releases his returns. The GOP ticket looks to be done.

  18. - westsidecounter - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    Hey Bill
    Another communication hire? Don’t you think you better find someone who knows how to organize your statewide organization? The clock is ticking and you have nothing! Use some of the money and buy signs and palm cards

  19. - girllawyer - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:15 am:

    What would you have the Champaign Co SA do with this, CFS? State’s Attorneys prosecute crimes. Ethics violations are not crimes. For that matter, if they were, venue would be in Sangamon County where the questionable votes occurred. Or is there some evidence that Brady committed some criminal act in Champaign County?

  20. - unspun - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    Patti Schuh is a great hire for Brady. Hopefully she can convince him to actually take policy positions, so that she can craft and deliver the message. We’ve all tired of his sniping from his position as a legislator….it’s time for him to lead and tell us what he stands for, or get out of the way. Good luck to Patti.

  21. - cassandra - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:20 am:

    Yes, things are looking pretty dismal with respect to our main gubernatorial choices in Nov. A failed businessman with a self-serving view of legislative ethics and transparency. A failed politician who got incredibly lucky yet whose probationary period has been marked by waffling, an inability to make decisions, and a fondness for solving problems by hitting up the middle class for more, more more money.

  22. - dave - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:21 am:

    Use some of the money and buy signs and palm cards

    I thought you wanted him to organize a state-wide organization?

  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:23 am:

    A downstate Democrat told me shortly after the Primary that he thought Brady’s business dealings would be his undoing, and warned me that Brady’s record contained serious conflicts of interest.

    If Democratic lawmakers knew, how can Brady use the “I didn’t know” defense?

    Brady’s defense seems to be that either he doesn’t know his business or he doesn’t understand what legislation he’s voting on.

    I don’t think voters are buying that this time around.

  24. - the Patriot - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:32 am:

    This is the catch 22 for pro-business republicans. Of course you won’t read these types of problems for Pat Quinn because lacks the skills to operate a private business. Quinn jumping on this is like me saying Favre shouldn’t have thrown the last pass. Looks pretty obvious, but I have never had the skill to get on the field so how much is my opinon worth.

    And if you really believe Quinn would not do something like this. He has kept the Blago campaing contributors by the thousands on the state payroll for a reason.

  25. - just sayin' - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:38 am:

    The press is likely digging into other votes Brady’s made right now. Let’s hope so.

    One area I’ve always wondered about is insurance. Brady is the ranking Republican on the senate’s Insurance Committee. And of course he’s from Bloomington which has two big insurance companies. Plus, according to Brady’s own campaign website, the Brady family businesses include insurance.

    Brady’s definitely made votes that were favorable to the insurance industry.

    But these land deal votes alone should doom the guy.

    Is that Kirk Dillard warming up in the bullpen?

  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:55 am:

    ===Of all the Republicans that have run against Brady in the primary since 2003, it seems like one of them would have found this and used it.===

    The hard truth is that none of those Republicans ever thought Brady could win, so they didn’t bother. Same goes for the media, I suppose. He hasn’t been fully vetted yet. He will be, even if it is 25 grafs into a story.

  27. - Frank S. - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:57 am:

    Isn’t Bill Brady against the government getting involved in the free market?

    I guess eminent domain land seizures and tax-supported incentives to real estate developers don’t count as “big government” when the Brady family is on the receiving end.

  28. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 11:58 am:

    ===Unfortunatley in Ill these minor conflicts of interest are ignored all the time. Ask madigan about how well his clients do===

    MJM is smart enough to regularly vote Present on those sorts of bills. Plus, they’re his clients, not his own company, and that can get a bit murky. This story is about Brady’s company itself. A project that Brady worked on himself. I don’t think it’s similar. Cullerton has been whacked for far, far less. And it wasn’t 25 grafs into the story, either.

  29. - westsidecounter - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:05 pm:

    Dave signs and palm card are what you hand out in the field! There are hundreds of parades coming up he can’t be at all of them his field people need something.

  30. - just sayin' - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:07 pm:

    If there was even a whiff of evidence that Barack Obama had cast votes in the state senate that benefitted himself financially, Republicans would be burning tires in the streets and tipping over cars right now.

    In Brady’s case, it’s not just evidence. There’s a smoking gun.

    Good going downstate Republicans. Your obsession with disliking Chicago has given the GOP a Chicago-Democrat-Style nominee who can’t win.

  31. - Pat Robertson - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:07 pm:

    “This is just another example of ‘honest graft.’ I was a Democrat my whole life, and never lived in Illinois, but I’m voting for Brady!”

    George Washington Plunkitt

  32. - Louis Howe - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:09 pm:

    I’ve known Patti for years. She is a great hire for Brady. Once again the contrast is stark between Quinn’s reaching out of state for inexperienced campaign talent that he can push around, while Brady hires a stand up Illinois operative with 20 + years experience. Patti’s no push over for anybody.

  33. - Anon - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    I wonder how many Home Builders Association initiatives that Brady sponsored ended up financially benefiting him?

  34. - too obvious - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:19 pm:

    I think Brady drew the wrong lesson from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and he’s definitely modeled himself on the wrong character.

    Good thing blogs can’t be mowed down by hatchet men in speeding trucks. lol

  35. - plutocrat03 - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:20 pm:

    Did Brady own the land or options at the time of his vote? That makes a difference to me.

  36. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===I wonder how many Home Builders Association initiatives that Brady sponsored ===

    It’s a citizens legislature. Should farmers not sponsor Farm Bureau bills?

  37. - just sayin' - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:38 pm:

    “Did Brady own the land or options at the time of his vote? That makes a difference to me.”

    That’s a good point. The Trib article said Brady was buying up land around that proposed interchange. The timeline is a little unclear. But an obvious question would be, did Brady have any special knowledge about future plans for the area due to his position as a public official?

    If you’re a farmer let’s say, you don’t want to be sitting across the negotiating table from a land buyer with better information that you don’t have access to. That’s called insider trading and people go to prison for that.

    Brady’s got a lot of questions to answer on several fronts about this.

  38. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    It’s a citizens legislature. Should farmers not sponsor Farm Bureau bills?

    [snark] Hey - we don’t need actual experience from hand-on experts in our state legislature. We need honest impartiality from experts without any experience making our vital decisions. Let businesspeople lead Illinois regarding legislation on business? Letting industry lobbyists inform the GA on bills pending before it? How can we ever get the best government if we have to depend upon wisdom and experience?[/snark]

  39. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 12:45 pm:

    If you know too much within a particular field, then you should be ignored in order to ensure that the decisions reached are good for no one within that field. The best government is the one lead by experts in no fields.

  40. - Vole - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 1:23 pm:

    This is similar to the earmark that Denny Hastert promoted that had a direct economic bearing on land he owned. It didn’t hurt Hastert but he was nearing the end of his career and was not running for governor when this story was let. And we had a lot of other fatigue with Bush, Iraq, etc. by that time to even pay it much heed.

    It is troubling that Brady can so simply deny this was a conflict of interest. It most obviously was. Where did this guy gain his sense of ethics? In the Illinois school of politics?

    We got enough troubles without inviting any more of this kind of trouble. We’ll be asking for it if Brady gets in — “The voters do it again!”

    Jaded voter.

  41. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 1:27 pm:

    I ask myself what Brady could do that would cause me to vote to keep Quinn. We’re not even getting warm yet, but the election isn’t until November, so keep trying.

  42. - erstwhilesteve - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 1:30 pm:

    Where is the actual budget document that was handed out at this press conference?

  43. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 1:33 pm:

    It’s in a series of amendments that are being filed today.

  44. - erstwhilesteve - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 1:45 pm:

    Thanks Rich - Bill numbers will help when you are able to get them…

  45. - Vole - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 1:47 pm:

    “We’re not even getting warm yet”

    Not even warm enough to just not vote for either goodball A or goofball B?

    I mean sometimes, you just don’t have a choice. And sometimes is becoming all too common. The parties and the voters behind the parties really need a farm team that can advance some winners instead of having the losers rise to the top on their own “merits”.

  46. - Amuzing Myself - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 2:23 pm:

    westsidecounter: You shouldn’t talk about things you obviously know so little about.

  47. - too obvious - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 2:39 pm:

    Rich hit the nail on the head. No one thought Brady was going to win and therefore he was never seriously vetted, not by GOP voters and not by the press. (I truly don’t even think Brady thought he was going to win.)

    No way would Brady have gotten through the primary if this information was known about him earlier. He kept it all hidden just like he wanted to hide his taxes.

    Republicans probably shouldn’t have gloated so much over the Scott Lee Cohen thing.

  48. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 3:02 pm:

    === No way would Brady have gotten through the primary if this information was known about him earlier. ===

    Alot of people said the same thing about Rod in 2002. Brady’s starting to resemble Rod more-and-more every day.

  49. - GetOverIt - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 4:18 pm:

    Last I check Madigan wasn’t running for Governor! He supposed to be better than Madigan, right?

    I’m over it…

  50. - GetOverIt - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 4:19 pm:

    I meant…”last I checked”…

  51. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 5:02 pm:


    I would submit to you that Brady’s conflict of interest is much more factually egregious than Hastert’s, if Brady actually owned the land or options on it in direct proximity to the Curtis Road interchange in Champaign County. Hastert’s land was a 10-15 minute drive from the nearest planned interchange for Prairie Parkway, an iffy value boost for residential development for a highway that might not get built in our lifetime, but still a major faux pas in the court of public opinion.

    Politicians who want to promote good infrastructure improvements should steer clear of personal enrichment issues, in appearance and in fact.

  52. - Leatherneck318 - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 5:30 pm:

    Let me get this straight. Everybody’s all fired up about three pieces of legislation that Brady voted for, even though NO ONE can provide a definitive, legitimate timeline on votes vs. ownership status? Aren’t we a little LATE to be calling these hatchet-attacks on Brady “vetting”? Furthermore, how many people posting here had even HEARD that word before “Caribou Barbie” wound up on the McCain ticket? The whole Brady campaign is rapidly turning into terrible examples of “GOTCHA!” journalism and politics.
    While I agree that a candidates voting record IS important, it just seems like lazy, slanted, and yellow journalism to be CONSTANTLY on the attack vs. one candidate simply because he HAS a voting record.

  53. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 5:42 pm:


    Quinn has an administrative record, just as Brady has a legislative record. Both records are fair game in this election, and I am not seeing a lot of love for either from my rocking-chair view of the old and new media.

  54. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 6:40 pm:

    ===Furthermore, how many people posting here had even HEARD that word before “Caribou Barbie” wound up on the McCain ticket? ===

    You must not get out much.

  55. - Moving to Oklahoma - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 7:16 pm:

    Put a Push pin in China Bill.

    All I know is that somewhere Pat Quinn is trying to figure out how he can “outdo” Bill Brady with his next controversy. These two campaigns are like watching a race between two giraffes on stilts.

  56. - too obvious - Monday, May 24, 10 @ 8:55 pm:

    Brady’s going to look like a complete buffoon now on tax and budget issues.

    Quinn’s got cover now when he talks about raising taxes. He need simply point out the fact that our budget wouldn’t be such a mess and we wouldn’t be in such a hole if guys like Bill Brady weren’t misusing their office to vote on bills that help themselves and cost the rest of us money.

    Incredibly, Quinn starts looking like the adult in the room who has to clean up after the irresponsible behavior. Brady makes Quinn look good and that’s not easy.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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