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*** UPDATED x1 *** Brady wants Attorney General probe of Quinn checks

Friday, May 28, 2010

*** UPDATE - 1:48 pm *** Quinn’s campaign finally whacks back at Brady on his votes…

A far more serious breach that deserves immediate investigation is Brady’s repeated votes on legislation that served to financially benefit himself and his business interests. Senator Brady can’t possibly claim he didn’t know there was a conflict of interest.

The people of Illinois who pay his salary need to know why Senator Brady repeatedly voted on bills that he knew would promote development projects in which he plainly had a substantial and personal financial interest.”

They couldn’t have done that on Sunday or Monday? Sheesh.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* As we’ll see in a bit, this isn’t the first time that Bill Brady has demanded that Lisa Madigan investigate Pat Quinn’s fundraising. From a press release…

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady is calling for an investigation into Governor Pat Quinn’s acceptance of $75,000 in campaign cash from the Teamsters Union just before his amendatory veto on McCormick Place that would have benefitted the union.

“It’s appears to be another shameful example of pay-to-play politics,” Brady said. “The people of Illinois deserve a thorough investigation.” Brady will ask Attorney General Lisa Madigan to begin the investigation.

* My Sun-Times column today is about how both of these candidates are under a cloud

I’ve been wondering all week why Gov. Quinn’s campaign has all but ignored an explosive but little-noticed story.

Quinn has been silent about the revelation that his Republican opponent Bill Brady had voted for three different bills that directly helped his struggling real estate company develop a project in Champaign.

The area that Brady was developing had no sewer system, and Champaign was having trouble buying the property easements to lay pipe, so the town asked the General Assembly to give it “quick take” powers that would allow them to seize the land for a fair price.

A very high-level Democrat who is often the target of media investigations told me the other day that he would be sent to prison if he voted to directly benefit his own business.

It’s one thing if, say, a farmer votes for a bill backed by the Illinois Farm Bureau that would help lots of farmers throughout the state.

It’s quite another thing if that same farmer voted for a bill which helped only himself.

This ought to be big news, and it’s full of rich targets for campaign press releases.

“Brady voted to pad his own pockets,” is one hit that springs to mind. The “sewer” stuff writes itself.

The same guy who didn’t pay federal income taxes for two straight years was involved in a project subsidized in part by federal funds. But Quinn’s campaign didn’t take the bait.

He should’ve done something, because now the governor has found himself on the defensive.

Last year right about this time, Quinn got into trouble when it was revealed that a campaign staffer was asking lobbyists to set up fund-raisers. This happened near the scheduled end of the spring legislative session, so all of those lobbyists had bills awaiting the governor’s signature or veto.

The lobbyists leaked the story, and Quinn was forced to apologize. He vowed not to do any more fund-raising until after the session was over.

Apparently, that promise didn’t apply to this year’s spring session.

On Thursday, my buddy Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business broke the story that the governor had received some very large campaign checks — totaling $75,000 — from the Teamsters Union in late April. At the time, the Teamsters were fighting legislative attempts to change McCormick Place’s union work rules. The work-rule changes remained in the McPier reform bill that passed both chambers, and the Teamsters were furious. They threatened to sue to block the changes.

Not coincidentally, Quinn has been saying that he was worried that the bill would prompt lawsuits.

Quinn eventually decided to slap the bill with an amendatory veto. Buried within the text was a provision that killed off a small McPier union and handed its members to the Teamsters.

Think of it as a consolation prize.

The Legislature voted to override Quinn’s veto Thursday.

Quinn alienated every public employee union in the state last month when he signed a pension reform bill into law. Those unions contribute millions of dollars to campaigns, and they’re not giving him any money now. He couldn’t afford to also alienate the big unions at McPier.

So, it was pretty much a given that his amendatory veto was pure politics. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was that Quinn had already taken a large pile of cash from the Teamsters.

When Quinn got into that fund-raising trouble last year, Brady almost immediately called on Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate.

Maybe she ought to take a look at both of them.

And call me paranoid, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s why Quinn has been so strangely silent about his opponent’s serious ethical lapse.

* By the way, the Tribune followed up on Greg Hinz’s piece without any attribution. And notice the lede

Only a month before Gov. Pat Quinn rewrote legislation to help the Teamsters at the McCormick Place convention center, the labor group gave the Democratic governor $75,000 in political donations, his campaign acknowledged Thursday.

That’s a crisp, concise AP Style lede with everything you really need to know up front. Now, contrast that with the lede on the story about how Brady voted three times on bills that directly benefited his real estate company

On the southwest fringe of Champaign along Interstate Highway 57 stands the Curtis Road interchange, its ornate limestone overpass and decorative red-brick towers surrounded by acres of open farmland.

You have to read 25 grafs into the piece before you find the Brady bills stuff.

Sure makes you wonder why the two stories are so different.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 9:43 am:

    Ugh, I hate those bloviating, long-way around-the-barn Trib ledes. Everybody there is a “New Yorker” staff wannabe.

    Brady is getting a pass from Quinn on Chicago TV, too. The Brady spot is running with great frequency on the news shows, while Quinn is silent.

  2. - Ray del Camino - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 9:46 am:

    Doesn’t anybody know how to play this game? This is not some backwater City Council race. Geez.

  3. - KeepSmiling - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 9:52 am:

    If either Dillard or Hynes had won in the primaries, the race for Governor would already be over.

  4. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 9:52 am:

    Both Quinn and Brady were on WLS radio this a.m. Neither added much of substance. Brady repeated the general accusations that this Teamsters/McPier thing was pay to play and tried to tie Quinn to Blago. Quinn responded later that he has always done the right thing and wrapped himself in the Memorial Day flag.

  5. - tubbfan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 9:55 am:

    Are these candidates the best we can do? I realize we get what we deserve, but c’mon. . .

  6. - Obamarama - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 9:57 am:

    This is like a JV election.

  7. - John Bambenek - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:01 am:

    JV election for Jr. High secretary… maybe alternate secretary

  8. - PFK - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:07 am:

    If Brady is sincere, he should follow Rich Whitney’s lead and place voluntary limits on his own fundraising…nor corporate PAC money. But Brady is still raking in the same kind of legalized bribes that Quinn is taking in. What’s the difference?

  9. - Quinn T. Sential - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:12 am:

    On a related note; Friday of Memorial Day weekend sets up as a good day for JP Stevens to dump the news of the delay of the Blagojevich trial, and give both the prosecutors and the defense the weekend off to barbecue with their families.

    I am not sure if the PFitz crew filed a response to the appeal to Stevens or not, but I found it strange that Stevens asked the U.S. solicitor general’s office to respond to the defense’s plea for a delay. With the deadline for filing today; and the likelihood that a reply has already been filed, a quick review by Stevens could lead to a notice of delay issued by later this afternoon.

    On this issue it appears to me that Blago has a case, and the trial should either be delayed, or the “Honest Services” charges dropped. Otherwise it looks like this could lead to confusion for jurors; difficulty in jury instructions, and set up the basis for appeal of any conviction in which the charges arise from the same or similar circumstances.

    Once they rule also; if they toss out the “Honest Services” charges as un-constitutional, how does that effect George Ryan’s case? Could he receive a Get Out of Jail Free Card; for time served on the other non “honest services” convictions? Also, what about people like Robert Sorich, who’s time has already been served?

    Read more:

  10. - Fed up - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:13 am:

    This is more of the same from Blag/Quinn. This is no differnt than shaking down a hosp for money. The only thing Quinn used to have was that he was supposedly honest. Now we see he not only flip flops on every issue but he is for sale.

  11. - Bubs - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:14 am:

    I fear this election is fast evolving into a question of who can do the most to lose it, rather than win it.

  12. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:14 am:

    Yes. The reason the Brady votes were not highlighted by the Democrats is because you can’t throw stones while living in glass houses. Especially after similar charges were hurled at Speaker Madigan just a short while back.

    Also please remember what each candidate’s strengths are, and what the campaign narratives are. The narratives are important because that is how the traditional press has done it’s work politically. They like to have news follow their established narratives. A lot of folks just call this bias.

    The narrative on Quinn is that he is Blagojevich’s partner for the past eight years and the Democratic Party is the “Pay to Play” party. So, this mess Quinn finds himself in, just fits into the narrative already being written. It is an easy fit and easy to write.

    The narrative on Brady is still that he is a lunatic right winger from small town Illinois leading a charge against the Democratic machine running Illinois. He is the minority candidate from the minority party, the guy no one wanted to win the Primary. So the mess he finds himself in, doesn’t fit that narrative - puppy gassing fits, crazy Palin sightings fit - any nonsense he spouts out that could insult the culture within Illinois fits, but not this.

    So Brady slides thanks to the political narratives being written by the MSM, and thanks to the commonality of his actions - while Quinn gets caught because of the political narratives being written by the MSM.

  13. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:17 am:

    OH - and the GOP actions on this latest Quinn mishap would be the proper thing to do during a gubernatorial campaign.

    Finally, to those who wish to complain and complain about how bad these candidates are - myself included - need to remember how much it really stunk watchin Blagojevich beat Topinka in 2006, when we all knew Blagojevich was an incompetent crook.

    2006 actually sucked more than this.

  14. - Amalia - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:18 am:

    Quinn was on tv this morning with an eagle. it’s the Memorial Day thing that always goes on, I know, but that video with the
    eagle is sure interesting. a still from that would be a fun
    caption posting here.

  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:20 am:

    ===Especially after similar charges were hurled at Speaker Madigan just a short while back.===

    That story wasn’t nearly as direct as the Brady story.

  16. - train111 - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:27 am:

    Open night comedy night at the improv!!

    The other day I was talking politics with a staunchly Democratic acquaintance who stated that she was voting for Whitney. Well, that makes two!!


  17. - Lakefront Liberal - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:28 am:

    I never thought it would happen but I actually agree with VanillaMan!

  18. - dupage dan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:32 am:

    Yes, the VM has hit it right here. I can imagine the MSM editors sitting in the formerly smoke filled room tossing out the Brady story saying, “it don’t fit so we won’t print - find me more about the puppies!

  19. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:36 am:

    Gimme a break, Quinn has been taking union money forever. That’s what Democrats do-help the working man. Apparently Quinn thinks the teamsters do it better and apparently the teamsters think Quinn does too.

    This isn’t a private company looking to enrich themselves. It is a union with a spotless reputation-strike that.

    I still think it’s okay for Quinn to support the Teamsters but I’m scared to see what SIEU could get.

  20. - just sayin' - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    Seriously? Does Brady honestly think this is going to distract anyone away from the SERIOUS problem he has with voting for self-dealing legislation on AT LEAST three occassions? That’s textbook corruption.

    It’s pretty clear the Democrats are deliberately not making a huge issue of Brady’s corrupt-looking votes. Yet.

    The last thing they want is for the GOP to replace Brady with someone who could win. But at some point when the GOP is past the point of no return with Brady, the Brady is Blago and George Ryan all wrapped up in one campaign will begin.

  21. - Anon - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    C’mon. It’s election season and everyone is getting out their donations before the next campaign disclosure.

    I would venture a guess that you will see many similar large contributions for Quinn from several other unions in the same time frame who did not get a thing from the McPier bill.

    I don’t think Quinn really has to twist too many arms in labor to get the money flowing with Brady as the other option.

  22. - Steve-O - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    So, any response from the attorney general?

  23. - Niles Township - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    We all know thy the two ledes are different. Trib, especially Pearson, has hated Quinn for years. Brady they will stomach.

  24. - ShadyBillBrady - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 11:31 am:

    The same Bill Brady that said he would take money from anyone that wanted to give it to him? That Bill Brady?

  25. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    Capt Fax and Milly Vanilly:
    The comparison to Madigan is about as far off base as possible.

    NoTaxBill Brady owns Brady Homes…..Brady Homes gets to build some more boring tract houses because NoTax Bill votes for 3 bills to do a special sewer deal (then he screws his partners and Champaign).

    Madigan votes (or sometimes doesn’t) on a bill that might involve client of the law firm who may or may not be affected by a bill that affects every business in the state or hundreds of businesses in a region

    NoTaxBill is jumping into the kettle on this one.
    Hope he is lawyered up

  26. - just sayin' - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 11:45 am:

    No Springfield politician, Brady least of all, wants to go down the road of who gave them contributions, and when. Follow Brady’s insurance industry money for example.

    Back to the real issue. There must be at least one prosecutor reading this blog. A state’s attorney, or assistant, or someone from the AG’s office (someone Batsignal Lisa), someone with prosecutorial experience.

    I would seriously like to know how taking what we know right now about Brady’s three votes in the senate on legislation to help his own business isn’t all by itself enough to warrant a criminal investigation. It’s not our job here to decide whether he’s guilty of anything. My only question is how can it not warrant a full investigation?

    Seriously, I would like to know. What am I missing? And I don’t need a Brady person to declare it’s all okay and Brady had no intent to do anything wrong. Not only do you not know that, the evidence is against you.

  27. - Lincoln Parker - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 1:14 pm:

    Right on cue, Quinn used the Brady votes today to defend his AV.

  28. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    The folks that gave us Rod Blagojevich are finding it challenging to throw mud at Brady since every time they do, they remind voters of the last eight years of their own mudbath.

    Go ahead and explain to us again about how Madigan’s mud is cleaner than Brady’s mud.

  29. - just sayin' - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 1:53 pm:

    VanillaMan, last time I checked, the Dems had impeached Blago and the guy is going on trial shortly. Seems to me Blago is being dealt with. I think everything is being done on that score.

    You can pretend it’s all just “mud” if you want to, but we’re talking about very specific facts and serious allegations of very serious wrongdoing. I’m sure those votes didn’t seem like insignificant “mud” to Brady when he was casting them to help his own business.

    If you’ve got credible evidence of criminal behavior involving Madigan, then by all means bring it forward.

    But it’s sounds like you’re just saying the Republicans are now entitled to have their own Blago. It’s their turn.

    Good luck with that. I would think you could just remember George Ryan sitting in prison if you need a corruption fix, but to each his own.

  30. - Pat Robertson - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:02 pm:

    ==They couldn’t have done that on Sunday or Monday? Sheesh.==

    Well, that would require competence, wouldn’t it?

  31. - Coach - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:24 pm:

    Let’s think clearly for just a moment about the Quinn campaign’s claim that the $75,000 pop from the Teamsters, coming just a month before Quinn used his executive power to advocate on their behalf, is simply the latest manifestation of the Teamsters’ sincere, ongoing and overwhelming love for Pat Quinn, and that any suggestion that this might somehow indicate a quid pro quo is downright “offensive.”

    A two-minute search of the State Board of Elections online database shows the following:

    - Quinn established a joint campaign committee, together with his running mate, in April of this year. This new committee’s state code is 10324.

    - Quinn’s previous committee was established in 1985, 25 years ago, so one can assume that the activity of this committee would accurately reflect Quinn’s fundraising throughout the bulk of his active public career. The state code of this committee is 3760.

    - Over the 25-year life of this standing campaign committee, Quinn accepted a total of $129,112.20 from Teamsters organizations statewide.

    - Lo and behold, the vast majority of those contributions occurred after Quinn was suddenly thrust into the state’s highest executive office by virtue of Rod’s ouster.

    - Specifically, Quinn accepted $50,000 from the Teamsters in September 2009 and another $50,000 from the Teamsters in January of this year.

    - In fact, less than $15,000 of that total came to Quinn prior to 2009, when he was elevated to governor.

    So, just to recap the basic facts:

    Quinn accepted more than $100,000 from the Teamsters - or the vast majority from them - since becoming governor a year and a half ago.

    Just a month prior to throwing the Teamsters a very large bone that Madigan and Cullerton refused to throw them, Quinn took another $75,000.

    And, reportedly, the Teamsters’ boss is gearing up to show Quinn another $100,000 in love.

    Quinn just doesn’t have a leg to stand on with this silly notion that, somehow and someway, these recent bursts of support are consistent with his career record.

    To use my new favorite term (thank you, Rich) Quinn’s position is pure poppycock.

  32. - wordslinger - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:46 pm:

    What’s weird is that Quinn went to the wall for the Teamsters when it was clear he had a losing hand. They’re all pretty smart guys and know how to count. What was the point?

  33. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:47 pm:

    But it’s sounds like you’re just saying the Republicans are now entitled to have their own Blago. It’s their turn.

    After Blagojevich, the GOP is entitled to nominate and elect Lisa Minelli.

  34. - wordslinger - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:53 pm:

    Who’s Lisa Minelli? Your character at Baton?

  35. - soccermom - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:58 pm:

    Vanilla Man —

    It’s Liza with a Z, not Lisa with an S. (’Cause Lisa with an S goes sss, not zzz.)

  36. - too obvious - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:02 pm:

    Like some 3rd grader crying “but he did it too,” Brady is trying to equate his situation with the self-dealing votes, to Quinn’s situation with the Teamster contributions.

    But it’s apples and oranges. Of course the Teamsters are going to be for Quinn over Brady. Of course they are going to give to Quinn. No surprise there. They want Quinn to win and Brady to lose.

    But Brady’s situation is completely different. It looks like he’s been caught red handed misusing his office to try and help himself financially.

    The ice is melting under Brady’s feet and all he can do is try and distract.

    This is mountain vs. mole hill

  37. - truthteller - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 10:07 pm:

    In re: the Temo contributions, don’t be cynical. It may not be for McCormick veto. It may be for reappointing Coli’s brother to the Illinois State Labor Board. His appointment is up soon.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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