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*** UPDATED x1 *** Nothing to see here, move along

Friday, Jul 30, 2010

*** UPDATE 1 - 1:41 pm *** Oh, for crying out loud. Now Wikipedia has picked up on this bogus “Brady hacked the ILGA website” story. NBC5 and Chicagoist did so as well. Silly people. They posted their stories even though Progress Illinois has now retracted their original piece. Good job by PI, not so good by the others.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Considering the massive weirdness of the Brady campaign hacking Wikipedia the other day, another seemingly related story looked kinda interesting when I saw it this week and then when Progress Illinois picked it up yesterday and ran the ominous headline: “Brady Scrubbing The ILGA Website?“…

Sen. Bill Brady’s campaign caught a considerable amount of flack yesterday for replacing factual policy positions on its candidate’s Wikipedia page with a series of canned talking points. Unfortunately, it seems the online encyclopedia isn’t the only website the Brady campaign is scrubbing. And this new allegation is far more serious.

Mark E. Wojcik, a law professor at the John Marshall Law School, penned a letter to the editor in the Windy City Times yesterday alleging that someone is trying to shield the public from Brady’s position on gay rights. The letter states that someone got the folks who run the Illinois General Assembly’s website to remove Brady’s name as chief co-sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment (SJRCA 95) that would have prohibited the state from recognizing same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnership.

If coordinated, the effort was successful; Brady’s name is listed at the top of the amendment’s “Full Text” as having introduced the measure but does not show up on the “Bill Status” section at all. We called officials from both Illinois’ Legislative Information Services and the Senate Journal, which controls the website. Neither office knew how such a slip-up could happen and both said that the website should reflect his sponsorship. “Oh my, that should not be,” exclaimed one of the women we talked with.

Those are some pretty serious allegations. And, if true, they would warrant a full-scale probe.

In reality, though, this is a complete non-story because it is standard Senate practice on all resolutions, including constitutional amendments.

In the Senate, for whatever reason, they don’t put the original sponsor’s name in the bill actions section. Let’s look at a Senate resolution from 2007 which made Deb Shipley the Secretary of the Senate. Here is the section which lists sponsors…

Sen. Halvorson was the original chief sponsor. But her name appears nowhere in the actions section…

All it says is “Filed with Secretary.” It doesn’t say by whom. So, if Halvorson had withdrawn her sponsorship, her name would’ve disappeared from the sponsors’ section and you’d never know by looking at the actions section that she was part of the resolution’s history.

On constitutional amendments, the full text versions do list the original sponsors. Brady’s SJRCA95 is no exception.

The House does list sponsors on constitutional amendments in the actions section of their pages. But that wasn’t always the case. If you go back to the 92nd General Assembly and look at this proposed HJRCA, you’ll see that Rep. Doug Hoeft is listed as the original sponsor, but his name doesn’t appear in the actions section.

Anyway, that’s a whole lot of info to say that this is a completely bogus story. But I figured that the GA is my bailiwick so I ought to look into it.

* And speaking of vital issues of seemingly great import that turn up nothing, this story about a Smashing Pumpkins charity event piqued my interest as well

The event even attracted the attention of Gov. Pat Quinn, who appeared before the Pumpkins set to read a proclamation, naming Tuesday as Matthew Leone Day in the state of Illinois and calling Leone “a true American hero.” He also presented a check to the fund.

Rod Blagojevich used to love to go to events like that and hand out or promise state checks. So, was taxpayer money donated to the Pumpkins’ designated charity?

“No, not a state check,” responded Quinn press secretary Grant Klinzman. Turns out, Quinn wrote a check out of his own personal account.

* And speaking of Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn showed up late to a press conference this week and caught heck from some reporters

“I really don’t have time for this today,” complains one reporter, repeatedly, to no one in particular. “We’ve got stuff to do, and this isn’t it,” grouses another.

Finally, at six minutes to 10 the governor lopes into the room.

“Twenty-four minutes, guy,” a radio reporter chides, quite loudly, a surprising display of disrespect. Then again, any harried public schoolteacher can coax a classroom of 6-year-olds into their bee costumes and giant sun outfits and shepherd them onstage to sing about good nutrition without being this late

There are other things a governor occasionally has to deal with, and Blagojevich was often hours late, so this ain’t much of a big deal. Still, since his media coverage hasn’t been all that great lately, the guv might want to start showing up on time.

…Adding… Let’s call this one “Much ado about little, so far”

Republican newcomer Bobby Schilling is making a real contest out of his bid to unseat Congressman Phil Hare, D-Rock Island, and could yet produce an upset.

The Cook Political Report, which analyzes federal elections, has changed its rating for the 17th Congressional District of Illinois from “Solid D” to “Likely D,” a sign that Schilling’s campaign has gained some momentum. Real Clear Politics, another election analysis provider, has changed the seat from “Safe Dem” to “Likely Dem.”

There’s still a long campaign ahead before the Nov. 2 election and Hare has much more money to spend on the race. Schilling will be hoping he can ride a wave of anti-government feeling to beat Hare, although the odds are still stacked against that happening.

Hare is not a great campaigner and he’s stumbled and bumbled the past year or so. The map favors Democrats in this district, but it’s not overwhelming. Still, for Hare to go down, the Republican wave would have to be extremely large.

…Adding more… See ya

Key Findings from Recent IL CD-13 Survey July 29, 2010

The following outlines the key findings from a survey commissioned by Judy Biggert for Congress. Interviews were conducted July 27-28, 2010. The margin of error for the entire sample (n=400) is +/- 4.9% at the 95% confidence level.

Judy Biggert is in a strong position heading into October, more than doubling Harper’s vote share.
 Biggert leads Scott Harper 61% to 28%, with 10% undecided. 41% of voters are definitely voting for Biggert compared with only 10% definitely voting for Harper.
 Judy’s job approval is stellar, with 57% of voters approving of the job she is doing and only 30% disapproving.
Harper has very little definition and a rather poor favorable to unfavorable ratio.
 Harper’s favorable to unfavorable ratio is only 11% favorable: 8% unfavorable. Conversely, Biggert’s is 62% favorable: 26% unfavorable.
 Even among those who are aware of Harper (46% of the electorate), he still trails Biggert 56%-33%.
As seen in the rest of the country, the political environment has improved significantly since Harper’s previous attempt in 2008.
 In October 2008 the generic Congressional ballot in this district was tied (42%-42%). Today the generic Republican leads 47%-31%.
 Both Kirk and Brady are leading in this district as well, with Kirk leading Giannoulias 49%-37% and Brady leading Quinn 49%-35%.
Judy Biggert is well positioned to be re-elected with Harper facing a difficult political environment as well as an extremely popular and well financed incumbent. It is hard to imagine the Democratic Party and their donors becoming engaged in this race with so many vulnerable incumbents to protect.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - John Bambenek - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 11:25 am:

    Is there any evidence that the Brady Campaign actually was responsible for the Wikipedia edits or are we saying the Brady’s neice who has a (probably unpaid) internship was acting on orders from Jerry Clarke?

  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 11:26 am:

    They defended their actions earlier this week. I should’ve made note of that in the post.

  3. - Curious - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 11:28 am:

    Steinberg says Senator Martinez “decided to pull the bill back from the governor and rework it.” Can she do that?

  4. - Anon - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    What is claimed as being “factual” material about some of Brady’s stands on issues is, at best, a stretch and at worst, outright false.

    For instance, his supposed support for teaching of intelligent design in schools has continued to be spun out of remarks he made FIVE YEARS AGO about school districts being the ultimate decision-makers on those kinds of curriculum decisions.

    But the whole thing could be a pretty slick way for a campaign to make accusations look factual in a supposed “unbiased” forum they can point people to via social media. Seems the Brady campaign is being prudent and some might say uncharacteristically “on the ball” in doing what is possible to battle their counterparts.

  5. - Patrick - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 11:36 am:

    Rich — what was the note on the wiki edits? Was it the “vandalism” claim or did they actually try and justify that hilarity?

  6. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 11:44 am:

    Your headline says it all. There is nothing here. I’m moving along!

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 11:45 am:

    ===he made FIVE YEARS AGO about school districts being the ultimate decision-makers on those kinds of curriculum decisions.===

    Here’s what he said…

    ===Jim Leach, WMAY-AM news director and a talk show host, asked Brady on the air if it would be OK for public schools to teach “intelligent design” as a theory in science class.

    They talked about a definition of terms, and Brady said he saw intelligent design as “in other words, teaching the Bible.”

    “I think we should teach the Bible in our schools,” Brady said. “One of the basic, fundamental voids we have in our school system is bringing God into the system.”===

    Five years or five minutes ago, unless he repudiates that statement, he’s on record.

  8. - John Bambenek - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:06 pm:


    Oh, well in the case, fire away… but it isn’t hacking… editing the encyclopedia anyone* can edit is hardly “hacking”…

  9. - Indeedy - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:19 pm:

    I understand that chief sponsors are not named on the SJRCA “File with Secretary” lines. It’s goofy but it’s consistent. But what about a “Removed” line? I think it’s implied with “Chief Sponsor Changed” but just curious if there’s another action line that is typically used but wasn’t in this case. Might explain the claim, though I would have expected a law professor to pony up something more than just a said-so letter.

  10. - Anon - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:20 pm:

    I don’t understand the ILGA story….it looks like one person took over sponsorship of a bill, which would seem legal.

  11. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===just curious if there’s another action line that is typically used but wasn’t in this case===


  12. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:37 pm:

    If the media is honked off about waiting 24 minutes for a presser, Quinn can just have availabilities out and about the state and make them lug their gear around.

  13. - in the know - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:38 pm:

    seems like i remember Brady shifting sponsorship on a whole lot of his more controversial bills to others presumably to avoid cullerton forcing a public hearing on them. didn’t he do the same thing with a budget bill? he and the campaign aren’t trying to hide their positions, simply fight on the battlegrounds of their choosing (a Quinn debate rather than a Cullerton exec. committee) Seems shrewd to me.

  14. - Ghost - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:41 pm:

    Brady knows the truth of things, and the only thing he has to fear is the truth.

    It is disheartening how Brady is working to falsify his positions to get elected. Anyone hoping for a reformer or change should consider the great lenghts to which he is going to conceal his policy positions and actions to date.

  15. - Newsclown - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:48 pm:

    Nobody in the public is going to cry for the reporters complaining about the gov being late. At least Quinn won’t be found hiding in a bathroom, right? The guy is over-scheduled, and when you do that, one delay in the front of the chain gets magnified thru the day. If he went to fewer events every day, he’d have more margin for being on time. Being late to everything has the upside of forcing all the speeches to be shorter. But after Blago’s Olympic-level tardiness, really, what is there to complain about?

  16. - Patrick - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    Rich, could you at least put up Team Brady’s statement on the Wikipedia “scandal” on the OP or in the comments here? I’m deeply curious :)

  17. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:15 pm:

    Normally, being late at events are a result of:

    An undisciplined candidate
    An overambitious staff
    Acts of God beyond anyone’s control

    Ignoring the third, the other two speaks to a candidate’s executive ability. Nothing pee-pees me more than trying to shepherd my candidates to their scheduled events because he is over-working the room or deviating from his planned remarks with personal anecdotes or whatever. Same goes when the staff schedules 100 events in a day, forgetting about traffic, the idiot factor, etc.

    But anyway you look at it, the buck stops with the candidate. Rudeness (late event starts) doesn’t play well.

  18. - Niles Township - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:22 pm:

    I’m all for being critical of the governor in editorial pieces, but the media’s critique of the governor for being 24 minutes late to a news conference is both absurd and demeaning to the office of governor. That radio reporter should be taught a lesson in manners. If I knew the station, I would be calling right now with a gripe.

  19. - Newsclown - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 6:07 pm:

    Arranged press conferences are all a big kabuki show anyhow. The whole thing runs to a rote formula, both the statements and the very obvious questions asked. You can see a number of reporters have written the story in advance and are impatient to get the sound clip that fills the pre-planned hole in their prepared narratives. You can hear it in the way they phrase their questions. And they often don’t press very hard with follow-up questions. There are always exceptions, of course, but they shouldn’t BE exceptions. Unfortunately, not all of them are as tenacious as Miller and his musketeers.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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