SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Emanuel makes first post-election mistake

Monday, Feb 28, 2011

* Apparently, Judy Erwin didn’t tell Team Emanuel that she’d just been busted for ethics violations and the Emanuel people didn’t check. Oops

A veteran politician Rahm Emanuel named to his mayoral transition team resigned her high-level state job last summer and paid a fine for conducting political business on state time, according to a newly filed ethics report.

Judy Erwin, a co-chair of Emanuel’s mayoral campaign, said late Friday night that she would resign her new post on his transition team after the Tribune contacted her and the campaign. She said she hadn’t informed Emanuel of the ethics violation.

Erwin, the former executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, admitted using her office e-mail and phone while working on a campaign committee for presidential candidate Barack Obama, using staff resources to plan her trip to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and engaging in campaign fundraising activity while on the job, the state’s Executive Ethics Commission ruled in a decision filed Feb. 16.

The ethics commission said she cooperated with the investigation by the executive inspector general, reimbursed the state, agreed to pay a $4,000 fine and promised to never work for the state again. She resigned Aug. 15.


In the filing, Erwin’s explanation was that she “was not careful enough in separating her political work from her state responsibilities . . . and also that she had become accustomed to using administrative assistants in the private sector in a way that is not permitted in the public sector.”

But the commission found it “particularly troubling” that Erwin had made a campaign contribution to a state representative who was chairman of a committee overseeing the Board of Higher Education’s budget.

“This suggests that she was responding to a real or imagined pay-to-play incentive within state government,” the commission wrote in its filing.

While there were clear violations in the ethics report, that campaign contribution amounted to just $125 to former Rep. David Miller. Not exactly a king’s ransom.

* Roundup…

* Rahm Emanuel stops by luncheon honoring Justice Anne Burke

* GOP could increase members on City Council

* An election ‘thank you,’ stamped with an alderman’s government letterhead

* Weis may be out as soon as Tuesday

* Weis would like to find a job in Chicago

* Rosenthal: My advice for Rahm Emanuel

* Emanuel Has a Tough Row to Hoe, but Far From an Impossible One

* Emanuel Spent $11M To Be Mayor

* Mitchell: How Rahm Emanuel won black voters

* Are stars aligning for Rahm’s long-term plans?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chad - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 6:44 am:

    Sorry to see this happen to Judy. She was a delight to lobby as a Rep., and always presented a clean-cut image. This just shows the risk to not understanding and carefully following the ethics rules these days. You do not need to reach the level of Blago-style flouting of rules to come to the attention of the enforcement folks. Just one disgruntled employee and all is displayed before the world.

  2. - Alternate view - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 7:15 am:

    Erwin had a “gets-it-done” reputation, but my experience of her from direct observation during various projects was that she was often arrogant and threw her weight around when she was a committee chair, in unnecessarily brutal ways. So her getting banned from doing that seems like karma to me now.

  3. - Jasper - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 7:31 am:

    I thought his first mistake was not following mayoremmanuel into that time vortex. That would have been the smart move — win and go out on top.

  4. - Canned Yard - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 8:24 am:

    Was the Judy Erwin story in the papers prior to this? I don’t quite remember any major headlines on it, though I’m sure the Executive Inspector General’s Office would have released such a report to the public.

  5. - 4 percent - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 8:33 am:


    It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who intentionally and knowingly broke laws. Given her experience, she clearly knew that you cannot do political work on state time. She was arrogant enough to think she could get away with it.

    Doing something once (or maybe twice) could be construed as accidental. Doing it 18 times cannot.

  6. - jeff - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    The $125.00 is peanuts. The main focus of the complaint that she agreed with is she engaged in political activity while serving at a high level position in state government. To quote the report she should have known better. If she knew better why didn’t she tell Rahm?

  7. - Anon - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 8:58 am:

    If you play in this game long enough and have the type of personality she did it is bound to bite you in the rear. Could not have happened to a nicer person.

  8. - Honest Abe - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 9:02 am:

    Illinois has instituted mandatory ethics training for its employees. The online test has to be completed annually. Erwin’s violations are textbook examples of the type of prohibited political activities that actually highlighted in the test preparation materials.

    I am surprised that the ethics complaint against Erwin did not make the news when it occurred. The case was decided on a summary judgment basis.

  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 9:06 am:

    I always thought Erwin was one of the sharpest knives in the drawer, so the ethics violations and her failure to notify Emanuel are pretty shocking.

    But it seems clear she was guilty of both. Bad choices.

  10. - dupage progressive - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 9:21 am:

    It’s a shame this happened to a good person like Judy Erwin. I completely agree with her side of the story that for people who go between the political & gov’t world, it’s hard to be 100% vigilant about keeping politics & govt. separate. I’m guessing the number of people who are guilty of this mistake and who live in both worlds like Judy is a high number.

  11. - Jim - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 9:41 am:

    Even if she didn’t tell Rahm, wouldn’t his people have vetted the transition team and found this out on their own? A simple Google search may have turned up this issue, especially in these post-Scott Lee Cohen days.

  12. - steve schnorf - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 9:55 am:

    You take the goo-goos on your team, I’ll take Erwin on mine, I’ll sleep well at night. “Responding to pay-to-play”. Jesus! You take the IG on yours, I’ll sleep better yet.

  13. - Adam Smith - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 10:08 am:

    Judy is a class act who knows her stuff and would have been an asset to Rahm.

    It appears clear that she crossed a line that she should have recognized. It is just another example of how completely ingrained the culture of sleaze is in our state.

    People in elected and appointed offices constantly engage in “politics.” The development of agendas and promoting them is inherently political and it is how things get done. And it is legal.

    What they cannot engage in is “campaigning.” The specific activities of getting a candidate votes in an election.

    It shouldn’t be that hard to tell the difference, but even smart people like Judy seem to blur the lines every day.

  14. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 10:15 am:

    Better to resign sooner than later. Getting out in front of it before the media uncovered it and this became a forced resignation always looks better, less damage.

  15. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    How did she “become accustomed to using administrative assistants in the private sector” when she had been at the Board of Higher Education since 2005. She was three years into her directorship, plus 10 years as a legislator, when she violated the ethics law and should by then become accustomed to the public sector. Sharp knives should be at the cutting edge. Her excuse is lame.

  16. - Leave a light on George - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    @ Schnorf

    The rules have changed and they are being enforced.

  17. - Bill - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 10:37 am:

    She should have never been placed in that job in the first place. Washed up politicians should not be given high paying jobs to sweeten their pensions. Judy’s state pension is $196,000 per year thanks to good ol’ Rod. Maybe Rahm can find something for her at streets and san..

  18. - VanillaMan - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 10:54 am:

    Your led is wrong.
    Emanuel’s first post election mistake was declaring victory.

  19. - Responsa - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 11:19 am:

    Better it is brought to light now rather than later and that Judy is out before she had barely started. This embarrassing oopsie out of the gate will make Rahm and Co. much more careful about vetting potential employees and about naively listening to other people’s well-intentioned recommendations going forward. So that’s a good thing for Chicago government. Judy Erwin did not comport herself well by arrogantly accepting such a high profile job in such a public way.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 11:32 am:

    Question: “If you have to resign your state job, and you are banned from working for the state for life, which you agreed to that as punishment … at what point do you think its ok to be part of a government transition team?”


    Judy IS (she is not dead, people) a nice enough person, but that is not the issue here. Judy pays 4 LARGE, admits wrongdoings, AND (not a choice, or an ‘OR’…) is BANNED from working for the state. Judy can’t tell Rahm’s crew “Look, I can help quietly, but do not name me to a government transition team, I have some baggage …”

    On the other hand …

    If Judy told them, and now they are covering up the fact that Rahm didn’t care and thought it could slide by, and asked Judy to say Rahm’s crew knew nothing to help Rahm savea little face … well … that would have some legs, wouldn’t it?

  21. - Louis Howe - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    Mr.Schnorf…It’s been my experience, both in the legislature and politically, that Ms. Judy is on a team as long as her personal career benefits. When given a better offer, she jumps ship. Of course, the republican deal makers respected that personality trait. Democrats, not so much.

  22. - chad - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    This type of political activity continues to go on constantly across the entire base of legislative and executive branch employees. The smart people use their hotmail accounts on lunch break using their privatly-paid iphones off state property. However, there is a ton of this going on that is not as pristine. The violators have been saying to themselves that these are mere “technical violations”, but the Erwin example will stress, once again, that the rules have changed and are being enforced. This is as easy to catch as an expense account cheater, and the evidence will last forever. People should fall in-line.

  23. - Loop Lady - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 11:57 am:

    Not Rahm’s mistake, but Judy’s lack of honesty when asked to be part of the team.
    She does this and lands on her feet with Axelrod.
    No down side for her, isn’t that special?

  24. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 6:02 pm:

    I like Judy and feel badly for her, but cmon. The rules changed years ago and all my friends who work for government carry two cell phones and two email accounts for a reason. I totally get that you might slip once or twice (like Jerry Stermer did). But they’ve got her on a lot…and fundraising on the state phones is just hard to explain these days.

    I wish her well.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Claypool's alleged weakness: Ignorance
* The Credit Union Difference
* Geneseo threatens to cut off state utilities
* Our rapidly fraying social infrastructure
* Rate Uber's new radio ad
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* Google Street View gets immersive with new Cardboard support
* Sony smartphone division may be back on the chopping block
* Amazon updates Twitch Fire TV app with profile pages, 1080p support
* Barnes & Noble announces new Galaxy Tab E NOOK with special trade-in program
* PPSSPP gets updated to version 1.1, gets NVIDIA SHIELD support
* Android market share in the United States experiences a minor slump
* Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages aims to super-charge page-load times

* Arbitration-eligible White Sox won't put dent in payroll
* Hawk Harrelson's reduced schedule creates opportunity for White Sox...
* Holliday, Ventura connection goes way back
* 2015 in 3 words: Sale, Abreu, inconsistency
* Hawk cutting '16 broadcast schedule
* Podcast: Shifting the target
* White Sox face toll of three losing seasons


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain c.....
* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain c.....
* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain c.....
* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain c.....
* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain c.....
* Pending a resolution, MAP grants remain at risk.....
* Illinois expert panel approves 4 pain condition.....
* Illinois expert panel approves 4 pain condition.....
* Panel to consider 8 ailments for medical mariju.....

* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain conditions
* Rauner increasing pressure on Democrats for budget deal
* Fox Lake officer's death investigation cost tops $300,000
* Illinois corn, soybean harvests at the halfway mark
* Fire strikes 92-year-old church on Chicago's South Side
* Watseka woman is go-to cat mom for animal rescue
* Stevenson family exhibit on hold due to Illinois budget feud
* Rockford losing its air connection to New York City area
* Cook County to demolish 7 buildings on Oak Forest campus
* Man faces murder charges in 2013 carjacking crash in Chicago

* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain conditions
* Rauner increasing pressure on Democrats for budget deal
* Providers, clients bash Rauner administration changes to day care eligibility
* Illinois stops paying local health clinics for STD testing
* Panel recommends Rep. Mautino for Illinois auditor general
* Chancellor Koch: Budget pressures growing for UIS, other schools
* Illinois to implement new ratings for schools, districts
* Budget impasse cuts services for domestic abuse victims
* Weaver tapped to replace LaHood in Illinois Senate

* Buffett builds rail superhighway to grab truck freight
* AB InBev makes a third offer for SABMiller
* SABMiller snubs AB InBev's third offer
* Art Institute President Douglas Druick is retiring
* McCarthy says he'll stay on despite complaints

* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain conditions
* Regular season carries more weight than ever for Blackhawks
* Meet the newest Blackhawks
* Patrick Kane remains the Blackhawks’ biggest X-factor
* NHL season preview and predictions
* Mihalopoulos: Ald. Burns could wind up feeling the heat
* ‘I’m not done,’ Karen Lewis says a year after cancer diagnosis
* McCarthy ‘extremely disrespectful’ to council, one alderman tells him
* McCarthy ‘extremely disrespectful’ to council, Ald. Beale tells top cop
* Emanuel on McCarthy: ‘I’m standing by him’

* State panel recommends pain, osteoarthritis for medical pot list
* Ken Griffin and wife Anne Dias Griffin settle divorce case
* Elgin Islamic leader now accused of sexual abuse of minor: police
* Chicago mother wages 2-year fight against child neglect citation
* Police on scene of barricade situation in Gage Park neighborhood
* Investigation into Fox Lake officer's death has cost $300,000, analysis finds
* Fire heavily damages nearly century-old church in Woodlawn: 'This is devastating'
* Emanuel wants CPS property tax hike but mum on spending specifics

* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for pain conditions
* Rauner increasing pressure on Democrats for budget deal
* Providers, clients bash Rauner administration changes to day care eligibility
* Illinois stops paying local health clinics for STD testing
* Panel recommends Rep. Mautino for Illinois auditor general
* Michael Gerson: Presidential tantrums won't end gun violence
* E.J. Dionne: The conservative evasion on guns
* Michael Solberg and Amy Ayala: System works against the mentally ill in Illinois' prisons, jails
* Esther Cepeda: Spare the talk of an 'Asian invasion'
* Kathleen Parker: The GOP’s (New) McCarthyism

* 10-07-15 Jim Turpin with Jim Nowlan
* 10-07-15 Penny for Your Thoughts
* Grand opening for Field & Stream/Dick's Sporting Goods on Thursday
* TODAY'S CHAT: Who's next?
* State legislator formally announces campaign against Shimkus
* No Ordinary Joe, Cubs' Maddon might be MLB's best skipper
* Ex-Illinois official back to prison after name change
* Favorable fall weather pattern should continue
* Illinois reducing fees on college savings plan
* Illinois panel to consider 8 ailments for medical marijuana

* Movie guide: Dann Gire recaps upcoming, current films
* Holocaust museum exhibit explores how refugees influenced Hollywood
* LSU-South Carolina game moved to Louisiana due to flooding
* AP News in Brief at 12:29 p.m. EDT
* With Luck hurting, Hasselbeck ill, Colts re-sign quarterback

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Finally, a bipartisan bill in Congress - L......

* La Grange Park senior meets president, get......
* Duckworth, Kirk trade barbs over Letterman......

* Taiwan in the South China Sea
* Religious groups demand Governor Rauner cut Planned Parenthood state funding
* Night Work On Purple Line Tracks North of Lawrence
* Cook County Proposal Seeks Fee On Big Businesses Paying 'Poverty Wages'
* Yale Dean Calls Fiorina 'Psychopathic' and Planned Parenthood Videos A 'Hoax'
* Meet this feisty Illinois forklift driver fighting for the right to leave her union
* Sunday posts, pics and tweets.
* The sports section. Pittsburgh, 2007.
* Aurora Township GOP censures U.S. Senator Mark Kirk
* McCarter launches primary challenge in 15th CD

* IEMA Announces Elgin Community College Attains ‘Ready to Respond Campus’ Designation - Elgin one of five Illinois campuses to receive distinction
* New Mortgage Loan Interface Increases Efficiency, Compliance
* State Fire Marshal Ushers In Fire Prevention Week - “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep!”
* October Is Illinois College Application Month! - Over 130 High Schools Will Hold Events to Help Students Get to College
* Illinois Takes Part in Nationwide Community Banking Study, Findings Announced

    Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller