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Not even Quinn’s allies are defending him

Monday, Oct 31, 2011

* The Sun-Times asked Rep. La Shawn Ford last week how he felt about his voting button being pressed “Yes” during the “Smart Grid trailer bill” vote when he actually opposed the bill

Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), a rate-hike opponent who wound up having his vote cast mistakenly in favor of ComEd by a seatmate on the first of two measures, expressed frustration that the important vote was allowed to proceed when Democratic leadership knew members were off the floor.

“It’s not usual for a bill as important as this to not have the full body in the chamber in their chairs. I think there should be some explanation as to why a bill like this came up without checking out the chambers,” said Ford, who later wound up voting Quinn’s way on the override.

Ford, like several others, was off the floor during the vote.

* But this is how Ford reacted after Gov. Pat Quinn went ballistic and began demanding an official investigation into the floor vote

“I would go on record to say he’s wildly out of line,” said Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago.

* At least one member was accidentally voted “No,” when he meant to vote “Yes”

Freshman Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, said he had just left a committee hearing when he arrived on the House floor and learned that the bill had already been voted on. He supported the ComEd legislation but was recorded as voting “no.” […]

“Obviously, the recorded vote makes the governor look bad, and so it doesn’t surprise me that he would make such a request (for an investigation),” Morrison said.

* Former Rep. Bill Black added his own two cents

Black noted that if lawmakers believe there is something fishy about the votes cast to pass a bill, they can always demand a “verification.” That gives opponents a chance to determine whether everyone recorded as voting is present. They can eliminate the votes of anyone who isn’t actually in the room. Quinn’s legislative allies did not take this step on the vote that triggered his anger.

Black said he suspects Quinn is speaking out because he lost, not because of deep concerns about lawmakers voting for one another.

“To say that shouldn’t go on is technically true,” Black said, “but it’s been going on since time immemorial.”

The aggrieved legislators who were recorded as voting “Yes” when they wanted to vote against it also could have asked to reconsider the vote. None did.

* The Tribune paints this as an attempt by Gov. Quinn to save face and change the subject after losing so badly on both ComEd-backed bills. But saving face while blaming everybody else and implying dark motives by those who won puts Quinn directly in the same lineage as Dan Walker and Rod Blagojevich. It’s governing by press release, and it doesn’t work.

* By the way, Gov. Quinn also said during Friday’s press conference that he’d heard that the House had made a motion to reconsider the vote on the trailer bill, which, if true, could prevent the bill from reaching Quinn’s desk…

“I heard that they had a motion to reconsider. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I hope they’re not going to be like the gambling enthusiasts who passed a bill on May 31st and thought so highly of it that they put it in their pocket for the last four and a half months. Sometimes that does happen, and it is kind of a disturbing trend that their motions to reconsider are starting to interfere with the proper function according to the Constitution of our legislative and executive branches of government when they look at laws.”


* Unfortunately for Quinn this was yet another case of needlessly crying wolf. If Quinn had bothered to check the bill’s online history, he would’ve seen that the motion to reconsider was immediately tabled. From the House rules

When a motion to reconsider is made within the time prescribed by these Rules, the Clerk shall not allow the bill or other subject matter of the motion to pass out of the possession of the House until after the motion has been decided or withdrawn. Such a motion shall be deemed rejected if laid on the table.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:30 am:

    Quinn may not be a very good executive, but I understand and share the outrage of how greased this lousy deal was.

    Not one member, from either party, could try to slow down this money-grab by asking for a verified roll call?

    It was wired from coast-to-coast and everyone’s in on it. They just hustled some of those out of the chamber who might feel compelled to speak on the bill. The less said the better for all involved when you’re pulling a job like that.

  2. - just sayin' - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:36 am:

    This state is so screwed up.

    Any normal person knows it’s crazy that paid lawmakers are having others cast their votes. Quinn is right on this one.

    Obviously even newbies like Tom Morrison have already O.D.’d on the silly juice. Not only is he not outraged by the scam and not concerned about reporting when he’s now involved, but why is he supporting ComEd and the rate increase in the first place?

    Yet another phony reformer exposed.

  3. - Dirt Digger - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:39 am:

    If Quinn ever says cancer is bad we will have to immediately start researching whether cancer actually cures AIDS.

  4. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    ===It was wired from coast-to-coast and everyone’s in on it.===

    Word, you have in the past railed at commenters who claimed various grand conspiracies. Do you know how difficult it would be to get all 118 House members to participate in such a conspiracy?

  5. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:46 am:

    ===They just hustled some of those out of the chamber who might feel compelled to speak on the bill.===

    The HDems held three budget briefings that day. Again, there’s little evidence of a grand conspiracy.

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:52 am:

    Quinn is right that the ComEd bill is bad legislation, and heavily greased with $$ contributions. But instead of focusing on ‘who pushed whose button’ nonsense, he should instead be calling out legislators, naming names, who received the money. Now that is a story that voters can follow. And, let’s face it, what does he have to lose at this point? He already alienated both Madigan and Cullerton– if he party leaders are not on his side then nobody is.

  7. - Cassiopeia - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:57 am:

    I’m not sure why anyone is surprised that Quinn displayed such childish behavior. It’s not like he has a very long record of adult behavior during his entire public life. He has always been goofy and is just playing on a more public stage now.

    If you discuss Quinn with any of the older staff that have worked with him before they will tell you stories that you will find hard to believe. The younger staffers who have never worked for anyone else at such a high level don’t have adult political leaders to compare him to.

  8. - not like - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:00 am:

    I think the ComEd bill is a disaster for Illinois consumers, and I am shocked that the Governor did not take on this issue from the beginning. However, this call for an investigation is like asking for a league investigation into a blown call in a football came you lost 56-0. This just keeps his defeat in the news. Take your lumps and move on. As a wise man said in a similar situation: “They won. We lost. Next?”

  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:03 am:

    Rich, I’ll go with the AARP folks on this one. No conspiring is necessary if everyone has the same interests. Money talked, every electricity consumer got stuck with a higher bill and no one said a word.

  10. - Todd - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:03 am:

    by laying the motion on the table, it means that 71 votes woul dbe needed to reconsider the vote and not 60. it locks it in. it is done on most bigg issues, original gaming bill for one when they just had the bare majority and 1 vote switch could come back and kill the whole thing.

    It may have been overkill in this instance as 71 votes were needed to pass the bill and they had room to spare.

  11. - OneMan - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:14 am:

    == Word, you have in the past railed at commenters who claimed various grand conspiracies. Do you know how difficult it would be to get all 118 House members to participate in such a conspiracy? ==

    But imagine the meeting Rich, a darkened Darcy’s, cigar smoke heavy in the air, plates piled with cheese, fries and beef. People speaking in hushed voices until Madigan walks in.

    “Listen folks, I just met with the power guys and here is the deal, we are going to approve it when
    some of you are not in the room, giving you cover and giving Quinn something to complain about to help us hide what we are doing today.

    Under each of your chairs, there is 4 gold bars, do not flash them, remember what happened in Good Fellas when those guys flashed bling after the Luftansa heist. I am serious about this.
    It’s going to work out for all of us…. ”

    Can a lone blog commentator and The Most Earnest Governor In America(tm) stop this maddness before it is too late for the ratepayer?

    Go see “The Power Plan” an AARP film, coming to DVD soon.

  12. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:15 am:

    LaRussa is retiring does anyone really care about PQ at this moment?

  13. - zatoichi - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:17 am:

    Doesn’t the Governor have anyone, besides himself, whose job is to understand, monitor, analyze, and develop support for various bills moving through the GA. All the trade associations have a someone doing that for their particular cause.

  14. - Lincoln's Penny - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:17 am:


    simply hilarious

  15. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    BTW AARP should know a lot about money and politics from playing footsies with the GOPers over the Mediare Rx subsidy.

    That scam makes COmEd and Ameren look like soap box derby racers at the Indy 500.

  16. - soccermom - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    Rich, are you telling me that the Speaker has lost track of when important votes are going to be called?

  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    soccermom, they called that bill the moment it arrived from the Senate.

  18. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:29 am:

    Well, One Man, I didn’t realize money’s never influenced a vote in the General Assembly. Good to know.

    You left out the part in your movie from an earlier thread, where, by accident, the parent company of ComEd is allowed to pour unlimited funds from its federal pac to its to its state pac and spread it around to legislators prior to a crucial vote.

    Dude, you’re missing the drama.

    And I think we read last week where Madigan and Cross are trying to line up 30 Dems and 30 GOPers to sign off on the Civic Committee’s pension grab bill.

    That’s not a conspiracy in the service of powerful interests who make campaign contributions. That’s just a structured roll-call.

    Call it whatever you want, the result is the same.

  19. - soccermom - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 11:15 am:

    Rich, thanks for the clarification. I had been wondering…

  20. - soccermom - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 11:16 am:

    Although it might be nice if the Senate let the Speaker know when an important bill is heading over. Maybe send him a text?

  21. - Coach - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    Quinn used to be famous for his ability to rally public sentiment around a populist message. What happened to that man? He forgot how to storm the media with Sunday press conferences, etc.?

    Who knows whether an effective, focused and sustained public rally against this legislation would have made a difference, but couldn’t Quinn have at least tried? Why wasn’t he pushing his message into every last news story this summer about ComEd power failures? Why wasn’t he getting behind the pulpit and preaching about consumer rights each Sunday? Why wasn’t he marching in parades and waving signs, and so on?

    We already know Quinn fundamentally lacks the skills to be an executive, but he’s now showing us he can’t even play the populist rabble rouser he used to play. Now he’s governor, and he’s paralyzed.

  22. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 11:35 am:

    ===LaRussa is retiring does anyone really care about PQ at this moment? ===

    You left one word out of your question: …does anyone in MISSOURI really care…


  23. - Fed up - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 12:41 pm:

    I am about as anti Quinn as they come but he is right for once. The house should be investigated. What is more appalling is that this is no big deal to the members. They are just used to things like this. Hopefully soon the people of Illinois will tire of this type of government.

  24. - soccermom - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    Kim Kardashian is divorcing does anyone really care about PQ at this moment?

  25. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 1:31 pm:



  26. - soccermom - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 1:45 pm:

    After 72 days of wedded bliss…. Does this mean I get my present back?

  27. - Obamas Puppy - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 1:50 pm:

    Pathetic, I know he has pepole who understand the legislative process but apprently he is not accepting their phone calls or messages. The last part of the audio makes it appear that he is not aware of the fact that motion to re-condsider has been used for decades and is almost always tabled after a controversial bill. Better to be dumb and quiet than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  28. - reformer - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 2:55 pm:

    LaShawn may have opposed the Com Ed bill, but he’s never been a Quinn ally. Ford was a visible supporter of Dan Hynes in the primary. There has been tension between Ford and the Quinn people ever since.

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    reformer, they made their peace a long time ago.

  30. - mouthy - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 4:03 pm:

    Black is right. This has been going on forever. Somebody could have called for a roll call vote which I’ve seen done many times.

  31. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 6:07 pm:

    I have a hard time accepting that people are casting votes for legislators.

    And, while I like LaShawn Ford, I have a hard time accepting legislators being sanguine about someone else voting against his wishes.

    If the legislators are basically OK with this, what are they getting paid for exactly?

  32. - Park - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 7:01 pm:

    Yeah, he’s a boob. I wonder how many of the negative commentators voted for the other guy in general election. So who’s to blame?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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