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Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Plummer has apparently moved to panic mode

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* Down in the polls and apparently fed up with being belittled, Jason Plummer’s campaign first resorted to attacking Bill Enyart’s son and has now moved on to attacking Enyart’s wife in a press release that’s literally chock full of glaring mistakes.

From Plummer’s press release

While seniors and working families in Southern Illinois are left in limbo about the future of the pensions they earned, millionaire trial lawyer Bill Enyart and his family continue to enrich themselves on the taxpayer’s dime.

Enyart, who served as a political advisor to convicted felon Rod Blagojevich and Governor Quinn, and his wife Annette currently collect three taxpayer-funded pensions that pay more than $156,000 each year. With his household in line to receive at least four more taxpayer-funded pensions, how much more will Enyart collect off the backs of the taxpayers?

If elected, the Enyarts would add an eighth pension to their collection. This begs the question: Is he running to enrich himself or the lives of Southern Illinois families?

Despite those breathless allegations, Plummer’s own research shows that Bill Enyart isn’t collecting a single pension. Yes, you read that right. Go look for yourself.

* While the press release isn’t so explicit, this attack is purely about Enyart’s wife, Annette Eckert. And Plummer’s own research on her doesn’t even support Plummer’s attack.

For instance, this is one of the “pensions” that Ms. Eckert is supposedly receiving

That ain’t a “pension.” That’s a one-time death benefit payout from her own mother, for crying out loud.

* And if you look at the Plummer research, the number of actual pensions being collected doesn’t equal seven, it equals three. And two of those are pretty small. Click for a larger view

* Back to the press release

Much of Illinois’ dire financial situation is due to pension abuse, and Enyart’s insider dealings show how Illinois’ pension system has been corrupted. Two of the pensions that he collects come from positions that lasted a total of 14 and 19 months, respectively.

Again, Enyart is not collecting those pensions. Plummer’s own research shows that Enyart’s wife is collecting those monthly payouts.

Argue what you want about whether or not Enyart’s wife should be receiving those two pensions. The monthly payouts do look a bit excessive for the time employed, even if they are small.

* But, really, that’s neither here nor there. Plummer’s press release comes nowhere near to matching Plummer’s actual research. This is a totally bogus release. Period. End of story.

To sum up: Plummer’s research shows three pensions for Enyart’s wife (one big, two small), but Plummer’s press release claims the couple is collecting seven pensions and that Enyart himself is collecting two, when Enyart is actually not collecting any.

Also, to say that Enyart was a Blagojevich “political adviser” is a huge stretch.

We’ll see soon enough how the southern Illinois media covers this, but this is a crock.

*** UPDATE *** The News-Democrat leads with Enyart’s rebuttal: “Enyart, the Dems’ 12th U.S. House District nominee, calls GOP rival Plummer ‘unconscionable’ for attacking wife’s state pension“…

Bill Enyart, the Democratic nominee for the 12th U.S. House District seat, on Tuesday lashed out at GOP nominee Jason Plummer for claiming that Enyart and his wife. retired St. Clair County Judge Annette Eckert, were unethically taking advantage of state-funded pensions.

“I say this first as a father and a husband, for Mr. Plummer to attack my wife’s career of service is unconscionable because nothing matters to me more than my family,” Enyart said in a written statement.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


How not to win friends and influence people

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* I’ve been telling subscribers about this weird incident for the past couple of days, but the Sun-Times has a post up, so I figured you heathen non-subscribers might want to see this as well.

Sen. Marty Sandoval (D-Chicago) busted up a candidates’ forum on Saturday held at a suburban church

Sandoval stood on a chair and attempted to shout his disdain for Republicans during a forum Saturday. The crowd drowned him out by chanting the Spanish word for “respect,” and event organizers and a police officer herded him out of the church hall where the event was held.

“The Republicans are not with our people,” Sandoval is heard saying in Spanish as he walks out of the building.

Sandoval is a supporter of Kathleen Willis, the Democratic candidate against veteran Republican state Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano of Elmwood Park in the 77th District race. Willis’ campaign has received heavy support from Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) as well as $5,000 from Sandoval on Oct. 15, state records show. Sandoval’s Senate district includes Madigan’s district. […]

Sandoval offered no apologies, saying Saviano and his supporters are racists who had made “a farce of democracy,” allegedly co-opting the community group that organized the forum.

Sandoval doesn’t represent the district, but he has very close ties to Speaker Madigan.

* The must-watch video

Sheesh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* House Speaker and Democratic Party of Illinois Chairman Michael J. Madigan…

* The Question: Caption?

Best comment wins an invitation to my election night party, which is gonna be way cool, with a high-tech twist. Details to come.

- Posted by Rich Miller   150 Comments      


$900K on new TV ad against Schneider

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* The Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC has a new ad thwacking Democrat Brad Schneider. The PAC says it’s spending $900,000 on the spot. Have a look

Script…

Income.

You work SO hard for it. And it’s never enough.

But Brad Schneider supports an extreme tax hike on the middle class…

Hurting families who can least afford it.

And while politician Brad Schneider would force you to pay more, he won’t come clean about what he pays.

He’s refusing to release his tax returns.

Brad Schneider: Hiding his taxes, while trying to raise yours.

The worst kind of politician.

Congressional Leadership Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising.

* Schneider’s business experience is a major aspect of other TV attack ads. Some of his former colleagues tried to help set the record straight

The Schneider campaign was unwilling to give Patch much specific financial information about the candidate’s business success. It would only say he took over the Davis Dann Insurance Company in 1997 and turned it into a multimillion dollar business by the time he sold his interest in 2003, according to McCabe.

People familiar with Schneider’s work at Davis Dann also speak of his managerial skill. Marv Rotstein, now a senior managing director at Mesirow, tells how his former colleague came into the company knowing little about the life insurance business and made it a success. […]

After Schneider sold his interest in Davis and Dann, he joined the strategic services department of Blackman Kallick returning to his business roots of helping primarily family held businesses transition from one generation to the next or move to a management model which was not completely family based.

“He could really bring people together and pull ideas out of them,” Barry Cain, who recruited Schneider into Blackman Kallick, said. “He had a classic head for business. He really helped grow this area (of the company).”

Working as a team, Cain and Schneider were responsible for bringing between $800,000 and $1 million of revenue into Blackman Kallick annually in the six-year period Schneider worked there.

However, Schneider’s refusal to release his tax returns gives the Republicans an opening to demand to know what he’s hiding. It’s a totally expected part of the way the game is played nowadays.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Today’s number: 435

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* Oy

Chicago surpassed last year’s 435 homicides Monday when a man died after being shot in the 7900 block of South Escanaba Avenue, authorities said.

* Context

Chicago’s homicide count has seen a general decline over the years. There were more than 900 murders a year in the early 1990s, and the city saw 601 murders in 2003.

It fell sharply to 453 in 2004 and has remained below 500 ever since with the exception of one year — 2008. There were 459 in 2009, 436 in 2010 and 435 in 2011.

This year threatens to be more than a minor spike in the statistics, though. The city got 2012 off to a bloody start with a 66 percent rise in homicides during the first three months of the year compared with the same time period in 2011.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


Report: Patrick Collins doesn’t make US Attorney cut

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* The Chicago Sun-Times published a list today of four candidates to replace former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. But one name wasn’t mentioned

former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Collins, who spearheaded Operation Safe Road, which led to charges against Ryan — one of the most significant investigations in the history of the office.

Collins made big news when he spearheaded a fizzled Statehouse campaign reform effort. He was good at making allegations, but not so good when it came to actually getting something done.

I didn’t much care for the guy during his Springfield days. To me, it seemed like Collins believed it was self-evident that he was doing God’s work and that everybody should just fall in line. Sorry, but nobody should be exempt from making their their case when they push major legislation. Including reformers. But I did consistently write back then that he’d been a solid prosecutor, so I’m just a little bit surprised that he didn’t make the cut.

…Adding… From a commenter…

I’m surprised Mr. Collins didn’t make the final four as well, but if what you say is true about his attitude in Springfield and what I’ve heard from people who dealt with him while in his former government capacity, the US Attorney should not be a crusader with tunnel vision. A prosecutor’s job is not just to go all out, damn the torpedoes against anyone who comes across their radar. In fact, they have an ethical obligation not to pursue charges where they are not warranted and to treat defendants fairly. Perhaps tempering prosecutorial zeal with reasoned wisdom is something they are looking at, which in my opinion is always a good thing.

Agreed.

* Speaking of that 2009 reform push

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is taking no chances.

Despite solid Democratic majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and President Barack Obama back on top of the ticket, campaign accounts that Madigan controls have raised and spent more than $6.5 million on the Nov. 6 election just in the last seven months.

That’s 50 percent more than the $4.3 million Madigan’s accounts collected and shelled out during the same period two years ago, a landslide year for Republicans nationally and one in which Democrats lost six seats in the House.

In all, 14 political funds controlled by or linked to the state’s two parties and its four legislative leaders have rung up $17 million in campaign expenses since the March 20 primary election, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. That’s a 53 percent increase from 2010.

Yeah. That really worked out well.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - State’s attorney refuses to act *** Plummer goes ironically ballistic

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

*** UPDATE *** This is, I think, a good decision

A southern Illinois resident filed a voter fraud complaint against Republican Jason Plummer over questions about where the Metro East congressional candidate really lives and where he should legally vote.

It appears the complaint will go nowhere. St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, a Democrat, said: “I am taking no action at this time. The criminal justice process shouldn’t be used to influence an imminent election, absent a threat to public safety.”

Enyart got his press pop, but there’s no need to get the coppers involved during the last week of an election.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Charges of voter fraud in the 12th CD

An Iraq war veteran claims Republican 12th Congressional District candidate Jason Plummer is guilty of voter fraud and says he intends to file charges with the state’s attorney’s office.

Will Attig, a retired sergeant of the U.S. Army who completed two tours of duty in Iraq, accused Plummer on Monday of claiming a tax break on a permanent residence in Edwardsville but voted in the March primary listing a residence in Fairview Heights. Attig of De Soto said he is filing the charge with the Jackson County state’s attorney’s office in Murphysboro. State’s Attorney Michael Wepsiec could not be reached for comment by deadline Monday to confirm whether or not he had received the complaint.

* And check out the Plummer campaign’s response

“These claims are completely without merit. (Plummer) wanted this to be a campaign about issues, but since that isn’t possible with Enyart’s Blagojevich-style character assassination, (Enyart) can explain how his 26-year-old law school student son owns two homes, including a vacation house in New Mexico, the fact that his family collects at least seven taxpayer-funded pension, and how he still has yet to meet with the O’Fallon Police Department regarding his assault of a sitting female judge,” Detmers said.

Jason Plummer is actually attacking the apparently well-off son of his financially well-off political opponent? Are you kidding me?

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      


Strength test

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* The naïveté of the Peoria Journal Star’s editorial bashing the constitutional amendment requiring a three-fifths vote kinda overwhelms me

Arguably only a legislator with a political death wish would sponsor legislation boosting retirement benefits now.

Actually, legislators sponsored pension boosts just last session.

* Look, the proposal is what it is: A bipartisan face-saving gesture from a General Assembly that couldn’t figure out what to do about pensions.

But unless it’s repealed, a constitutional amendment is with us forever. In years to come, when the pension furor has died down, the amendment would still be on the books.

* And, yes, it’s true that almost all pension sweeteners were approved by more than three-fifths majorities. But a constitutional requirement for a super-majority almost always means that legislation is given a closer look by members. Its status is elevated by the Constitution.

The proposal probably won’t accomplish much at all in the near future. But it could very well be a flashing caution light for future generations when they take up pension issues.

* This, however, has some merit

Fourth, philosophically speaking, it’s always wise to be wary of governing by supermajority, as it empowers the minority. Some may be more sympathetic to that on this specific issue, but this is a precedent Illinoisans should not want to take root.

Plenty of proposals have surfaced over the years to require three-fifths majorities for tax hikes, which would make them all but impossible unless we get another Republican governor who wants a tax hike and has the ability to accomplish his goal (see Jim Edgar and the permanent extension of the temporary income tax hike for our only example).

* Pretty much every newspaper editorial board in the state has railed against this proposal. So, we’ll see just how influential they are come election day. If this thing is approved, without any groups spending any real money promoting it, then editorial boards might as well hang it up.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Plummer’s closer

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

* This appears to be Republican congressional candidate Jason Plummer’s closer

Rate it.

* Meanwhile, the House Majority PAC is airing a new ad slamming Republican Rodney Davis

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a campaign roundup

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

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* Oberweis now for gay marriage
* The patented Pat Quinn close has begun
* Question of the day
* McKinney resigns from Sun-Times: "I’m convinced this newspaper no longer has the backs of reporters like me"
* Another one pops
* Reality vs. reporting
* New anti-Rauner theme: "Wolf of Winnetka"
* Redefining Bobby
* Pat and Bruce
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* US judge orders hiring monitor at IDOT
* Underdog endorsements
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