SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Lang withdraws from gaming bill sponsorship

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

* Rockford Register Star reporter Isaac Guerrero heard last night (as did I) that Rep. Lou Lang had withdrawn his sponsorship from the gaming bill. The withdrawal was apparently no coincidence

It was late Monday evening when I learned of this turn of events. Hours earlier I had asked Rockford City Legal Director Patrick Hayes if there was any connection between Rockford’s inclusion in the gaming bill and the city’s employment of the law firm that Lang works for.

Lang is of counsel at Odelson and Sterk, which the city hired last summer to handle some of its worker’s compensation legal matters. The city actually hired two firms to do the work, Odelson and Sterk based in Evergreen Park and Heyl Royster based here in Rockford.

Hayes said there’s no connection between the city’s casino bid and the City Council’s decision last year to hire Odelson and Sterk. Moreover, Hayes said, Lang doesn’t handle any of the city’s worker’s compensation matters. That work is handled by two of Odelson and Sterk’s other attorneys – Michael Stillman and Burt Odelson.

Eight law firms submitted bids last year to provide the city legal representation with respect to worker’s compensation matters. Odelson and Sterk, Hayes told me, did not submit the lowest bid. But when it comes to certain professional services, especially legal services, qualifications, experience and performance of the bidder are often more important to the city than lowest cost. That was the case with this bid, Hayes said.

* The Sun-Times followed up

Lang also defended the timing to withdraw as sponsor of the gambling bill, even though the connection Odelson and Sterk had with Rockford dated back to last summer.

“This is the time I felt was appropriate. I think you know that in all the legislation I’ve ever had in gaming going back 20 years, I’ve had Rockford in the bill. There’s nothing new here,” Lang said.

Lang didn’t waver when pressed why he didn’t object to the decision by the law firm that employs him to solicit business from a town covered by his gambling-expansion legislation.

“I have violated no ethical rules, and so I’ll send you this piece of paper,” he said, referring to the letter to Madigan, announcing his recusal from the legislation. “I don’t want to discuss it further. That’s my public comment.”

* Lang’s withdrawal letter

It was recently brought to my attention that there may be a perceived conflict of interest between the law firm of which I am of counsel and my sponsorship of the gaming bill because a client of the firm has an interest that could be impacted by the passage of the proposed legislation.

To be clear, the law firm’s work for the client has no relation whatsoever to any gaming legislation. Additionally, I do no legal work for this client, and I receive no compensation from their relationship with the firm. My actions as an attorney and/or a member of the General Assembly have been, at every moment, completely appropriate and totally respectful of all applicable laws and ethical rules. There have been no violations of any kind.

Lang has, indeed, supported a Rockford casino for a very long time. And “of counsel” means he’s not a partner in the firm, so, as he said, he didn’t share in any profits.

But with all the heat on this bill (some of it contrived, some of it legit), withdrawal was a wise move.

Rep. Bob Rita is the new sponsor.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


16 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Gaming is a giant ethical minefield and Lou Lang has a rather big blind spot where ethics are concerned (certainly on perception of conflicts). This isn’t remotely surprising.


  2. - Snucka - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    Interesting. Has to be disappointing for proponents of the bill to go from Lang to a much weaker sponsor in Rita.


  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===certainly on perception of conflicts===

    The problem with “perception” of anything is that it varies with the perceiver. You can twist just about anything to allege a perception of a conflict.


  4. - El tercero - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:32 pm:

    Lang can now focus on making sure payday lenders get a fair shake from the state. He’s such a good advocate for them.


  5. - The Captain - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:38 pm:

    If the bill were to come to the floor with Rockford in it would he be able to vote for/against the bill or would he have to vote present?


  6. - Nickypiii - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:55 pm:

    Lou understands that there might be a perception of conflict and did the right thing. He wouldn’t want to jeopardize this important legislation.


  7. - walkinfool - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 3:28 pm:

    Lou’s disentangling himself from anything that might be used against him in his positioning for
    the Speakership, if MJM moves out.

    Just a random thought. I’m often wrong on such.


  8. - Anon - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:09 pm:

    If the facts have not changed how does the public’s new awareness of the facts create a perception problem?


  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    =The problem with “perception” of anything is that it varies with the perceiver. You can twist just about anything to allege a perception of a conflict.=

    I really don’t want to get involved in this discussion, but since the other Anonymous missed it, I thought I’d mention it. I believe the correct term within the legal context is “perception of impropriety.”


  10. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    Smart move because it is more than a perception .


  11. - Publius - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 5:55 pm:

    Odelson & Sterk also represents calumet city. One of the leading southeast suburb communities for a casino. Coincidence Lang was hired by Odelson?


  12. - Capitol View - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 7:32 pm:

    with all the nonsense that Blago and others have done, is this even worth muttering about? Almost every big firm lawyer probably has overlapping interests with half the bills that come before the General Assembly.

    Either we go with a full time legislature, or pseudo conflicts like this need to be ignored.


  13. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, May 22, 13 @ 7:28 am:

    There’s no ambiguity about the conflict of interest here - unless you want to argue that winning boatloads of money for your employer has no personal value (even without a formal quid-pro-quo that your employer will reward you with other work or benefits). Capitol View is right - there’s conflicts all over the place - we and the media have simply been beaten down to accept them.


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 22, 13 @ 8:57 am:

    ===There’s no ambiguity about the conflict of interest here===

    Oh, please. That’s ridiculous. Capitol View was absolutely right when he called this a “pseudo conflict.”


  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 22, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    Here’s my perception, based on reality.

    Lang has pushed for a Rockford casino for 20 years.

    Last year, a law firm he does work for got a Rockford contract.

    20 - 1 = 19.

    If waiting around 19 years for a contract is supposed to represent a quid pro quo, my perception is that Lang isn’t very good at leveraging his office for business.


  16. - Dingo - Wednesday, May 22, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    With or without Lang, this legislation needs to be passed. IL needs the revenue it would generate and the residents of IL definitely need the jobs it would provide.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Nailed it
* *** UPDATED x1 - Cullerton: "Nope" *** "Sincerely, Bruce"
* The "puppetmaster"
* Question of the day
* A few bits of common sense
* This Just In: Exelon Profits Up 22.2 Percent in 2nd Quarter
* Casino company acquires video gaming operator
* Yes, there are plenty of people to replace Kirk
* Mansion roof to be fixed
* The trend is not our friend
* *** UPDATED x1 - "Willful misreading" *** Duckworth: "I screwed up"
* Rate IllinoisGO's new online ad
* Because... Madigan
* Today's number: 76 percent
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Good morning!
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

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

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * iPhone 6s production now hinted by leaked parts
        * Names for two possible new Verizon Motorola Droid smartphones leaked
        * Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus could be available on August 21
        * Samsung outs patches that will allow pre-installed apps to be deleted
        * New variant of the Huawei G8 is coming to China
        * Google’s next Android M preview release isn’t ready yet (but it should be worth the wait)
        * Apple releases intermediate beta updates for iOS and OS X to developers

        * White Sox pitching legend Pierce dies at 88
        * Blasts from the Past - A New York Yankees preview
        * Key White Sox fueled key winning streak
        * White Sox winning streak stalls at seven
        * Short of perfect, White Sox happy with trip
        * Red Sox 8, White Sox 2: Wright guy beats right guy
        * Rodon gets first look at Yankees in series opener

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        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

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * 164 skydivers smash head-down world record in Illinois
        * Chicago poised to require breast-feeding rooms at airports
        * Decaying Illinois Executive Mansion to get roof replaced
        * NY village makes ransom payments to keep computers running
        * 23 years after Iowa student's death, mom hopes for answers
        * Judge refuses to toss suit over Chicago's red light cameras
        * Mel Reynolds due in court 2nd-straight day on housing issue
        * Illinois courtrooms facing shortage of court reporters
        * Joliet's penny parking meters arrive in Sycamore
        * Cardiologist details troubles at Chicago-area VA hospital

        * Executive Mansion to get roof replaced for $493K
        * Blagojevich attorney says he'll ask full court for rehearing
        * Illinois' health insurance co-op among those struggling
        * Court ruling helps some child care providers amid ongoing state budget impasse
        * Rauner, AFSCME reach another contract extension; governor vetoes bill to prohibit strike, lockout
        * Court ruling helps some child care providers
        * Private employers now can give hiring preference to veterans after Rauner signs law
        * Private employers now can give hiring preference to veterans
        * Illinois House votes to reject pay raise; Senate vote expected next week
        * Statewide tourism numbers up, although most Springfield historic sites see decline in visitors

        * Doctors fight to save Stroger Hospital pediatric unit
        * Chicago mulls borrowing that Puerto Rico rejected as too risky
        * Private equity has new competition in corporate buyouts: Chicago's uber-wealthy
        * Small business to city: Make it easier for us to hang a shingle
        * Why UPS is buying Coyote Logistics


          * Cops warn of man groping women in Lincoln Square
          * No bail for suspect in slaying of senator's nephews
          * First black bear in 144 years roams northwest Indiana
          * Man on trial for Chicago cop killing is psychotic, psychologist says
          * Boater rescued after falling from sailboat on lake
          * 164 skydivers smash world record above Skydive Chicago
          * State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower
          * Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?
          * Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night
          * Woman killed, 5 injured when car flips over on Eisenhower


          * Executive Mansion to get roof replaced for $493K
          * Blagojevich attorney says he'll ask full court for rehearing
          * E.J. Dionne: The price Boehner pays
          * Charles Steele, Jr.: EPA putting affordable energy in jeopardy
          * Illinois' health insurance co-op among those struggling
          * Catherine Rampell: One job government does better
          * Tom Kiernan: Wind could power Illinois' economic future
          * George Will: With Iran deal, Obama makes bad history
          * Court ruling helps some child care providers amid ongoing state budget impasse
          * Rauner, AFSCME reach another contract extension; governor vetoes bill to prohibit strike, lockout


          * Life Line Anti-Bullying Program
          * Aug. 4 Bob Asmussen chat
          * Tom's Mailbag July 31, 2015
          * Accused murderer beaten in jail
          * PODCAST: Penny for Your Thoughts 07-31-15
          * #SundaySneak: Doughnut truck today, store tomorrow?
          * Closed Urbana gym drawing interest
          * AUDIO: Mahomet-Seymour grad still pushing for Rio Olympics bid
          * Favorable weather continues across the Corn Belt
          * South Carolina senator backs Mark Kirk's re-election bid


          * Chicago Cubs obtain pitchers Haren, Hunter
          * Former Gurnee Mayor Dick Welton has died
          * Patriots circle wagons in camp and focus on football
          * Skins add LB Galette to pass rush, despite off-field issues
          * Antonio Banderas to star in Starz series 'Cuban Quartet'

          * 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

          * Durbin says newly passed transportation bi......
          * IL Senator urges EPA to protect towns alon......

          * Cardiologist details troubles at Chicago-a......
          * Sen. Mark Kirk's loss lips - Chicago Tribune...
          * Cardiologist details troubles at Chicago-a......

          * Difanis honored by Central Illinois Business Magazine
          * Friday photo: CIAM’s embarrassing questions about your rowhouse
          * Harvard: New multifamily home construction not enough to help all rental demand
          * Positive Loitering Tonight
          * DNA Info: CPS Changes Start Times For 82 Chicago Schools (FULL LIST)
          * Positive Loitering Tonight, 7pm-8pm
          * Yard Sale & Art and Music Fest Saturday in Sheridan Park
          * Rauner election could signal turnaround for Illinois' business community, lobbyist says
          * Morning events at In Defense of Life Seminar in Tinley Park
          * South Siders Call On Pastor Brooks To Resign From Tollway Board, Use Political Influence To Promote Progressive Revenue Solutions (VIDEO)


          * Governor Takes Bill Action
          * Safety Belt Use in Illinois Reaches 95.2 Percent - Drivers and front seat passengers are buckling up more than ever before in Illinois
          * IDOT Seeks Ownership of Arsenal Road in Will County - Walter Strawn Hearing Request Withdrawn, Work on Long-Term Solutions Continues
          * Governor Rauner Signs Veteran Preference Bill
          * Governor's Office Statement on Passage of HB 576




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