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Fahner: Civic Committee helped jaw down state’s bond rating

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013

* A commenter mentioned something the other day which caught my eye. The commenter claimed that the Civic Committee’s Ty Fahner admitted in a March speech to the Union League Club that he had actively helped talked down the state’s bond rating in order to put more pressure on the General Assembly to pass pension reform.

So, I looked up the video and watched it this morning while hanging out at my uncle’s house

The commenter wasn’t quite right, but he was close.

* If you go to about the 47-minute mark, you’ll hear an unidentified questioner say this to Fahner…

“Maybe sometimes you gotta be irresponsible to be responsible. If a political solution really doesn’t produce a favorable outcome, maybe you really need a market solution. And a market solution, I don’t mean bankruptcy, I mean actually talking down the state rating even further so the state’s bonds essentially become below investment grade. And it drives up the borrowing cost to the state and all of us to a significant level enough that you really feel the public pressure…”

* Fahner’s response…

“The Civic Committee, not me, but some of the people that make up the Civic Committee… did meet with and call - in one case in person - and a couple of calls to Moody’s and Fitch and Standard & Poors, and say ‘How in the hell can you guys do this? You are an enabler to let the state continue. You keep threatening more and more and more.’

“And I think now we’ve backed off. We don’t want to be the straw that broke the camel’s back… It hasn’t been irresponsible, but we have told them that we thought they were being irresponsible. But we stopped that a couple of months ago.”

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


96 Comments
  1. - In the know - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    sue the civic committee for placing the State of Illinois in a false light, essentially, libeling us. Damages would be the difference in bonding costs. I think that shows sufficient malicious intent!


  2. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    Illinois, it’s all about insider dealing.


  3. - The Captain - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    Infuriating


  4. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    That the agencies took the call tells us everything we need to know about why Illinois bond rating is much lower than it should be compared to certain Canadian provinces. That the plutocrats on the Civic Committee thought they could call and influence these ratings agencies tells us all we need to know about them as well.

    Neither the ratings agencies, nor Ty, nor R Eden, and their ilk should be due anything other than our scorn.


  5. - truthteller - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    Fahner and his friends probably want to buy Illinois bonds and get the highest possible interest rates. It’s all just business to them. Anyone who thinks that Fahner , Martin and that crowd care about Illinois should think again


  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    Tell us more, Ty.

    Who on the Civic Committee made these contacts, and who did they speak with at Moody’s, S&P and Fitch? What were their objectives and who were they speaking for?

    I’d like to ask the rating agencies: why are you talking to these people? What’s their official role in your admittedly subjective judgements? Do you disclose these conversations and the influence they have on your end product?

    Did you at least tell the state, the issuer that is paying you?

    And just for kicks — did any of these “civic leaders” have positions, or later take positions, in Illinois debt, that would benefit from lower ratings and higher interest payments?

    Do the rating agencies often take meetings and calls from those who may have a vested personal financial interest in a rating?

    There’s a phrase for that — insider something-something….


  7. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    Wish I could describe this as unbelievable.

    Unfortuneately it merely confirms for me the contempt for which the ceo class has for their fellow citizens and the amount of corruption and insider collusion that has a role in the actions of ratings agencies.

    Also FYI to the CEOs of Chicago, bullying ratings agencies into giving you what you want is pretty much the exact opposite thing of letting the market work. Oops I forgot being subject to the whims of the markets creative destruction is only for little people not the masters of the universe who rig the game for themselves.


  8. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    Let’s get Pat Collins on the case to ferret out any wrongdoing. Never mind, he has a conflict.


  9. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    Why does Ty Fahner hate America?


  10. - 100 Miles West - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    This is outrageous on so many levels it leaves me nearly speechless. Do we have a treason statute in the State of Illinois?


  11. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    Hey if you are at UnkieDunkie who is protecting Oscar THE Puppy?


  12. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    Think we just got the video clip and statements for why Illinois SHOULD have a graduated income tax that hits the rich …


  13. - carbaby - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:25 pm:

    This just reinforces the point that those ratings are subjective and that they can be changed with certain influence. Can’t say I’m surprised- but surprised at the admission because it’s pretty brazen - although given the audience not really.


  14. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    Prominent people overstating problems in order to hurt people? Now Chicago/Illinois is sounding more like Detroit.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2013/07/23/has-detroit-over-inflated-its-pension-liabilities/


  15. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    Bet is was that mental; giant Eden Martin
    And yes they do trade options and other derivatives based on IL securities and other instruments that can be impacted by state credit ratings…do it with mask & gun and you go to 26th & Cal on the way to Chester…use a fancy suit and you get your Civic Committee bowling shirt


  16. - phocion - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    Irresponsible.


  17. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    Rich your blog rules prevent me from disCUSSing how this makes me feel. Really doesn’t this violate about a thousand laws? Just when I think nothing else can surprise me……


  18. - ILPundit - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    If we actually had an independent legislature, I would suggest hearings. But given that the Speaker and Mr. Fahner sing from the same hymnal, it all seems pointless and hopeless.


  19. - West Side the Best Side - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    F. Scott Fitzgerald had it right - The very rich “are different from you and me….They still think they are better than we are.” The Civic Committee can benefit from bogus changes to ratings while everyone else gets screwed.


  20. - ILPundit - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:38 pm:

    Maybe the Tribune will do an expose…oh, wait…


  21. - Steve - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:38 pm:

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. After all, is everyone so sure about revenue assumptions in the future to pay off those pensions. How does the city of Chicago know what their population is going to be 15 years from now???? Does the state of Illinois know how many government workers there will be in 10 years paying into pension funds?? Are the pension funds assuming no more recessions????


  22. - Jack - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    Graduated income tax. They helped cause the higher borrowing cost, now let them pay for it. It would be easier than trying to fine them directly.


  23. - Lord Stanley's Cup - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    Put aside the rank shamefulness for a moment. Which us hard. What business sense does it make to talk down your home State’s bond rating, thereby increasing the cost of doing business in that state, directly or indirectly? And these are the guys who have it all figured out when it comes to what ails Illinois? C’mon, Man!


  24. - siriusly - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    That’s like shooting yourself in the leg to get into see your doctor faster. Unbelievable.

    That should be criminal.


  25. - muon - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:52 pm:

    This makes sense and is consistent with the posts on the blog recently describing how Illinois’ debt status didn’t warrant such a low rating.


  26. - Filmmaker Professor - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    All these guys care about are destroying unions and hurting public employees. They want to privatize everything, and will stop at nothing to do it.


  27. - Raymond - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 12:59 pm:

    === That’s like shooting yourself in the leg to get into see your doctor faster. Unbelievable. ===

    Indeed. But in the Civic Committee’s view, it’s called taking steps to advance your objective - maximizing pressure on the state to annihilate its public pension debt by quashing benefits promised to workers.


  28. - Pacman - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    needs to be some kind of investigation. SEC or FBI, maybe both or some other alphabet agency?


  29. - foster brooks - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all.


  30. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    Ty’s next tirade will be to unfund the Illinois Channel.


  31. - Obama's Puppy - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    This is a guy who once testified in Comm that he was not a Constitutional lawyer. He must have forgotten that being the Attorney General is by default being a constitutional lawyer. He is a great opponent.


  32. - Ruby - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:19 pm:

    This sounds like a stunning admission of insider self-dealing in the bond market under the guise of trying to find a solution to Illinois’ fiscal problems. Only Illinois US Attorney Zachary Feldon could investigate this and find the truth.


  33. - girllawyer - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    I knew Fahner when he was Attorney General. He seemed like a really nice guy who truly cared about people. Which means I either was a lousy judge of character back then or people really can change.


  34. - Old and In The Way - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:23 pm:

    This raises a number of not just ethical but legal questions. The AG’s office not to mention the SEC should be at the very least asking some serious questions of all parties. Sadly this doesn’t surprise me in the least. However, the nonchalant ,almost matter of fact, arrogance on display here is really astounding. He treats it like his civic duty to undermine the state and its taxpayers. What small sliver of credibility Fahner had is gone……..


  35. - Steve - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:25 pm:

    For those of you who are upset consider this: in the private sector the SEC comes knocking at your door when your pension plan is less than 80% funded. How many public pension plans in the state of Illinois are below 80%? More than you can imagine. So, one could make an argument that Chicago, and Illinois debt shouldn’t be getting the grade it’s getting now.


  36. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    good for him.


  37. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    ===in the private sector the SEC comes knocking at your door when your pension plan is less than 80% funded===

    How many states have gone out of business lately? Plus, the feds insure private pensions, so they have a pretty strong interest in keeping companies from raiding the kitty. States are sovereign.

    Try again Steve.


  38. - Boycott Civic Committee - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    We the 600,000 public employees and our families should boycott all the businesses of the civic committee. We can collectively choose to do business with others who can be trusted to get their hands off our wallets. Boycott the greedy rich bullies!


  39. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:39 pm:

    Steve, you misunderstand, perhaps deliberately, the difference between state pensions, where the state, an entity that is sovereign, exists in perpetuity, and cannot declare bankruptcy, with private sector pensions owned by entities that can and regularly do declare bankruptcy to callously rid themselves of the promises they’ve made to those pesky takers via the abused bankruptcy laws in this country. 80% or more funding for private sector pensions makes sense. Not so for public pensions, but nice try.


  40. - cod - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    It was interesting to hear that Mr. Fahner opposed one businessman’s suggestion to just let the pension fund go bankrupt. That seemed out of character for the aggressive anti-teacher activities of his Civic Committee, until he explained why: 600,000 people would not be able to pay their bills.

    Apparently it wasnt out of pity for retired teachers, just that going that far would not be good for some of the business leaders of the Commercial Club who still need to have some consumers left after they finish the job of eviscerating the pensions.


  41. - SIUPROF - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    This has to be criminal. Manipulating bond ratings to advance a political agenda. This whole pension crisis is manufactured. The funding % is just about where it was at the time of our constitutional convention. I think the Civic Committee sees massive reduction of the pension debt as an avenue to avoid a progressive income tax. That way they do not have to look like the ruthless 1%ers they are, but the white knights riding in to save ordinary citizens from crushing debt. Even their tactics of highlighting those getting high pensions smacks of hypocrisy. If some retired physician from a medical school is somehow evil for getting a 250,000 pension, how are these guys who could not get by on $250,000 not evil as well. And just how is it o.k. for someone worth millions of dollars per year to advocate cutting the pension and medical benefits of a retired English Professor, or high school teacher, or policeman who probably is drawing a pension of about 35,000 per year.


  42. - votecounter - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    The remarks on this page seem to blame the downgrading on Republicans instead of the fact Illinois deserves it’s fate!
    This is just like the lefties trying to blame Republican policies for the fate of Detroit! Ty Fahner didn’t spend us into oblivion the General Assembly did.

    The problem with being in charge is that you have to tale the blame when your policies don’t work. You can’t keep giving money to your constituents that the state doesn’t have. There are consequences for actions and one party rule


  43. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:19 pm:

    Votecounter, Illinois is nowhere near the oblivion you would have us be in.


  44. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    If you want a list of this group to share your thoughts, go to this link: http://www.civiccommittee.org/members


  45. - Century Club - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    Disgusting. I’m with word - let’s hear the specifics.

    That graduated income tax is looking better and better.


  46. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    And I thought Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poors built their business on providing consistent impartial research as the basis for their recommendations. This just another item in the recent stream of stories showing their impartiality seems to be influenceable with the right phone calls/meetings while their consistency varies across the country.


  47. - Makandadawg - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:38 pm:

    Next up on their agenda will be their attack on collective bargaining laws to make Illinois a right to work state.


  48. - Former Assistant AG - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:38 pm:

    @girllawyer. I worked for Ty Fahner when he was the AG and he was a really nice guy who seemed to truly care about the state employees who worked for him. Or so I thought. People can change and he seems to be a prime example.


  49. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    Hey, Word,

    Isn’t Rauner the Chairman of the Education Committee on the Civic Committee?


  50. - Union Man - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    What a tool!!


  51. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    ==The remarks on this page seem to blame the downgrading on Republicans instead of the fact Illinois deserves it’s fate!==

    The remarks are blaming market manipulators who colluded to materially hurt the state of Illinois. No one is saying Illinois’ finances are in good shape.

    ==This is just like the lefties trying to blame Republican policies for the fate of Detroit!==

    Only in your fantasyland is that occurring. Logical thinkers are actually rebutting the GOP finger pointing of “one-party rule/unions/other bogeyman” by noting that Detroit has had an extremely fast industrial decline due to an extreme over reliance on a single economic sector that caused massive job and population loss combined with a major out migration of middle class citizens prior to some of the faster industrial decline due to racism and blockbusting.


  52. - reformer - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    votecounter

    It’s one thing to have state government rated objectively to get the rating it actually earns. It’s quite another thing when the problem is exaggerated by bigwigs with a political agenda so IL gets a worse rating than it deserves. Ontario has a much higher debt ratio than IL, but a much higher bond rating.


  53. - reformer - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 2:55 pm:

    Cinci

    It would be instructive to hear Rauner’s answer to the question about whether IL business leaders should bash their state to artificially reduce the credit rating.


  54. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:09 pm:

    I know from personal experience thsr the CF is headed by a mean bullying jerk that thinks nothing of intimidsting people over such trivial matters as a parking space..this group are a bunch of bunch of self appointed know it alls…


  55. - Dirt Diver - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    =in the private sector the SEC comes knocking at your door when your pension plan is less than 80% funded.=

    Private plans are subject to much more stringent laws/regulations because employers sponsoring private sector plans could actually go under/bankrupt. ERISA was designed to kill off defined benefit plans in the private sector, and is not applicable to public plans.

    This is a win-win for the Civic Club. The can use this to apply more pressure in Springfield while increasing the spread on their investments in Illinois bonds. Civic club doesn’t care for the best interests of the state, they care about protecting their interests/wallets. Any legislator that accepts money from the Civic Club should be voted out of office.


  56. - carbaby - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    Maybe he should post that under the “what we have done” section on State Finance- it appears they need some new news to post there for 2013.


  57. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    reformer, it would be nice if someone asked Rauner if he was one of those who talked to the rating agencies.


  58. - Mr. Keynes - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    Maybe that’s why the underfunding estimate of detroit’s pensions went Fromm 600 mill to 3.6 bil just before the bankruptcy filing.


  59. - reformer - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    norseman

    Agreed! The fact is our Republican friends have been mercilessly bashing the Land of Lincoln ever since Obama won the Democratic nomination for president.


  60. - bobby dylan - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    Where is the state Attorney General? Isn’t this the exact type of activity she should be investigating - to protect the citizenry? The rating agencies never fail to disappoint.


  61. - Joan P. - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:38 pm:

    Tortious interference with business relations?


  62. - Patrick Yeagle - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 3:50 pm:

    I’m just gonna leave this here: http://www.illinoistimes.com/Springfield/article-12633-state-financial-crisis-what-crisis.html


  63. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:08 pm:

    Loop Lady, that person you reference is a former colleague of mine. I was about to add to your comment but realized I can’t say anything that probably won’t get deleted except “He hasn’t changed much.”


  64. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:10 pm:

    First of all, Fahner and the Civic Committee can talk to the bond houses just like te Governor, Treasurer and others do on a regular basis. It’s not illegal. Guess what, business and labor leaders also have meetings with Bernake and the Fed Governors.

    Secondly, I’d argue that try are trying to HELP the state. It appears that many commenters don’t realize our pensions are underfunded by $100 billion and our backlog of bills is $6 billion despite a tax hike.

    Sometimes the truth hurts.


  65. - Patrick Yeagle - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    Anonymous said
    =Secondly, I’d argue that try are trying to HELP the state.=

    I can think of another guy who thought he was helping by hurting: http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Ra%27s_al_Ghul


  66. - Earl Shumaker - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:20 pm:

    Besides having an independent investigation of the Metra/Madigan political shenanigans, maybe there should also be an investigation into what part if any the Chicago Civic Committee has been playing in regards to State interest bonds rates. Maybe this is something our Attorney General should be looking into


  67. - TwoFeetThick - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:25 pm:

    If I hadn’t seen the last few years I would say a statement like this is the beginning of someone(s) going to prison. Now I know, however, that only the little people go to prison anymore. The big people, like this, get government bailouts and then tell the rest of us we’re “takers.”


  68. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:28 pm:

    Maybe Ty and his buds can share the phone numbers of his rating agency contacts so we can all call them and provide feedback. It’s only fair for them to hear from all sides.


  69. - TwoFeetThick - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:43 pm:

    === Can’t say I’m surprised- but surprised at the admission because it’s pretty brazen - although given the audience not really.===

    It’s certainly brazen, but folks just like these (heck, maybe even some of these folks) blew up the world’s economy and nothing happened to them. Many of them made money from it. Lots of money. What do they care?


  70. - Ruby - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:49 pm:

    ==The big people, like this, get government bailouts and then tell the rest of us we’re “takers.”==

    Too big to fail has become too big to jail.


  71. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:52 pm:

    ==I’d argue that try are trying to HELP the state==

    I would ask that you please not help me if I’m ever in trouble. Thanks.


  72. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 4:54 pm:

    I might have more respect for these guy’s opinion if they would acknowledge their outrageous salaries and retirement packages. It’s easy to rail against somebody else’s pension when you have a gazillion dollars.


  73. - Raymond - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 5:25 pm:

    It’s surreal to know that the guys driving the effort to dismantle the state pension systems have S&P, Fitch and Moody’s on speed dial.

    “Hey, it’s Ty. Don’t you think you’re being a little too kind to Illinois? You really should consider knocking that rating down a couple notches. Sound good? Thanks!”


  74. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 5:25 pm:

    Our Tea Party commentors seem unusually quiet here. Funny how that is when their undemocratic methods of lies, obfuscation and insider dealings are exposed.


  75. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 5:41 pm:

    Just to be clear, my run in was with the head of the CF, not
    The CC…


  76. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 5:57 pm:

    Let’s keep in mind that these are the same totally incompetent “rating” agencies the gave AA and AAA ratings to MBS issuance comprised of junk. Why? For exactly the same reason you see here: s/he who pays the piper calls the tune. So, you want me to upgrade (down grade) an issuer? How much will you pay me? How much more business with its associated commissions, free tickets to sports events/night clubs/etc will you give me? Just one further point: Moody’s had rated more than 10,000 MBS subprime issues before they even developed a model to handle that kind of paper.

    Jail time, anyone?


  77. - Rufus D Doofus - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 6:00 pm:

    Explain to me again why Rauner gives a hoot if someone/anyone on the CCC is attempting to downgrade the state of Illinois’ credit rating?
    (Sounds good to me Ty!)


  78. - cod - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 6:38 pm:

    In re-watching the video, Mr. Fahner does seem to identify those involved in pressuring the ratings agencies to lower Illinois ratings. I quote from the speech, with my parenthesis added (from 47:38 to 49:47):

    ==The Civic Committee (of the Commercial Club of Chicago), not me but me and some of the people that make up the committee, some of the same names I mentioned before, did meet with, and call in one case in person, we made a couple of calls to Moody’s and Fitch and Standard & Poors, and say, how in the hell can you guys do this, you know, you are an enabler to let the state continue…and I think we backed off because we don’t want to be the straw that breaks the back…….It is irresponsible, but I think, if we don’t, it would be irresponsible for the biggest employers of the state which are who the Civic Committee is, in that you know, Abbott (Laboratories, Miles White, CEO) has 22,000 people, ITW (Scott Santi, CEO) with 26,000 in the State and so forth and so forth….so we’re trying to work the political process.==

    The specific names of Civic Committee members Mr Fahner mentions earlier in his speech (25:24) are Jim Farrell, retired Chairman of ITW (Illinois Tool Works), Miles White, CEO of Abbott Labs, Scott Santi, CEO of ITW, and Lester Crown, Chairman (of CC Industries).

    I don’t know what to make of these folks. Can such successful business leaders, so prominent in charities, really be engaged in such reprehensible activities behind the scenes? And why would Mr Fahner expose them?


  79. - Timmeh - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 7:31 pm:

    Rich, you misquoted Fahner in your post. I noticed this while looking at Cod’s post above and checked it with the video.
    “The Civic Committee, not me, but some of the people that make up the Civic Committee…” should be “The Civic Committee (of the Commercial Club of Chicago), not me but me and some of the people that make up the committee”.


  80. - Biker - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 8:40 pm:

    Sounds like an easy solution if this guy really changed the bond rating of the state with a couple phone calls to Moodys. Maybe we should make a couple phone calls to Moodys and tell them everything’s fine.


  81. - Robert Lincoln - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 8:57 pm:

    So, based on a telephone call or calls, they affected the bond rating. Did they have an interest in state bonds at the time they made the call or after the call as a result of the bond rating change? If so, it sounds like wire fraud to me. Since the civic committee is an organization bent on criminal activities, how about a little RICO action. Hey FEDS, how about a subpoena or two?


  82. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 9:28 pm:

    Going back to Steve, last year’s fed transportation bill included a private sector pension cushion that lets privat pension plans go back decades to capture higher interest rates so they can raise interest income projections and lower their requires contributions, which increase with today’s low interest rate and businesses didnt want to make those full payments. See we are running Illinois just like a business.


  83. - Lost in the Weeds - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 9:31 pm:

    In the words of the S and P’s lawyers defending S and P from DOJ lawsuits; the ratings are just “puffery”.

    http://www.americanlawyer.com/digestTAL.jsp?id=1202611345358&Judge_OKs_SP_Fraud_Suit_Nixing_Puffery_Defense&slreturn=20130623221641

    Say your investment is worth $100,000, $200,000 or $1. What does it matter what it is worth, your investmet is just puffery subject to the whims of the traders and the ratings agencies.


  84. - Marc Feldstein - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 9:56 pm:

    Is it the Civic Committee or a similar group that arranged for members to get state pensions?


  85. - down home in Shumway - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 10:04 pm:

    Is the near doubling of my income tax, the doubling of my tolls, and increase of my license fees also part of a Republican conspiracy to make Illinois Dems look bad?

    Jus’ wondering.


  86. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 10:11 pm:

    In a fruitless effort to lower my blood pressure over the despicable actions of the Civic Committe, I did a little look-around on the google.

    Do it yourself. Everyone on the Civic Conmittee is a hog at the trough of stete taxpayers.

    How did Ty Fahner get a job, anyway? The Tylenol Killer confessed on “60 Minutes” and Ty couldn’t get an indictment.

    Ty’s not worth a bent dick.


  87. - down home in Shumway - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 10:24 pm:

    Ty Fahner can ask the ratings agencies whatever he wants. The truth is that the agencies are now scared of lawsuits and are doing their best to be as accurate as possible in their ratings.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/sp-lawsuit_n_2621561.html

    Ratings they are currently issuing are likely to be the most honest yet.


  88. - Rhino Slider - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 11:44 pm:

    Wasn’t Ty Fahner in talks with Daley just a few years back to represent Chicago to try to overturn the Shakman Decree for a huge payday? Its kind of hard to take him seriously today, but I get he is wired in to all the big wigs, I hope that makes him sleep well at night.


  89. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 6:46 am:

    Shumway, no your taxes went up because of the wall street banksters and the lack of taxes able to be paid by the middle class workers thrown out of a job. I believe the vast majority of those banksters and hedge fund moguls are Republicans, and, as a matter of fact, some are on the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. Hrrrmm, I’m sure that’s just a conincidence.


  90. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 8:40 am:

    Tolls in shumway?


  91. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 9:04 am:

    LL, we’re talking about the same guy.


  92. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 9:39 am:

    Is it so hard to just say Msall?


  93. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    What is Abbott Labs interest in the fiscal condition of the State of Illinois, anyway? They have no skin in the game.

    According to their 2012 annual report, Abbott made $6.2 billion in profits on $40 billion in sales.

    After a lot of razzle-dazzle, its total tax bill in the United States on those profits — federal and all states — was $198 million.

    That’s an effective tax rate covering all domestic jurisdictions of 3.2%.

    They’re not on the hook for any pension liability.


  94. - Irish - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    Am I the only listener who found it offensive and ironic that he suggests to business leaders to deny politicians their “support” until the pensions are “fixed”, and then suggests the unions are morally flawed for giving donations to pension supporters? I thought that is part of what unions are: a means for those of us without any political clout to have a voice that can be heard by our representatives. The thought that this group would actually harm the state’s credit rating to push our representatives into a financial corner is shocking. I cannot believe that it is legal to do this!


  95. - anon - Wednesday, Jul 24, 13 @ 6:07 pm:

    What a creep! But, none of this is a surprise.


  96. - ri29shrugs - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 9:31 am:

    Illinois is a failed state and many of the comments here are misguided. It is most emphatically immoral for the elite few public workers to get guaranteed retirements and health care the rest of the population doesn’t get. What makes them so special?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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