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BGA fundraises on MJM comments

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013

* You knew this had to happen sooner or later. From a blast e-mail…

BGA dismisses Madigan’s bullying accusations, vows to continue watchdog work.

Dear Rich,

How do you know your watchdog work is having an impact? The most powerful lawmaker in the state writes a letter warning his colleagues about you.

Illinois House Speaker & State Democratic Chairman Mike Madigan is accusing me and the BGA of “using bullying tactics” to gather information for a Sun-Times story on the fact that as many as 29 of Madigan’s 30 campaign workers had or have government jobs that collectively pay nearly $2 million a year, and they’ve contributed more than $200,000 to political funds for Madigan or his daughter Lisa.

Madigan says, in a letter to dozens of state Democratic leaders, that the BGA is trying to “impugn the Democratic Party.”

Sorry Mike–we’re just doing our job, which is to shine a light on government and hold public officials accountable.

This is a story about the intersection of government, politics and money. Watchdogs tell those stories because citizens of Illinois deserve to know how their government works.

The BGA is a nonpartisan watchdog that investigates public officials and public policies, and recommends reform. We’ve been doing it for 90 years and sometimes our work ruffles a few feathers. Our only agenda is better government, and we invite everyone, including Mike Madigan, to join us in this effort.

Mike Madigan is a powerful political leader and we’re a small watchdog organization, so you decide who’s the bully. And if you believe Illinois government needs a strong watchdog, please consider supporting the BGA with a generous contribution.

Your watchdog,

Andy Shaw
President & CEO


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:30 pm:

    Not backing down and striking while the iron is hot.

    Good for Shaw.

  2. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    Apparently Handout Andy thinks his job to join Tilman and WhackyJack Roeser to attack Madigan at every turn
    Bet old Handout is pleased to have CaptFax spread the word while he waits for his next assignment from WhackyJack

  3. - Steve - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    What’s surprising is that Mike Madigan is even bothered by this story. Why is he even given Andy Shaw more attention on this? Illinois voters are corrupt and they don’t care about this stuff. I’m happy Shaw did this story but Illinois voters think this is normal . The real story here is : why would Mike Madigan care if someone did a story on signing petitions??? Everyone know political hacks work for Mike Madigan.

  4. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    Thanks for the quotes. I will use them in BGA’s next fundraiser letters.


  5. - Snucka - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:38 pm:

    The problem with the BGA’s approach is that they are not, in fact, “telling a story” about the intersection of government, politics and money. They are merely asserting facts regarding 30 people who performed a specific campaign task. That they are asserting these facts under the auspices of “watchdog” activities implies that these people are doing something wrong or unethical.

    They point out that some circulators have jobs “for which politics isn’t supposed to be a factor in hiring”. However, they make no claim and, more importantly, present no evidence that politics played a role in the hiring process for any or all of the circulators. They list the collective salaries without any context or detail about the positions occupied by the employees. They make no case that these 29 people were coerced or otherwise improperly incentivized to gather a few signatures.

    I generally appreciate the BGA’s efforts, but all they have proven in this case is that the most influential political leader in the state has a political organization, and some members of that organization have public sector jobs. Not exactly breaking news.

  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    Woof. :)

  7. - Rahm'sMiddleFinger - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:46 pm:

    It’s still a mystery to me why the Speaker felt compelled to try and rebut this. Who cares? Andy Shaw is a clown.

  8. - Ghost - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    Snucka, spot on.

  9. - chad - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    The disproportionate push-back from the Speaker is one of the very few political miscalculations I have seen from his shop over the years. This is just one very small blip, and will not likely be repeated.

  10. - A guy... - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    Maybe it’s time for a new breed of watchdog. One that doesn’t just bite the good guys to try and hurt the bad guy. Pompous Jerk. This is private corruption and welfare vs. public corruption and welfare. The only difference is the metal used to make Andy’s cup. It ain’t tin. But he is.

  11. - Chicago - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:53 pm:

    It still perplexes me that MJM would give Andy any attention.

  12. - dave - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    I get what Shaw is doing, but it doesn’t seem to reconcile with Shaw and BGA’s goal of actually impacting policy.

    In their blatant attempts to attack Democrats and be quite partisan, they are losing any ability to actually move legislation and have any credibility in the Capitol. And not just with the Speaker.

  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    –This is a story about the intersection of government, politics and money. Watchdogs tell those stories because citizens of Illinois deserve to know how their government works.–

    That’s fine. The story is what it is. Not exactly “stop-the-presses” stuff, but whatever.

    Lots of stories are about “the intersection of government, politics and money” and “how government works.”

    That’s why BGA needs to be forthcoming about how the money it gets impacts its politics and the targets it selects in government.

    For example, one major supporter, Mayer Brown has a $2 million contract as state bond counsel, yet a partner and former chairman of the firm bragged publicly about trying to get the state’s bond rating downgraded to leverage pension legislation he favored.

    That’s a heckuva story. Right in the BGA wheelhouse, you’d think. Crickets.

    Or another major supporter, Exelon. I’m pretty sure they’re familiar with “the intersection of government, politics and money.” Does BGA keep on eye them?

    I’d be more interested in what Exelon is up to most days in Illinois government than I am in a “no-kidding” story about precinct captains.

    But BGA has their own agenda for their own reasons.

  14. - Makandadawg - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    “The BGA is a nonpartisan watchdog that investigates public officials and public policies, and recommends reform”
    Just because you say it over and over again doe not make it true.

  15. - bgaaaaa! - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:09 pm:

    While I’m not a fan of Madigan, if I had to choose, I’d rather give him money than Andy Shaw

  16. - Trudat - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:09 pm:

    I agree with the Guy - Whatta jerk. Not providing any service to public, but just doing whatever it takes to elbow his way into the action. A true has-been.

  17. - phocion - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    All sorts of new commenters around here. You’d think some folks have thin skins. Play the political game, you can’t cry if someone criticizes you for it. Andy Shaw is no where near as laughable as Greg Hinz in his insinuations and accusations. So, the most powerful politician in Illinois and those who support him get criticized…and here is an organized attempt to attack the critic. It’s free speech, but I’ll take Shaw over Madigan any day. Because frankly we need people like Andy Shaw who will speak truth to power.

  18. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    The Speaker and many on this board seem to be accusing the BGA of being a GOP tool. Does nobody remember when BGA was accused of being a tool of the Democratic Party because it spent all its time attacking Republicans when they held power?

    You guys want to attack BGA, have at it. But the line that they are partisan is silly and completely devoid of reality. Even the Claypool thing (which I think even Andy acknowledges was a big mistake), was not partisan since everyone knows Claypool and Berrios were both Democrats.

  19. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    Oh, and if it’s any surprise that Andy used this, you may want to check out my comments and those of 47, both of which predicted precisely this outcome. For BGA, this Madigan attack is an enormous gift. I was going to say a gift from God, but that leads somewhere weird.

  20. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:30 pm:

    According to the twitter feed, the BGA has another piece out. The BGA tweet at 4:10 pm: “Why Cicero is still an ethical wasteland decades after Al Capone terrorized the town”.

    Looking forward another flood of new commenters and defenders of Larry Dominick.

  21. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    ==This is a story about the intersection of government, politics and money. Watchdogs tell those stories because citizens of Illinois deserve to know how their government works.==

    I think Madigan’s reaction was unnecessary, but I still don’t like the BGA’s implication that if you work for government and pass petitions for somebody then there is something sinister about that. I wasn’t aware people lost their ability to participate in the political process when they took a job with the government. If the BGA has some evidence that the people passing petitions are doing something illegal or violating some ethics provision then they should give us that evidence. I understand that this is a “story” to the average Joe who doesn’t particularly pay attention to things. But what the BGA is implying is kind of offensive to me.

  22. - Snucka - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    In regards to why Madigan responded: I would assume that he heard from most or all of the 30 people involved, and they were likely not happy to be getting questions at their home regarding why they passed petitions. They are close and loyal to the Speaker, and it’s not surprising that he would feel that he needed to do something to publicly defend the people who make it possible for him to stay in office.

  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 3:42 pm:

    In 2008, Jay Stewart (then Executive Director), was paid $57,765.

    In 2009, When Andy Shaw took over the reigns, Shaw was paid $76,667 to be Executive Director.

    In 2011, Andy Shaw was paid $174,175 to be executive director.

    It all jives with my theory that the BGA is only interested in creating headlines that will help its fundraising so that they can boost their own salaries at the “non profit” BGA.

    See, Andy, two people can play at this game.

  24. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:10 pm:

    Does the BGA think that when a potential candidate goes to sleep at night, when they wake up the next morning the Petition Fairy has left a stack of petitions - with all the correct boilerplate included - under their pillow? Because that ain’t how it happens, Madigan’s response - other than as Snucka noted, to defend his people - turns the story into something the BGA can say “Ah hah, gotcha!” as they did. Unless there really is a Petition Fairy and Madigan thinks they’re getting too close to the truth.

  25. - Amalia - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:10 pm:

    tick tock the list of independent organizations that do things in the political realm here is dying and almost gone. Project LEAP, gone. IVI-IPO, taken over several times over and now almost invisible. all accused of being the private realm of some funder, often Republicans, always against Democratic machine politics, surprisingly becoming the refuge of former machine folks who tried to reinvent and then reverted to form. And many times used by machine pols to burnish the legacy of, well now, their daughters. Unless someone controls an independent type group, it’s Chicago politics baby, the pols will always bleat.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    ===Looking forward another flood of new commenters and defenders of Larry Dominick.===

    Please, step back from the ledge!

    Look, Precinct captins of the 13th Ward circulating petitons to get the Committeeman on the ballot for state Representative is not even in the same orbit as the Larry Dominick, “Wild West” show with sisters suing brothers, wives and kids and friends … court cases …. defemation suits by family …

    - Formerly Known As … -, with respect … you think all this is the same?


  27. - Pete - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:21 pm:

    @ snuka:

    “…and some members of that organization have public sector jobs.”

    96.7% of that organization has public sector income. I think that is slightly more than some of them.

  28. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:24 pm:

    Call me crazy but I’d bet next week’s paycheck on the following:

    1. Quinn petitions were passed by government workers
    2. Lisa Madigan petitions were passed by government workers
    3. Judy Baar Topinka petitions were passed by government workers
    4. Tom Cross petitions were passed by government workers.

    Can’t wait to read the following BGA stories on these officials

  29. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    ==Illinois voters think this is normal==

    Maybe because it is. If I support you politically by giving money and collecting petitions and then you trust me because of it, it is no surprise that I wind up in a job because of you. My God, are people crying and whining because Valerie Jarrett works in the White House or Condelezza Rice worked for GWB? No. It is how life works. You reward people who do things for you that you trust to do a job you give them (even if the job is given indirectly by someone else allied with you). It does not necessarily mean people are not qualified for those jobs.

    ==Because frankly we need people like Andy Shaw who will speak truth to power==

    Andy Shaw’s son-in-law speaks more truth to power each night than Shaw ever has.

  30. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:36 pm:

    This is a distraction from actually working for better government.

    I noticed Andy Shaw did not respond to specific complaints of individual citizens who were “bullied.” Did or did not BGA staff do what has been alleged?

    Did they visit their homes? Did they call government employees at their offices, and attempt to discuss political activities? Don’t they know that responding to their inquiries could violate the state’s internal ethical standards?

    And for those who laud BGA’s past — I agree. I once was a great fan, and worked with them, since I take real government reform very seriously.

    But BGA is significantly changed from four or five years ago. It’s been a loss to good government efforts.

  31. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:39 pm:

    Anon 342,

    That’s a stupid argument. When Jay ran BGA, it did great work but had a budget of $350,000 and staff of three. It’s now got a staff of more than fifteen and a budget more than $2 million. Should Andy make the same amount as Jay?

    Geez, get real.

  32. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:40 pm:

    Shaw’s response is a fund-raising letter.

    Well, what can you expect?

  33. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:42 pm:

    Walkin fool, are you saying visiting people in their homes and asking questions is bullying? Kind of sounds like checking things out.

  34. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:44 pm:

    Only $200,000 to MJM or Lisa by the workers?

    Well if that makes the workers corrupt, how corrupt does that make the honorees, co-chairs and hosts of the BGA’s 90th anniversary luncheon who have donated wayyyyyyyyyyyy more than $200,000 to Democrats and Republicans over the years?

    Here’s a link to a list of these folks:

    Just a sampling…

    BGA honoree RICHARD DRIEHAUS donated $100,000 to Richard M. Daley in 2007, even after Hired Truck and Bob Sorich’s conviction. What a hero of better government!

    Co-Chair RON GIDWITZ has personally donated more than $200,000 to one GOP governor candidate and now is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for another GOP candidate. Oh and he gave $30,000 over the years to Lee Daniels, whose chief of staff was convicted of public corruption.

    Co-chair J.B. PRITZKER donated $100,000 to the campaign of former governor Rod Blagojevich, who was sent to prison for 14 years for public corruption.

    Co-chair ANNE GRIFFIN made a mockery of campaign finance limits by funneling her contributions to Republican candidates via Downstate Republican county party chairmen.

    Oh and the people on this list have donated at least tens of thousands to Madigan and his daughter too.

  35. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:46 pm:

    –It’s now got a staff of more than fifteen and a budget more than $2 million.–

    So we’re to presume something, I take it, from the $2 million the petition passers make in government salaries. What is that?

    What are we to presume about the $2 million BGA gets from corporations, law firms, etc.?

  36. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:49 pm:

    Chicago Cynic,

    Yes, I agree that my comment used a “stupid argument” based on limited facts in furtherance of pursuing a set agenda. Kinda what the BGA does. That was the point of my post.

  37. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:50 pm:

    HGF, that’s great stuff, hilarious.

    Now that’s a crew that knows all about the “intersection of government, politics and money.”

  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:55 pm:

    Pete: “96.7% of that organization has public sector income. I think that is slightly more than some of them.”

    False. 96.7% of people who circulated these petitions have public sector income. Surely you don’t believe that the entire 13th Ward Democratic organization consists of 30 people.

  39. - low level - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:57 pm:

    But Andy, was there something improper going on? The slippery slope here applies.

    People with govt jobs circulated nominating petitions. Even retired ones.

    Oh, wait. Retired ones? That doesn’t help your story Andy. If they’re retired that would suggest very committed Democratic workers. If they are retired, what possible compulsory activity could be happening?

    Before long, Andy and the BGA will be complaint about people with government jobs actually voting.

  40. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 4:58 pm:

    Nicely played, Word.

  41. - Norseman - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:00 pm:

    To paraphrase a line from famous film known for its social commentary:

    Holy Sun Times! Speaker murmured! State workers participating in his campaigns! We have to sensationalize the obvious to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must send out fundraising letters about this overblown story! Immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!

  42. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:02 pm:

    - hisgirlfrinday - and - worslinger -,

    Awesome, well done.

    - low level -

    ===…Andy and the BGA will be complaint about people with government jobs actually voting. ===

    I laughed out loud and read it again, and laughed again. Well done.

  43. - low level - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:03 pm:

    “Lots of new commentators here…thick skin” Phoecion

    Dude, I’ve just lost any respect for you that I had before. New people are commenting here, and you’re complaining about it?

    Thin skin? LOL

    ps I’ve been here before. Thanks.

  44. - low level - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:10 pm:

    OW - thanks a bunch, but I’ll never get close to your insights.

    Maybe that’ll be the headline in the Tribune next? “Government Workers Vote - Thats Improper!” says BGA’s Shaw.

    Sun Times realized story flopped, Andy goes to Trib? tribune is obsessed with the man.

  45. - BobInPeoria - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:18 pm:

    What this all really shows is that the Chicago Machine is afraid of Sunlight(too much public exposure/knowledge of the actual political process).

    They want the public to be left out of the dirty details of how things are done in real political life.

    “We don’t want nobody nobody sent!”

  46. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:18 pm:

    HisGirlFriday: Thanks so much.

    Some of the biggest, (some would say “worst”) examples of the “intersection of government, politics, and money”, are key supporters, and honorees of BGA itself.

    Using Andy Shaw’s own logic, they should be a major target of an “investigation” in the name of “better government.”

    Have at it Andy, and prove you are who you claim to be.

    from a disillusioned former fan

  47. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:29 pm:

    If we really got a better government from the efforts of the BGA, Andy Shaw would be out of a job.

  48. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:30 pm:

    –They want the public to be left out of the dirty details of how things are done in real political life.–

    I have no problem with the story, such as it is. It’s as mild as a grade school Politics 101 Primer.

    But do you really think anyone who has any awareness of how politics have been practiced everywhere in the United States, forever, are shocked and outraged that political organizations have public employees that circulate nominating petitions?

    What exactly are we all supposed to be outraged about, anyway?

  49. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:31 pm:

    - low level -, we all learn from each other, that is the secret here.

    To the Post,

    - walkinfool - made a good point that the response from Andy Shaw is to fundraise from the exposure. Why is that significant?

    If it was all about the ethics, Shaw would have competed an investigation that could stand alone, and not be a “quick turn around” fundraising tool.

    Also, good point about no “positive” stories the BGA finds. Why? Can’t make money off the “good”, no sizzle comes from a “positive”

    - Chicago Cynic - and - 47th Ward - were “spot-on”, calling this next step, so what does that also say about Andy Shaw?

    Lastly, no one asnwered the point/question …

    With 17 of 30 public employees circulating, and 29 of 30 at some point on a public dole … ok, … so wha is the point being made? What does that mean in the second part. A point is made, the numbers are what they are … so … what is your next point??

  50. - low level - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 5:34 pm:

    Quite the contrary, Bob. There is no revelation here. And, Shaw is a politician himself as he has shown. I’m anxious to read the next installment myself.

    So he issues the report, he and others complain when the persons written about make contrary statements. Again, I guess government workers should just surrender any 1st Amendment rights since they work for the government.

  51. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 6:04 pm:

    Shaw appears to have orchestrated this story to drum up donations. Pretty oily stuff.

  52. - anon - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 6:32 pm:

    Shaw and his wife, Mary, own Windy City Urban Inn, a bed and breakfast featured in several hotel magazines and websites. It is marketed by the Shaws as a “new way to do business.”

    The operation includes a main house with five guest rooms, and a coach house with three apartments. However, it is divided into two separate pins at the Assessor’s Office, and Shaw knowingly received an improper assessment because he’s using it for commercial purposes, which means that it should be classified at 25 percent rather than the 10 percent at which he’s currently assessed, Berrios said.

    This spring, Shaw put the business up for sale for $3 million — more than twice its assessed value, according to published reports.

    According to information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Shaw’s proposed assessed value was $94,251. However, less than six months before putting it on the market, Shaw’s wife, Mary, appealed the assessment.

    The Shaws’ attorney, Stephanie Park, asked for a reduction to $85,891, documents show. However, Assessor Jim Houlihan went above and beyond that, giving the Shaws a 20 percent reduction. The final assessed value of the property was $75,691, according to documents filed at Houlihan’s office, documents show.

    “Mr. Shaw received benefits far beyond than he was entitled. Someone at the Assessor’s office decided to do him a favor,” Berrios said. “He got even more than his lawyer asked for — and that just doesn’t happen. There is the appearance that he got a break in exchange to help Assessor Houlihan’s candidate, Forrest Claypool.”

    Berrios noted that Shaw, who preaches transparency, had only his wife on the appeal form, and then accepted the large reduction. The attorney, Park, has contributed to Houlihan’s campaign funds.

    “Andy Shaw knows how government operates, and he worked the system,” Berrios said.

    Berrios also accused Shaw of turning the BGA — a 501(c)3 organization — into a vehicle to fund propaganda campaigns for Claypool. According to information contained on the Illinois Board of Elections website, many of the large donors from whom Shaw has solicited tax-deductible contributions are also large donors to Claypool.
    ¡§For the sake of transparency, the BGA should release all donors who have contributed over $1,000 since Shaw took the position in June 2009.” Berrios said.

    BGA donors include J.B. Pritzker, John Canning, and Marge Benton — they alone have contributed almost $50,000 to Claypool. Six BGA board members contributed over $15,000 to Claypool.

    The BGA has issued one-sided reports about the Cook County assessor’s race which show that the organization is attempting to persuade voters to elect Claypool, who is the candidate backed by the organization’s major contributors, Berrios said.

    According to the Internal Revenue Service website, 501(c)(3) organizations are limited or prohibited in engaging in political activities such as voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that favor one candidate over another, or oppose a candidate in some manner.

    “As a 501(c)(3) organization, the BGA is required to remain impartial toward candidates. However, they have failed to do so,” Berrios said. “And its non-profit status is questionable at best. I hope the Board of Directors and their contributors take this into consideration before taking their next steps.”

  53. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 6:39 pm:

    === you think all this is the same? ===

    @Oswego, either your snark detector is off or my delivery is. They are obviously not the same.

  54. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 7:12 pm:

    This story would resonate better if only Mr. Shaw had a microphone.

  55. - Norseman - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 8:12 pm:

    The Cards would be winning the World Series if they hit as many homeruns as Michelle has. Her last comment was another one.

  56. - 21st State - Wednesday, Oct 30, 13 @ 9:31 pm:

    BREAKING NEWS 10.30.13
    CHICAGO–No Ghost! Word secures 2013 Golden Horseshoe. Film at 11.

  57. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 12:27 am:

    To add to HGFs list of the BGA annual meeting co-chairs and honorees and their experiences at “the intersection of government, politics and money.”

    There’s John Canning, grand poohbah of Madison Dearborn, one of those private equity firms that hustles public employee pension fund money to invest (taking 1.5% off the top, and 20% of returns).

    His Better Government bona fides in recent years include dropping $100K on Richard M. Daley, $30K on Emanuel, $50K on Anne Burke and $40K on Claypool.

    And $25K on Michael J. Madigan.

    Canning also is the subject of an FEC complaint for blowing the doors off last year on individual contribution limits to candidates, parties and PACs, primarily Republicans, including Romney, Boehner, Cantor and Illinois GOP congressional candidates including Walsh.

  58. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:11 am:

    Other interesting names from the BGA invite for their annual luncheon. These guys know their way around the “intersection of government, money and politics.”

    Lester Crown, of the BGA Civic Leadership Committee. General Dynamics. Material Services Corp. From the Trib:

    –Crown was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1972 scandal in which construction executives bribed (Illinois) state legislators in an attempt to get highway weight limits raised for ready-mix concrete trucks. Crown was chairman of Material Service Corp., a major ready-mix company.

    He received immunity from prosecution in return for testimony used to convict the politicians. At the 1976 trial, Crown admitted contributing $23,000 to a fund that financed the bribes.–

    Jerry Reinsdorf. Nice ballpark. Nice restaurant. How much did they cost you? Who paid for it? Pay a lot in rent? Sweet.

    Bruce Rauner, Civic Leadership Committee. Who?

  59. - low level - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 5:34 am:

    @ Wordslinger - awesome.

    This whole “intersection of money, government and politics”. It sounds dangerous at first, like we’ll get run over by all the traffic - except as you have shown, if Andy is concerned about that, he better stop cashing checks from many if the drivers of the cars passing through.

  60. - yinn - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 6:14 am:

    ==Also, good point about no “positive” stories the BGA finds. Why? Can’t make money off the “good”, no sizzle comes from a “positive”==

    BGA began a “Good Government Spotlight” feature this year. They also put out a good original article on public safety consolidation a couple months ago and they are expanding the range of their citizens watchdog training sessions to communities outside The City.

    So if Shaw needs to go or the books need looking at, by all means let’s do it, but let’s also acknowledge that BGA provides services in the public interest that are otherwise in short supply in this state.

  61. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 7:40 am:

    There is - wordslinger -, a space, another “space”, then you can start listing others.

    - wordslinger - is … the standard we all try to achieve.

    Thanks for dropping the knowledge. It is critical to know all the facts, as some crow for Andy Shaw, and some ridicule Andy Shaw, but until we know… Andy Shaw and the BGA from every angle, who can’t speak to either side knowledgably?

    Appreciate the “other side”…

  62. - Juvenal - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 7:45 am:


    You omitted that Shaw received an additional $19K in non-salary compensation. Oh yeah, and BGA pays his social club membership dues too.

    Look, I don’t begrudge nonprofit employees being compensated. But guys who make more than the governor should not be casting themselves as “a small watchdog organization”.

    And there’s no secret to Andy’s fundraising success. He’s basically done why Rod Blagojevich did: put a “For Sale” sign in the front yard of the BGA.

    Now, rather than a nonpartisan watchdog group, the BGA has become a hyper-partisan attack dog group. Just look at the political contributions of it’s board of directors and its largest “charitable” donors.

    Andy Shaw is laundering campaign contributions for the political opposition.

    BTW, when exactly did “pension reform” become a bread-and-butter issue for the BGA? I’d get it if the legislation was closing pension loopholes that are being abused, but that is hardly the issue anymore. We’re going after teachers receiving $20K a year now.

    Oh, I know: pension reform became an issue for the BGA when some big political donors offered Shaw money to advance their agenda.

  63. - x ace - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 8:19 am:

    Thought provoking comments abound.

    Prompts of recollection of Grandma’s : ” People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones “

  64. - Frau Dulent - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 9:16 am:

    All these high rollers and prominent players give to BGA as a way to ensure the do not end up in the BGA crosshairs, don’tchaknow. Insurance. The ultimate Shaw hustle.

  65. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 10:29 am:


    I’m confused. Most of the BGA donors are big donors to Democratic candidates. So why would they be hyper-partisan against Dems?

  66. - Willie Stark - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    JP Morgan Chase, currently in the process of paying billions of dollars in fines for financial chicanery that helped derail the global economy, creating misery and loss for many Illinoisans, is a BGA Sponsor. Another, KPMG has paid hundreds of millions in fines for abetting tax fraud. One could go on an on through the list. Interesting questions for “reporter” Andy Shaw might be what their criteria for screening donors is and if there’s any incompatibility with their mission by taking money from those who violate the law?

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