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Remap reform group raising big bucks

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014

* Reboot writes about major fundraising by the Yes for Independent Maps group

Topping the list is former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who donated $100,000 to the cause of taking from Illinois party leaders the privilege of drawing friendly districts for their members every 10 years.

The latest report, filed Tuesday, logs $638,500 for the week of March 4-11. It brings the total raised by Yes for Independent Maps to $1.2 million since Jan. 1.

Perhaps most remarkable about the reports, in addition to the amounts, is the diversity of donors on the list. It’s a mix of well known political names from both parties and numerous business leaders of various political persuasions.

There are many other prominent people who have signed on to the effort to take politics out of the legislative map-drawing process but whose names have not shown up in donation reports. That list includes Playboy CEO Christie Hefner and former Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. […]

Other prominent donors include real estate mogul Sam Zell, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and J.B. Pritzker ($50,000 each); former Lt. Gov. Corrine Wood and Tom Pritzker ($25,000 each), and best-selling author Scott Turow ($1,000). Earlier reports had included a $25,000 donation from former U.S. Senate candidate Blair Hull and CEO and horse racing executive Craig Duchossois.

* The group also has a new Internet video that’s kinda fun to watch

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Great ad… really spells it out for the average person.

    I’m glad some heavy-hitters are getting behind this.

  2. - 6-4-3 - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    Adios, amigos! Lol.

  3. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Using the C++.

    Also I predict Cigar Smoking Manatee will be a handle here before the end of the day.

  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    I’m fine with an independent commission, but I suspect there would only be changes on the margins.

    The independent commission in California changed very little. Dems still dominate the Congressional delegation and both chambers in the state legislature.

  5. - circularfiringsquad - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:12 pm:


    Anyone want bet the common denominator is an account at Citadel?

  6. - MOON - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    In politics, which drawing districts is part of, there is no such thing as an independent commission.

    Anybody serving on such a commission brings to the table their own built in bias.

    Anyone or party selecting the commission has a bias.

    Quit trying to fool the public!

    Politics by its very nature is bias and not independent.

  7. - From the 'Dale to HP - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    I’m sorry, but this ad it horrible. I barely got through it. If the goal is to make sure people turn it off before they get to the end, well done.

  8. - Obamas Puppy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    Ah yeah good luck with that…

  9. - A. Nonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    @ wordslinger - California is dominated by Dem voters. Their legislature and Congressional delegation should reflect that.

    What you (or anyone) should do is compare the percentages of Democratic votes to the percentages of Democrats elected to a body like the State Legislature or Congressional delegation.

    If the voters for state legislature are 70% Democratic you’d expect to see a State House with a 70% D majority.

    In 2010, under the old GOP-drawn Illinois Congressional map, the reverse happened. The cumulative Congressional vote was clearly in favor of Democrats but Republicans swung several districts and we ended up - momentarily - with a GOP-dominated Congressional delegation.

    Gerrymandering swings both ways.

    My hunch is if this effort goes through in Illinois the most obvious effect may be the creation of more minority-majority districts - an outcome conservatives are likely not expecting.

    I should note that the Illinois effort - like Rauner’s Potemkin term limits drive - is focused solely on the state legislature maps. No effect on Congressional maps. (Rauner’s term limit drive of course would only effect the legislature as well.)

  10. - Snucka - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    They’ve been all over public transit and grocery stores in Chicago. Saw a gentleman asking for signatures on a CTA train last night. He wanted my John Hancock in order that we may “be able to vote in November on drawing the maps”. When pressed, he explained that my signature would, and I quote, “help us get to vote… on how they draws the maps”. I declined.

  11. - Mr. T - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Illinois 4th Congressional map could double as a good start for a golf course. L.G. has been grateful for the links since 1990. Most districts can also be used as ink blot tests.

  12. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    An independent commission would certainly have some bias, but would seem to have less bias than just letting the majority party leader set the boundaries.

  13. - Snucka - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    They’ve been all over public transit and grocery stores in Chicago. Saw a gentleman on a CTA train collecting signatures last night. He wanted my John Hancock so that we may “get to vote on making the maps”. When pressed, he explained that we need to “vote in November… on how they draws the maps”.

  14. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    The newspaper editorial boards tend to like Independent Maps silliness so it’s not going to get called for racism, but…

    Having a smug White guy from the 50s complaining b/c Blacks have influence on the map making process seems like a racial dogwhistle.

  15. - fed up - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    And Carl throws the race card didnt take long.

  16. - CIgar Smo.... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:46 pm:


  17. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    Independent Maps is affirmative action for moderate Republicans. They can’t beat Democrats and they can’t beat Tea Party types, so they want to change the process of drawing maps.

    If the point of the “reform” is to let voters pick their legislators, let’s go all the way. Let’s create districts that are large and the top six vote-getters are seated in the legislature.

    All those fat-cats bankrollling Independent Maps just want the voters to have a choice, right?

    Rich people and media people want a system where party leadership is less important in picking winners b/c they assume that money and media coverage will be more important.

    This “reform” isn’t about giving voters more choice, it’s about rich people and the media getting more influence and reformers at LWV & IVI-IPO feeling morally righteous.

  18. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    === The independent commission in California changed very little. Dems still dominate the Congressional delegation and both chambers in the state legislature. ===

    The purpose of an independent commission is not to reverse the political leanings of the state. California was and still is a Dem-leaning state. The purpose of a commission is to help ensure districts are not drawn for the sole purpose of protecting incumbents and parties.

  19. - an innocent observer - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Cigar Smo….


  20. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    I was a bit put off by their lack of understanding of computer mapping technology. The computer geek should be talking about ArcGIS.

    To the question of independent maps, the trick would be the hierarchy of directions given to the mapping software and who would set them.

  21. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    Here’s the game played by lazy liberal legislatures and their buddies in progressive advocacy.

    The LLL and PA people socialize and they come up with an idea they think is brilliant. (Most of their ideas aren’t near as brilliant as they think, but that’s another conversation.)

    The LLLs disappear into Springfield and next time they see their PA buddies the LLLs say MJM wouldn’t let their brilliant idea move forward.

    The PAs ask the LLLs what power MJM has over them.

    The LLLs don’t want to admit the truth. The truth is they don’t want to raise their own money. They don’t want to recruit and organize volunteers. And they don’t want to knock on doors.

    So, the LLLs tell the PAs that MJM uses the redistricting process to threaten them.

    Remember the “L” in LLL is for “lazy”, not stupid. The LLLs basically like the system of being able to trade excuses for campaign contributions. (It’s not like they can get away with raising zero money.)

    And the PAs go along because they like raising money from their donors and pretending they are insiders.

  22. - Commander Norton - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    I like the ad. It could have been shorter and tighter, but yeah, the manatee is a classic. Much cooler than Squeezy.

    In the lead-up to Sochi, I read a fascinating article about Olympic figure skating. It said that recent reforms, involving a more byzantine point scale and anonymous judging, have actually made the sport more corrupt, not less. Since no one knows who gave which score and few people understand the scoring system at all, judges who inflate the scores of their home countries’ skaters or engage in backroom deals are much harder to catch.

    I fear an “independent commission” would have the same effect on redistricting.

  23. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    Has anyone demonstrated that the power of the Speaker and Senate Prez increase before redistricting and then they weaken?

    If the power of the Speaker and Senate Prez don’t diminish after redistricting, this suggests their power comes from other things, not control of the redistricting process.

  24. - fed up - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    im not sure an independent commision is the answer we would be better off just using something similar to Iowa where a computer just draws tha maps based on census numbers, not elected politicans picking the voters.

  25. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    BTW, all these billionaires who are so anxious to reform redistricting in Illinois, how much money they dropped on advocating redistricting in states where Republicans control the legislatures?

  26. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    Madigan has gotten so unpopular that Madigan supported candidates, like Andrade, are attacking opponents like Schiavone by linking them to Madigan.

    I think this Independent Maps stuff is faux “reform”. It’s tilting the game in favor of rich people under the guise of “reform”.

    But Madigan has mismanaged state government so badly that he’s opened the door to this kind of silliness.

  27. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    –@ wordslinger - California is dominated by Dem voters. Their legislature and Congressional delegation should reflect that.–

    Wasn’t always that way. Point is, a new map doesn’t automatically mean that GOP is more competitive in Illinois. They’ve got bigger problems than the map.

  28. - fed up - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    Carl a silly statement
    “If the power of the Speaker and Senate Prez don’t diminish after redistricting, this suggests their power comes from other things, not control of the redistricting process”

    you tow the party leaders line because A. they control the campaign funds and B. they can draw you out of your base next re map.

    MadiGan would never leave something as important as elections up to the voters.

  29. - fed up - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:09 pm:


    I agree that the GOP has other problems in Ill, but the map and map process have made so few districts competitive that incumbents dont have to be responsible to the voters only to the party leaders.

  30. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    I was at Soldiers Field for the Blackhawk game collecting signatures. Wordslinger misses the point: gerrymandering is the purposeful attempt to make our votes count as little as possible. In some places it changes things, some places it has little effect, but the anti-democratic insidiousness is the same.

  31. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Carl - don’t give me this “white vs. black/minorities” crap - a minority only needs about 20% population in a district to have a huge impact on policy - if the 4th district were de-gerrymandered Latinos would be the dominant voting block in two districts rather than one. The U.S. House received a majority Democrat votes in 2012 but is in Republican hands - how does that help minorities? And most importantly, the petition just puts the issue on the ballot - why don’t you want voters to have a chance to chose?

  32. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    First of all, we cannot possibly do worse than the system we have now. Whether the map is drawn by a D or R majority, it will always be drawn to favor incumbents.

    Also, history has shown in Illinois and elsewhere that racial and ethnic groups get sliced and diced (like the video says, “Adios, amigos”) in the process. That stuff just has to stop.

    Making districts compact and contiguous of equal population is exceedingly simple given today’s technology. So get that technology to work and create the districts. Then let people compete to be elected.

    Someone with more current data please chime in, but I believe about 10 years ago Illinois led the nation with unopposed candidates on the ballot. That’s entitlement with a capital E.

    I have to say it makes me uncomfortable to be on the same side of any issue as Pritzker, Ricketts and Paulson, but I do believe this is the right thing to do.

  33. - Bill White - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    For fun and games with an independent commission, look at Arizona after the 2010 Census.

    Also, I remain amused at what happened to Indiana congressman Todd Rokita who advocated for a “fair maps” plan for Indiana when he was Secretary of State.

    After the 2010 Census, Rokita’s house ended up 500 yards outside his previous district.

  34. - Bill White - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    @DuPage Dave

    A great source for real data is here:

    As for Illinois, ten years ago (at the above web site):

    === In the 2000 redistricting cycle, the Illinois legislature enacted congressional plans on May 31, 2001. It could not agree on a state legislative plan, however, and the process fell to a backup commission. That commission — with its ninth member appointed by drawing a name from a replica of Lincoln’s stovepipe hat — approved a state legislative plan on September 25, 2001. ===

  35. - Bill White - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    @DuPage Dave

    Another tidbit from that same website - when the maps were drawn after the 2000 Census, IL had a Republican governor and the GOP controlled the state senate. Democrats controlled the house.

  36. - RonOglesby - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    North south & east west lines only. 4 corner boxes to only be broken up by state boundaries or geographical lines such as rivers, mountain ranges, etc.

    The problem with anyone “drawing” maps is that a PERSON is drawing the map. you could lay out districts mathematically in a computer over a state fairly easily… But uh, then you take the power out of PEOPLE’s hands. Which is where the problem started.

  37. - DuPage - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Sounds a bit British?

  38. - k3 - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    What a joke! This is going to go nowhere, just like Rauner’s term limit plan

  39. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    k3, I’m betting this one will pass judicial review.

  40. - ZC - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    We need more data, less speculation.

    For starters though they’ve thought this through enough that again it will only apply to Springfield, so yes, Gutierrez’s district is not even on the table.

    It’s possible these days to run simulations with a computer about what -might- happen, under these new rules. Run a line-drawing software program like 700 times, with no instructions to count the underlying partisan ID of the district, but carving up counties in multiple different configurations, and let’s see what it seems to point toward.

    I’d be shocked myself given the underlying distribution of Democrats in this state, if the net result wasn’t likely loss of at least one or two Democratic seats. I think it’s pretty likely you’d have more hyper-”packing” of Dems in the Northeast corner of the state. But as commentators have pointed out above, line-drawing is unpredictable.

  41. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    …And if it does, it’ll be easily approved by voters. Huge super majority.

  42. - Come on man! - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    I rarely agree with Carl, hell I am one of his biggest critics, but I agree with his take on this. Fair Maps is a joke. Not to get all 1984 but there is a reason they are using “Fair Maps” as the language.

  43. - MOON - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Lets remember it was a GOP map in the 1990’s when the Dems took back control of the House.

    This illustrates that besides a map you need the issues on your side and you need the correct candidates.

    In my humble opinion the GOP is not capable of drawing a map that would give them majorities in either chamber.

  44. - susiejones - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    I have circulated petitions downstate for months and have yet to have anyone refuse to sign. both parties work to protect their members when they control the redistricting. this amendment refers specifically to state districts, but once it is in place, maybe we can then address congressional mapping.

  45. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    Are there similar remap reform groups operating in Republican gerrymandered states, or is it just the Illinois remap group that’s attracting the big bucks and the headlines?

  46. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Dems tried to get something similar on the ballot in Ohio in 2011

  47. - DuPage - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    I don’t think any district should be gerrymandered for or against any group. I thought the original purpose was to adjust for population, numbers of people, period. Somewhere along the line, it became a very ugly partisan, racial issue.

  48. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    –Somewhere along the line, it became a very ugly partisan,–

    That would be 1812, when Gov. Gerry of Massachusetts signed off on a map to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party.

    Hence, gerrymander, because one district looked like a salamander. Been going on ever since.

  49. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    I agree with Word. This proplosal, should it be ratified, will noot alter the partisan make-up of the General Assembly. Illinois continues to become a darker blue state. It will be even moreso by 2022, when the first election under the “Fair Map” would occur.

    More than half the students in our public schools are non-white. Tooday’s GOP is incapable of dropping positions and rhetoric that alienate non-whites. Ergo a nonpartisan map still equals big Dem majorities.

  50. - Walker - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Amazing to hear some big-wallet Republicans behind this as if it’s the secret to finally gaining Republican control of the state.

    When I explained the concept of a (legally required), “majority-minority district” — they were shocked.

    They actually thought this would do away with such a “horrific” practice.

    Also found a couple of the petition passers clueless as to how this would really work. Even some blog commenters seem to expect more than this will deliver.

    It won’t do what some Republicans think it will, but I like the concept anyway. It would be marginally better than what we have now.

    I don’t think they’ll make the deadline with enough good signatures.

  51. - CollegeStudent - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    ===My hunch is if this effort goes through in Illinois the most obvious effect may be the creation of more minority-majority districts - an outcome conservatives are likely not expecting.===

    It’s counter-intuitive, but based on history conservatives want more minority-majority districts. The Republican takeover of statehouses throughout the South was heavily fueled by the use of minority-majority districts to strip votes from white Democratic candidates. Shoot, in many cases Republicans and minorities worked together to set that up.

  52. - DuPage - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:29 pm:

    @WS2:31, thanks for the info.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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