SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
A new twist to an old game

Monday, May 19, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Every year, we get at least one “corporate fight” in Springfield. Two or more corporations or industries will duke it out over some proposed law change or another.

The cable TV industry, for instance, tried a while back to convince the General Assembly to tax satellite TV users. When I first started doing this job many moons ago, banks wanted the right to sell insurance to the public, which the insurance agents’ lobby opposed, as did a union which represented some insurance agents. The banks fought for years and eventually won.

This year has been relatively quiet until probably a few weeks ago. Psychologists want the right to dispense prescriptions to their patients, even though they’re not medical doctors. The doctors are opposed and so are the psychiatrists. Both sides recently hired a bevy of Statehouse lobbyists.

But the biggest issue to develop this spring was the fight between taxi company owners and ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Rather than call a cab company or wave a taxi down on the street, ride-share consumers use smart phone apps to book their rides. It’s become hugely popular in many cities around the world, but taxi company owners see the industry as an encroachment on their turf.

The ride-share companies started operating in Chicago without so much as a “How do you do” to the local government regulators and the fairly heavily regulated taxi companies retaliated. They initially tried to put the ride-sharing companies out of business with a ridiculously over the top bill.

Attempts at compromise failed. Eventually, a somewhat reasonable bill emerged, but Uber and Lyft fought it hard and both sides bulked up. Their spending rapidly escalated as independent contract lobbyists were hired left and right.

But the Statehouse spending may not have stopped there.

Earlier this month, some wealthy taxi company owners converged on Springfield and met with the Legislative Black Caucus at their headquarters near the Statehouse. The taxi owners’ goal was to convince the legislators to support tough – some would say too tough – regulations of Uber and Lift. Most House Black Caucus members subsequently voted for the regulatory bill, along with the vast majority of most other state Representatives.

Rumors soon began flying, though, that the taxi owners had donated money to the Black Caucus Foundation’s annual golf outing. The Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that raises money for things like college scholarships.

Maze Jackson, a former Statehouse lobbyist, was named the Foundation’s executive director effective March 1st. Jackson terminated his lobbying registration in late February. Before he did so, he worked with a lobbying firm that now represents the taxi industry.

Jackson admitted last week that he had held “discussions” of a “possible” donation, but he flatly denied that anything was solidly pledged and defended the talks because, he said, they were not directly related to any legislation. The donation wasn’t discussed at the meeting with legislators, he insisted. The Foundation is prohibited from being involved in politics, and Jackson said he’s committed to raising as much money as he can from anyone he can for minority scholarships.

Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Ken Dunkin(D-Chicago) also flatly denied that anything untoward had taken place. Other members of the Black Caucus, however, privately expressed worries that the situation could taint their Foundation in an era when even a slight appearance of impropriety can invite a federal probe.

Jackson also claimed that a lobbyist for a ride-sharing company had approached him about making a donation. But that lobbyist said that he was conversing with Jackson at the Statehouse and Jackson casually asked him what he was working on. When the lobbyist told Jackson that he was lobbying for a ride-sharing company, Jackson said that the taxi companies had already donated to the Foundation. The lobbyist said he told Jackson that his company would probably do the same, but he said he never actually followed up with his client.

One of the ride-sharing companies pushed this story hard last week in what was apparently a last-ditch attempt to derail the regulatory package. So far, though, the legislation appears to be on track.

There is no solid evidence right now of any direct quid pro quo here. Obviously, though, this doesn’t look good on its face. At all. And it needs to stop.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


10 Comments
  1. - A guy... - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    ====Other members of the Black Caucus, however, privately expressed worries that the situation could taint their Foundation in an era when even a slight appearance of impropriety can invite a federal probe.=====

    That’s pretty rapid movement from Point A to Point B. Between the lines, it looks like there’s some fire to go along with that smoke if legislators voice this kind of concern in one sentence. Could just be paranoia, but it looks a lot more like some members were very uncomfortable with the way this went down. Willing to bet there’s a lot more to this one. And this kind of thing is something the media loves to cover.


  2. - dave - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    Maze Jackson is going to be a problem for the black caucus. For a variety of reasons, and this smoke/fire situation is just one of them.

    Some of the public posts Maze has been posting on facebook related to Michael Sam have been more than offensive, and are definitely not the kind of comments you want from the face of the black caucus.


  3. - Walker - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    A lot of quid pro quo requests are hinted at rather than stated clearly.

    A lot of lobbyists/companies donate to favorite charities or related organizations on the off-chance that it might have some favorable influence.

    If it didn’t work, people would stop doing it. It occurs at all levels of government, and in the corporate world. I wouldn’t begin to know how to try to stop it with regulation.

    The solution lies with hiring the most ethical public servants.


  4. - DuPage - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    The ride-share reminds me of Mega-Bus. Mega-Bus had a fatal accident downstate. A low front tire blew out and they crashed into a bridge support pillar.
    They said the bus had been checked the week before during routine maintenance. USDOT regulations require tires to be checked at least once a day. Remote signaling pressure indicators would also have alerted the driver, but this bus did not have them.
    Who will be responsible for the safety of the ride-share vehicles and drivers? What if the driver runs short of cash and the insurance lapses?


  5. - Toure's Latte - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    Do lobbyists ever gin up these fights for the business?

    Using an app to arrange a ride with an unlicensed stranger? Pass. Cab companies should deploy a ride service app for their own use.


  6. - LGHB - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    All of this from industry opposition to legislators protecting the industry giants reminds me of the movie Tucker.


  7. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    This is Illinois.
    You keep your 21st Century ideas and innovation away from here.


  8. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    This is Illinois.
    Cash only. Small unmarked bills, please.


  9. - Gator - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    This one incident probably won’t become a big deal. However, it might be indicative of a pattern of behavior on behalf of the Foundation, which could cause problems.

    How many companies with pending legislation have been approached for donations? Has the Foundation steered certain lobbyists to these companies?


  10. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Uh - check with Governor Quinn’s old friend working for Uber as their lobbyist, for more details, I bet.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* No pension bump for Stermer, MJM still not persuaded on special session
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - More comptroller stuff
* 1:30 comptroller announcement expected - Stermer appointed, says he will resign January 12th
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Comptroller stuff
* Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Bears open thread
* More adventures in misgovernance
* Question of the day - Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Petulance all around
* 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

          
        * Announcement timing is everything
        * Galaxy Note Edge Review
        * Oppo R5 vs HTC One M8: Thin vs. Powerful
        * Bring Back the Old School with the NES30 Bluetooth Controller [DEALS]
        * OnePlus One mini, BlackBerry Classic, Windows Phone ups & downs | Pocketnow Weekly 127
        * Get off the fence and go get a smartwatch
        * Apple Watch retail, Android Wear Lollipop, Nexus 6 comments & more – Pocketnow Daily Recap

        * Re/wind: Man, Things Are Not Looking Up For Sony, Bezos Gets Grilled and More
        * Creative Aurvana Live 2 Over-Ear Headphone Review
        * Nexus 4 Will Miss Out On Some Of Android 5.0′s New Camera Features
        * John Chen 99% Sure BlackBerry Will Survive
        * Alleged Samsung Galaxy S6 Metal Frames Leaked
        * Anonymous Offers To Release “The Interview” For Sony
        * Lumia 1320 Variants Spotted At The FCC With Upgraded Cameras

        * The year in injuries: White Sox have been better, could've been worse
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote
        * White Sox also had a December to remember 100 years ago
        * Terrerobytes: Future of Cuban baseball complicated on both sides
        * White Sox sign George Kottaras to a minor league deal
        * Kottaras to join White Sox with Minor League deal

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


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

        Archives
        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


        * Illinois Temporary Income Tax expires soon..
        * Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers..
        * Gov. Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers..


        * 4 people including 2 children killed at Rockford home
        * 4 found dead, including 2 children, in Rockford
        * Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers
        * Illinois to get $1.6M for Heart of Dallas Bowl
        * Report: Illinois treasurer OK'd raises for dozens
        * 1 dead, many injured in shooting at suburban party
        * Milestone in osprey program as birds migrate
        * Raising juror pay, reducing juries gets mixed reviews
        * Police looking for suspect in Effingham shooting
        * Firefighters battle grain bin fire for 9 hours

        * Gov. Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers
        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end
        * Springfield-based U.S. attorney’s investigations nab 13; race questions raised
        * 2nd Illinois prison with possible chickenpox
        * Quinn signs bill increasing juror pay
        * Quinn names longtime aide Jerry Stermer comptroller until Jan. 12
        * Quinn signs law to nix deadline for asbestos lawsuits
        * Quinn to name comptroller replacement this afternoon
        * Madigan says T-Mobile settlement shields consumers
        * Quinn calls legislature back to Springfield to approve special election to replace Topinka

        * Can Garcia's run for mayor fire up independents?
        * Chicago's newest workout (and personal statement) options
        * A photo shop for photographers
        * The Life of Patrick Ryan: Act II, Scene 2
        * Office conversions kick small firms to the curb


        * Lakeview pot dispensary on hold; Tunney opposes Halsted location
        * Despite community pleas, CPS puts Dyett HS out for proposals
        * Quinn to appoint new Illinois Comptroller today
        * Gov. Quinn appoints longtime aide as Illinois comptroller
        * Watch: President Obama's year-end press conference
        * Rewriting the Sony cyberattack script
        * time for new course in Cuba
        * Are Rahm's numbers creeping up? New internals show him near 50
        * Obama guidance, press schedule, Dec. 19, 2014. Press conference
        * A whole lot of nothing from the City Council


        * Man killed at house party shooting was headed to Army
        * Bronzeville man held on $300K in Loop convenience store robbery
        * Borman Expressway closed in both directions
        * 5 wounded in separate West, South side shootings
        * Mayoral challengers call for suspension of red light camera program
        * Cops warn of attempted child luring on West Side
        * Mother, her 2 young children among 4 found dead in Rockford
        * South Loop crash leaves two dead, one hospitalized


        * Listen to State Week - December 19, 2014
        * Quinn Picks Budget Chief To Be Temporary Comptroller
        * 'Uber-gentrification' a force in Chicago's West Loop
        * Durbin leaving Congressional roommates behind
        * Worries rise in Russia as ruble falls
        * Improviser finds purpose in Chicago police mental health crisis trainings
        * Chicago 'petcoke' handler says it'll enclose piles
        * Waukegan woman seeks to trademark 'I can't breathe'
        * Obama re-establishing US relations with Cuba
        * Teaching hospitals hit hardest by medicare fines for patient safety


        * Gov. Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers
        * Quote of the day: Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner talks of dogs, housing and the work ahead as governor
        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end
        * Cathy Becker: Because it’s the right thing to do
        * T. Ray McJunkins: Justice, righteousness descend to fulfill dream
        * Springfield-based U.S. attorney’s investigations nab 13; race questions raised
        * 2nd Illinois prison with possible chickenpox
        * Sen. Dick Durbin: Clean water access bill honors Simon
        * Charles Krauthammer: How to fight the lone wolf


        * 12-21-14 Illini Football Bowl Preview Show from Learfield Sports
        * UI Football Send Off Party
        * Dozens gather to remember the homeless
        * Mediacom customers affected by email outage
        * Upcoming Services
        * Unfair labor practice finding results in $300,000 settlement with St. Clair sheriff’s deputies
        * Unfair labor practice finding results in $300,000 settlement with sheriff’s deputies
        * Clyde Hunt
        * ‘I did it’: Zion preschoolers learn computer coding
        * ‘I did it’: Zion preschoolers learn computer coding


        * QB Jameis Winston cleared in conduct hearing
        * Women's Top 25 Capsules
        * Stafford, Suh lead Lions over Bears 20-14
        * Powers, No. 18 Michigan State beat No. 19 Syracuse 89-76
        * Longtime Nashville radio personality Teddy Bart dead at 78

        * Exclusive: Southwest's oil swap trade waiv...
        * Are Academics Limited When It Comes To Fre...
        * Controversy and change mark 2014 in Highla...
        * Republican David Brat Wins Virginia’s 7th ...
        * Bob Dold
        * How To Fix Congress
        * Rep. Bob Dold
        * Champaign post office will honor black pol...
        * Caterpillar sees Cuba relations as an oppo...
        * Chairman Recommends House Financial Servic...

        * Obama Takes a Page From Reagan's Trade Book...
        * Are Academics Limited When It Comes To Fre......
        * U.S. Senator Calling For Better Prosthetic......

        * Illinois Teen Accused Of Trying To Join IS......

        * Rahm says SEIU 73’s Boardman can bargain away employee pensions. I don’t think so.
        * Elected retired delegates are on a watch list at the IEA RA.
        * Tollway Testing Apps To Let Drivers Pay Tolls, Get Travel Info
        * Rubio.
        * Sunday reads.
        * Mayor Emanuel continues getting cash from firms managing Chicago's pension money
        * Islamic State Mocks US With Photoshopped Santa Held Hostage
        * Islamic State Mocks U.S. With Photoshopped Santa Held Hostage
        * Politically Connected Profit From United Center Parking Scam
        * Ready Aim Fire


        * Governor Quinn Appoints Jerry Stermer as Illinois Comptroller
        * Governor Quinn Calls Legislative Special Session - Governor Urges Legislature to Set Up 2016 Special Election for Comptroller
        * Governor Quinn Announces Illinois’ Unemployment Rate Hits New Low - Illinois’ Economic Comeback Continues; Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level in More than Six Years
        * Illinois Ranks #1 in Volunteer Rate Among the Country’s 8 Largest States - 2.57 Million Illinoisans Give $7.2 Billion in Service
        * Law Enforcement, IDOT Make Final Push to Save Lives in 2014, Roadside Safety Checks Planned Over Holidays - New Episode of “The Driving Dead” Premieres Friday as Holiday Travelers are Reminded to Drive Sober and Buckle Up




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