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.


* $3 million in one pop from Rauner
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - State House fundraising report
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Has the haymaker punch arrived?
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - State Senate fundraising report
* Third straight poll shows Rauner leading Quinn
* Last call for tickets!
* Vast Majority of Illinois Voters Support Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency
* Sun-Times reporters want you to sign their petition
* Same song, different century
* Question of the day
* Quinn finally wins a newspaper endorsement!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's cable TV buy report
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition: Crosstabs, TV ads
* Report: Another tie between Rauner and CS-T chairman
* Bost's "anger," Cook's ratings, Foster's ad
* $580 MILLION EXELON RATE HIKE?? That’s the price tag for their nuke bailout…EVERY YEAR!
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner pumping dollars
* Rauner pushing IDOT back into the news stream
* Gov. Quinn runs new TV ad featuring FLOTUS
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* No, your eyes didn't deceive you
* Good morning!
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

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

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

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

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

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

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


Search This Blog...

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

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Google Nexus 9, Nexus 6, iPad Air 2 comments & more – Pocketnow Daily Recap
        * Android Lollipop imminent, new Nexuses nearing, no more Nokia | Pocketnow Weekly 119
        * U.K. Startup Swytch Is Building An App To Open Up The ‘Burner’ Phone Number Market
        * Lockdown Pro allows selectively locking almost any app
        * Pronto Fast Charge battery gives a full charge in 5 minutes
        * GunFinger is a zombie shooter with fun shooting gameplay
        * Samsung answers design questions for Note 4, Note Edge

        * Empty the Gas Tank Before Storing Your Lawn Mower for Winter
        * Twitter to acquire Twitpic
        * Forget house calls: What doctors can (and can’t) do remotely with telehealth products
        * Apple Watch is a breakthrough device that won’t polarize the wearable computing world
        * Manage Your Energy Instead of Your Tasks
        * Consumer Drives Might Be More Reliable Than Enterprise Hard Drives
        * Fitbit Surge Fitness Watch Is Now Available For Pre-Order

        * A 15-GIF salute to Moises Sierra's White Sox career
        * Konerko caps stellar career with Clemente Award
        * Konerko caps stellar career with Clemente Award
        * World Series Game 3: Notes and discussion
        * Rollins, Konerko named co-winners of Clemente Award
        * Alexei Ramirez and Adam Eaton Gold Glove finalists, but maybe not f...
        * Longtime scout Provas passes away after battle with cancer


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

        Archives
        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


        * Experts: Quarantines may dissuade Ebola volunteers..
        * State Orders Mandatory Quarantine For Those Who.....
        * As Ebola spreads, states enact stricter quarant.....
        * Illinois Mandates Three Week Ebola Quarantine F.....
        * Illinois Orders 21-Day Quarantine for ‘High-Ris.....
        * $8,000 stolen from Chicago church in break-in..
        * 10 Election Oddities You Must Know Ahead of Mid.....
        * Gov. Quinn orders mandatory statewide Ebola qua.....


        * State Farm seeks to test drones in Illinois
        * Costly Capitol renovations recognized for design
        * Chicago Fire Department hired few blacks in 2014
        * Illinois lieutenant governor candidates on issues
        * Illinois lieutenant governor candidates bios
        * Lieutenant governor picks hope to help lead
        * Chicago Fire Department hired few blacks in 2014
        * Coroner's jury: July SWAT shooting justified
        * Illinois quarantine for who touched Ebola patients
        * US judge names monitor of IDOT hiring

        * Feminist Gloria Steinem endorses Quinn for governor
        * Madigan, Rauner spend big on Illinois House races
        * Officials rethink early vote-counting after Madigan ruling
        * Minimum wage increase supporters urge early voting
        * Sun-Times political reporter resigns following Rauner complaint
        * Minimum wage hike supporters urge early voting
        * Federal judge orders court-appointed monitor for IDOT hiring
        * Rep. Raymond Poe to undergo stem cell transplant
        * Bill Clinton campaigns for Quinn, Durbin
        * Quinn, Rauner spar over jobs, taxes

        * Why the Chicago-Illinois tech startup partnership won't be easy
        * Republican hopes fade for a comeback in U.S. House races
        * Jennifer Pritzker talks about a year of change
        * How much money do Exelon's nukes really make?
        * Shopping startup Trunk Club sizes up the women's market


        * Enthusiastic student Stan Kij, 25, dies of stomach cancer
        * Judge rejects Pistorius comparison, gives 17-year sentence in murder-for-hire plot
        * Keep it peaceful in Ferguson, Mo.
        * Why wasn’t Ebola doc kept under scrutiny?
        * Editorial: Bruce Rauner for governor
        * Back to the past with mayor’s move
        * Illinois needs better way to deal with terminally ill inmates
        * At panel on school closings, board acknowledges more planning needed
        * Marina City residents reminded to watch their step during Wallenda’s walk
        * Republican senators question Quinn’s IDOT scandal response


        * Quinn signs order requiring mandatory quarantine for people who treated Ebola victims
        * $500K bail for man stole semi-truck, critically injured bicyclist
        * 2 held after Gary, Ind. boy, 13, fatally shot: police
        * Driver injured in Dan Ryan shooting
        * 2 shot in daytime shootings Saturday
        * 2 dead, 8 hurt in shootings Friday into Saturday
        * $1M bail for teen charged in fatal Englewood shooting
        * Burglary reported at Pastor Corey Brooks' church
        * ComEd explosion startles residents in Near North neighborhood


        * Listen to State Week - October 24, 2014
        * 2014 Election Coverage: Citizens, here's your homework!
        * 2 dead, including gunman, in high school shooting
        * Prosecutors want more of indicted police commander’s 'bad acts' in court
        * Prosecutors want more of indicted police commander's 'bad acts' in court
        * Bedrock 66: Charlie Parr Plays Springfield Friday
        * Oberweis Would Back Federal Same Sex Marriage Law
        * Wild Bison Return To IL
        * Scary Story: The Diviner by Susan Vondrak
        * Artist Profile: Local Troubadour Tom Irwin


        * Michael Bromberg: Benedictine looking ahead at changes in higher ed
        * Charles Krauthammer: Barack Obama, aggrieved bystander
        * Feminist Gloria Steinem endorses Quinn for governor
        * Madigan, Rauner spend big on Illinois House races
        * Our Opinion: Bell, Manar, Davidsmeyer endorsed in state legislative races
        * Craig Burns: Honesty, integrity in great supply at CWLP
        * E.J. Dionne: Ebola, pandering and courage
        * Esther Cepeda: Benefits of closing the word gap
        * Officials rethink early vote-counting after Madigan ruling
        * Our Opinion: Frerichs has the expertise to be Illinois treasurer


        * LIVE! Minnesota
        * Golfer Goalby, four other luminaries inducted into Belleville's inaugural Walk of Fame
        * PHOTOS: Gummy bears dance at Halloween Hoopla
        * Salukis 'Wild with Pride' at homecoming parade
        * Jax falls to Chatham, 49-35
        * PHOTOS: Beautiful day for heart Walk in the Park
        * One dead, another gravely injured from overnight shootings in Champaign
        * Coffee with the Plant Experts 10-25-14
        * UI Football vs Minnesota
        * Saturday SportsTalk 10-25-14


        * Maui voters to decide whether to ban GMO crops
        * Two in custody in slaying of deputies
        * Officer suspected of sharing stolen nude photos
        * Custom urns courtesy of 3-D printer
        * Cream vocalist, bassist Jack Bruce dies at 71

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Sends Letter...
        * Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage b...
        * Reps. Schakowsky and Waxman Introduce Bill...
        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning An...
        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
        * Representatives Quigley, Duckworth, Schako...

        * Chuck Sweeny: Dick Durbin leading Jim Ober......
        * Chuck Sweeny: Dick Durbin leading Jim Ober......
        * Chuck Sweeny: Dick Durbin leading Jim Ober......
        * Chuck Sweeny: Dick Durbin leading Jim Ober......
        * Chuck Sweeny: Dick Durbin leading Jim Ober......

        * Bruce Rauner & Carly Fiorina Inspire Downe......

        * Davis Launches New Ad [video]
        * Young conservative woman’s epic response to the vile little girl feminism video
        * Democrat songwriter takes aim at GOP gubernatorial candidate [video]
        * Obama Echo: Clinton tells audience "Don't let anyone tell you businesses create jobs"
        * Quinn launches video exploiting reporter's resignation [video]
        * Dems on FEC move to regulate Internet campaigns, blogs, Drudge
        * Here's What The SSA Brings To Uptown (Still Time To Vote)
        * Les Perelman’s BABEL generator. You try it.
        * College Republicans launch new ad: Why I Am [video]
        * Illinois pro-life voters finding a choice in Libertarian candidate


        * Governor Quinn Announces Major Expansion of Public Recreational Access at Lake Calumet - Project Will Be Centerpiece of Governor’s Millennium Reserve Initiative
        * Rauner rips Quinn on IDOT patronage oversight
        * Governor Quinn Announces Winners of 2014 Illinois Export Awards - State’s Trade Programs Help Companies Increase Global Sales
        * Governor Quinn Directs Illinois Department of Public Health to Require Quarantine to Protect Against Ebola
        * New Ad: Labor leader backs Rauner




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