* With a big hat tip to Illinois Review, Sen. Kirk Dillard was asked this question at a recent tea party forum…
One of your opponents has made union bosses and their muscle in Illinois public policy a dominant issue. In 2010, your campaign took in $250,000 from a teachers union and your current campaign has taken in thousands of dollars from union PACs. Why do public sector union financially support you and how does your position on public sector unions differ from your opponents?
“You said it was 2010 that the teachers gave me that money. I haven’t seen it yet and don’t know if it’s coming.”
* From the State Board of Elections…
I sure hope he meant that he hadn’t seen any teacher’s union money this year as of yet. Sheesh.
I asked the campaign a while ago for a response. I’ll let you know what they say.
*** UPDATE *** From Sen. Dillard’s campaign manager…
Dillard misspoke. Clearly, Dillard’s campaign received an IEA contribution in the 2010 campaign, as the campaign disclosed in its filing with the State Board of Elections. Dillard was referring to the current campaign, when he mentioned that he hadn’t received a contribution from the IEA yet this year.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* I asked Michael Kolenc, the campaign manager for “Yes for Independent Maps” to explain to me why he thinks his coalition’s push to put a remap constitutional amendment on the ballot will survive a key constitutional test.
You can find an explanation for what the amendment actually does by clicking here. The group raised $487K in the fourth quarter (from some heavy hitters like Lester Crown, Ken and Anne Griffin, Jerry Reinsdorf, the IMA, the Chamber, etc.), spent $328K and had $202K in the bank.
* Anyway, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that citizen petitioners who want to amend the Constitution must confine themselves solely to issues that change both the structure and procedure of the General Assembly.
So, with that in mind, here’s Kolenc’s explanation…
I am very confident that it can survive a challenge. The issue we have to answer is: Does this amendment make a structural and procedural change to the state constitution?
Redistricting is clearly a legislative process–a set of actions taken by the General Assembly once every ten years. Our amendment alters that process so it is transparent and nonpartisan.
Under the current Constitution, if the General Assembly fails to enact a plan before the deadline, legislative leaders appoint a Legislative Redistricting Commission, a structure within the legislative branch. Our amendment alters that structure so that it includes independent commissioners.
From our conversations with several drafters of the 1970 IL Constitution, we know that redistricting reform was exactly the kind of amendment they had in mind when they included the “structural and procedural” clause.
Hope that answer is helpful.
It was helpful to me, and it makes sense. Your take?
*** UPDATE *** Many thanks to a commenter for pointing out perhaps the oddest argument ever on the need to reform the remap process. It’s in the Tribune, of course…
The House has 30 contested primaries; the Senate has two.
Why are there so few candidates? Because the results of the election are already cooked. Lawmakers draw their own districts, and they’re not interested in competitive elections. They’re interested in job security. They’ve gamed the legislative maps to serve their needs instead of yours.
The current boundaries were drawn by the majority party Democrats, who naturally stacked most of the districts in their favor. A handful of districts were ceded to the GOP by corralling Republican voters together. If you’re a Republican in a district drawn to elect a Democrat — or vice versa — your vote rarely matters.
In many districts, the minority party doesn’t bother to field even a token candidate. It’s expensive (and often pointless) to campaign.
How does partisan remapping impact primaries? Yes, incumbents can pick and choose what voters they represent, but that doesn’t really stop anybody in their own party from challenging them in a primary, does it?
If you want to claim that the remap process is unfair to the minority party in general elections, OK. The courts say this is fine by them, but whatever. Make your partisan case. But primaries?
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Press release number one…
Republican candidate for Governor Kirk Dillard today joined fellow State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) in announcing legislation that would require state Constitutional Officers and state lawmakers to carry the same standard health insurance benefits that citizens are now required to carry under Obamacare.
“Far too often, legislators pass laws effecting everyone else, but then exempt themselves,” Dillard said. “Most citizens believe that their elected officials should play by the same rules as they are required to. This has never been more evident than when you talk to people about Obamacare.”
Obamacare exempts certain classes of people from its requirements, in effect creating separate classes of insurance coverage. “Governor Quinn and the Democrat legislature created the Illinois Health Insurance exchange,” Dillard said. “If they truly believe this is the best health plan for the citizens of Illinois, then they should be willing to be covered under the same health plan.”
Syverson agreed, and stated, “if this is the law of the land, then we should not be above that law”. Syverson further noted that not enough has been said about the limits of the ObamaCare plans. “While proponents of Obamacare have focused on getting people covered, many of those who are signing up are just now discovering how limited their coverage truly is.”
The Affordable Care Act defines four new types of health insurance plans for individuals and families that are ranked from the most expensive out-of-pocket costs for consumers to the least expensive: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. All of these plans offer the same minimum level of benefits.
The “Benchmark” plan — the plan subsidies are based on — is the Silver Plan. This plan is touted as the best coverage available for Illinois citizens. It is the benefits of the “Silver” plan that this legislation would require elected officials to carry.
Under ObamaCare, the “Benchmark” Silver plan, individuals will have a $3,000 deductible per person. This plan will also require co-pays to see a physician, to use the emergency room, to be admitted into a hospital, and to have surgery. It would also require prescription drug co-pays of $50 per month and per drug if it’s a preferred brand name. The non-preferred co-pay is $100 a month per drug.
In addition, the insured individual under the Silver plan is required to pay 20% of all costs until the insured person reaches the annual out-of-pocket limit of $6,350 for an individual or $12,700 for a family. These costs do not include the premiums, which are an addition to these costs.
“While some elected officials feel that having out of pocket limits this high would hurt them financially, it’s no worse than what the people they represent would be affected by,” Dillard emphasized. He concluded by saying, “We also believe all of our Congressional Representatives who passed this law should be required to have the same benefit package as they are requiring their citizens to carry. This is about fairness, leading by example, and showing the public that their elected officials are not above the laws they pass.”
* Press release number two…
Republican candidate for Governor Kirk Dillard today said the fact that a former gang member hired by the Illinois Department of Corrections had been issued a handgun flies in the face of the Quinn administration’s claim that he had no administrative role. Xadrian McCraven was fired only after a Sun-Times investigation became public.
“So much for the Governor’s claim that McCraven never had any management or security duties,” Dillard said. “Then why on earth was he given a gun?”
Dillard last week called on Governor Pat Quinn to fire Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez, after the Sun Times disclosed that IDOC hired McCraven, a former gang member with a lengthy criminal record. Department of Corrections documents obtained by the Sun Times through the Freedom of Information Act show that McCraven turned in his weapon upon being fired from his post.
“It’s really a sign of Pat Quinn’s total mismanagement that law-abiding citizens are having a hard time getting their concealed carry permits, but the Department of Corrections issued a Glock pistol to a former gang member they hired,” Dillard said. “Pretty much sums up what’s wrong with Springfield these days.”
Dillard has called on the Governor’s Inspector General to investigate the circumstances under which McCraven was hired and whether any political influence was exerted to secure his employment.
Dillard noted that McCraven’s 24 arrests and documented gang connections make it unlikely IDOC followed its own internal procedures in conducting a complete criminal background check.
In addition, Dillard has filed a resolution calling for Auditor General Bill Holland to determine whether IDOC hiring procedures were followed.
*** UPDATE *** A Department of Corrections spokesman says the Dillard press release is untrue. McCraven was not issued a firearm by DOC, the spokesman said. He wasn’t authorized to have one by the state agency, either.
Ready, fire aim?
*** UPDATE 2 *** An e-mail from DOC’s chief of staff sure seems to indicate that Dillard’s claim is true…
*** UPDATE 2 *** According to DOC, the e-mail refers to a five-week inter-agency detail in 2011. He was issued a gun and a badge at that time. But then a background check was done and the detail was terminated. The second job was a “non-sensitive” job. CMS apparently told DOC that they had an employee who needed to be placed due to a grievance process win and asked if they had a spot and he was given one that didn’t include a gun or a badge and where he had no access to confidential or classified info, etc.. He didn’t have a gun during that six-month period.
Sorry for the initial confusion.
- Posted by Rich Miller
|Question of the day
Friday, Jan 17, 2014
* From a press release…
An exhibit of sets, costumes and props from Steven Spielberg’s award-winning movie “Lincoln” opened Friday at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, where it will be on display for years to come. Children can explore the exhibit free of charge when accompanied by an adult.
The exhibit, “Lincoln: History to Hollywood,” includes the set for Lincoln’s office, part of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom set, costumes worn by the actors and a variety of props used in the movie.
It’s being displayed at Union Station, just across the street from the presidential museum. The station will serve as an annex to the presidential museum where visitors can tour the exhibit and see video presentations about the movie.
“Steven Spielberg is a master story-teller, and ‘Lincoln’ is a classic. Movie buffs of all ages are going to come here to see this exhibit,” said Amy Martin, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. “And when they visit, they’re going to be caught up in the fascinating life of our greatest president.”
“Lincoln” earned Academy Awards for Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor and Rick Carter for Best Production Design.
“It is an honor to have this exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum,” Spielberg said when plans for the exhibit were announced. “When we visited for research on the film, it was our thought that there might be an opportunity to bring such an exhibit to Springfield, and that is now a reality.”
The sets and costumes are on loan from DreamWorks Studios. This allows the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to present the display at minimal cost to visitors.
Children can tour the special exhibit at Union Station for free when accompanied by an adult. The cost for adults is just $5.
Adults also have the option of buying the new “full experience” package allowing them to tour the entire presidential library and museum and the new movie exhibit for $15. That’s just $3 more than the basic museum admission price, which is not changing.
Lincoln’s office is the key set in the movie. That’s where the president ponders how to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery and pushes his aides to get the job done. The exhibit also includes a vignette of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, the setting for emotional confrontations between husband and wife.
Visitors can see Oscar-nominated costumes for Lincoln, his wife and his son Tad. Props include the stethoscope from the scene of Lincoln’s death, Tad’s toys and gloves used by Daniel Day-Lewis as he portrayed Lincoln.
No tax dollars were used to move the exhibit from California to Springfield. That expense is being covered by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
It’s Friday, so let’s lighten things up a bit.
* The Question: Have you ever been to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum? If so, what was your opinion? If not, why not? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From the Chicago Urban League…
* While the overall trend of dropping employment rates for all race-ethnic groups continued through 2012, Black teens had the lowest employment rates across all geographic areas.
* Nationally, the employment rate of Black teens has sustained a declining trajectory dropping from 25% employed in 2006 to 18% in 2012 and faring worse than their Hispanic and White peers.
* In 2012, only 16 out of 100 Black teens in Illinois were employed and only 11 out of 100 Black teens in the city of Chicago were employed.
* Black male teens, in particular, faced challenges in their ability to obtain employment in the U.S., Illinois and the city of Chicago.
* Black male teens in Chicago experienced the bleakest employment rates with the number of Black male teens with jobs dropping from 10% in 2006 to 8% in 2012. A startling 92% of all Black males ages 16-19 in Chicago were jobless in 2012.
* Minority, low-income teens continued to face more challenges in obtaining employment with Blacks and Hispanics experiencing significantly lower rates of employment than other race-ethnic groups.
* Across the nation in 2012, only 13% of Black teens from low-income households were employed and slightly less than 16% of low-income Hispanic teens had jobs.
* In Illinois less than 9% of Black teens living in low-income households (< $20,000) and only 13% of Black teens living in households with an income between $20,000-$39,000 were employed in 2012.
* In Chicago in 2012, only six out of 100 Black teens from low-income households (<$20,000) were employed; equating to 94% of low-income, Black teens were jobless.
* Black male teens from low-income households had the lowest employment rate of all groups. Only 4% of Black male teens from low-income households in Chicago were employed in 2012.
* While not as steep of a decline as teens, young adults (20-24 years old) in Illinois and the city of Chicago also experienced great difficulty finding jobs and a persistent decline from 2006 to 2012. Males, Blacks, and city of Chicago residents 20-24 years of age were the most significantly impacted young adults.
CITY OF CHICAGO TEENS FACE TOUGHEST EMPLOYMENT SITUATION
* In 2012, teens in the city of Chicago (19%) had worse employment rates than peers statewide (27%).
* Only 11% of all Black teens in the city of Chicago were employed in 2012.
* Only 11% of low- to mid- income household ($20,000 - $40,000) Black teens in the city of Chicago held a job in 2012; 89% were jobless.
* Only 6% of all low-income (< $20,000) Black teens in the city of Chicago were employed in 2012.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Bruce Rauner has been paying most of his campaign staff through a payroll service named Paylocity. Illinois Review took a look…
In the last quarter of 2013, Rauner’s campaign wrote checks for over $184,000 to Paylocity, effectively hiding the names and remuneration of his staff and consultants.
The only hint of staff expenses in the most recent Rauner filings are in the form of travel reimbursements to campaign director Chip Englander and staffer Kelley Folino. The report also shows $10,000 paid to Blue Cross Blue Shield for campaign staff health insurance.
The Illinois State Board of Elections told Illinois Review they’d not been asked about this before, and thought it may warrant further investigation. The practice is illegal on the federal level according to FEC rules.
Rauner had no comment when queried about the practice. However, Dillard campaign manager Glenn Hodas told IR, “This is just another case where Rauner needs to come clean with GOP voters. You can’t bend the rules just because you don’t like them. The question is … what is Bruce trying to hide?”
The Democratic Party of Evanston also used Paylocity as recently as a year ago.
But this is an odd, and possibly illegal way of doing business.
* Steve Shearer, who has formed a PAC to go negative on Rauner in the GOP primary, sent out this statement…
Candidates just can’t do what Rauner did. If you have a campaign credit card from Visa and charge a bunch of different expenses on it, you can’t just list a payment to “Visa” for the amount and not list a full description of each charge. Rauner is hiding things. Rauner has to play by the same rules as everyone else on campaign finance transparency.
Maybe Rauner and his campaign are too used to operating a C4 where all contributions and expenditures are anonymous. Running a campaign for Governor does not allow a candidate to be able to decide what to make public about campaign finances and what to hide.
Rauner had people on his payroll in January 2013 when he didn’t form his committee with the SBE until March 2013. If those staffers salaries and consulting fees were reported as they should have been back then, the caps would have been blown last winter instead of this past fall. Up until fall, Rauner carefully declared that he only gave his campaign $249,000, avoiding the $250,000 threshold that would blow the caps.
This is deliberate obfuscation from a candidate portraying himself as a reformer and the opposite of business as usual. Well, it is the opposite of business as usual because no one before has been so corrupt as Rauner to actually hide who his campaign is paying, how much and when. It is the opposite of transparency and reform. It is corrupt.
*** UPDATE 1 *** This is a clear violation of the statute…
10 ILCS 5/9-11) (from Ch. 46, par. 9-11)
Sec. 9-11. Financial reports.
(a) Each quarterly report of campaign contributions, expenditures, and independent expenditures under Section 9-10 shall disclose the following: […]
(13) the full name and mailing address of each person to whom an expenditure for personal services, salaries, and reimbursed expenses in excess of $150 has been made and that is not otherwise reported, including the amount, date, and purpose of the expenditure
*** UPDATE 2 *** State treasurer candidate Mike Frerichs appears to be doing the same thing. Naughty, naughty.
* ADDED: Rauner now says he will be part of public broadcasting/League of Women voters debate next Thursday in Peoria
* IL GOP warns Quinn to keep Democratic Governors Assoc. out of GOP primary
* Decatur Herald & Review editorial: THUMBS DOWN! To Republican candidates for governor, who seem to be intent on making a controversy out of something they’ve all done in some manner. Candidate Bruce Rauner is being criticized for exerting pressure to get his daughter into a high-profile Chicago public high school. Rauner is firing back that several of the other candidates were involved in seeking admission help for students trying to get into the University of Illinois. As despicable as it is, influence peddling is a way of life in Illinois politics. We’re reminded of something about folks in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing rocks.
* Videos show contradictory responses by Rauner regarding “clout” question
* Rauner, Rutherford turn fiery at candidate forum: “Kirk you’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” from unions, Rauner said, looking at Dillard. Rauner then turned to Rutherford and began: “Dan you’ve taken a lot..” “That is not correct, Bruce Rauner,” Rutherford interrupted. “No, Bruce Rauner don’t do that. That’s not correct … You have no right to put out false information out there.”
* Rauner targeted by his opponents at Republican candidates’ forum: Rauner later hit Brady with his 2010 loss to the candidates’ common enemy, Gov. Quinn. “You lost to the worst governor in America, and we’ve gotten a mess as a result,” Rauner said.
* Rauner is focus of GOP governor candidate jabs
* VIDEO: Republican candidates for governor square off at GOP forum
* Republican candidates talk politics in Riverside
* Cahill: Rauner’s gift to biz: a minimum wage hike: It’s one thing when a left-leaning populist like Mr. Quinn comes out for a minimum wage increase. His arguments are taken with the usual grain of salt accorded to standard line items in the liberal agenda. But the idea gains more credibility when a Republican candidate for governor, especially one seen as closely aligned with business, speaks favorably about it (even with qualifiers).
* Jim Nowlan: Minimum wage remark stirs political pot: As for Illinois politics and the minimum wage, I predict that mega-bucks candidate Rauner will have the campaign dollars to shift the focus before the March primary off the subject and onto term limits, his favorite horse to ride. All the while, Rauner has handed Gov. Quinn a potent little guy versus big guy issue to carry into the fall general election, regardless of who wins the GOP primary. There are a lot more little guys than big guys.
- Posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Jan 17, 2014
* Sheila Simon reacts to the AFL-CIO endorsement of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka by the Illinois AFL-CIO…
Simon was clearly stung by the show of support to her fall opponent, lashing out at the union brass and insisting she – not Topinka – carried the support of “rank and file working men and women across the state.”
“It’s not surprising that a small group of insiders endorsed Judy Baar Topinka behind closed doors – after their membership had already recommended no endorsement,” Simon spokesman Dave Mellet said. “Sheila is a proud union member who supports a higher minimum wage – unlie Judy Baar Topinka, who called it ‘another giveaway program.’”
Carrigan said the endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean the union will embrace Topinka over Simon when it does its endorsements in June for the general election.
Yeah, I’m sure the union folks will go with Simon in the fall campaign after she insulted them yesterday.
“Judy has been around decades. She has gone to labor events and labor conferences, and she’s always availed herself to talk to union members. Those countless events and meetings she’s been to paid off for her,” Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan told the Chicago Sun-Times. “She’s just better known throughout the state than Sheila Simon.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Jeff McKinley, the only openly gay legislative Republican candidate in Illinois, withdrew from the race last night. From a press release…
“One of the ideas I’ve talked about on the campaign trail has been duty to family. This is a value that guides my life and shapes my decisions as a husband, as a father, and as a citizen.
“I know that, no matter what, I have the unwavering love and support of my family, and I know that they will stand by me through thick and thin. However, today, I have to consider my reciprocal duty to them.
“Certain concerns have arisen within my family that make it impossible for me to proceed with the campaign at this time. I assembled a great team, and we had the pieces in place to achieve victory, not only in the primary, but also in the general election in November. I thank them and all my supporters for their efforts and dedication. Words are inadequate to explain just how grateful I am.
“Effective immediately, I am officially withdrawing from the campaign to be the next state representative from the 71st district. I also wholeheartedly endorse my former opponent, my coworker, and my friend, Jim Wozniak, as our next representative. Jim and I decided to run without knowing each other’s intentions. Our competition was never personal and we both ran positive campaigns focused on issues and the future. I am also grateful for that.”
Wozniak now has a clear shot at freshman Democratic Rep. Mike Smiddy, who won two years ago without help from the House Democrats.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From a press release…
Despite strong statements and leadership from Governor Pat Quinn, emergency petcoke regulations unveiled by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency today fall far short of the mark, according to legal experts with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Following is a joint statement from NRDC Midwest Director Henry Henderson and Southeast Environmental Task Force Executive Director Peggy Salazar:
“The Governor has been forceful with the message that the state should put a pause on petcoke and coal pile permits. The piles blighting the southeast side of Chicago do indeed imply a deeper threat for communities across Illinois; and Governor Quinn is right to take emergency action.
“But, the Governor’s strong leadership and thoughtful response to the problem are not reflected in today’s rule. It is a reasonable first step, but short of the moratorium implied in his statements. More action is needed from the administration if they are going to match their stated goal to put a halt to this activity.”
* From a letter written by the group to the IEPA…
)O)ur key priorities include (i) shortening the timeframes for enclosure of major dust sources; (ii) adding further clarity to the provision governing operation during wind events, which we consider to be critically important; (iii) enhancing the setback requirements, which are also critical, and (iv) adding testing and monitoring provisions for most notably visible emissions and opacity.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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