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Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* So after an exhausting bout with an ear and throat infection, I woke up early yesterday morning with a stye in my left eye. I put some medicine into it and went back to bed, then noticed that Oscar the Puppy had gotten sick in the bed and then on the floor.

The poor little guy looked so pathetic I almost cried. I took him outside (with one eye closed), then cleaned up the bedroom. I carried Oscar to the tub and gave him a bath and took him to his room and then I started to get sick. I wrote yesterday’s Capitol Fax with one eye closed in between sprints to the bathroom. I was exhausted all day, and went to bed right after work.

I woke up this morning and the stye had moved to my right eye.

“No way am I doing this again,” I said as I medicated my eye and crawled back into bed with Oscar. We both slept until nine.

* My brain is mostly OK, but my body feels completely spent. The combination of a long weekend at the Phases of the Moon Festival, the ear/throat infection, yesterday’s illness and yet another stye has me feeling like I’ve been beaten up.

If it wasn’t for the kindness of two friends who brought me soup (chicken on Tuesday, beef on Wednesday), I’m not sure I woulda made it. Also, I have a new intern and he drove me to the doctor’s office on Monday and has run some other much-needed errands this week. He’s been invaluable. Good kid. You’ll meet him soon.

And thanks to everyone I deal with every day for trying not to be overly harsh to me during this amazingly screwed-up week.

* With the TMI stuff out of the way, let’s move on to the Phases of the Moon festival. I wanted to write about it all week, but I was too tired, too busy and too ill to get into it.

I posted some videos on my Facebook page (I’ve switched pages, so click here to “like” and follow).

You can’t control the weather, and there will be hiccups with the first anything. It was cold. It rained. It was a bit muddy. I didn’t really care. Everybody was sweet and nice and chill. I loved every moment of it.

* As I told you last week, I missed Thursday because I was working. I arrived Friday evening in time for most of the Grace Potter and The Nocturnals show. Wow, that woman has some pipes

Grace was followed by The String Cheese Incident, who put on a solid show. After their first set, I went back to the camp site to set up my camper and chat with my neighbors, including Rep. Chad Hays and Rep. Mike Tryon. I’d missed their performance on Thursday and they filled me in on what was going on, how best to get around, etc. Around midnight, some of us ventured forth to see the Monophonics, but I was just too tired by then and wandered back home through what sure seemed to me like freezing rain or even snow. Man, it was cold.

* We started Saturday with an 11:30 am set by Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers. She called it the “hangover show.” The sun came out and she was eventually joined on stage by members of Leftover Salmon

What a great way to start your day.

We went back to the camping area for a fabulous breakfast, then on to Leftover Salmon, followed by, for my money, the biggest breakout act of the weekend, Jackie Green. Here he is doing “New Speedway Boogie”

* Tedeschi Trucks Band was the next set I saw, and it was the best show I’ve seen all year

We ended the night with Widespread Panic. Actually, that’s not true. We had several musicians back at camp (Sen. Don Harmon had left, but then returned Saturday) and they entertained us until the wee smalls. It was freezing cold, but they never stopped playing. We’re going to need a fire pit next year for sure.

* Sunday morning started with a rockin’ set by Leon Russell, then Vintage Trouble, then Robert Randolph

And then Gov’t. Mule

Man, I surely didn’t expect to hear “No Quarter” Sunday night.

By then, I had to go home. I missed Railroad Earth (which I really wanted to see) and Widespread Panic’s second set. Not to mention all the side stage acts throughout the weekend that I didn’t make it to.

* Phases was one of the best festivals I’ve ever attended and I will definitely be back next year, but with warmer clothes and boots!

…Adding… Many thanks to the festival organizers, particularly Jeanie Cooke. You’re the best. Thanks to Chad Hays for scouting out a perfect camping spot in advance and for keeping things moving smoothly all weekend - and to Mrs. Hays for being the best “camp mom” ever. Thanks to the local county sheriff and his deputies for being so laid back and so understanding of a somewhat “foreign” culture. The workers and volunteers did the best job humanly possible of cleaning up after Wednesday’s storm, so thanks to them, too. Literally everybody I came into contact with - from the tschotske vendors, to the golf cart taxi drivers, to the security folks, to the artists, to everyone in the crowd - were warm and inviting and friendly. I just couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Have a great weekend!

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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Friday, Sep 19, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

*** UPDATED x1 - Griffin gives another million *** Rauner giving more cash to state GOP

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

*** UPDATE *** I thought he’d lay low. Apparently not…

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Greg Hinz

The Illinois Republican Party has just received another big bag of sweet stuff from its favorite sugar daddy.

That would be GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner, whose campaign committee, according to a disclosure filed today, donated another $750,000 to the suddenly flush state party yesterday. By my count, that makes at least $2.75 million this summer alone, with most of that cash originally coming from Mr. Rauner himself.

Neither Team Rauner nor the party’s spokesman is commenting on how the money will be spent. It appears to be a combination of Mr. Rauner running expenditures for mailers through the state party so it can get a better rate on postage than the Rauner campaign can on its own. More significantly, donations will be used to help candidates for the Illinois Senate and, particularly, the House.

* Dave McKinney

By far, the largest expenditures the state GOP has made since Rauner opened up his campaign committee’s fundraising spigot have gone to the House Republican Organization, which is focused on ending House Speaker Michael Madigan’s 71-vote supermajority.

State campaign records show that the House Republican Organization has collected more than $577,000 from the state GOP since June.

If Madigan were to lose just one seat, House Republicans then would have the power under the next governor to block veto override attempts and borrowing proposals.

* Meanwhile, on a somewhat related front, a buddy sent met this stuff the other day…

In June Bruce & Diana Rauner donated the max $10,500 each to the Illinois Republican Party.

On 9/12 one of them donates $10k to Henry County Repubs

On 9/17 Henry County Repubs donate $7k to Illinois Republican Party.

On 8/14 Rauner donates $7k to Hanover Elects Responsible Officials (HERO

On 9/17 HERO donates $7k to Illinois Republican Party. HERO had $1,399 in the bank on 6/30.

I asked the state party what was going on and they didn’t have an explanation. You’ll recall a similar thing happened a few years back with a couple of other wealthy Republican donors, the Griffin’s.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* Ben Yount discussed “Downstate independence” in the context of yesterday’s failed Scottish referendum

I think his fatal flaw is believing that Downstaters want “smaller government.” If you look at the pension votes, the screams about facility closures, etc., lots of Downstate legislators, at least, don’t necessarily want a smaller government in their areas.

* Greg Hinz

Maybe we could learn something from that. And maybe some of our politicians would learn something from Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, the main instigator of the independence movement.

After his view that Scotland would do better as an independent nation was rejected by voters by a better than 55 percent to 45 percent ratio, he announced his resignation both as leader of Scotland and as head of its leading political party. The message: The people have spoken. They rule.

When’s the last time you saw an American politician fall on his sword, metaphorically? When did a House speaker who couldn’t deliver what he promised, a mayor who has fallen short or a governor who has struggled to deliver anything at all accepted responsibility, much less offered to quit? And let’s not even talk about the last indicted Illinois legislator who walked away from his job, rather than waiting for the trial and impeachment.

Good for the Scots. I hope someone in Illinois is watching.

* The Question: Did you learn anything from the failed Scottish independence campaign? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Schimpf trying to raise money to air radio spot

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* From Illinois Review

Friday, Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general Paul Schimpf sent out an email asking for financial help in getting the following radio ad on the air. His Democrat opponent, incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan is sitting on $4 million in her campaign coffers.

* His hoped-for ad

Schimpf has reported raising $19,155.69 since July 1st.

* Meanwhile

Paul Schimpf, the Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General, issued the following statement today in response to news that a federal grand jury has recently issued subpoenas relating to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative and the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority of which Ms. Madigan co-chaired:

“I call on Ms. Madigan to disclose whether she, her office, or any members of her staff have been subpoenaed to provide information in this federal investigation. Whether state funds were used for political purposes is at the very heart of this investigation. As evidenced by a recovered email, Ms. Madigan’s Chief of Staff was directly overseeing bonuses and raises as a result an election. The citizens of Illinois deserve to know the extent of Ms. Madigan’s involvement in this matter and whether subpoenas have been issued to anyone connected with her office.”

* I asked AG Madigan’s spokesperson about this and her reply was…

We have not been served.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

This is what you’d call a “tell”

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* The Tribune editorial page has often been called the “Winnetka Talking To Wilmette” section of the newspaper. Check out today’s editorial about how the Art Institute was just rated the top museum in the world by TripAdvisor

Now, let’s ask a potentially embarrassing question: Have you spent more time in museums in Paris or New York than you have in your hometown?

Yep, I don’t see those folks pushing a minimum wage hike any time soon.

* The full TripAdvisor list is here, by the way. Also, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum was rated 19th best in the US of A.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* We’re coming to this a bit late, but the governor is hosting a live Q&A on Twitter. Some of the questions are good, some are funny, some are goofy trolls and the Rauner campaign has jumped in as well (Rich Goldberg’s tweets). Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Frerichs wants Cross to call off the state party dogs

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* From a press release…

Downstate Democrat Mike Frerichs, candidate for State Treasurer, is calling on his Republican opponent Tom Cross to drop his party’s effort to knock Libertarian candidates off of the November ballot. The Libertarian Party has called for a criminal investigation into allegations of voter intimidation by armed security guards working on behalf of Cross and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. A Sangamon County judge rejected efforts by the Illinois Republican Party to force Libertarians off the ballot on Thursday, but the GOP has refused to say whether they will continue their legal challenge.

“I find Tom Cross and the Republican Party’s tactics outrageous,” says Frerichs, who at age 26 ran against a candidate backed by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. “I know politics can be pretty rocky, but when Republicans sent men with guns to people’s homes and intimidated them, they crossed way over the line.”

Throwing Madigan under the bus, eh? That’s an interesting little turn of events. I covered that race. The Madigan guy went on to lose the general. Frerichs might’ve done better, were my thoughts at the time.

* They have a local angle as well…

The Frerichs campaign is also calling on Tom Cross and the GOP to drop plans to restrict voter access on college campuses and in minority communities on Election Day. Frerichs notes that the Republican Party has a long history of blocking student voter participation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), which Frerichs represents. On campus, Republicans have required college students to provide multiple forms of identification in order to cast ballots, generating long lines at the polls and discouraging voting.

* And then they tie him to ALEC…

Tom Cross has a history of opposing voter participation in Illinois. Cross voted against legislation in 2013 sponsored by Frerichs (House Bill 105) that encourages student voter participation. Republicans staunchly opposed the bill when it was amended to allow same-day voter registration to ensure that Illinoisans aren’t denied their vote simply because they had moved recently because it benefits students and poorer families. Cross was also one of only 22 conservative House lawmakers to oppose House Bill 226, a measure that allowed 17 year-olds to vote in the primary elections provided they turn 18 before the November general election.

Tom Cross is also affiliated with national efforts to block voter participation, according to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a nonpartisan watchdog group. The CMD website,, says Cross is a leader within the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a rightwing corporate think tank. According to CMD, ALEC has led efforts to disenfranchise “students, African Americans, low-income, and older citizens” by passing voter identification laws across the country.

CMD also notes that Cross is a leading member of ALEC’s committee on civil rights. In 2011, Cross participated in an ALEC conference aimed at restricting the rights of women, racial minorities, gay Americans and older workers in all 50 states to sue for wrongful termination, workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.

“When the cameras are on and everyone is paying attention, Tom Cross says nice things and even occasionally votes the right way,” says Zach Koutsky, campaign manager. “When Tom Cross is exposed in the back room, it is a different story. The public should visit to find out what Tom Cross and ALEC really stand for.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Rauner Internet ad pairs Quinn with Blagojevich

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* Keep in mind that this is only a Web ad…

Rauner Web Ad: “Cut from the Same Cloth”

Over the past week Pat Quinn has admitted to protecting 103 illegal patronage hires – including 20 that could be fired immediately – and found himself at the center of a second criminal investigation by a U.S. Attorney.

In other words, it’s become clear that Pat Quinn and Rod Blagojevich are cut from the same cloth.

* The video

* The script…

Today’s finding was conclusive, guilty on 17 of 20 corruption counts.

Rod Blagojevich is just the tip of the iceberg here, the weight is on Pat Quinn.

Gov. Pat Quinn and impeached ex. Gov. Rod Blagojevich filled hundreds of positions at IDOT.

Culture of patronage when it comes to hiring.

It seems politicians have gotten better at covering their tracks.

Another day, another political scandal for IL Gov. Pat Quinn.

It feels like deja vu…

* There’s a reason why this isn’t on TV. The message probably won’t work on a mass scale. People don’t like patronage, they don’t like using government money to benefit a political campaign, but they generally don’t think the other party would be any different.

And since Rauner didn’t use the spring and summer to pound a “Quinn is corrupt” message home with millions of TV dollars, it may be too late to effectively start that track now. So, throw it up on the Web and get some media coverage.

* Plus, there’s a key difference here between what RRB did and what Quinn’s IDOT and Quinn’s top staff (and, maybe Quinn himself, we don’t know yet) did or are accused of doing.

Patronage is a civil issue. It became a criminal offense in Chicago because the patronage operation there did clearly illegal things, like claim a job applicant was interviewed on the same date the guy was actually out of the country.

The Illinois Attorney General conducted a massive investigation of Blagojevich’s hiring practices, but the US Attorney asked her to shut down her probe and forward him the results. He never used the info.

* From Steve Schnorf in comments last night

How do you know the clouting was political, not personal, in each case? How do you know that none of the people were qualified for the positions they were hired in to? How do you know all the staff assistant titles were misused and that none of the people hired into them performed the work called for in the job description? How do you know the promotions or transfers in each case happened as soon as possible? How do you know the promotions or transfers were each improper or unfair? How do you know each benefited “knowingly”? I missed answers to those question in the IG’s report. Do you have information that most of us don’t have, or are you inferring the answers?

Were there Rutan violation? My guess is there were a bunch. Were each of these the same, like a cookie cutter? Based on experience, I’ll bet there are a whole bunch of different scenarios that occurred here. Is patronage illegal per se? I don’t know how. Should those hirings be done in violation of Rutan? Surely not. What happened at DOT was clearly a significant problem, no doubt about it. On the other hand if things haven’t changed too much, the State probably hired in 20-25,000 people over the past twelve years, and promoted that many more, so 245 isn’t a huge number. If you see this as institutionalizing corruption, so be it. But I don’t…

* And as far as NRI goes, from what we know so far the corruption was mostly at the bottom of the rung. Now, the Quinn administration could very well be hiding something. Right now, though, there’s nothing in the documents released that connect any illegal dots directly to him.

Was the anti-violence program designed to help Quinn get reelected? Sure. But politicians do this sort of thing all the time. Bridges, roads, new facilities, new programs, new grants, whatever. And most people get that.

* This isn’t meant to be a defense of Quinn. It’s just a look at the realities of Illinois. If you want people to believe that Quinn the “reformer” is actually corrupt, you’d better spend a ton of money to do it. And spend it early. So far, neither has been done.

We’ll just have to see what happens. If that video goes viral, then maybe Rauner is on to something and it’ll wind up on TV.

…Adding… The Quinn campaign passed along this link to a 2007 interview with Rod Blagojevich where he claims that Lt. Gov. Quinn wasn’t part of his administration.

- Posted by Rich Miller   68 Comments      

Bost claims poll shows him up by 4

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* From a press release…

Today, the Bost for Congress campaign announced a recent poll that shows Illinois 12th Congressional District candidate Mike Bost continues to maintain his lead over incumbent Beltway Bill Enyart.

Key Findings from Polling:

    Mike Bost has a +4 point lead over Democratic incumbent Congressman Bill Enyart.

    43 percent of district voters indicate that they would vote for Bost, 39 percent would vote for Enyart, 7 percent are voting for Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw, and 11 percent are undecided.

Bost continues his months-long polling lead. Throughout the race, Enyart has never lead in polling.

“Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have spent millions trying to gloss over Bill Enyart’s disastrous record and it’s not working,” said Bost Campaign spokesman Jim Forbes. “This poll is just more proof that Beltway Bill Enyart and his Washington, D.C. cronies don’t understand what’s important in Southern Illinois. Voters would rather have Illinois authenticity than beltway talking points.”

The poll was conducted by the Tarrance Group, a nationally-recognized and widely-respected polling organization.

That Greenie may be hurting Enyart as much as Pat Quinn.

But notice no date is given for when the poll was taken. This release may be due to some nervousness about the new Enyart/DCCC “rant” ads.

…Adding… The Bost campaign says the poll was conducted Sept. 16-18.

* Meanwhile, the NRCC has a new TV ad in the district…

“Congressman Bill Enyart went to Washington and let Southern Illinois families down. Instead of fighting for them, he has sided with Nancy Pelosi to support Obamacare while voting to give himself taxpayer-funded perks. It’s time for new leadership in Washington and Mike Bost is just that. Bost has fought for this community for years and will continue that fight in Congress.” – Katie Prill, NRCC Spokeswoman

* The ad

* Script…

ANNCR: Bill Enyart claims he’s for us, but his votes tell a different story.

Enyart backed a plan that gives Congressmen taxpayer funded perks and special benefits.

Bill Illinois families got higher premiums and layoffs.

Bill Enyart let us down.

Mike Bost is different. He runs a small business, opposes Obamacare because we need lower premiums and more jobs.

Change Washington with Mike Bost.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible of the content of this advertising.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

More than just unclear on the concept

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* This piece is now “Exhibit A” when demonstrating the gross intellectual dishonesty of the Illinois Policy Institute

In the throes of Illinois’ fiscal crisis, nearly every nook and cranny of the Illinois state budget should be fair game for review and reduction. But some state lawmakers don’t seem to think so, especially when it comes to their money.

In the waning hours of the final day of this year’s spring session, state politicians chose to exempt their own budget from the scrutiny of the annual appropriations process, the first line of defense against irresponsible spending.

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton joined forces to introduce and enact a law prohibiting reductions from year to year in the appropriations made available in the annual state budget for legislators’ salaries and legislative operating expenses. Plus, their new law permits the payment of these salaries and expenses even if there is no annual appropriation for that purpose. […]

The authority to spend without an annual appropriation (called a “continuing appropriation”) is traditionally strictly limited. Its primary use is to ensure holders of long-term state debt that the state will continue to pay debt service when due until the debt is fully paid, which can take 20 years or more. To equate the payment of current expenses for the General Assembly to these long-term obligations of the state is absurd.

To authorize a continuing appropriation for this purpose sets a terrible precedent. And, in a time of significant budgetary crises, it runs counter to responsible budgeting.

* The “think tank” never explains the reason for the continuing approp language: Gov. Quinn vetoed legislative salaries last summer during his pension reform push. Bruce Rauner would surely try the same thing if elected. A precedent had been set and it had to be stopped in its tracks.

Without that 2013 precedent and Rauner’s shut-down threats, I could see the Institute’s point. I mean, who in their right mind would veto legislative salaries?

* This measure addressed a very real issue - an issue that is only mentioned in the most oblique way (and in the 13th paragraph of a 15-graf piece) by the Institute

What prompted legislators to pursue this “no cuts allowed, no appropriations needed” measure for their own budget in the first place was an ongoing political and budgetary dispute between legislative leaders and Quinn.

That’s it? That’s all the explanation? C’mon.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Quinn: “Everybody in? I’m driving”

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* Taking advantage of newly announced unemployment rate numbers, the Quinn campaign is unveiling a new positive TV spot today…

Quinn for Illinois today rolled out a new campaign ad highlighting the Governor’s commitment to driving job creation and turning the Illinois economy around.

Set in front of the Ford plant in Chicago he worked with to help grow, the ad ends with Governor Quinn strapping into the driver’s seat and saying, “We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re making the tough decisions to get us rolling again.”

The state’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since July 2008, and there’s more work to do.

“Everybody in?” Gov. Quinn asks to conclude the ad.

The Ford plant is just one example of Governor Quinn’s commitment to jobs.

* The ad

* The script…

Governor Quinn: “This Ford Explorer was built at that facility by these folks right here in Illinois. Our economic initiative allowed Ford to hire 2,500 more workers, and that supports other Illinois businesses, creating even more jobs. Unemployment is now at its lowest level since before the Great Recession.

“I’m Pat Quinn. We’ve got a ways to go but we’re making the tough decisions to get us rolling again.

“Everybody in? I’m driving.”

* Meanwhile, from yesterday

“The key words I think today are unemployment is down and jobs are up,” Quinn said. […]

“It’s the steepest decline in unemployment in the last 30 years in Illinois,” he said.

In August of last year, the Illinois jobless rate was 9.2 percent. Last month’s rate was 6.7 percent as state officials report the creation of 13,800 jobs, including 2,000 in manufacturing.

“These unemployment rate statistics can be misleading,” Rauner said. […]

“Many thousands of families in Illinois have stopped looking for work,” Rauner said. “That’s not a good reason to have the unemployment rate fall.”

* Tribune

Speaking at a downtown job fair for veterans, Rauner said the data could be “misleading,” arguing the jobless rate may have dropped because many people have simply stopped looking for work.

“The voters know and they’ve told me crystal clear that they don’t believe Illinois is going the right way and they are suffering,” Rauner said, before attending a closed-door fundraiser with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate. […]

“For those who want to be naysayers, they’re missing the boat. Get on board, get on board with the people of Illinois,” Quinn said, before criticizing Rauner’s investments in companies that outsourced jobs overseas.

* Rauner has a point, up to a point. The reality is Illinois’ unemployment rate is hugely lower than it was a year ago and there’s simply no denying that. The non-stop naysayers need to take a breath already. Y’all are starting to remind me of those relentlessly goofy poll “unskewers” from 2012.

Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal has a totally different take. He thinks the federal government is somehow skewing the unemployment rates because Republican states are experiencing increased rates while Democratic states are showing declining rates. I kid you not

- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      

The sleep gap

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* From the Atlantic

Though Americans across the economic spectrum are sleeping less these days, people in the lowest income quintile, and people who never finished high school, are far more likely to get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night. About half of people in households making less than $30,000 sleep six or fewer hours per night, while only a third of those making $75,000 or more do.

“We all have sleep problems,” McCalman says, speaking of his fellow airport workers. “Everyone who is doing two jobs has a sleep problem.”

* The chart

When I was a young boy, my dad always worked at least two jobs and often three to make ends meet. I don’t know how he did it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

DCCC releases second Bost “rant” ad

Friday, Sep 19, 2014

* With the DCCC’s first “rant” ad, Mike Bost’s defense ad and Bill Enyart’s ad, we’re now up to four rant TV advertisements

* Script…

In Springfield, Mike Bost likes to throw tantrums…

But it’s what that means for people, that’s really concerning.

Bost wasted taxpayer money on a Chicagoland golf course.

But opposed funding for veterans’ disability benefits.

And even signed a pledge that protects special tax breaks for corporations shipping our jobs to places like China.

Mike Bost would make Washington worse.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Quinn presser raw audio

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* From earlier today. Fairly wide array of topics. Quinn did his best to appear upbeat about the state’s economic prospects, and came off fairly well

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

MillerCoors matching donations for Equality Illinois GOTV efforts

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* From an Equality Illinois fundraising e-mail…

You may think it unimaginable that in 2014 in Illinois we are still sounding alarm about the risks to LGBT equality. However, it is expected that the midterm elections this November will have the lowest turnout ever and nearly every political analyst predicts that if we do nothing to change this we will lose this election, placing all our hard-won victories at risk. That’s not acceptable.

But there are concrete things to can do to prevent that from happening, such as supporting Equality Illinois voter education and engagement efforts that will make the 2014 election a success for our community and the equality agenda. Please make your donation now of $35, $50, or $100, so that we can leave no stone unturned in the next six weeks leading up to the election. When you give today, MillerCoors will MATCH YOUR DONATION dollar for dollar and you will be entered in a drawing to win a pair of tickets to an upcoming Broadway in Chicago performance.

In order to win this November, Equality Illinois, in partnership with our progressive allies, is:

    • Registering and turning out new voters
    • Turning out core voters and educating the undecided
    • Activating and getting out voters who don’t traditionally vote in the midterm elections

Equality Illinois is leading this groundbreaking effort to engage prospective voters who care about equal rights and treatment for LGBT individuals. In order to activate them to vote, we are relentlessly exposing the conservative social agenda of viable candidates, including explicit threats to marriage equality and equal treatment for LGBT individuals.

Remember the days when Coors was deemed a right-wing corporation? Those days are obviously gone. Now, they’re helping pay for EI’s anti-Rauner campaign. We live in fascinating times.

…Adding… From Equality Illinois…

Our operations are supported by dozens of corporate partners who believe in LGBT equality, including MillerCoors. MillerCoors’ partnership grants exclusively support our educational and other charitable activities. This year, with the company’s support, we’ve been able to reach Illinoisans and educate them on the new changes in the anti-bullying law, on their equal marriage rights, grow programs on financial literacy,and help businesses develop LGBT-inclusive practices.

In your online blog, you say that MillerCoors is paying for our anti-Rauner campaign, which is not the case. Your readers should know that we do not use any of MillerCoors’ grants to fund any of our political or candidate work. That work is done exclusively by our walled-off PAC which uses specially-raised private contributions.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Bruce Rauner is to the NFL as Pat Quinn is to ____?

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

Rauner takes batting practice

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Bruce Rauner showed again today on WGN Radio that when he’s asked questions he’s answered many times before, he can sound like a master politician. He easily sprinted through every one of his talking points this morning, brushing aside the small handful of follow-up questions…

His problem is that when journalists who don’t get this sort of access want to ask tough, out of the ordinary questions, he doesn’t appear to know what to do. So, he turns away, or tries to laugh them off, or promises to unveil a detailed plan really, really, really soon.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Stagnant income, except at the top

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Illinois Issues

The median household income for Illinois in 2013 was $56, 210—the same as it was in 2008, the year that the U.S. financial collapse began. Illinois’ median household income is slightly higher than the national of almost $52,000, which has stayed relatively flat over the same time period. Stateline, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, crunched the state numbers into this handy map for state comparisons. Meanwhile, the average income for the state’s top 5 percent of earners is $363,159. That number has increased by 6.4 percent since 2008.

According to Pew’s analysis, most of Illinois’ neighboring states saw an increase in median income. The exceptions were Indiana, which had a .9 percent decrease, Wisconsin, which had a 1.2 percent decrease and Michigan, which had a .7 percent decrease. However, the average household income for the top five percent of earners went up in all three states.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

If the US Attorney doesn’t believe he did it, that’s good enough for me

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Man, this is one irresponsible lede

State Sen. Donne Trotter took $2,000 in cash from a convicted felon who got the money from an undercover FBI agent posing as an Indian businessman, lawyers for a South Side man allege.

And C. Gregory Turner’s attorneys hinted that other Chicago politicians also were approached as part of a federal sting in 2009.

So, Trotter allegedly took two grand during a federal sting operation five years ago but the feds never busted him?

C’mon. He’s a state legislator. If they had him dead to rights, or even if they only kinda had him dead to rights, off to the big house he’d go.

Everybody knows I’m a friend of Trotter’s. But as I tell all my friends, if you screw up there’s nothing I can or will do about it. It will be what it will be. This doesn’t look like one of those cases.

* The allegation

According to Turner’s lawyers, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, Turner’s co-defendant, met at the Trump Hotel restaurant in 2009 with an FBI agent who posed as an Indian businessman and gave Ben Israel cash to pass along to Illinois politicians in exchange for future political favors. Ben Israel later told authorities he gave $2,000 of the money to Trotter, a longtime friend, but Trotter has denied any knowledge of the cash payment, Turner’s attorneys said.

* And the feds are standing by Trotter

Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas acknowledged Ben Israel was caught up in the undercover sting but said there was no evidence Trotter ever accepted any of the bribe money.

* And

Ben Israel has since pleaded guilty to failing to register as an agent of Mugabe, and [Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas] said that there was no evidence of any “quid pro quo” Trotter performed in return for the alleged bribe.

* Trotter’s attorney

“I learned a long time ago not to answer questions that are baseless,” [Thomas Anthony Durkin] said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Today’s number: 20x

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* From Yale’s Andrew V. Papachristos

Anyone looking at a crime map in any city can tell you that violence tends to concentrate in particular places, and this remains true even as crime rates move up and down. The result is a huge gap, not only in rates of crime and violence across communities but in how people experience crime rates.

For example, the violent crime rate in Chicago’s West Garfield Park, one of the most violent parts of the city, fell nearly 30 percent over the past three years. Yet, its average homicide rate during this period of 64 per 100,000 is more than 20 times the rate of Jefferson Park on the city’s Northwest side.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Cross endorsed by Democratic mayor

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Non-gubernatorial news is pretty hard to find in the mainstream media these days, but this one is kinda big

Three-term Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, a 2012 delegate for President Barack Obama and a donor to Gov. Pat Quinn, has endorsed [GOP Rep. Tom Cross] in his campaign against state Sen. Michael Frerichs, D-Champaign.

“I’m a fiscal conservative. I think Tom is also. I’ve known him for a number of years. He’s always been trustworthy as far as my experience went. I think he’s a down-to-earth individual, serious about public service, and will certainly do well,” Weisner told Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times political portal.

* The Frerichs response..

A spokesman for Frerichs questioned whether the Weisner endorsement amounted to a conflict of interest since the city of Aurora is listed with other municipalities as clients on the website of Cross’ Joliet law firm, Mahoney, Silverman and Cross.

“Mayor Weisner is free to endorse Tom Cross. But if Tom Cross wants to be treasurer, he owes the public a full disclosure of how much money his law firm has pocketed over the years from clients like the city of Aurora with legislation before the General Assembly, particularly the more than two dozen units of local government, and whether or not he voted on any legislation impacting them,” said Zach Koutsky, Frerichs’ campaign manager.

The Cross campaign responded that in the past twelve months, Cross’ firm has billed Aurora for $250.

* Meanwhile, in another statewide race

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said Wednesday she was offended by comments Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka made about her family name while speaking to The Southern Illinoisan editorial board on Tuesday afternoon.

Topinka was asked to address an issue that made headlines recently when she apparently asked Gov. Pat Quinn for helping getting her son a job at SIU Carbondale during a public bill signing event, something Simon has criticized Topinka for doing.

Simon, a Democrat, and Topinka, a Republican, are both running for comptroller.

In a press release, Simon, of Carbondale, said the following comment made by Topinka was “insulting:”

“I’m sure my opponent did not feel that the Simon name hurt her in Southern Illinois, you know. What can I say? Same difference.” [Topinka said] […]

“I’m proud of my father’s work and legacy,” [Simon’s] statement continued, “but it’s been important for me to build my career on my own. I entered statewide politics only after my father’s death. To compare a patronage request to my decades of hard work is insulting.”

She entered statewide politics when Pat Quinn picked her.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Et tu, Cubbies?

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Tribune

Despite a close proximity and upgrades, Kane County will lose its affiliation with the Chicago Cubs to South Bend [Indiana].

The Cubs will announce Thursday their new agreement with South Bend after two successful seasons with Kane County, which promised upgrades to its facility that included a climate-controlled batting cage, an expanded weight room and a video room for players and coaches for evaluation purposes at Fifth Third Bank in Geneva.

* Meanwhile, from Indiana’s Economic Development Corporation…

Chicago Craft Bottling, LLC announced plans today to locate its first Indiana bottling facility here, creating up to 35 new jobs by 2017.

“Companies like Chicago Craft Bottling save money in Indiana, from our lower tax burdens to our more affordable cost of doing business,” said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “Those savings earn companies a competitive advantage, allowing them to reinvest in their operations. That keeps Indiana businesses growing, expanding our economy and creating more jobs for Hoosiers.”

The Chicago, Illinois-based company will invest $910,000 to construct and equip a new 10,000 square-foot bottling and packaging plant. The new facility, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year, will allow the company to provide bottling and co-packing services to craft and innovative beverages, including its anchor client, Crafthouse Cocktails. Chicago Craft Bottling plans to hire for approximately 10 new positions in Indiana by early November. […]

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Chicago Craft Bottling, LLC up to $295,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Michigan City approved additional tax abatement at the request of the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City.

So, they want the obvious cachet of our largest city’s name, but they don’t want to make it here. The mayor ought to do something about that one.

* Now, on to some good news…

The Illinois unemployment rate fell in August for the sixth consecutive month to reach 6.7 percent while employers created +13,800 jobs, according to preliminary data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The data is seasonally adjusted.

The drop from 9.2 percent one year ago marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.7 was in July 2008 when it was 6.6. Also, there are +40,600 more jobs than one year ago.

“Five months of job creation coupled with increased help-wanted advertising indicate a bit of momentum as we head into the Fall,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “It is not surprising that fewer people are looking for work given retirement trends, although it does underscore that more needs to be done to give the long-term unemployed the skills necessary to secure meaningful employment.”

Since 1976, the monthly Illinois rate has averaged 0.6 points higher than the national rate. August marks the second consecutive month that the state rate has hit that benchmark. Illinois last did so in Spring, 2012. […]

August job growth was led by Leisure and Hospitality (+5,000), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,300), and Professional and Business Services (+3,300). Other Services (-1,800), Education and Health Services ( 1,700) and Financial Activities (-300) declined.

*** UPDATE *** Bruce Rauner…

“It’s always good news when more Illinoisans are working. Unfortunately, we still have a huge ways to go to get out of the massive hole that’s been dug in our state by the Quinn-Madigan-Blagojevich machine. We need to put our economy on jet fuel, and under Pat Quinn it’s struggling along on leaded gas. It took eight months to add a single job this year.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Cutting to the chase

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Whet Moser at Chicago Magazine is fast becoming my favorite political blogger.

Moser doesn’t post a lot, but when he does it’s clearly after he’s given things much thought. For instance, during all the hooplah over Bruce Rauner’s $140,000 wine club, Moser took a decidedly contrarian, but fact-based position

Napa Valley Reserve isn’t a wine club in the sense that you plunk down six figures and get a bottle of wine in the mail. It’s somewhere between a dude ranch, a time-share for hobbyist winemakers, and Costco for wine collectors.

And it might be a bargain. Here’s how Food & Wine describes it:

    An alternative to owning a vineyard is belonging to the Napa Valley Reserve, winemaker Bill Harlan’s new club. A $150,000 deposit buys the right to purchase from one-half to three barrels of wine. You can do as much of the work as you want, from grape picking to barrel tasting. About 275 people have joined so far, half from outside California, and Harlan expects to cut off membership at 400.

According to a 2010 Huffington Post piece, members can buy bottles for $78.

He did the math of deposit plus wine costs and concluded that members could buy wine for about $250 a bottle. But that wine actually retails for between $450 and $900 a bottle….

Plus the Reserve deposit is refunded if you quit. At these prices, you’d be crazy not to join.

Excellent point.

* One of his more recent posts does a good job of explaining this exceedingly frustrating statement by Rauner

* Moser uses some past articles to explain that this is how Rauner does business. From a 2011 Rauner interview in Chicago Mag

Most private equity firms buy mature companies and unwanted divisions of large corporations, managements intact. But you seem to go out and find management and then, together with them, go buy the companies.

We’re in two businesses: industry research and executive recruiting. We study industries, and we network like crazy to find the superstars. Today, we’re partners with two dozen CEOs. Some we’re backing for the second, third time. It can take from six months to nine years from the time we meet someone until we actually become partners with each other.

* Rauner’s 1999 explanation of how GTCR is involved with companies

We’ll take one or two seats on a company’s board of directors, and then help out in areas where we can be useful, focusing on issues like recruiting additional executives; identifying acquisitions for the company; helping structure, price, and negotiate acquisitions, if they ask us to do that; arranging other types of capital in addition to our own arranging debt or mezzanine financing, arranging joint ventures or leasing terms, etc.; helping the company go public selecting the underwriters and the analysts, and getting it public at the right time at the right price. We try to be supportive partners and advisors, without getting in the way.

* Whet’s conclusion

It’s banking and management, but not necessarily the operations of the business itself.

And that might go some way towards explaining Rauner and his goal-first, plan-later approach. He’s accustomed to targeting acquisitions or industries in which to create a business, setting goals for that business—and then assembling management to carry out those goals.

Rauner has been emphatic about his plan to put together a can-do bureaucracy from experts; indeed, that’s much of his expertise, a hands-on recruiter of talent… But much of Rauner’s “management” will be selected by the fractious, divided state he wants to govern in the form of the legislature. Will it work? He wants you to trust him—and for the state to pick him on the basis of his business success, as he’s done his whole life.


- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Welcome to the NFL, rookie

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* As you’ll recall, Channel 5’s Mary Ann Ahern asked Bruce Rauner about the NFL domestic violence scandals yesterday. Last night, she reported this

The Rauner team was not happy with today’s questions on the NFL and said we should have submitted them ahead of time.

The Rauner campaign flat-out denies anybody told her that. Ahern firmly stood by her story this morning. She also denied, and deemed it personally insulting, that anyone would claim her NFL questions were planted by the Quinnsters.

* The first-time candidate might be dismayed at the way he’s being treated by the city’s media, but it’s merely his turn in the barrel. The governor has served his time in said barrel quite often and will be back in there very soon.

And it’s only gonna get worse. Much worse.

* And while the governor’s campaign talked to me about the NFL abuse issue and Rauner’s Steelers ownership two nights ago, Chicago reporters can always smell a good local angle on a hot national story, and the NFL abuse scandal is the hottest thing going right now. Rauner, as a part-owner of an NFL team, gave them the perfect local angle. Craig Dellimore

Republican candidate Bruce Rauner called a news conference to talk about ethics but as a partial owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was asked what he thought of the way the NFL handled recent domestic violence incidents including former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancé. He sidestepped.

Why Rauner wasn’t prepared to answer that question is just beyond me. He could’ve turned it into a huge positive. Instead, he whiffed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** This just in… Court keeps Libertarians on ballot

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* 11:00 am - Sangamon County Circuit Judge has ruled against an attempt by Illinois Republican Party attorneys to knock the Libertarian Party’s statewide slate off the November ballot. The full ruling is here.

*** UPDATE *** AP

Kelley found that the evidence supported the board’s decision, noting that the court could overturn it “only if it finds the rulings are clearly erroneous.”

Illinois GOP attorney John Fogarty had argued that thousands of signatures were invalid because they were illegible, not genuine and because petition circulators didn’t reside at their stated addresses.

While approving the Libertarian’s candidacy, the board ruled that Green, Constitution and Independent party candidates should not be on the ballot because the parties gathered too few valid signatures. Democratic Party attorneys had challenged the validity of the signatures for the Green candidate, who could have taken votes away from Quinn.

Fogarty declined comment Thursday on whether attorneys would appeal. Illinois GOP spokesman Andrew Welhouse said the party would “continue to work in every part of Illinois to elect Bruce Rauner and Republicans up and down the ticket.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Callis releases new negative ad

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* She isn’t going down without a fight

* Script…

NARRATOR: Rodney Davis will tell you he started out small, but Davis hit the big time in Washington. As a congressman, Davis spent forty grand at DC steakhouses. He wined and dined with insiders, and voted to protect tax breaks for millionaires. Davis shut down the government, but kept his own taxpayer funded perks like a private gym and first class flights.

CALLIS: I’m Ann Callis, I approve this message. I’ll do without the perks, so we can do more for middle class families.

* Davis campaign response…

To distract the public from her growing residency scandal, Ann Callis once again throws untruthful bombs in her latest TV commercial. Instead of talking about actual issues, or coming clean on where she lived while serving as an elected official in Illinois, Callis continues her attacks on Congressman Davis.

As we know, Callis’ last ad attacking Congressman Davis was a flat-out lie. In reality, fact checkers called the attacks in the last Callis ad “smarmy.” (Washington Post 5/5/2014). That Callis attack received a Four Pinocchios rating by fact checkers…the worst rating possible.

She continues the pattern in this latest ad:

    Callis ad: “Davis shut down the government”
    Truth: Congressman Davis actually voted to keep the government up and running. (Roll Call Vote #478, 9/20/2013)

    Callis ad: “kept his own taxpayer funded perks like a private gym and first class flights”
    Truth: Congressman Davis voted to BAN first-class flights by members of Congress and have never flown first-class on the taxpayer’s dime. He voted to stop Members of Congress for receiving taxpayer-funded health care for life. (Roll Call Vote #177, 4/10/14). Davis also pays his own money for his gym membership.

“Ann Callis is running a desperate campaign of deceit and untruthfulness,” said Tim Butler, Davis campaign manager. “This ad only continues a dishonest pattern established over many years when she signed multiple documents attesting to her residency in Missouri while serving as an elected judge in Illinois. As an attorney, she should know that her residency in Missouri violated the Illinois Constitution.

“Ann Callis also needs to let the public know about her own gold-plated judicial pension,” Butler continued, “and her free lifetime health care, both courtesy of the taxpayers of Illinois. I doubt she wants to talk about that, but instead she will continue to attack Congressman Davis.”

* But Callis has her own documentation…


Davis Drops Nearly $40,000 on Washington Steakhouses

    In 2013 and 2014, Congressman Davis spent $38,834 in campaign funds at exclusive Washingon steakhouses.
    [State Journal-Register, 7/26/14]

Davis Twice Voted for the Ryan Budget, Giving the Average Millionaire a Tax Cut of $245,000

    Congressman Davis twice voted for a budget that gives Americans with incomes of $1 million or more an average net tax cut of about $245,000.
    [House Clerk, H Con Res 96, Vote #177, 4/10/14, H Con Res 25, Vote #88, 3/21/13; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/17/13]

Congressman Davis Signed a Letter Urging the House Republican Leadership to only Fund the Government if it Defunded the Affordable Health Care Act

    According to Freedom Works, Rodney Davis signed a letter authored by Tea Party Congressman Mark Meadows, “affirming that they will refuse to vote for a CR that contains ObamaCare funding.”
    [Freedom Works Website, 8/14/13; Meadows Letter, 8/21/13]

Davis Voted for a Continuing Resolution that would “Likely Result” In a Government Shutdown.

    In 2013 House Republicans passed a Continuing Resolution that the Associated Press reported would “likely result” in the shutdown of the federal government.
    [House Clerk, HJ Res 59, Vote #478, 9/20/13; Associated Press, 8/23/13; New York Times, 9/18/13]

Congressman Davis Voted Sixteen Times Against Efforts to Re-Open the Government

    Following the government shutdown, Congressman Davis voted sixteen times against efforts to vote on a clean government funding resolution by allowing consideration of the Senate-passed continuing resolution.
    [House Clerk, H Res 370, Vote #509, 10/02/13, HJ Res 70, Vote #512, 10/02/13, HR 3230, Vote #515, 10/03/13, HJ Res 72, Vote #517, 10/03/13, H Res 371, Vote #519, 10/04/13, HJ Res 85, Vote #521, 10/04/13, HJ Res 75, Vote #523, 10/04/13, H J Res 77, Vote #527, 10/7/13, HJ Res 84, Vote #529, 10/08/13, H Res 373, Vote #531, 10/08/13, HR 3273, Vote #533, 10/08/13, HJ Res 90, Vote #536, 10/09/13, HJ Res 79, Vote #539, 10/10/13, HJ Res 76, Vote #541, 10/11/13, HJ Res 380, Vote #543, 10/11/13, HJ Res 80, Vote #547, 10/14/13; New York Times, 10/07/13]

Congressman Davis Defends Keeping the House Gym for Members of Congress During the Government Shutdown

    During the government shutdown the House gym for Members of Congress stayed open despite assurances that it would close and even though employees were furloughed and tours were canceled. Congressman Davis did not sponsor or cosponsor H.R. 3276, The Shutdown Prioritization Act, a bill that would have explicitly banned this activity. Davis’ office defended his continued use of the facility during the shutdown.
    [NBC 4, 10/9/13;, 9/16/14; State Journal-Register, 7/21/14]

Davis Refuses to Support Commonsense Ban on Taxpayer Funded First Class Flights for Members of Congress

    Congressman Davis voted against a budget that would have explicitly banned first class travel. He also is not a sponsor or cosponsor of H.R. 4632, If Our Military has to Fly Coach then so should Congress Act of 2014, a bill that bans Members of Congress and their staff from using taxpayer dollars to pay for first class tickets for flights.
    [House Clerk, H. Con. Res. 96, Vote #176, 4/10/14;, 9/5/14]

I am way too ill today to include any of the dozens of hyperlinks in both those press releases. Sorry. New maladies have befallen me. Gonna be a long day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments calls Schilling ad “shamefully misleading”

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* Remember this Bobby Schilling TV ad I posted yesterday?

Munos: [Congresswoman Cheri Bustos] voted to cut veteran benefits by six billion dollars.

Ron Tady (East Moline): Six billion dollars!

Moffett: That’s billion with a B.

Munos: After promising she never would.

Moffett: How could you cut our benefits, Cheri? […]

Tady: How could you? Shame on you.

* Well, takes a look at the vote in question and pronounces it “shamefully misleading”

The ad refers to the bill introduced last Dec. 10 by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, chairs of their respective budget committees in the House and Senate. Ryan, who was also the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, said at the time: “I’m proud of this agreement. It reduces the deficit — without raising taxes. … I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it.”

And the deal was approved overwhelmingly, by a vote of 332 to 94 in the House on Dec. 12, 2013, with 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats voting in favor. The Senate followed suit a few days later, passing the package on Dec. 18 by a vote of 64 to 36. This time, all 55 members of the Democratic caucus voted in favor, but only nine Republicans did so.

The deal avoided any tax increase or revisions to Social Security, Medicare or other major entitlement programs, and restored some earlier “sequester” cuts to the military budget. But one of the offsetting cuts was a reduction in future cost-of-living adjustments to the pensions of military retirees that would cut spending by an estimated $6.2 billion over 10 years, beginning in fiscal year 2016.

That would have affected about 750,000 military retirees, only a small fraction of the roughly 22 million that the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates have served in the U.S. armed forces. So the large majority of veterans would not have been affected.

Nevertheless, the pension cut quickly drew fire from military and veterans groups, prompting a rapid retreat by Congress. The House voted Feb. 11 to restore the old cost-of-living formula for all who had signed up for military service prior to 2014. The vote was 326 to 90, and Bustos was among the 120 Democrats who voted in favor. The next day, the Senate voted 95 to 3 for final passage, and the president signed the repeal into law on Feb. 15.

Given all that, we find the ad to be shamefully misleading. The man in the ad who says, “Shame on you, Congresswoman Bustos,” might accurately have said instead, “Thank you, Congresswoman Bustos, for restoring our full military pensions.”

* She’s being hammered for doing the right thing. She and the rest of Congress retreated, which was chicken-hearted, but the right political move. They retreated partly because they could all foresee ads like Schilling’s in their next elections.

There are no innocents here, but it is most definitely a misleading ad. I even wonder whether any of Schilling’s vets would’ve been among the tiny fraction who would’ve received a slightly lower COLA.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Rauner zeroing in on 20 IDOT workers

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

* From a press release…

Yesterday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was asked to explain why he won’t fire 103 illegal patronage hires that remain at the Illinois Department of Transportation. Here was his response:

    “Those that are still in the state government they did apply for positions that were covered by civil service, they followed all the rules, they were hired under those particular proper rules, and I see no need to fire them if they followed the rules and the agency followed the rules.”

What a load of baloney. All of these people were hired illegally – they got inside the IDOT system improperly while Illinois workers, particularly our veterans, were never given opportunities to apply. And once inside the system, Quinn’s cronies had preferential access to job openings – ahead of other Illinois job seekers.

Meanwhile, while Pat Quinn tries to hide behind “job protections” for some of the remaining 103 illegal patronage hires, IDOT publicly stated that 20 of these cronies do not have job protections against being fired. Why can’t Pat Quinn – at the very least – fire these 20 illegal patronage hires? Who is he protecting and why?


    According To IDOT, Twenty Of The Illegal Hires That Quinn Is Protecting Do Not Have Job Protections Against Being Fired “The 103 IDOT workers who Quinn’s office said will keep their jobs include 83 who have moved into positions that come with job protections they didn’t have when they hired in as staff assistants. Another 20 don’t have those protections, but still are not expected to be let go, Tridgell said.” (Ray Long and Monique Garcia, “IDOT To Retain 103 Hired Despite Anti-Patronage Rules,” Chicago Tribune, 9/13/14)

    Current IDOT Employees Are Given Preferential Access To Job Openings Within IDOT. “When the employer determines to fill a permanent vacancy within the bargaining unit, the Employer shall post for 10 days within the Agency the position is located, by District Offices and Central Bureaus and will make a reasonable attempt to provide the same information to field offices. The posting notice shall state the position classification, any specialized skills, training, experience or other necessary qualifications, the shift, the work location and assignment, rate of pay and shall indicate that it is a bargaining unit position. Any bargaining unit employee may bid on a position in any Agency under this collective bargaining agreement; however, they must be deemed qualified and eligible in order to be considered for selection.” (IDOT Collective Bargaining Agreement, Accessed 9/18/14, p. 32)


- Posted by Rich Miller   111 Comments      

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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

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Tomorrow’s news today

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* Gov. Pat Quinn took questions for over 15 minutes from reporters this afternoon. His comments ranged on issues from the NFL scandals, to the investigations into his own office, to Bruce Rauner’s various claims. You might wanna skip the first couple of minutes, but here’s the raw audio

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Oddities and ends

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* Democratic congressional candidate Ann Callis may have some residency issues because of papers she and/or her husband signed

The records show her signature appearing on a notarized 2008 mortgage agreement for one of the couple’s Arizona homes, as well as a 2006 deed transfer for property in Laguna Beach, Calif.

The latter includes a statement identifying Callis and Holloran as “residents of the County of St. Louis, State of Missouri.” A 2005 deed for a second home in Scottsdale, Ariz., also lists their address as in Kirkwood.

In 2004, records show Callis was added to the Forest Street deed. The document begins, “I, Ann Callis, of the County of St. Louis, State of Missouri …”


* Response

“These new attacks on my mom, my brother, and me are completely false, and it’s really shameful that Congressman Davis would try to say our family wasn’t living in Illinois while my mom was a judge,” [Callis’ daughter, Caroline Rongey] said.

“I was proud to grow up in Madison County and I have great memories of cheerleading for Troy’s Triad High School and watching my brother take Triad to the Class 5A playoffs as a starting quarterback. Congressman Davis needs to leave our family alone.”

* From the NRCC…

Ann Callis can’t seem to get anything right these days. While Callis is attacking Rodney Davis on lobbyists she is also planning to attend a fundraiser in DC tomorrow at the home of mega-lobbyist Tom Trotter.

A question for Ann Callis – why is it okay for her to raise money off of mega-lobbyists in DC all while attacking Rodney Davis?

We know Callis is busy trying to figure out how to untangle her web of lies over her residency but this seems worthy of a quick ask.

NRCC Statement: “Ann Callis should be explaining why over numerous years she signed notarized documents saying she lives in St. Louis, but instead she bailed from the 13th District to raise money with a mega-lobbyist in DC. We know Callis is trying to figure out if she is from Missouri or Illinois, but she should know better than to hob-knob in Washington with Pelosi’s lobbyist friends.” – Katie Prill NRCC Spokeswoman

* In other newsish-related stuff, the Callis campaign has responded to Congressman Rodney Davis’ latest ad (which was a response to Callis’ recent ad) with a YouTube video…

The campaign of former Chief Judge and Congressional challenger Ann Callis released the following video in response to Congressman Rodney Davis’ deceptive new ad. In the video, Jerseyville farmer Gene – who appeared in Callis’ “Trim the Fat” ad – calls out Congressman Davis for featuring him without permission to attack Callis.

* Video

* And in “news” from another district, for some reason Mike Bost thought it was a good idea to spend 15 minutes talking to a Rockford radio program about his infamous blow-up video. Rockford is at the opposite end of this very long state from Bost’s district

* Related…

* Schneider gets endorsement from IEA union that backed Dold in 2012

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

Durbin launches second positive ad

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* US Sen. Dick Durbin has a new TV ad. Rate it

The ad is not replacing the spot featuring the wife of a wounded veteran. It’ll run concurrently.

* Script…

Man I: Sixty-six thousand dollars.

Woman: A hundred thousand dollars.

Man II: Sixty thousand dollars in college debt.

Senator Durbin: The high cost of college is weighing down America’s middle class. That’s why I’m fighting for a law so college loans can be refinanced at today’s lower interest rates. It would erase thousands of dollars of debt for millions of American families. After all, if you can refinance a car loan and a home loan, why can’t you refinance a student loan?

I’m Dick Durbin, and I approve this message because Illinois’ middle class deserves a break.

* In other Durbin-related news, an atheist group rated Durbin an “A” for separation of church and state and his opponent Jim Oberweis was given an “F”…

The Secular Coalition for America today released its Congressional Voter Guides for several Congressional Districts of Illinois and the Illinois Senate race. The Guides are meant to help secular-minded Illinoisans make informed decisions on the candidates for the upcoming elections in November, based on secular issues.

The Voter Guide is part of the Secular Coalition’s “50 Secular Races to Watch” list which the Coalition is currently rolling out based on the U.S. House districts that received the worst grades on the Coalition’s 2013 Congressional Report Card. The Secular Coalition will also grade seven Senate races across the country.

The full rationale for the ratings is here.

* Other stuff…

* Durbin has cushy lead over Oberweis, Tribune poll finds

* Durbin’s views on issues as he faces re-election

* Study finds conservatives and liberals smell different

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 - Full Rauner response - Rauner issues statement - Quinn responds *** Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern asked Bruce Rauner today about the Ray Rice punchout video and the child abuse charges against Adrian Peterson

Ahern: You are part owner, a minority owner with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Have you spoken to your group about how the NFL has handled Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson? Are you onboard with what’s going on?

Rauner: “I have not spoken with the Steelers organization at all. Not in many months.

Ahern: Why would you not want to reach out and find out what…?

Rauner: “I am working here in Illinois to win an election and transform our government so it’s working for the people again. That’s 100 percent my focus.”

Reporter: So, would you also comment, though, could you comment on the situation?

The candidate moved on to another reporter instead of answering that last quesiton.

* The Question: Fair questions or not? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


*** UPDATE 1 *** The Quinnsters were apparently ready for this one. From a press release…

Amidst the NFL controversy sweeping the nation about standing up against abuse of women and children, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) today criticized Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner’s Tax Plan for the devastating impact the budget would have on at-risk families in Illinois, particularly those struggling with abuse and violence. While Rauner’s Tax Plan puts $1 million into his own pocket, it leaves an $8 billion hole in the state budget. Most of the burden of this massive funding deficit will fall on education - which would suffer an unprecedented cut of $4 billion - but crucial programs helping women, children and other victims of domestic abuse would also be significantly slashed by Rauner’s proposal.

Today Rauner, a part owner of Pittsburg Steelers, refused to stand up for battered women and children when asked directly about the NFL controversy sweeping the nation. Rauner become an owner of the team in 2009, shortly after an abuse scandal was brushed off by the team.

“Bruce Rauner needs to answer specifically for the radical reductions he proposes, which will harm some of the most vulnerable individuals in Illinois: the children and spouses who are victims of abuse,” Lt. Governor Simon said. “Time and again Rauner has failed to explain how exactly he would preserve critical programming with such unrealistic economic projections. Few specifics have been provided by his campaign at any rate.”

“A billionaire and self-proclaimed member of the .01 percent, Bruce Rauner has made much of his ability to invest and make money,” Senator Hutchinson said. “Investing in abuse prevention and intervention has been proven to provide long-term returns to the state of Illinois, but when it comes to domestic abuse and its victims, Rauner always seems willing to put politics ahead of people.”

Once implemented, Rauner’s Tax Plan would have a devastating impact on critical programs funded by the state.

And then it goes on and on like their usual press releases.

* But a Republican, on background, wants you to know this…

State Funding For Domestic Violence Shelters Has Been Cut 13.7% From FY2009 To FY2015 - Nearly $3 Million. (Appropriations Report - FY2009, Illinois Comptroller, p. 204; Enacted FY2015 Budget By Line Item, Governor’s Office of Management and Budget)

*** UPDATE 2 *** He shoulda just answered this one to begin with and scored some points…

*** UPDATE 2 *** The full response from the Rauner campaign did not come from Rauner himself…

“Bruce thinks what Ray Rice did is deplorable and the NFL has badly mishandled the situation. As a husband and father of four daughters, Bruce stands for women’s health and safety everyday. Sadly, Pat Quinn has done just the opposite and cut funding for domestic violence shelters by nearly 15 percent. That never should have happened, but Pat Quinn was too busy funneling millions into his own political slush fund that is now the subject of two federal grand jury investigations.” - Rauner spokesperson Lyndsey Walters

- Posted by Rich Miller   122 Comments      

Black radio ad slams Rauner for failure to hire a single African-American at company

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* The Quinn campaign has a powerful new ad running exclusively on African-American radio stations. There’s no music, just a black woman expertly reading her script and a single audio quote of Bruce Rauner. It’s an absolute must-listen


* Script…

AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN: Do you know how many professionals work at billionaire Republican Bruce Rauner’s investment firm?

51 people.

Do you want to guess how many of those employees are African-American?



Not a single African-American.

Why do you suppose that is?

Well, when ABC News asked Rauner he said he couldn’t find anyone…

    RAUNER: “We weren’t finding the folks that, that uh, you know, that weren’t there.”

Really, Bruce Rauner?

You couldn’t find anyone?

You couldn’t find a single qualified African-American to work for and represent your firm?

And now you’re running TV ads claiming how close you are to our community?


Well, we know how to judge our true friends, and those who aren’t.

Zero employees out of 51.

So, Bruce Rauner, if you’re listening, did you really think no one would ever find out?

PAT QUINN: Taxpayers for Quinn paid for this message because there’s so much at stake.

Again, this is playing on black radio. Judge it in context.

- Posted by Rich Miller   116 Comments      

Today’s chart

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* Two points

Keep in mind that the Tribune’s recent poll is included here, which is definitely making things look tighter than they may be.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Quinn responds *** Rauner unveils ethics reform plan

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* Click here to read Bruce Rauner’s new ethics plan. Some of it is much-needed, some of it is obvious overkill or rehash.

* Hiring…

* Fire all IDOT employs who got an “illegal” job

* Launch an online portal that includes info on all non-civil service workers

* Request a federal hiring monitor to oversee IDOT

* Revolving door…

* A firm, one-year lobbying ban for all senior executive officials and legislators

I’d go even further and bar any of those folks from negotiating private sector jobs while in office.

…Adding… Gov. Quinn has a bill in the hopper to address part of this. From the LRB synopsis…

Provides that (in addition to current restrictions on chiefs of staff, deputy chiefs of staff, and deputy governors) a chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, or deputy governor serving in the Office of the Governor is prohibited from lobbying or consulting in any fashion before or with the executive or legislative branch of State government for a period of one year immediately after termination of State employment.

* Ban government contract lobsters…

* Any government entity receiving state funds would be barred from hiring an outside lobbyist

* No outside income for legislative leaders (he’s already proposed that one)

* Conflicts of interest…

* Expand powers of Legislative Ethics Commission powers to include fines and censure. Legislators whould be prohibited from voting on matters where there are conflicts of interest

It’s not clear if that means farmers couldn’t vote on a generic farm bill, or whether it would mean farmers couldn’t vote on a farm bill that mainly impacted them. Devils are always in the details.

* Recall…

* Recall expanded beyond governor to all constitutional officers and legislators

* No pensions for felons

* Multiple expulsions…

* Amend Constitution to allow for multiple expulsions for the same offense (addresses Rep. Derrick Smith case, when he was expelled and then re-elected and couldn’t be expelled again)

That is definitely needed.

* Term limits

* Slush funds…

* More transparency and accountability for state grants

Much of that was already addressed this spring.

*** UPDATE *** From the Quinn campaign…

Quinn for Illinois Communications Director Brooke Anderson issued the below statement regarding Bruce Rauner’s desperate attempt to hide his own proven record of profiting from pay-to-play, fraud and corruption:

“Bruce Rauner has zero credibility when it comes to ethics - he has profited from fraud, abuse and mismanagement of his own businesses and taxpayer dollars throughout his career.

“For example, the U.S. Attorney had this to say about one of Mr. Rauner’s companies: ‘APS Healthcare took Medicaid’s money for itself and left some of our most vulnerable citizens without the aid they deserved.’

“Unlike Governor Quinn who takes responsibility and fixes problems whenever they arise, Bruce Rauner takes no responsibility but always takes the profits.

“Mr. Rauner may have been able to take the money and run in the private sector but he can’t hide from his own business record of pay-to-play, corruption, fraud and hiring swindlers.

“Bruce Rauner can’t be trusted.”

Below is a recap of the Governor’s record of reform.

    Governor Quinn’s Record of Reform

    Enacted a strong new ethics code that forbids the promise of state jobs and contracts or political favors in exchange for campaign contributions and increases scrutiny of officials, state workers and lobbyists.
    Signed legislation that imposes a first-ever contribution limits on candidates, political parties and political action committees and created a Campaign Finance Reform Task Force, which will study the impact of contribution limits and make recommendations following the 2012 & 2014 elections. Mr. Rauner promptly took advantage of a loophole to smash the limits and benefit himself, so he and his fellow billionaires could try and take over Illinois.
    Fought for an enacted a law that allows the power to recall a Governor who is not working in the public’s interest.
    Established he Illinois Reform Commission to examine and present solutions against corruption and taxpayer abuse, including in state hiring.
    Issued Administrative Order to strengthen hiring controls and ensure compliance with all Rutan rules.
    Fought for and signed law to strengthen the OEIG authority as a hiring watchdog by allowing the OEIG to self-initiate investigations, requiring publication of state employee wrongdoing including wrongdoing related to hiring, and empowering the Inspector General with new authority to review hiring of all agencies to ensure compliance with Rutan and all applicable employment law.
    Fought for a signed Grant Accountability and Transparency Act, which is landmark legislation that overhauls the state’s grant oversight and accountability process, while providing the strongest grant oversight in the nation.
    Vetoed legislation that would have reduced government transparency by limiting the ability of citizens to seek public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
    Signed legislation creating a permanent public access counselor within the Attorney General’s Office to oversee enforcement of the FOIA and strengthening fines for noncompliance.
    Launched the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal to provide Illinoisans with access to state government spending information.
    Launched the Illinois Sunshine Portal, a new one-stop shop where the public can view many public records and documents online.
    Launched, a searchable clearinghouse of information from state agencies that will help inform residents about the operation of state government and encourage the creative use of state information, including the development of applications for mobile devices that can be built around the data.
    Signed legislation that creates a position of a state actuary to oversee the five state-funded pension systems to help increase transparency of the systems.
    Issued an executive order that encourages state agencies and local governments across Illinois to increase the amount of raw data they share with each other, businesses, academic institutions and the general public.
    Signed legislation to strengthen the Illinois Open Meetings Act by ensuring that a copy of the meeting notice and agenda is available to the public for the entire 48 hours preceding the meeting.
    Signed legislation that strengthens ethics provisions in certain Illinois county governments to help establish ethical guidelines and simplifies the removal process for individuals who violate those guidelines.

It would’ve been nice if the Quinn campaign found one or two good ideas to praise, but this being the nastiest campaign in modern state history, I suppose that’s too much to ask.

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      

Today’s number: 30 percent less likely

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* Yes, there are very real problems with the Chicago Tribune’s latest poll. But as I told subscribers today, there’s good news for Gov. Pat Quinn beyond his alleged 11-point lead

For his part, Rauner has stepped up his efforts to try to tarnish Quinn’s positive reputation on ethics. The Quinn administration faces a federal grand jury probe into an anti-violence grant program he launched shortly before the 2010 election, and a state inspector general’s report concluded illegal patronage hiring was done at the governor’s Illinois Department of Transportation.

Asked about the impact of those controversies, 56 percent said it makes no difference in their likelihood of voting for Quinn, while 30 percent said it would make them less likely to cast a ballot for the governor.

I don’t have the xtabs, but to put that into perspective, 30 percent would equal all the Republicans and about a quarter of the independents. It’s a “meh” issue out there.


- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Bigfooted by the Trib

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday shortly after noon about that new federal grand jury subpoena of Gov. Pat Quinn’s anti-violence program.

But the Sun-Times had filed a Freedom of Information Act request “seeking ‘any state or federal subpoenas’ received by the governor’s office dating back to Aug. 1.” Instead of releasing it to everybody at once, the governor’s office chose to give the Tribune the scoop. The CS-T understandably ain’t pleased and found a Springfield attorney who was more than happy to pile on

Quinn’s administration released a copy of the two-page grand jury subpoena Tuesday to the Chicago Tribune. When a Sun-Times reporter called to complain about the selective release, the administration finally provided a copy to the Sun-Times, even though the newspaper’s subpoena request had been in the administration’s open-records pipeline for nearly two weeks.

One of the state’s preeminent experts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act said those justifications by the administration don’t hold muster, particularly given the gravity of a federal subpoena.

“We’re talking about two pieces of paper. It’s not a complicated subject. They know the rules about release of federal subpoenas, and they’re playing games with you,” Springfield attorney Donald Craven said.

“Then, they further play games when they pick and choose who they release records to. For Mr. Openness and Transparency,” Craven said in a barb at the governor himself, “it stinks.”

Actually, my colleague David Ormsby scooped both papers in his subscriber-only edition early Tuesday morning, but, whatever, I feel the CS-T’s pain here.

The Tribune has a pretty darned big foot. It can hurt sometimes.

* And the Illinois Republican Party relished jumping into the fray today…

Quinn’s Not The First Governor To Play Games With Subpoenas

Experts say Quinn’s handling of media requests for subpoenas “stinks” — because it smells like Rod Blagojevich

After Being Hit With Three Subpoenas In Late 2005 By Federal Investigators Looking Into Illegal Hiring Practices, The Blagojevich Administration Stopped Releasing Subpoenas It Had Received. ” Last fall, the Tribune reported that federal investigators had begun issuing subpoenas to Children and Family Services, Corrections and Transportation–as well as the governor’s office–in response to allegations of wrongdoing in state hiring. Those subpoenas sought documents on hiring that dated to March 2002, the month Blagojevich won the Democratic primary for governor. After acknowledging those original federal subpoenas, the Blagojevich administration adopted a new policy in which it has refused to say whether any additional subpoenas have been received.” (John Chase and Matt O’Connor, “State memo hints at broad jobs probe,” Chicago Tribune, 6/29/06)

In 2007, The Better Government Association Sued The Blagojevich Administration To Force The Subpoenas’ Release. “The Better Government Association plans to sue Gov. Blagojevich’s office today to force it to release copies of all subpoenas that corruption-busting federal investigators have sent it. Told of the planned lawsuit Wednesday, a Blagojevich aide didn’t stray from the administration’s long-standing opinion that the subpoenas can’t be made public.” (Chris Fusco, “Watchdog Puts Heat On Gov’s Office: Suit To Seek Copies Of Feds’ Subpoenas,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1/4/07)

In 2008, A State Judge Ruled The Blagojevich Must Release The Subpoenas. “The Blagojevich administration must release the subpoenas it has gotten from federal prosecutors who are investigating possible corruption, a judge has ruled. The U.S. attorney in Chicago is looking into possible misconduct in the way Gov. Rod Blagojevich awards state jobs and contracts. He has issued subpoenas requiring the administration to turn over various documents. Blagojevich has refused to show the subpoenas to reporters and government watchdog groups, so the Better Government Association sued. Sangamon County Judge Patrick Kelley ruled Wednesday that the subpoenas must be released to the public.” (”Judge Rules Blagojevich Must Release Federal Subpoenas,” The Associated Press, 1/9/08)

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Bustos responds *** Schilling ad attacks Bustos over budget cuts

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* Congresswoman Cheri Bustos voted for the Paul Ryan, Patty Murray budget plan last year and is now under fire from her GOP opponent for voting to cut spending. From a press release…

The Bobby Schilling for Congress campaign has released their second commercial of the 2014 campaign cycle. The commercial features veterans who are disappointed with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) for her heartless vote to cut veterans benefits by $6 billion last year.

In December of 2013, Cheri Bustos voted to cut veterans benefits by $6 billion by voting for the Ryan-Murray budget. Shortly afterwards, Cheri Bustos said that her vote to cut veterans benefits was “right for America.” Veterans across the Illinois 17th District were outraged by this heartless vote.

In addition to voting to cut benefits to veterans and their families in her own district, Congresswoman Bustos failed to lead when veterans needed her most during the VA crisis. While veterans were dying on wait-lists at VA hospitals, Cheri Bustos said and did nothing until Bobby Schilling stepped up.

Bobby Schilling opposed the Ryan-Murray budget. In an op-ed he wrote in January, Schilling said “we should be cutting our debts, not our vets.”

Schilling also led first to solve the VA crisis. Schilling introduced the Enhanced Veterans Health Care Experience Act back in 2011, a bill that would fix the VA wait-listing issue by allowing veterans to use their own doctors in their own hometowns. Schilling’s bill was included as a provision in this summer’s VA reform legislation that passed the House unanimously 426-0 and has now been signed into law.

There is a clear contrast between Cheri Bustos’ disappointing record on veterans issues and Bobby Schilling’s aggressive advocacy for veterans in his district.

It is very hypocritical for Cheri Bustos to run a TV commercial about what her staff did for one veteran while she voted to hurt tens of thousands of veterans. This new ad shines light on Cheri Bustos’ failure to stand up for veterans.

Jon Schweppe, communications director at Bobby Schilling for Congress, released the following statement:

    “Cheri Bustos spent more than a year voting against veterans and ignoring their concerns, and now she’s trying to flip the script in an election year. If Cheri Bustos wants to work on her image with veterans—which she clearly does, judging by her first two commercials—maybe she should just follow through on her promise to give up 10 percent of her pay and donate the $34,800 to a veterans charity. That would be the right thing to do.”

* Schilling’s new ad

* Script…

Bobby Schilling (Colona): I’m Bobby Schilling, and I approve this message.

Councilman Eric Turner (Peoria): We’ve risked our lives.

Brian Munos (Silvis): We’ve put it all on the line.

Ken Moffett (Moline): And how did Congresswoman Cheri Bustos repay us?

Munos: Bustos voted to cut veteran benefits by six billion dollars.

Ron Tady (East Moline): Six billion dollars!

Moffett: That’s billion with a B.

Munos: After promising she never would.

Moffett: How could you cut our benefits, Cheri?

Turner: How could you?

Munos: How could you?

Tady: How could you? Shame on you.

Moffett: Shame on you.

Turner: Shame on you, Congresswoman Bustos.

* The bipartisan lesson here is that budget cuts never play well in general election campaigns. That’s why Bruce Rauner vows to increase state spending on education, infrastructure and IDNR even though he also pledges to cut taxes. Bustos tried to position herself in Congress as a fiscally conservative Democrat. So, she gets this hit.

However, the hard reality of governing is that when you demand cuts (as Schilling has and does), then stuff like this happens.

*** UPDATE *** From the Bustos campaign…

Today, Colin Milligan, the Communications Director for Cheri Bustos for Congress, released the following statement on ex-Congressman Bobby Schilling’s new desperate and dishonest negative ad:

“Ex-Congressman Schilling wasted little time going negative. In an apparent act of desperation, Schilling has responded to Cheri Bustos’ strong support from Illinois veterans by airing a dishonest attack ad in the hopes of confusing voters about her record. Veterans are such a priority to Cheri that she not only led an effort to protect military retiree benefits, but has combat veterans on her staff. And voters have already seen first-hand that when veterans speak up, Cheri Bustos listens.

“Once again, ex-Congressman Schilling is trying to distract voters from his anti-middle class record by pointing to cuts that never happened, but voters know the truth.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Protected: *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition: Crosstabs, TV ads, cable TV buys and an events list

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Quinn moves to second negative track

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* After months of portraying Bruce Rauner as an out of touch rich guy, the Quinn campaign is now turning to how Rauner made his money. From a press release…

An FBI criminal probe that led to a $13 million settlement for Medicaid fraud by a company owned and controlled by GTCRauner is featured in a new ad released Wednesday by the Quinn for Illinois campaign.

APS Healthcare agreed to the settlement after the criminal investigation concluded that the GTCRauner-controlled firm had engaged in defrauding the government for services that were never provided and denied needed care to the most vulnerable.

The settlement on behalf of the Georgia Medicaid program was made in 2011, while Rauner was still chairman of GTCRauner.

The U.S. Attorney overseeing the investigation said that Rauner’s firm not only defrauded taxpayers, but “took Medicaid’s money for itself and left some of our most vulnerable citizens without the aid they deserve.”

GTCRauner sold APS to another company in 2012, which called the firm a $222.3 million lemon as part of a lawsuit in which the Medicaid fraud features prominently. Rauner has refused to take responsibility for business failures like APS, instead choosing to only take the profits.

* The ad

* Script…

NARRATOR: Bruce Rauner’s healthcare company APS was caught by the FBI defrauding taxpayers and cheating patients.

Rauner’s company had to pay a $13 million settlement.

The U.S. Attorney said Rauner’s company “took Medicaid’s money for itself and left some of our most vulnerable citizens without the aid they deserve.”

Did Bruce Rauner really think no one would find out?


- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Rate Bruce Rauner’s new TV ad: “100 years of failure”

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

* This ad was recorded by a friend off his TV at my request this morning because the Rauner campaign has yet to release its own version.

It’s pretty hard-hitting, but one of the first times I’ve seen the lesser-known Senate President John Cullerton used in a negative hit. They probably needed his 25 years in office to push the total to an even 100

…Adding… The Rauner campaign has a press conference scheduled for 10 o’clock this morning to “make a major policy announcement.” The ad will likely be released after that. The campaign has set up the ad with a press release, however…

Across Illinois, They’re Talking About Pat Quinn’s Corruption

Grand jury subpoenas. Illegal patronage hiring schemes. Secret insider deals. We’ve seen this move before; we know how it ends.

Federal grand jury subpoenas…

    A new subpoena seeking records about Gov. Pat Quinn’s botched 2010 anti-violence program has been issued, this time from a federal grand jury based in Chicago.

    The request marks the first subpoena issued by Chicago-based federal authorities in the probe into Quinn’s $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Numerous prior subpoenas had come from federal authorities in Springfield.

    The federal grand jury in Springfield has subpoenaed emails from the governor’s former chief of staff, Jack Lavin, and several others heavily involved in implementing the program.

Illegal patronage hiring schemes…

    Sanguinetti says it’s wrong that the governor’s administration is allowing a little more than 100 of those people to keep their jobs at IDOT. The Rauner campaign says the hirings are wrong considering Quinn says he’s working to clean up state government.

    “We should get rid of all these illegal hires and going forward, we should do the right thing, the fair thing, which is hiring people based upon merit,” Sanguinetti said.

    Sanguinetti says one of those keeping their job is a woman married to a Peoria labor official who has contributed to the Democratic Party.

Secret insider deals…

    Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner said Tuesday he wouldn’t have signed legislation creating Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program because it includes a secret process for deciding who may grow and sell the drug.

    Rauner said it’s “another hallmark” of a culture of corruption under Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He said the public should know who’s applying for a limited number of state permits, and whether the permits are given to “insiders” with political clout.
    “Millions of dollars in business licenses are up for grabs, and Pat Quinn wants to keep taxpayers in the dark,” Rauner said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   90 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Durbin sides with Holland against Quinn
* Nursing home bankruptcy trial gets underway
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Political events calendar
* Davis' poll shows him leading big
* Rauner on patronage: Zero if elected
* You're gonna need a bigger boat, Bruce
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition: Crosstabs, mail, TV buys
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** UPDATED x1 - Frerichs response *** Former Democratic state treasurer endorses Cross - Cites bipartisanship, Israel bonds as reasons (COMMENTS OPENED)
* Prison reform group responds to new Rauner ad (COMMENTS OPENED)
* Quinn hit on botched early prisoner release program (COMMENTS OPENED)
* Yesterday's blog posts

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        * Police issue alerts about sexual assaults in Lakeview, Galewood
        * Streets and San worker, wife charged in tow truck scam
        * 3 wounded in afternoon, overnight South Side shootings
        * Glen Ellyn police searching for missing autistic woman

        * Cupich to be next Chicago archbishop
        * Listen to State Week - September 19, 2014
        * Quinn Defends Public Education, Though He's A Product of Private Schools
        * Chris Mooney: More Evidence-Based Policymaking Needed
        * African Drumming At Southwind Park On Saturday
        * Investors gather in Chicago seeking cannabis businesses
        * Climate, Space Create Challenges For Local Food
        * Can A Governor Really Create Jobs?
        * How do you find high school dropouts?
        * Governor's Race Has A Third Contender; Judge Keeps Libertarians On Ballot

        * Don’t bet on gaming expansion — yet
        * Thomas Schneider and Jay Scott: Building strong families to curb child abuse, neglect
        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Court: Lincoln inmate must use $20K settlement to pay incarceration costs
        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement
        * Our Opinion: Springfield needs Magro project
        * Angie Muhs: Open government is worth fighting for
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy

        * Pentagon: Chinese hackers did not impact Transcom's mission
        * Red Cross seeking blood during Liver Awareness Month
        * Man died suspiciously during city's 200th anniversary party
        * Apple: 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold
        * 'The Lion King' earns record box office
        * Activision hires Giuliani to fight Noriega lawsuit
        * Father McGivney to break ground on new school building Monday
        * Weekend Wrap: DeKalb's Brown dazzles again
        * Marion man killed in single-vehicle crash
        * Daily business briefing: German drug company buying Sigma-Aldrich

        * A red convertible he couldn't get off his mind
        * Sugar Grove rallies around ill former library director
        * Walk to Remember honors babies who died too soon
        * ‘We know his brother is watching over him'
        * ‘Here we were, facing the hardest decision of our lives'

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        * Kiss of death.
        * Rabble Rousers.
        * Thorner: Oberweis sets a positive campaign tone in Lake Forest
        * Enyart "let down" Illinois' 12th CD, new NRCC ad says
        * New Poll: Rauner and Quinn in statistical dead heat
        * Steinem to stump for Quinn
        * Mark Levin apologizes for America to families of fallen soldiers
        * Carter: What’s Up With the Democrats In Illinois?
        * Family Business: Gutierrez pays wife from campaign funds
        * Like Dozier, REALTORS® choose to make a difference

        * Quinn still refusing to fire 20 political cronies
        * Illinois Chamber of Commerce Endorses Rauner for Governor
        * Rauner Web Ad: “Cut from the Same Cloth”
        * Illinois Department of Human Rights Commemorates International Day of Peace
        * Quinn Misleads Public on IDOT Again

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