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Sam McCann jumps into House races against “Raunerite” Republicans

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* This kinda piqued my curiosity…

* I didn’t get very far with McCann’s spokesman and Ives’ person didn’t respond. Maxwell fished out some deets…

…Adding… The IFI statement is here.

* The mailers are paid for by the Conservative Party of Illinois, but Local 150 of the Operating Engineers Union is behind this, of course. And those guys have a lot more money than the Illinois Family Institute, which had $383.12 in its PAC at the end of the quarter. Plus, the “Conservative Party” is about to do pro-life mailers for McCann slamming Rauner.

And Rep. Morrison isn’t the only Republican who will be getting hit with these mailers, I’m told. Any conservative House Republicans who endorsed Gov. Rauner and are in tough reelection battles could get the treatment. That’s a target-rich environment.

Never mess with the trade unions.

* Meanwhile, I tipped subscribers about this earlier today…

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* Today in Illinois politics in one word? One word only, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   103 Comments      

I’ve just never seen anything like this

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* To give you an idea of just how bizarre and unprecedented the harassment lawsuit against the Pritzker campaign is, this was tweeted by one of the plaintiffs. Today. The day after her lawsuit was filed against the Pritzker operation…

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

Pritzker then and now

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* From a JB Pritzker Medium column on October 25, 2017

It starts with this — looking the women in the eye who come forward and testify about a culture of harassment and abuse and saying three words: “I believe you.” Far too often, this doesn’t happen — yet it must if we want real change in workplace culture.

* JB Pritzker today

To be clear, this is just not true. I am incredibly proud of our campaign, how diverse it is, and how inclusive our administration will be.

To be clear, four of the ten plaintiffs in this lawsuit are women.

* Then again, most of the retweets and “likes” today on this African-American campaign staffer’s tweet late last night are from fellow Team Pritzker members…

* Meanwhile, from a press release…

Following a lawsuit alleging discrimination and harassment by the Pritzker campaign, Governor Rauner made the following statement while speaking to the press:

    “I think it’s troubling, these allegations are serious. They need to be investigated. I think the people of Illinois deserve to know the truth about Pritzker’s actions.

    “…Unfortunately, this seems to be a pattern with Mr. Pritzker. I don’t think anyone should be surprised, as you all know, he was caught on the FBI wiretaps, on the phone with Blagojevich. He was trying use his inheritance to buy elected office. He used the language of racists in that phonecall. He was on tape using the language of racists. And he very specifically called African-American elected officials ‘offensive.’ So I am not sure that anybody should be surprised that his campaign may have engaged in discriminatory practices.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Oppo dump!

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* From 2002

Erika Harold, crowned in September as Miss America 2003, told reporters Oct. 9 she had been informed that morning by Miss America chief executive George Bauer there would be no restrictions on her discussion of chastity as part of her youth violence prevention platform. […]

Abstinence education is an important part of preventing teenage violence, because violence is directly related to sexual promiscuity, Harold told reporters in Washington.

“I think that if a young person is engaged in a promiscuous lifestyle, it makes them vulnerable to other risk factors, so I definitely see a tie-in there,” Harold said, The Times reported.

“Many victims of sexual harassment believe what is said about them, and they become very promiscuous. When they’re called a whore, when they’re called a slut, they think, ‘That’s what I want to be,’ and so they engage in a pattern of self-destruction that can be very detrimental to their lives,” she said.

* The Associated Press has a story about it today

Neena Chaudhry, general counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, said there is no evidence that harassment causes “many” victims to become “promiscuous.” She called Harold’s statement “egregious” — in 2002 or today — and said it “feeds into damaging stereotypes.”

“My deep concern is this is the kind of blaming and shaming that keeps young people from coming forward and reporting sexual harassment and sexual violence,” she said. “I think (the comment) is egregious whenever it’s uttered, and by whomever they’re uttered.”

Harold’s campaign stood by the remarks in a statement Wednesday and said she didn’t intend to blame victims.

“Erika was clearly referring to the labels bullies and harassers use on their victims and how it may negatively impact victims’ lives. She understands firsthand what victims of sexual harassment are going through because she’s lived it herself,” spokesman Aaron DeGroot said. “The fact is studies show that sexual harassment can cause anxiety, depression, negative body image and low self-esteem in some victims. That’s why Erika has made it her life’s mission to empower young people, combat bullying and prevent sexual harassment.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Another former Pritzker campaign worker comes forward as the spin cranks up

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* Remember Kina Collins? She’s the JB Pritzker campaign worker who quit her job after the FBI tape was made public with Pritzker saying what was deemed “racially insensitive” things about some black politicians.

Here’s an excerpt from Collins’ latest Facebook post

During my time in the Pritzker campaign, the mid and senior level leadership did absolutely nothing to correct the culture of sexism, homophobia, and racism that ran rampant among staffers. There were racial slurs that were use, sexist jokes that were made, and the voices of women and staffers of color were being ignored. When I made my exit from the campaign and told my side of the story, instead of people believing me, I was told that I was seeking attention and “would be black balled or possibly sued for speaking out”. So not only was I working in poor conditions, but there was also an attempt to bully me into silence.

As a former staffer on this campaign I can assure readers that without a shadow of a doubt everything that I have read thus far in the suit can be corroborated from my time on the campaign and can be corroborated through other former staffers.

* Meanwhile, it’s no surprise at all that Pritzker did this event today with these three folks…

As Mary Ann Ahern notes, the media was not advised about that appearance. Also not a surprise.

* Gov. Rauner did do a media availability today, of course…

The only people claiming Rauner involvement today are hyperpartisans and mad tinfoil hatters. He somehow convinced 10 Democratic minority staffers to file a lawsuit against their boss three weeks before an election? Right.

* The number of minorities Rauner has hired for his campaign doesn’t really matter at the moment because this story isn’t about quantity, it’s about how their respective campaign staffs are being treated. Last I checked, no Rauner campaign staffers had sued over discrimination and retaliation…

He could’ve at least mentioned his running mate when asked about his campaign’s highest ranking minority. Not sure why he didn’t.

* Meanwhile, the Daily Caller is its usual self

The staffers say they are suing Pritzker for multiple comments he allegedly made throughout his campaign.

The plaintiffs never alleged that Pritzker himself said anything untoward. This is about upper-level staff.

* Onward

Shay Allen, a Chicago-based civil rights attorney who represents the plaintiffs, says Stratton’s statement is false, adding that Stratton has never reached out to any of his clients despite their complaints to the campaign.

“I have no idea how the person who made that statement could make those claims,” he said. “I’m positive that she’s never spoken to my plaintiffs.”

Allen said his clients were treated poorly.

“There were instances where they were spoken to very unprofessionally,” he said. “There were instances of physical intimidation.”

Allen said his clients are asking for more effort on behalf of Pritzker’s campaign to include minorities in positions of consequence, something he claims has almost exclusively gone to white staffers.

“Almost all of them have prior [campaign] experience,” he said. “A couple have come from other states to help with the campaign.”

I’m not sure why the running mate should be involved in a low-level staff issue.

Here’s the allegation of “physical intimidation”

Once seated, [Field Operations Director] Caitlin Pharo intentionally positioned herself between two Black males in an attempt to further intimidate and silence them at cultural sensitivity training.

And as far as including “minorities in positions of consequence,” the candidate’s running mate Juliana Stratton, his deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks and his deputy field director for the South and West Sides Ebonee Dawson are all people of color. Also, his campaign spokesperson is Jordan Abudayyeh. I also don’t recall a major campaign with so many women in top positions.

* Tribune

Three weeks before Election Day, staffers who have worked for J.B. Pritzker’s campaign have filed a federal lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in their months on the job, accusations the Democratic governor candidate quickly called “just not true.”

The lawsuit comes in the final stretch of an increasingly bitter campaign between Pritzker and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner that has seen both sides break spending records and accuse one another of criminal activity.

Weird enough for you yet?

- Posted by Rich Miller   75 Comments      

HB40 backstory: A preemptive strike and throwing Norwood under the bus

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* There are actually two stories in this One Illinois piece about the passage of HB40, so let’s take them one at a time. I’ve confirmed this part myself

Staffers for Gov. Rauner lobbied behind the scenes to quash a controversial abortion-rights bill last year in an attempt to keep it off his desk and avoid a politically fraught decision on whether to sign it, according to state emails obtained by One Illinois. […]

The emails, obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request with the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services, show state staffers planning to “shore up” opposition among 13 Democratic representatives, most of whom they considered “ours” on the issue. […]

“This is who we need to shore up on HB40,” Donovan Griffith, Rauner’s senior House liaison, writes in an email Feb. 9, 2017, to Director of Governmental Affairs Wendy Butler and DHFS Chief of Staff Shawn McGrady. What follows is a list of 13 representatives — all Democrats, and all of whom eventually voted for HB40 when it passed the House by a 62-55 tally the following April.

“They worked to defeat it because they didn’t want the bill to end up on Rauner’s desk so that he would have to just sign it or veto it,” said Terry Cosgrove, president of Personal PAC, an abortion-rights group that actually received a candidate questionnaire from Rauner in 2014 promising to support the bill. The Rauners also lent financial support to abortion rights as well with contributions to various agencies.

By April 2017, however, Rauner was promising GOP legislators he’d veto the bill as a way of keeping them in line opposed to a budget.

That was probably a smart political move, considering the governor’s consistency issues, the grumbling within the caucuses about the impasse and the pressure he was feeling from Mrs. Rauner. Just keep it off his desk and he doesn’t have to make any decisions. A commenter who clearly has insider knowledge filled us in earlier this week on our question about Rauner’s biggest mistakes

5) Signing HB 40 after promising the GOP caucus that he would AV it. Polling was clear that vetoing the public funding but favoring the trigger language would be net positive with voters. He had Cupich for cover. And he could bash Democrats for holding up his AV which enshrined the basic right to choose — in other words, if Dems rejected the AV, they put women at risk. This move led to his primary and the rest is history.

* You may recall that after the governor said he would veto HB40, Healthcare and Family Services Director and former Planned Parenthood Vice Chair Felicia Norwood cut a video to defend Rauner’s decision. Here’s that backstory…

Emails also find first lady Diana Rauner joining efforts to organize responses before and after the governor signed HB40 into law last September. She also suggests that DHFS Director Felicia Norwood was not informed of the governor’s decision to sign the controversial bill until moments before a news conference on the signing, and that Norwood was also instructed to withhold information on the bill’s ultimate cost when it was still in play in the General Assembly. […]

The original bill had established that there would be no economic impact from expanding abortion coverage in Medicaid and the state’s employee insurance program, but suddenly there were suggestions that there would be a significant cost, and Norwood wasn’t clarifying the issue. “There were all kinds of numbers floating around, which was our first indication that they were trying to sink the bill,” Feigenholtz said.

DHFS issued a $1.8 million annual cost estimate, which differed from an analysis of identical legislation the previous year that claimed no cost.

* Back to the story

In return for her loyalty on the issue, Rauner apparently left Norwood hanging out to dry. After the bill cleared the House in April and the Senate in May, it was held until being dropped abruptly on the governor’s desk on Sept. 25, 2017.

Three days later, Diana Rauner writes to Norwood again in an email, seeming to suggest the DHFS director was left in the dark about Rauner deciding to sign HB40 until just moments before a news conference on the announcement.

“Felicia somehow you were not looped in and the presser is at 3,” she writes. “This was such a close hold that no one knew who was in charge of telling you.”

According to the FOIA’d email, that was sent at 2:57 p.m. the same day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Pritzker sets national campaign finance record

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* Tina Sfondeles did the math

It’s now official.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker has pumped more of his own money into a campaign than any other self-financing candidate in U.S. history.

The Gold Coast billionaire’s $146.5 million has bought him a place in the record books, breezing past Republican Meg Whitman, who set the previous record in 2010, when the former eBay honcho churned $144 million of her own fortune into her losing battle against Democrat Jerry Brown.

The combined $234 million that Pritzker and Gov. Bruce Rauner have raised in their bitter battle falls short of the combined $280 million that Brown and Whitman ultimately spent.

But with three weeks left, the meter is still running. And expensive television ads remain the top expenditure fueling spending in this year’s gubernatorial contest.

…Adding… Tribune

Among some of the more interesting expenses found on the quarterly reports filed by the major gubernatorial candidates were a few items from Rauner.

He spent $459 for a T-shirt cannon, $600 on a petting zoo from Wild Times Exotics of Springfield and $4,360 to rent a party boat on the Chicago River and paid $3,750 for a plane-towed aerial banner.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

New Cook County IG report raises more questions than it may answer

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* Yikes

An SUV driven “nearly exclusively” by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s security chief was improperly used to transport political materials, Inspector General Patrick Blanchard concluded in a report released Monday.

Blanchard’s finding is the result of an investigation into a bizarre incident during the early morning hours following the 2016 election, when a Chevy Tahoe assigned to Preckwinkle’s security team was discovered abandoned near suburban Lemont. On that Election Day, the security chief drove Preckwinkle to campaign events, but said he did so in his personal car, according to the report.

A sheriff’s police officer found the vehicle stuck in the mud with its engine still warm, and a witness told police that the driver had abandoned the Tahoe and walked away, Blanchard said in his report.

All the tires were slashed, as was the driver’s seat, the center console and the dashboard, Blanchard said. The car’s rear cargo area contained bags of political literature, a button adorned with an image of Preckwinkle’s face and a dry cleaning receipt bearing the telephone number belonging to her chief of security, Delwin Gadlen, according to the report, which identified Gadlen only by his title. In the report, the security chief is quoted saying that the vehicle was stolen, but the alleged theft was never reported to police, Blanchard said.

Blanchard’s investigators spoke to sheriff and county officials with “significant experience in law enforcement” and executive protection who said the damage in the vehicle “appears inconsistent with damage typically associated with vehicle theft.”

Instead, the damage “looked hurried and staged where it appeared to have been done all at once, in the same manner and primarily in close proximity to the driver’s seat,” they said, according to Blanchard. All keys to the vehicle are accounted for and there were no signs of the car being forcibly started, the report said.

* Speaking of the Cook County Inspector General, this is from the county assessor’s office…

Because the Assessor’s Office promised Capitol Fax all information and facts we learned regarding why we never received a copy of the report from the Office of the Cook County Independent Inspector General, here are the results of our review, which concluded yesterday.

The Inspector General emailed the Assessor’s Office copy of the report to the wrong e-address. It is that simple. In fact, the Inspector General sent it to an e-address not on the Assessor’s Office domain/email server. Every one of our email addresses ends in “” The Inspector General later told us he used “”

The Inspector General has acknowledged using the wrong email domain to contact the Assessor’s Office in this instance. This problem would have been somewhat offset if the Inspector General’s office had delivered the hard copy. That also never occurred.

The Inspector General graciously introduced me to the employee who delivered all hard copies. He also provided the specific delivery location and a one-hour window in which that was done here. However, two viewings of Assessor’s Office security video for a 1.5 hour period including that hour showed nothing was delivered and the Inspector General’s employee was not here.

After he was informed of those facts, the Inspector General’s Office found the envelope (unopened) this week. It was located in an Inspector General’s inbox, two floors above the Assessor’s Office, in an office area unrelated to our work. The Inspector General believes it was initially “likely misdelivered,” and we certainly agree.

We originally stated the Assessor’s Office never possessed a copy of the Inspector General’s report, in electronic or hard copy form, before the Chicago Sun-Times published it and other media called us. We now add that the Inspector General acknowledges our statements were and are correct. Thank you.

* Related…

* Wide range of shocking behavior by city workers fills inspector general’s report

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Keep your fingers crossed

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* AP

Illinois officials assured voters Tuesday that their Nov. 6 tallies “will be securely counted” after a data breach that’s part of the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

Board of Elections Chairman William Cadigan and a group of state and local officials — including Illinois National Guard leaders — said in Chicago that beefed-up measures to monitor and spot cybersecurity risks will ensure a fair and free election.

“We’re as prepared as we ought to be right now, given the information we have,” Cadigan said. “People should get out and vote because your vote is going to count and at the end of the day, we believe it’s going to be securely counted.”

The board hired three cybersecurity experts to watch elections and voter-data systems for irregularities, Cadigan said, including one housed at the Illinois State Police Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center. Local elections administrators have undergone rigorous training and the National Guard is on call for emergencies.

* ABC 7

On Election Day next month in Illinois, hundreds of National Guard troopers will be standing by for action.

If needed, they won’t depend on rifles and bayonets but will be armed with laptops and IT expertise.

The unprecedented move comes after cyber attackers, believed to be Russians, hacked the official Illinois voter database before the 2016 presidential election.

“We can have a guardsman-expert dispatched within an hour to anywhere in Illinois. We’ll have boots on the ground in whatever county, in whatever election authority, is affected within an hour,” said Chuck Scholz, a board member of the Illinois State Board of Elections.

* WGN TV…,

Election officials said they have installed greater firewall protections for voter records and election results, thorough and detailed cyber training for clerks and election judges and are working with national agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and now for the first time in Illinois election history—the National Guard.

The Department of Homeland Security has secured about $13 million that will go toward Illinois voting security programs to ensure the system isn’t hacked again.

* Tribune

Officials said Illinois keeps a paper record of every ballot cast, ensuring an accurate final tally once the results are certified weeks after Election Day even if hackers compromise voting systems.

“Voters here should feel confident in the fundamentals,” Cook County Clerk Director of Elections Noah Praetz said. “Because in Illinois, we can ensure that every legal voter can vote, and we can deliver results that are trusted and true.”

NBC News this week reported that a federal Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment warned of a “growing volume of cyber activity targeting election infrastructure in 2018.”

That NBC News report is here.

* But

Even with additional training, some counties are finding it difficult to implement security upgrades without more resources, according to NBC 5’s anonymous survey.

“Our county does not have the money,” one respondent wrote.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - ILGOP responds *** Bombshell discrimination lawsuit called “offensive” and “baseless” by Pritzker campaign

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

[Comments are now closed on this post. Click here for the new thread.]

* I told subscribers about this last night. Here’s Politico

An October-surprise lawsuit filed by some J.B. Pritzker campaign workers alleges “discrimination and harassment,” prompting the Democrat’s camp to call the claims “baseless.”

The story broke late Tuesday night. According to the Cook County Record newsletter, the lawsuit, filed Oct. 16 in Chicago federal court, alleges some black and Latino campaign workers are “packed into majority minority neighborhoods, often in unsafe working conditions, and are denied benefits and advancement opportunities available to their white colleagues.” […]

In a statement to POLITICO, Pritzker running mate Juliana Stratton called the suit “baseless” and describes the lawsuit in terms of extortion or a shake-down

The lawsuit is here. The letter from the staffers’ attorney demanding $7.5 million and personal letters of recommendation from Pritzker by Monday, October 8 is here.

* Cook County Record

Saying the Illinois gubernatorial frontrunner’s campaign has routinely “herded” and “marginalized” its workers of color, a group of African American and Latino workers for Illinois Democratic gubernatorial nominee JB Pritzker has sued Pritzker’s campaign organization for discrimination and harassment.

“JB Pritzker for Governor has a serious race problem,” the lawsuit said. “Contrary to the candidate’s many public avowals, rather than working to meaningfully address discrimination, racism is perpetuated, condoned and ratified by the Campaign.”

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 16 in Chicago federal court, specifically alleges the black and Latino campaign workers are packed into majority minority neighborhoods, often in unsafe working conditions, and are denied benefits and advancement opportunities available to their white colleagues.

Named plaintiffs in the action include Maxwell Little, Jason Benton, Jelani Coleman, Celia Colon, Kasmine Calhoun, Erica Kimble, Nathaniel Madison, Tiffany Madison, James B. Tinsley and Mark Walker. All of the plaintiffs either currently work or have worked for the Pritzker campaign as field organizers in 2018, according to the complaint. The complaint also asserts many of the plaintiffs also worked on past Democratic campaigns, including on the presidential campaigns of former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic campaign organizations for candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in Illinois and other states. Others also worked as social justice and reform activists, and for labor unions, according to the complaint.

I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in all my years watching politics.

* NBC 5

With less than 3 weeks to go — a civil lawsuit has been filed by 10 staffers who work for Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker’s campaign. The suit alleges repeated racial discrimination and harassment.

The allegations include that one of the Pritzker field offices is located in an area that was not safe for staffers. The suit, announced Tuesday night, alleges Pritzker himself would not even visit and staffers were allegedly told “he’ll visit when they stop shooting.”

* From JB Pritzker…

To be clear, this is just not true. I am incredibly proud of our campaign, how diverse it is, and how inclusive our administration will be.

* From Rep. Juliana Stratton…

I am very proud of the campaign that JB and I have put together. The majority of our senior team are African American and almost 45% of our entire staff are people of color. When people feel like they have been harassed or discriminated against, they have the right to come forward and have their voices heard. In this case, we had a letter delivered to us asking for $7.5 million dollars in 24 hours or they threatened legal action and to go to press. That’s not a good faith effort.

The incidents listed in this complaint are baseless and make offensive claims in regard to several members of our staff. We stand by our staff and that’s why we are not afraid to litigate this to the fullest extent of the law. I couldn’t be prouder to be on the ticket with JB and of the statewide, grassroots campaign we’ve built.


“The lawsuit filed against JB Pritzker’s campaign is simply the latest in a long line of incidents that prove that when it comes to the African-American community, Pritzker’s actions don’t back up his words. Here, we have his own staffers — seasoned political operatives — alleging racial discrimination and harassment. We have heard from Pritzker’s own mouth referring to Black elected officials as “offensive” on an FBI wiretap with Rod Blagojevich. It’s finally time for JB Pritzker to answer for his actions.” - Illinois Republican Party Executive Director Travis Sterling

…Adding… WMBD

Other allegations in the lawsuit said field organizers were told to “go round up 40 black guys” for an event, and were told that Pritzker would visit an campaign office in a low-income Chicago neighborhood when “they stop shooting.”

[Comments are now closed on this post. Click here for the new thread.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   205 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s Capitol Fax

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

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Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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* Sam McCann jumps into House races against "Raunerite" Republicans
* Question of the day
* I've just never seen anything like this
* Pritzker then and now
* Oppo dump!
* Another former Pritzker campaign worker comes forward as the spin cranks up
* HB40 backstory: A preemptive strike and throwing Norwood under the bus
* Pritzker sets national campaign finance record
* New Cook County IG report raises more questions than it may answer
* Keep your fingers crossed
* *** UPDATED x1 - ILGOP responds *** Bombshell discrimination lawsuit called "offensive" and "baseless" by Pritzker campaign
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's Capitol Fax
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Erika Harold reports $1.5 million contribution from Ken Griffin, $100K from Jennifer Pritzker
* Yesterday's stories

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