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Just something to think about

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Bloomberg this past summer

DraftKings Inc. is becoming an official gambling partner of Major League Baseball in a multiyear deal that will let the company offer betting lines and products backed by MLB’s official data. […]

DraftKings and MGM Resorts International, which signed a marketing partnership last November, are the only sports books to partner directly with the league so far. Once an operator receives the MLB stamp of approval, it is then allowed to work with one of league’s official data partners, such as Sportradar AG or Perform Group, for access to live feeds from games around the country. That data is especially important for the in-game betting Kucharz described, which is becoming many gamblers’ preferred way to wager. […]

Deals like this are also critical for MLB’s goal of claiming a share of the growing sports betting industry. While operators in Las Vegas have offered baseball betting for decades without becoming official MLB partners, the league is hoping that access to its official data — plus the right to use team logos alongside betting lines — will be enough to entice sportsbooks to open their wallets.

* Legal Sports Report

Official league data would be front and center if you built a word cloud to visualize the sports betting conversation. The battle for control over data has emerged as one of the primary fronts in the effort to shape US policy at the state and federal level.

Following their years-long opposition to gambling, leagues now seek a role as primary stakeholders in legal sports betting. And they are intent on profiting from US sports betting, ideally via a direct share of the total amount wagered. […]

Most US sportsbooks are under no obligation to use any particular source of data. Laws in two states, however, include a requirement that operators use official data to settle certain wagers:

    * Illinois sports betting (“for determining the outcome of Tier 2 sports wagers”)
    * Tennessee sports betting (“for purposes of live betting”)

The Illinois law requires leagues (or their data companies) to obtain a license to act as a Tier 2 data provider.

* Dodger Blue

The Los Angeles Dodgers confirmed the addition of two new members to the ownership group, with Robert L. Plummer and Alan Smolinisky purchasing a minority stake.

That would be Sen. Jason Plummer’s father.

* From Sen. Plummer’s recent press release about his new ethics bill

SB 2318 would specifically bar members of the General Assembly and their immediate family, as well as staff of the General Assembly and their immediate family, from holding an ownership interest in a privately held gaming enterprise or business. It was also bar the same groups of people from holding anything more than a passive interest in any publicly traded gaming enterprise. In addition, the legislation would bar members and staff of the General Assembly and the immediate families of both groups from receiving any form of compensation for services rendered to or employment with any gaming enterprise or business.

Emphasis added because Mark Maxwell has a copy of Plummer’s bill…

Immediate family member is defined as “anyone living with a member, or a spouse, child, sibling, or parent of a member, regardless of whether that person lives with the member.”

As Major League Baseball and its teams forge business partnerships with the gambling industry and are under state mandates to provide official data for sports betting, they might actually be considered a gambling enterprise one day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Before we hand out the awards in these categories, this needs to be said

I truly believe that all the legislative assistants do a very good job!! Keep up the great work!!

They work hard, they’re paid poorly, they’re not always treated very well or respected (and a bunch of them were laid off in the House) and yet just about every one of them somehow manages to be efficient and courteous. My hat is off to all of you.

* The 2019 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Senate Administrative Assistant/District Office Manager goes to the overwhelming favorite Lisa Katava

Lisa was originally with Senator Mulroe before his retirement. With all the craziness/changes on the first floor, she still is just the best. She knows the legislative process through its ins and outs and is the kindest person under the dome. She constantly has a smile on her face and is always ready to help anyone in need. There is no question that she is the best legislative assistant in the capitol. (Also, she clearly has the best coffee/snacks in the building)

* The 2019 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best House Administrative Assistant/District Office Manager goes to Liz Moody

Behind every effective legislator is a strong LA that keeps the show going, is often yelled at by some stranger who is upset by some gun bill & tries to coordinate meetings knowing everything will change in a hour. {Sigh} If I have to pick one LA, then I have to go with Liz Moody. For years she has assisted Art Turner and he treated her like family. This year she gained Jay Hoffman. Now, we all know that a Rep. Hoffman can be high maintenance…I mean he does have his own bobblehead. But, in all seriousness, as others have already pointed out Liz is the best. She kept Art & Jay on schedule, is an effective gatekeeper and loyal person.

Honorable mention goes to Mike Amarilio.

* OK, let’s move on to today’s categories. Sorry I’m getting to this so late in the day…

* Best Illinois House Democratic Staffer - Non-Political

* Best Illinois House Republican Staffer - Non-Political

In other words, staffers who don’t specialize in running campaigns during the “off” season.

Do your very best to nominate in both categories. Also, make sure to explain your nominations or they will not count. This isn’t just about vote totals, it’s also about the intensity of support. Have fun!

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** CPD: Your home is not your castle

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* You just knew this would happen

Chicagoans caught smoking weed on front porches and in backyards — even high-rise balconies — that are visible to the public could still face fines after the drug is legalized next year, Chicago police say.

But Chicago cops are being encouraged to explain the new law to residents caught violating it rather than take punitive measures right away, particularly in the initial months. […]

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, nevertheless raised concerns about the CPD policy. He noted that the law shouldn’t be enforced against those using cannabis in places that are “clearly out of the view of the street,” like backyards and enclosed porches.

“The spirit of the law and the letter of the law in terms of the state law is the notion that as long as whatever behavior is happening is out of public view, it wouldn’t be subject to any kind of punishment,” Yohnka said. “Because they’re expanding what is sort of the spirit of the law, it just provides for more opportunities for enforcement.”

Yohnka also worries that ticketing and enforcement related to cannabis will continue to disproportionately affect people of color. Though the number of pot arrests has plummeted since the city decriminalized weed, a Sun-Times analysis last year found that African-Americans continued to bear the brunt of that enforcement.

From that above-referenced Sun-Times analysis

In 2017 and the first four months of 2018, 94 people were busted in Chicago for petty marijuana possession. Seventy-six of them were black. Sixteen were Hispanic. Two were white.


*** UPDATE *** Statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Interim CPD Superintendent Charlie Beck…

Righting this City’s generation-old wrongs and overturning the unjust, cannabis enforcement laws of our past has been at the heart of our efforts since day one, which is why we’ve taken the important step forward in reducing overly punitive fines and fees for minor cannabis violations by passing a smart, sensible and safe cannabis enforcement ordinance that truly prioritizes public safety of all residents in this City.

While the state law prohibits cannabis consumption in a “public place,” which is defined as anywhere you can be observed by others in the public, the Chicago Police Department recognizes that an individual using cannabis in their own backyard or balcony poses no direct threat to public safety, and no resident should be arrested or ticketed solely for such a scenario. Any characterization to the contrary is simply wrong. Over the past several months and throughout December, all 13,000 of Chicago’s police officers are being trained on the reformed cannabis enforcement laws, including how they should use discretion of their enforcement powers to educate residents on the new legalization laws, rather than issuing tickets as a default response.

As we prepare for legalization next year, the Mayor’s Office and CPD are wholeheartedly committed to working in partnership with Chicago’s community advocates and leaders to ensure that the days of unfair and unequal targeted enforcement for low-level cannabis violations have come to an end.

Good for them.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

“Illegal, unconstitutional, outrageous and stupid”

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* CBS 2’s Chris Tye

We obtained DCFS transport records that show over the last 2.5 years 28 cases where restraints—leg shackles and handcuffs—were used on foster kids. […]

“At some point, and I don’t know what that point is, but this is torture,” said Cook County public guardian Charles Golbert.

The state contract calls for the Jim Steward transport company, not state experts, to determine the “proper methods of containment and if necessary restraint.”

“To delegate that to a bus company is illegal, unconstitutional, outrageous and stupid,” Golbert said.

Who were the stupid, beastly morons at DCFS who thought delegating shackling decisions about children to a bus company was a good idea? What could possibly go wrong?

These are kids who have been taken from terribly abusive and/or horribly neglectful parents ostensibly for their own good. But even though they’ve already been traumatized by their very own families, they’re treated by DCFS like prison inmates.

The prime directive of that agency is helping children. I mean, it’s even in their agency’s name, for crying out loud. It’s not called the Department of Making Bus Drivers’ Lives Easier So We Can Save Money On Trained Staff. And if DCFS employees can’t figure that out, then they need to quit or be fired. Now.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Tom Cullerton’s trial set for July

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Sun-Times

A judge Thursday set a trial date for next summer for state Sen. Thomas Cullerton, one of three elected officials hit with federal charges so far this year.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman set the trial for July 21, putting aside five days for prosecutors to put on their case that Cullerton embezzled from the Teamsters.

It’s not clear whether the trial date will stand, though. Lawyers also told the judge there is a dispute over evidence Cullerton’s legal team hopes to access regarding a key witness. Cullerton has pleaded not guilty and has vowed to clear his name.

Cullerton has been accused of collecting $188,320 in salary, bonuses and cellphone and vehicle allowances from the Teamsters, as well as $64,068 in health and pension contributions, while doing little or no work for the labor union. He also allegedly collected $21,678 in reimbursed medical claims.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

What the critics are missing, intentionally or otherwise

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Tribune

With Chicago weeks away from opening the weed gates to recreational cannabis use, black aldermen on Wednesday again complained white dispensary operators will get too big a head start on the lucrative business, and argued broad legalization should be stalled until midyear.

The City Council hearing on Black Caucus Chairman Ald. Jason Ervin’s ordinance to push back the start date on recreational sales until July 1, 2020, did not include a vote on his proposal. That clears the way for the state law to take effect on Jan. 1.

They didn’t have a vote because that hearing was all for show. Something else may be going on there.

* What Ervin and others, including in the media, have failed to focus on is why it’s important to social equity applicants to get this program up and running

Toi Hutchinson, a key architect of the legalization law and the governor’s top pot adviser, added that “January 1 is just the beginning” of the rollout of the cannabis law.

So far, 14 of Illinois’ 21 current cultivation centers have earned licenses to grow recreational weed and 30 of the state’s 55 existing dispensaries have been awarded licenses to sell both medical and recreational pot.

To earn those licenses, existing operators had to cough up hefty application fees that will form the economic bedrock of the social equity program. Dispensary owners will also have to make another contribution to the state’s cannabis business development fund, which will be used to offer fee relief, loans and technical assistance to equity candidates.

The statute lays out what those fees will pay for. Here are some bullet points I’ve made that were taken from the statute

* Grants and low-interest loans to social equity applicants to help start and operate cannabis businesses;

* Outreach programs to attract and support social equity applicants;

* Studies on the participation of minorities, women, veterans, or people with disabilities in the cannabis industry, including, without limitation, barriers to such individuals entering the industry as equity owners of cannabis business establishments;

* Job training and technical assistance for residents in Disproportionately Impacted Areas.

Any delay by Chicago would hurt all of these programs.

* Also

To date, only 30 dispensary licenses have been issued. The state expects 500 by the time the program is fully deployed. Next week, regulators will begin accepting applications from so-called “equity” applicants from traditionally disadvantaged communities.

“In Illinois we’re different,” Pritzker said. “Our social equity applicants will be eligible for the 75 licenses that come online in just a few months, and be able to get business loans to get off the ground funded by the existing industry.”

* Related…

* JB Pritzker signed follow-up cannabis legislation. Here’s what it included.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Reform roundup

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Background is here if you need it. Mark Maxwell

Brady, the Republican Senate leader from Bloomington, spent significant time over the last two days making phone calls to his members to reassure them he has a grasp on the reins of the caucus, and that Plummer’s broadside is only a contained episode. Most of the senators, who described their conversations with Brady on a condition of anonymity, say he sounded frustrated, but not rattled by Plummer’s public statements.

Other than Plummer, most Senate Republicans are opting to lay low and wish to avoid criticizing Brady publicly, but privately, many share concerns that their leader may be more enamored with Governor J.B. Pritzker, a progressive Democrat, and they wonder if he has the stomach to fight Pritzker on issues important to Republicans.

Brady did voice public opposition to Pritzker’s proposals to expand abortion rights, raise the minimum wage, and institute a progressive income tax. The Republican explained his mild-mannered approach in his closing speech on the floor of the Senate in early June.

“Let those watching know that Senate Republicans came to the table,” Brady said. “We did not seek to turn it over.”

Some folks simply want to watch things burn.

But some of the criticism is more nuanced than that. The House Republicans and some members of Leader Brady’s own caucus were unhappy with Brady during the final week or so of spring session. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin was trying to pressure the Democrats into agreeing to his business reforms and some felt that Brady wasn’t backing him up. Durkin eventually got everything he demanded, but only after making a huge dealio about it.

* Meanwhile, in other reform-related news

Five GOP lawmakers are calling on Governor Pritzker to call a special session before Christmas to deal with ethics reform.

The call comes after Democrats pushed through the establishment of an ethics reform commission in November to make recommendations by the end of March. However, Republicans say that is too long of a period to wait when taxpayers want reform now.

The lawmakers calling for the special session are State Representatives Dan Caulkins of Decatur, Brad Halbrook of Shelbyville, Blaine Wilhour of Beecher City, Chris Miller of Oakdale and Allen Skillicorn of Crystal Lake. […]

WAND requested a comment from the governor’s office on the call for a special session. The office sent us a 40-minute video clip from a news conference in Chicago not related to the call for a special session.

They should’ve watched that video because Pritzker answered questions on this topic

Pritzker said at an unrelated bill-signing ceremony in Chicago that the idea of “a quickie special session … doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

“That ethics commission, deliberately created with Republicans and Democrats, is designed to look at each of the issues that, in fact, those same state representatives would like to have reviewed and make sure that they’re done in the right way,” Pritzker said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Senate Democratic leadership roundup

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Yesterday in Politico

State Sens. Jacqueline Collins and Melinda Bush are endorsing Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford to follow Cullerton as Senate president when he retires next month.

“I’ve found her to be a master negotiator and accomplished legislator,” Collins told Playbook, pointing to Lightford’s dogged efforts to raise the state’s minimum wage. […]

“I’m not committed to anyone,” Sen. Julie Morrison said, adding other senators “are in the same place… We’re being really thoughtful.”

Sens. Cristina Castro, Laura Fine and Ram Villivalam are also waiting to see which candidates emerge for the Jan. 19 vote. […]

(O)ther senators want to know why Senate leadership isn’t backing Harmon.

Um, Lightford is the Senate Majority Leader, so why wouldn’t members of leadership be backing her? Subscribers knew about Sen. Bush’s endorsement on Monday. Bush was floating her name as a Senate President candidate, so that was a significant get.

Also, that endorsement from Sen. Collins is interesting considering that Sen. Harmon was touting his petition-gathering work for Collins, who was having some trouble and didn’t file until the last day possible

(O)n Saturday morning, [Democratic Party of Oak Park] volunteers were urged to go to the far South Side of Chicago to gather signatures for the nominating petitions for state Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) to put her on the ballot for the March primary. DPOP volunteers helping Collins get on the ballot could influence Collins to vote for Harmon as Senate president in January.

DPOP volunteers, guided by Harmon, have been sent to help out many Democrats across the state over the years.

“My colleagues recognize my track record and experience in helping others,” Harmon said. “That’s what a good Senate president would do, help 40 Democrats get re-elected. And as we go into redistricting and the 2022 election when all the senators will be on the ballot, that’s a critical skill.”

* Politico today

RICKEY HENDON SPOUTS OFF: The former state senator says divisions within the Black Caucus could keep Sen. Kimberly Lightford from becoming president of the state Senate, in a Facebook Live post after leaving a fundraiser for Lightford’s new Leadership PAC.

Hendon said South Side black senators are not joining West Side black senators to support Lightford, who would be the first African American woman to hold the position, and specifically calls out Sens. Elgie Sims Jr. and Napoleon Harris III. Hendon also questions why Sen. Don Harmon just loaned himself $100,000. “Because he wants to give senators money to vote for him,” claims Hendon, a senator from 1992 to 2011.

A filing with the state Board of Elections shows Harmon gave $100,001 to his campaign fund Wednesday — and that more than $675,000 was moved into that account (by other donations and consolidating money from other accounts). Harmon’s big donation broke the $100,000 cap and can now he can operate as a self-funder. During the last cycle, he gave come $800,000 to support fellow lawmakers.

Harmon’s fundraising moves came the same day Lightford kicked off her Leadership PAC fundraiser. No dollar totals yet, but a source close to Lightford’s camp says the event raised six figures.

Only about half the money Harmon raised came from others.

* Jim Dey

That’s relevant to the ongoing deliberations, because Lightford’s conduct has been publicly questioned on three separate occasions since 2016 — two government reports involving improper hiring and an Illinois Times investigation into misuse of campaign funds.

Although unmentioned — both in the news media and apparently among Lightford’s colleagues — the record is clear.

Earlier this year, the state Executive Inspector General issued a 35-page report demonstrating how Eric McKennie was improperly hired by the Chicago Transit Authority because of Lightford’s political influence. The report identified McKennie as an individual who “holds himself out as being married” to Lightford and claimed to live with her.

The report said McKennie was hired as an $81,000-a-year diversity consultant “because of his wife’s position as a state legislator.”

However, the investigation turned up no evidence that Sen. Lightford was in any way involved in the hiring. The guy just kept using her name. The Lightford camp pointed that out to me and issued this response…

The findings of the IG report speak for themselves. And to quote a wise woman, “When they go low we go high.”

* The Illinois Times story is relevant

Twice since 2013, Lightford has used campaign funds to stay at the Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands, racking up hotel bills of $3,931 during her two stays. In 2012, she reported spending $553 for lodging at the Desert Longevity Institute in Palm Desert, California, a holistic health clinic that offers such services as hyperbaric oxygen treatments and colon cleansings but does not rent rooms.

Lightford said that the reported payment to the health clinic was in error – after Illinois Times brought it to her attention, she said that she corrected it. She makes no apologies for the Cayman Islands.

Loretto Hospital in Chicago was in danger of losing its insurance, which could have forced closure, explains Lightford, who is on the hospital board. After exhausting other possibilities, she said that the hospital set up a captive insurance company, essentially a form of self insurance, in the Cayman Islands.

“We cannot convene in the United Sates because it’s a captive in the Cayman Islands,” Lightford says. “Our meeting every fall is in the Caymans so that our auditors can come in, and we have our yearly meeting there. That’s (the Ritz-Carlton) the location that we stay when we’re there.”

Members will want to know that the money she raises as the caucus leader will be spent wisely.

* Speaking of money

In an unusual transaction, retiring Illinois Senate President John Cullerton obtained a personal loan from a politically connected Chicago bank by using money from his campaign fund as collateral, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The deal allowed Cullerton to sidestep campaign finance disclosure requirements that would have been triggered if he had borrowed or withdrawn the money directly from his campaign fund.

While Cullerton answered some questions from the Sun-Times about the deal, he declined to make available records of the transaction. The maneuver does not appear to violate Illinois ethics laws, based on the information provided by Cullerton.

In response to questions, Cullerton confirmed by email he took out a personal line of credit for $75,000 on Oct. 20, 2014, from Belmont Bank & Trust Co., where Cullerton’s friend and business partner, former state Sen. James DeLeo, is a member of the board of directors.

Six months earlier, Cullerton had deposited $100,000 in campaign money held by his Citizens for John Cullerton fund into a certificate of deposit with the bank.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Fundraising, better loan terms help Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation stave off disaster

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Mitchell Armentrout at the Sun-Times

More than a year after issuing a warning cry that dire financial straits might force them to sell the prized stovepipe hat that purportedly — but debatably — belonged to the 16th president, officials from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation announced Wednesday they’ve reached a new loan agreement that means the organization “no longer needs to consider auctioning off any of the artifacts.” […]

The foundation borrowed $23 million in 2007 to buy the Taper Collection, a trove of more than a thousand items including the bloodstained gloves Mary Todd Lincoln wore the night of the president’s assassination, and, most notably, the famed beaver-fur hat. […]

But an uptick in private fundraising earlier this year allowed the foundation to make “a larger-than-normal payment to principal,” and they’ve reached a loan extension agreement with Lake Forest Bank & Trust that now matures Oct. 31, 2022, and “includes a more favorable interest rate.” … They’ve paid off more than $22 million of the $31 million debt.

The debt had been $9.7 million.

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Drea, Devaney new IL AFL-CIO leaders

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Press release…

The Illinois AFL-CIO Executive Board elected Tim Drea as President of the 855,000 statewide member organization following the recent retirement of Michael T. Carrigan.

Drea previously served as Illinois AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer for 12 years and will fill the remaining term.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as President of the Illinois AFL-CIO, one of the leading labor organizations in the nation,” Drea said. “I thank Michael Carrigan for his years of service as president and I am excited to continue to represent union members in protecting their rights, working conditions, and safety on the job. The labor movement in Illinois is diverse and united in the common goal of making Illinois a better place for all working families.”

Born and raised in Taylorville, Drea started his career as a rank and file member of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). After being laid-off due to a depressed Illinois coal market, he joined the Illinois State Democratic Staff for five years, and then served as Legislative and Political Director of Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). He was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Illinois AFL-CIO in 2007 and re-elected in 2008, 2012, and 2016. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, he resides in Springfield with his wife Elizabeth. He has four children: Andrew, Bridget, Lillian, and Jack.

The Executive Board also elected Pat Devaney, President of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI), to fill the unexpired term of Drea as Secretary-Treasurer. He started his career as a City of Champaign fire fighter with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1260 in 1995 and currently serves as a lieutenant for the department. He was elected President of the AFFI in 2008, representing over 15,000 fire fighters throughout the state; he also has served as a Vice President of the Illinois AFL-CIO for over 11 years.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 - Radogno appointed to replace Andersson *** Oops!

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Wednesday press release…

Governor JB Pritzker signed ethics reform legislation today and appointed four members to the newly formed Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform.

“The people of Illinois deserve a state government they can trust, and that means we need to put stronger ethical safeguards in place, prioritize transparency and demand more accountability from public servants,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “While we took important steps in November to tighten ethics requirements and improve transparency, it’s critical to take additional action to end the unconscionable self-enrichment and corruption that has been uncovered. I expect this commission to deliberate swiftly and report their recommendations with the greatest possible urgency.”

Senate Bill 1639 strengthens the detail of information required on statements of economic interest, increases lobbyist disclosure requirements – including whether they are elected officials anywhere in Illinois, whether they are registered lobbyists in any unit of local government and whether they subcontract – and requires the Secretary of State’s office to create a publicly accessible and searchable database combining registered lobbyist disclosures, contributions by registered lobbyists and statements of economic interest.

Created by HJR 93, the joint commission will review and make recommendations to change state ethics laws, examine best practices from other state and local governments, and seek expert and public input on improving ethics in Illinois state government.

Comprised of 16 members from Illinois’ executive and legislative branches, members of the joint commission are prohibited from lobbying Illinois state government during their service on the commission or at any time during the last five years.

* Emphasis added because of this appointment…

Steven A. Andersson serves as a Commissioner of the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Andersson has been a licensed attorney for more almost three decades. He is a partner at the law firms of Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi and Andersson, P.C. and the Elder Law Center, P.C. He is admitted to practice law at all Illinois courts, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Andersson was also the state representative for Illinois’ 65th legislative district from 2015 to 2019 where he served as Republican floor leader in 2018. During the 99th General Assembly, Andersson was a leader of the Republican coalition that joined with the Democratic caucus to end the longest state budget impasse in U.S. history. He has also been a strident defender of the rights of all people, including being the chief co-sponsor for the ERA, a two-time sponsor of the Equal Pay Act and chief co-sponsor of the LGBTQ curriculum bill. Prior to joining the Illinois House of Representatives, Andersson served his community as a trustee and treasurer on the Geneva Library District Board for approximately 5 years, including serving 2 years as treasurer. Andersson is a past president of the Kane County Bar Association. He is also a member of the Kane County Bar Foundation; Illinois Bar Association; American Bar Association; National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; and served on the governing board of the Aurora Family Counseling Service and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Um, he’s a good guy for sure, but Andersson was a registered lobbyist until June 28th of this year.

*** UPDATE *** From the Pritzker administration…

Steve Andersson is a dedicated public servant and the administration appreciates his willingness to serve. However, given the requirements of the resolution, we will be submitting a different appointee.

That was fast.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…

Christine Radogno will serve on the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform. Radogno is the former Senate Minority Leader, the first female leader of a political party in the Illinois Legislature. She served as a Republican member of the Illinois Senate, representing a Legislative District in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties from 1997 to 2017. She also serves as a co-chair of the Governor’s Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force. Prior to serving in the state senate, Radogno served for eight years as a Village Trustee in LaGrange. Radogno received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in social work from Loyola University in Chicago. She was employed in the field of mental health before entering politics.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Women and indies now needed *** If you’re a Republican or an independent, please help this kid with her school project

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* AFSCME Council 31’s Anders Lindall reached out to me this morning and asked if it was OK if his daughter got in contact with me about a school project. I said of course it was OK and Greta sent me this email…

Dear Rich Miller,

I have heard a lot about your blog and I was wondering if you would be willing to help me out.

I am in 7th grade and working on a science fair project about the correlation between age and beliefs about certain “controversial” issues—eg Green New Deal and voting behind bars.

For my survey I need a lot more Republican and Independent answers than I have now and I was wondering if you would help me get there. All I ask is that you post it on your blog and ask Republican and Independent readers only to answer it.

Here is the link to the survey:

Thanks in advance,
Greta Lindall

Please don’t “freep” the survey if you’re a Democrat. She’s a kid. This is a school project. Thanks!

*** UPDATE *** Greta has updated her survey page

Hi! Right now we DON”T NEED ANYMORE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS we only need Independents-but also need NO MORE MALES, only females (but females of any political party) thanks–Greta

Click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

“These were the people they were most focused on”

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

* Ray Long and Jason Meisner at the Tribune

Federal authorities have asked questions about Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his political operation as part of an ongoing investigation, four people who have been interviewed told the Tribune.

The sources, all of whom requested anonymity, said FBI agents and prosecutors asked about connections between Commonwealth Edison lobbyists and Madigan, lobbyists giving contracts to people tied to the speaker, and city, state and suburban government jobs held by his associates.

They also said authorities had numerous questions about the speaker’s relationship and dealings with longtime confidant Michael McClain, a former ComEd lobbyist.

“These were the people they were most focused on,” according to one person interviewed by authorities.

You should definitely read the rest of that story. Lots more in it.

* Meanwhile, here’s Dan Mihalopoulos and Dave McKinney at WBEZ

After retiring from Cook County, Raymond Nice supplemented his public pension checks with a job representing Commonwealth Edison’s interests in county government.

For Nice – a longtime campaign operative for Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan – the job paid as much as $60,000 a year on top of his annual pension of more than $70,000, records show.

Nice answered to ComEd lobbyist and City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty. Earlier this year, Nice disclosed that his work involved talking to county officials about ComEd’s business operations “when requested by Jay Doherty.”

But records show Nice’s job ended on July 1 – weeks after FBI agents raided the nonprofit City Club’s offices in the Wrigley Building in mid-May as part of a broad public corruption investigation into ComEd.

Authorities sought documents about Madigan and ComEd as they probed allegations the giant power company had hired multiple politically connected consultants – including some with ties to Madigan – under deals that demanded little or no work, WBEZ has reported. A source involved in the investigation has told WBEZ the feds are looking into suspicions that Doherty served as a “pass through” for ComEd’s deals with clout hires.

Uh-oh. Again, read the rest. Nice was definitely Madigan’s guy. I’m told Madigan only requested a tiny handful of appointments from newly elected Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015, and Nice was one of them.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

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Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

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Thursday, Dec 5, 2019

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* Just something to think about
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* *** UPDATED x1 *** CPD: Your home is not your castle
* "Illegal, unconstitutional, outrageous and stupid"
* Tom Cullerton's trial set for July
* What the critics are missing, intentionally or otherwise
* Reform roundup
* Senate Democratic leadership roundup
* Fundraising, better loan terms help Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation stave off disaster
* Drea, Devaney new IL AFL-CIO leaders
* *** UPDATED x2 - Radogno appointed to replace Andersson *** Oops!
* *** UPDATED x1 - Women and indies now needed *** If you're a Republican or an independent, please help this kid with her school project
* "These were the people they were most focused on"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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