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Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Have a good one. Bob will play us out

Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Brady makes some unusual appointments to discrimination and harassment task force

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Press release…

Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) announced on Friday additional appointments to the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention.

“In making these appointments, it is important to bring both diversity and an outside perspective to how best address this important issue in the public and private sectors,” said Brady. “I want to commend those who are willing to serve on this Task Force, and I look forward to working with them when their recommendations are presented.”

As part of the Task Force’s composition, each Senate leader will make 12 appointments. On Nov. 13, Brady announced his five legislator appointments. The remaining seven appointees announced Nov. 17 are comprised of statewide associations that represent women or work to advance civil rights (2) and members of the public (5).

The two members from statewide associations that represent women or work to advance civil rights are:

    * Ahlam Jbara – Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
    * Dr. Kathleen Robbins – Equality Illinois

The five members of the public include:

    * Maria Rodriguez – Former Mayor of Long Grove
    * Maureen Maffei – Attorney, Ice Miller
    * Julie Proscia – Attorney, Smith Admundsen
    * Anita Rodriguez – Assistant State’s Attorney, Adams County
    * TBD – Awaiting final confirmation

The goal of the new Task Force is to conduct a comprehensive review of legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment in both the public and private sectors. The Task Force will study and make recommendations on combating sexual discrimination and harassment in workplaces, educational institutions, and in State and local government.

Members of the Task Force will not receive compensation for their service and will submit a report to the General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2018.

Dr. Robbins is a Vietnam veteran and is transgender. Jbara is a Muslim. Those are not the sort of picks you’d normally expect from a conservative Republican like Leader Brady, so good for him.

…Adding… Press release…

Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization

We applaud the appointment of Dr. Kathleen Robbins by Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady to the Illinois Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention. Kathleen is an excellent addition to the task force. She has significant life experiences, from service in the U.S. Air Force, the business sector, and the non-profit space, and is a member of the Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group.

We thank Leader Brady for appointing Kathleen and for ensuring an inclusive discussion of the impact of sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination in Illinois.

Indeed, it is essential that the voices of LGBTQ people, especially transgender individuals, be included in these discussion and deliberations. According to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey of more than 27,000 transgender respondents from across the United States, 47% have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. Furthermore, 10% were sexually assaulted in the year preceding the survey.

In Illinois, 13% of individuals who are out or perceived to be transgender report being sexually assaulted in their K-12 schools because of their gender identity. And, among transgender Illinoisans who saw a health care provider in the year preceding the survey, 33% report having at least one negative experience related to being transgender. For some respondents, that included being physically or sexually assaulted.

The prevalence and impact of sexual violence on transgender people are problems that must be acknowledged and addressed. We call on the task force, the Illinois General Assembly, and Governor Rauner to propose and act on robust policy proposals to ensure the dignity of women and LGBTQ people and to build a better Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

Pritzker sues endorser, deletes ad she appeared in

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* You may recall this announcement back in May

Today, the JB Pritzker for Governor campaign released its second TV ad, “Incubate.”

“Incubate” highlights JB’s visionary work to grow Illinois into one of the top technology hubs in the world. Five years ago, JB brought tech leaders and entrepreneurs together to found 1871, a non-profit technology incubator.

That ad is no longer online.

* The deleted ad featured several entrepreneurs praising Pritzker, including Outcome Health President Shradha Agarwal, who said this

JB Pritzker really saw the potential of being able to grow tech jobs right here… One thing I love about JB is that he’s a visionary but he gets it done.

Click here to watch the old ad, which was helpfully downloaded by a campaign that doesn’t want its name used.

The Pritzker campaign replaced the old ad on November 6th with a new version of the “Incubate” ad, which you can see by clicking here. Outcome Health’s Shradha Agarwal is not in that new replacement ad.

Why might that be?

* Well, here’s today’s Tribune

Investors in Outcome Health are not giving up on their effort to freeze $225 million set to be distributed to two founders of the Chicago startup after a New York judge denied their initial request.

The investors — including units of Goldman Sachs and Google and a fund co-founded by Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker — last week sued Outcome Health, CEO Rishi Shah and President Shradha Agarwal, alleging fraud as the company secured $487.5 million in funding and rose to a valuation of $5.5 billion. […]

Sanford Michelman, an attorney for Outcome Health, said in a statement that the investors are “continuing to create an inappropriate distraction after New York’s courts declined their baseless arguments multiple times.”

“This irresponsible abuse of the legal process is seeking to prevent the founders from using their own money to reinvest in the company,” Michelman said. [Emphasis added]


* The campaign had this explanation…

She was in the original 60 second version of the ad that aired earlier this year, but she is not in the 30 second version of an ad about JB’s work to build 1871 that could air later in the race.

Yeah. OK.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Candidate announcement

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Best tweet of the day

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Today is moving day at the Chicago Sun-Times…

The paper is moving its employees to a building in the trendy West Loop.

* Coincidentally, this announcement was made today

The Chicago Tribune will move in early 2018 to the Prudential Plaza office complex, ending a 93-year run in the newspaper’s namesake tower on North Michigan Avenue.

Parent company Tronc on Friday confirmed the newspaper will move to One Prudential Plaza in the second quarter of 2018. The Tribune first reported in August that Tronc was in advanced negotiations for a lease in the 41-story building overlooking Millennium Park.

The lease at 130 E. Randolph St. is for 137,137 square feet on the second, third, fourth, 40th and 41st floors.

Prudential Plaza is a few blocks south of Tribune Tower, the newspaper’s home since the landmark building was completed in 1925. “While moving is always difficult, and leaving our home since 1925 brings a sense of nostalgia, this is a wonderful opportunity to create the next generation newsroom and an overall energetic and inviting environment for our entire team,” Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said in an email to employees on Friday.

* Back to the twitters…


- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Will it move the needle?…

Make sure to explain your answer, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Roskam race moved to “Toss Up” by Cook Political Report

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Cook Political Report

The last two weeks have seen some significant movement in Democrats favor. First, there were the impressive results from last Tuesday’s elections. This week, we’ve seen two polls — one by Quinnipiac and one by Marist — that show Democrats with a congressional ballot advantage of +13 to +15. Three other recent polls — ABC/Washington Post, Fox, and NBC/Wall Street Journal — show Democrats with an advantage of anywhere from +7 to +15.

These are political wave numbers. […]

My colleague David Wasserman has been digging into the question of just how big of a wave Democrats need to get in order to surf into the majority. The short answer: they need to see a generic ballot advantage of +8 or more, which roughly translates to getting at least 54 percent or more of the national House vote in 2018.

The last time Democrats enjoyed a margin of +8 or more in a mid-term year was 2006. That year, Democrats won the House vote by 8.5 percent. The last time that Democrats got into the double digits was 2008 when they carried the House vote by D+11. This has led to a lots of talk that Democrats can only hit significant margins of victory in presidential elections when their base is more engaged and involved. It also helped to have a transformational candidate - Barack Obama - at the top of the ticket. Something they obviously don’t have in 2018. But, there is precedent for Democrats winning the House vote by double digits in mid-term years. In the post-Watergate midterm of 1974, Democrats won by a whopping 17 points. In Ronald Reagan’s first midterm of 1982, Democrats won the House vote by 12 points.

* As a result, Cook has moved Peter Roskam from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”

IL-06: Peter Roskam (R) - Chicago west suburbs: Wheaton, Palatine

Toss Up. Roskam has been a party loyalist since 2006, narrowly losing a bid for GOP whip in 2014 and casting conservative votes. But his suburban Chicago district has moved away from the GOP so fast that Democrats are now wishing they hadn’t protected him in their 2012 gerrymander. In 2016, Clinton won this seat 50 percent to 43 percent. Only eight House Republicans represent a seat Trump lost by more. Defeating Roskam will be Chicago Democrats’ top priority.

The large Democratic field is led by financial adviser and former North Barrington Village Trustee Kelly Mazeski, who had $343,000 on hand at the end of September. Clean energy businessman Sean Casten, former congressional aide Carole Cheney and 2016 nominee Amanda Howland are running too. Fortunately for Democrats, Illinois’s March 20 primary should give the nominee more time to consolidate support and raise money to compete in a very expensive market.

…Adding… I’ve generally avoided covering the Dem primary because there are so many hopefuls and I wasn’t sure who would even survive the petition season. This may change things…

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Kennedy lashes out at Emanuel, while Pritzker takes a softer approach

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Laura Washington moderated a candidates forum last night. She asked them whether they would support Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reelection today

Chris Kennedy: I think he’s destroying our communities, he’s destroying the economic future of our state. Everything is driven by Chicago, and you can’t have an educational system where something like 75 percent of the kids who graduate CPS are so undereducated that they need remedial education. And then he allows an institution like this that provides that remedial education to practically be destroyed. He doesn’t believe what I believe in.

Laura Washington: Mr. Pritzker?

JB Pritzker: So many challenges that Rahm Emanuel has brought to the City of Chicago, it’s important for us to recognize that the chronic underfunding of schools in neighborhoods that most need that funding is something that we need to stand up against. The chronic challenge of violence in our communities, something that I believe Rahm Emanuel has not done a good job of. We need to make sure that we’re standing up against those basic principles. Now, what Bob Daiber said is right, which is let’s see who the candidates are in 2019. Who’s going to emerge here? Because we need to make sure that we’ve got someone that will stand up for a better education system, who’s going to stand up for our communities of color all across the City of Chicago. I always believe you always have to ask the question who are the candidates and then answer it.

LW: But you’re unhappy with his leadership?

JB: I am.

OK, Pritzker did criticize Emanuel, but that “let’s see who the candidates are” kinda reminds me of when he was asked if he planned to vote for President Barack Obama in 2012: “We’ll have to wait and see. I don’t know who the nominee’s gonna be on the Republican side.”

* Video

* Kennedy, meanwhile, threw out an idea during the forum

Chris Kennedy: The leadership of this state needs to look like the state itself. There needs to be a Rooney Rule. For every executive, every appointment, everybody that gets hired by the State of Illinois, the last pool of candidates there needs to be a woman. That’s how it has to change. I’ve seen what government can do. I remember my older sisters not being able to play sports, and my younger sister required to play sports on the very fields that my older sister was not allowed to play on because she was a woman. And then Title IX is passed and we see the incredible advancement. My own kids, four of them, they played on a collective 25 sports teams in college – I mean in High School. None of that would have been possible, those girls would not have played had their middle school and grade schools not been required to teach them sports. The government can do great things, but the government that we have today looks the other way. Once again bills come close to being passed and they fail, the Democratic Party doesn’t get the job done. And they say to us, ‘we’ll just elect a few more Democrats, we’ll get it done in the next election.’ Quit falling for that trap.

Laura Washington: Mr. Kennedy could I just quickly follow up on that. Can you explain how you would implement the Rooney Rule?

CK: - So the Rooney Rule…

LW: - As governor. And what you would actually do…

CK: How that works? The Rooney Rule was a – is a rule that’s been in place in the National Football League and it’s named after the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers who’s since passed away. And they recognized that there was a lack of African-American leadership within the team organizations, outside of the players themselves. And they wrestled with that and they really didn’t do enough to change the culture. And he came up with this notion that in the final candidate pool of 3, for any job in management, in any team anywhere in the NFL – not the corporate part of the NFL, but in every team, at the Bears, at the Steelers, at the Giants, anywhere, that there had to be an African-American candidate in that pool. And that forced the teams, the recruiting professions, others to bring in and start sourcing talented African-Americans and it changed the face of the NFL as far as management goes. That notion can be applied to any targeted audience.

LW: So how would you do it? Are you suggesting that you would make sure that every candidate in your administration for every position?

CK: Yeah, every candidate in the administration… Every position would be required that there would be at least one woman in the final candidate pool.

Video is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Rauner refuses to weigh in on federal tax legislation

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Yesterday…

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today urged Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to publically weigh-in on the Republican tax plans in the House and Senate and how these plans would impact Illinois families. Both the House and Senate bills would finance massive tax cuts for the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans by raising taxes on millions of middle-income families and eliminating vital tax breaks for people in Illinois.

“Given how quickly Republicans are attempting to ram their dangerous tax plans through the House of Representatives and the Senate and the serious threat these plans pose to the people of Illinois, we urge you to publicly announce your position on the Republican tax plans immediately,” Durbin and Duckworth wrote in a letter to Gov. Rauner.

Both plans take aim at the SALT deduction, with the Senate plan eliminating it completely and the House plan gutting the deduction. As the state with the fifth highest number of taxpayers who claim this deduction, Republican efforts to eliminate or gut SALT would hit Illinois especially hard. The roughly one-third of all taxpayers in Illinois who benefit from SALT would be subjected to double-taxation under the Republican plans and state and local governments would find it more difficult to fund essential local education programs, infrastructure projects, and social services.

Further, recently released changes to the Senate bill reveal that to fund tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest one percent, Senate Republicans plan to eliminate one of the three core pillars of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 13 million Americans—including many in our state—will lose their health insurance and individual market premiums will increase by at least 10 percent.

Additionally, the House bill would eliminate the medical expense deduction, making it so that the more than 370,000 Illinois who depend on this deduction would no longer be able to claim an average $10,000 deduction to help offset costly out-of-pocket medical expenses. The House bill also takes aim at students in our state by eliminating the student loan interest deduction, preventing the more than 1.5 million Illinoisans who collectively hold $51 billion in federal student loan debt from deducting the interest gain on their loans.

Lastly, both Republican proposals would add $1.5 trillion to our nation’s deficit, which will undoubtedly be used in the future by Republican leaders to justify drastic cuts to federal spending on public assistance programs.

Last month, Durbin and Duckworth sent Gov. Rauner a letter outlining their concerns with one of the central components of the Republican tax plans, the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, and requested his feedback on how eliminating the deduction would impact Illinois families and Illinois’ economy. That letter has gone unanswered.

* The governor was asked about this topic yesterday

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to refuse to weigh in on matters before Congress with enormous bearing on Illinois. […]

Speaking to reporters in Chicago, Rauner climbed on a rhetorical fence.

“Federal tax reform is long overdue. We need to lower the tax burden on the federal level. We also have to lower the tax burden at the state level. And my focus is obviously here at the state level.” […]

“I’m not going to weigh into the detail that’s being debated in Congress right now at on the federal level. I have shared a few thoughts with federal officials, but I’m not going to weigh in to the media on this,” Rauner said.

* Related…

* Stark partisan divide among lawmakers as House OKs tax plan

* How Illinois’ delegation voted on the Republican tax plan

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Reports: Former Munger firm gets $12.5 million no-bid contract after a $12 million payment was frozen by Mendoza

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Mark Maxwell

Mere days after the state paid down roughly forty percent of its backlog of overdue bills, the Rauner administration finalized the largest vendor contract in state history.

The six-year, $5.26 billion deal is split between seven healthcare companies who met the state’s criteria for a massive Medicaid overhaul. BlueCross BlueShield ($1.03B), County Care ($1.05B), Harmony Health Plan of Illinois ($685M), Illini Care Health Plan ($915M), Meridian Health Plan ($960M), Molina Healthcare of Illinois ($440M) and Next Level Health Partners ($180M) enlisted as Managed Care Organizations and, as agreed to under the terms of the deal, will combine to provide at least five coverage options for Medicaid patients in all 102 Illinois counties. […]

On Wednesday, as required by a part of the new procurement code, the Rauner administration quietly published the first details of a new one-year consulting contract with McKinsey and Company worth up to $12.5 million. The sizable bid was awarded without any competition. HFS says the ‘consent decree compliance’ contract is exempt from competitive bidding rules. […]

A source close to the governor’s inner circle says McKinsey has been nurturing this deal from the beginning, often serving as a mediator between potential providers and the governor’s office. The source, who asked not to be named in this report, says a partner at McKinsey maintains a direct line of communication with Deputy Governor Trey Childress. Calls placed to McKinsey were not immediately returned. Childress, who operates largely behind the scenes and coordinates business with state agency supervisors, is one of a select few top advisors who not only survived the governor’s summer staffing purge of 2017, but also saw his responsibility and influence swell to new heights.

This first glimpse at the cost and scope of the McKinsey contract may provide insight into how this deal was crafted from the start. Any previous contract work with the state was not publicly disclosed as it was technically exempt from publishing requirements under the old procurement code. New orders filed under the Freedom of Information Act may soon yield further details about McKinsey’s role in this process.

“Now we’re seeing disclosure of contracts we didn’t know about. I wonder who was involved in designing the criteria and deciding the selection and exclusion of winners and losers,” Representative Harris wondered. “I think we have an interest in knowing these things.”

* The Rock River Times connects some more dots

The more than $12 million handed to the firm [for the no-bid Medicaid contract] tied to Rauner’s administration has raised eyebrows. Leslie Munger, one of Rauner’s deputy governors who previously served as comptroller under the first-term Republican before losing the office in last November’s election, was a former recruitment chief at McKinsey, from 1978-82, according to the governor’s office.

Munger’s appointment following her loss to Democrat Susana Mendoza in the comptroller’s race came under scrutiny earlier this year. Rauner announced that she would be paid $135,000 per year, the same as when she was appointed comptroller following Judy Bar Topinka’s death in Dec. 2014.

In March, as the state’s two-year budget impasse was ongoing, Mendoza suspended $27 million in payments that were part of a $250 million computer modernization plan launched by Rauner. Among the $21.6 million promised to outside consultants in that move was a $12 million sum for McKinsey. […]

Earlier this year, the state’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), which Rauner created in 2015, had its expenses called into question by the comptroller and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. After Munger’s loss in the Nov. 2016 election, she moved more than $70 million from the state’s general fund into administration-controlled agencies that largely benefitted DoIT.

But Mendoza held up payments for the DoIT’s secretary to multiple professional organizations, saying, “This type of waste of tax dollars is why I will always demand accountability and transparency from every state agency.” McKinsey had more than $38 million earmarked for its services as part of Rauner’s tech-overhaul.

All emphasis added because… hmm.

* As an aside, Munger’s salary is reported in the above story and others to be $135,000 a year, but a check of the comptroller’s database shows she’s been paid $169,000 this year so far out of a CMS contractual line.

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      

“Every time I see a little kid waving I always try to wave back”

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* One of my favorite things on Twitter is Chicago Sun-Times reporter Tina Sfondeles’ “Men watching construction projects” tweets. I don’t quite know why, but they fascinate me and I’ve been impressed with how many “likes” and retweets they get. I’ve suggested to Sfondeles that she should think about doing one of those coffee table books.

Anyway, Neil Steinberg wrote a column about her tweets

“It began as two men staring at a large crane near the Franklin Street Bridge,” [Sfondeles] said. “Then others joined in. I would see this phenomenon nearly every day — with men peeking at the construction site from different vantage points. Some just stood near the bridge for a clear view. Others peaked through gates and mesh covers. Some peeled the covers down to view the site. Others stood on top of a water pipe to get a better view. And this happens nearly every day, rain or shine.”

What does Sfondeles think is going on here? Men “never outgrowing a childhood love of Tonka trucks,” she explained. “I find it really endearing that these men get lost in thought while staring at the site. It’s a little time out from reality.”

There is indeed an aspect of channeling your inner child, or your actual children.

“It’s just fascinating to little kids,” said Griffiths, who has two boys, 2 and 5 years old.

What do the construction workers think of being watched? Do they even notice?

“We see people looking at us a lot,” said Michael Femali, an operating engineer for James McHugh Construction in Chicago. He said he doesn’t mind, particularly when it’s a little kid in a stroller.

“Every time we see a woman pushing a stroller, we always see kids waving and pointing, all the time,” said Femali, who operates a tower crane. “Every time I see a little kid waving I always try to wave back.”

“I’ve been doing this 25 years,” he said. “I kinda like people watching. I understand what’s going through their minds, what they’re thinking.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Londrigan, EMILY’s List stand by their false statements

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* One more time in case you somehow missed it

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said he was worried that an unfortunate consequence of the increased awareness around sexual harassment is that offices would avoid hiring female staffers so as not to get caught up in any scandals.

“I have a female-led staff, and I asked them their opinion,” he said during the hearing. “They were concerned … that an unintended consequence may be some offices just take a shortcut and not hire women as a way to avoid these issues. Obviously that’s not the right approach.”

The reporter initially tweeted: “Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) says he’s worried congressional offices will hire fewer women to avoid issue of sexual harassment.” That left the impression with some folks that Davis somehow supported the idea of not hiring women, when it clearly was not the case. Davis never said anything like that.

Yesterday, Reps. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez and Avery Bourne as well as Erika Harold called on Betsy Londrigan and EMILY’s List to apologize to Davis for their over the top and false reactions. Londrigan had even paid for a Facebook ad to spread her false message, which is a topic we’ve discussed here before when Sen. Andy Manar was hit with a similar “fake news” smear. Londrigan had tweeted that Davis’ idea (even though it wasn’t this idea) was “Offensive and illegal.” EMILY’s List’s president called Davis a “buffoon” and tweeted “Excluding women from Congress is NOT how we should address sexual harassment.”

* Bernie asked for a response

“Women face harassment every day,” Londrigan said in a statement. “By using the platform of a congressional hearing to even suggest that fewer women would get hired as a result of coming forward, Davis’ words have a chilling effect. This comes as no surprise, coming from a Representative who has failed to stand up for equal pay and continues to vote against women’s interests when it comes to healthcare access, affordability and coverage by actively whipping votes for the Trumpcare bill in May. Congressman Davis has continuously cast votes against women that have a direct impact in the workplace and beyond.”

And Christina Reynolds, vice president for communications at EMILY’s List, said: “Instead of using the microphone to perpetuate a backward approach toward addressing harassment in the workplace, Rodney Davis should be proposing solutions.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

In praise of Mary Ann Ahern

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern aired some footage yesterday of her interview with Gov. Rauner last month. She asked him back then about “allegations of sexual misconduct by a former member of his inner circle.” His response

Ahern: Did you do everything you should’ve done?

Rauner: I don’t, Mary Ann, I’m not even sure what you’re referring to. I don’t, that’s a, I don’t, I don’t agree with that question whatsoever. M… M… Mary Ann, you’re…

Ahern: Staffers are aware, but are you not aware of it?

Rauner: Mary Ann, you’re making some claims that I think you should be, you know, go check out. I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

That was not easy to transcribe. But while I had the video on pause during that stuttering burst (you really should click here to watch it), I made this screen capture…

She really knows how to make politicians uncomfortable.

* As we discussed yesterday, Rauner’s answer these days is more polished

Any specific requests or questions you have about anything pending really needs to go to the inspector general. I am not authorized to comment about it.

* Last night, I hunted down an old video of Mary Ann grilling Gov. Rod Blagojevich. She obviously hasn’t lost her touch


- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

George Will: Illinois “approaching a death spiral”

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* George Will talked with Gov. Rauner again

This state’s story, which lately has been depressing, soon will acquire a riveting new chapter. In 2018 Illinois will have the nation’s most important, expensive and strange election.

Its importance derives from this fact: Self-government has failed in the nation’s currently fifth-most populous state (Pennsylvania soon will pass it). Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will seek re-election with a stark warning: The state is approaching a death spiral — departing people and businesses suppress growth; the legislature responds by raising taxes; the exodus accelerates. […]

Thuggishness has been normalized: Because Rauner favors allowing municipalities to pass right-to-work laws that prohibit requiring workers to join a union, Madigan’s automatons passed a law (Rauner’s veto stood) stipulating up to a year in jail for local lawmakers who enact them.

In 2018, Rauner will try to enlist voters in the constructive demolition of the “blue model.” It is based on Madigan’s docile herd of incumbent legislators, who are entrenched by campaign funds from government unions. Through them government, sitting on both sides of the table, negotiates with itself to expand itself. Term limits for legislators, which a large majority of Illinoisans favor, would dismantle the wall. A 60 percent supermajority of the legislature is required for such a constitutional reform. So, next year voters will be urged to oppose any legislature candidate who will not pledge to vote to put term limits on the ballot. And all candidates will be asked how often they have voted for Madigan for speaker — he has a 26 percent approval rating — and to pledge not to sin again.

“I love a fight,” says an ebullient Rauner, whose rhetoric cannot get much more pugnacious. He calls Madigan “the worst elected official in the country” and Madigan’s machine “evil.” The nation has a huge stake in this brawl because the “blue model” is bankrupting cities and states from Connecticut to California, so its demolition here, where it has done the most damage, would be a wondrous story enhancing the nation’s glory.

Evil? That’s some hot rhetoric.

* And we’re “approaching” a death spiral? I thought Illinois was already in a death spiral. From a 2012 Bruce Rauner op-ed

Our state is in a long-term death spiral.


Three days before he takes the reins as governor, Bruce Rauner declared “Illinois is in a death spiral.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   92 Comments      

Rauner urged to sign education funding “cleanup” bill

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Press release…

The Fix the Formula campaign and the Funding Illinois’ Future coalition urge the Governor to sign Senate Bill 444, which clarifies a minor technical error in SB1947, Illinois’ historic school funding overhaul. In August, SB1947 ended an era of the state having the most inequitable school funding system in the nation.

With any major legislation there are technicalities that need clarification so that the language matches the intent of the law. We support SB444 because the clarification meets our core principles as a coalition and preserves the intent of SB1947, which drives dollars to the neediest districts, those that have the fewest local resources and are the least well-funded.

We urge the Governor to sign SB444 swiftly so that the Illinois State Board of Education can start to disburse funding under the new formula.

* Illinois Public Radio did a story on the bill earlier this week

Eleven Republican Senators voted against the cleanup bill last week. Afterwards, one of those 11 — Sen. Jason Barickman, from Bloomington — said he just wanted to see how the numbers would’ve changed without tying up the loose ends.

“We always said we want to see numbers before we do things,” Barickman said. “So, I didn’t make a big deal out of it today, I don’t think it is a big deal. But it would’ve been nice to stick to the process.”

When I asked him to predict whether Rauner sign this seemingly tiny technical bill, Barickman indicated he had given up predicting the governor’s actions. “Sometimes,” he said, “you don’t even wanna predict your own.”

More cleanup bills are on the horizon. The biggest one would ensure state funding for pre-kindergarten English learners. Lawmakers will likely tackle that topic in January.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Republican Party wants Durbin, Duckworth to give away Franken’s cash

Friday, Nov 17, 2017


Durbin and Duckworth Should Immediately Give Away Money Received From Al Franken
Following allegations and a photograph of his sexual misconduct, Durbin and Duckworth have yet to take action on campaign cash from Franken

“Calls for an investigation are not enough. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth should put their money where their mouth is and immediately give away the dirty money they’ve received from Al Franken. Some of their Democratic peers in the Senate have already taken action and given away the campaign contributions. It’s time for Durbin and Duckworth to do the same.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

Following reports on Thursday of sexual harassment levied against U.S. Senator Al Franken, Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth have not taken any definitive action to distance themselves from his alleged actions.

Early Thursday, allegations surfaced that Al Franken kissed and groped a woman without consent in 2006. Released along with Leeann Tweeden’s allegations was a photograph of Franken groping Tweeden as she slept.

Since the allegations surfaced, numerous Democrats have spoken out, denouncing Franken and giving away campaign cash received from Franken to charitable organizations.

Durbin and Duckworth, though tweeting their support for an ethics investigation, have yet to give away the money they received from Franken, unlike their counterpart in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin. Durbin and Duckworth have received $5,000 and $21,000 in campaign contributions from Franken, respectively.

The Illinois Republican Party is calling on Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to follow the example of their peers and immediately give away the campaign cash they received from Al Franken.

* Press releases sent by the two Senators…

U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement:

    There is never an excuse for this behavior—ever. What Senator Franken did was wrong, and it should be referred to the Ethics Committee for review.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement on Senator Al Franken:

    “These types of actions are simply unacceptable and should be reviewed by the Ethics Committee. Women across America should be able to feel safe in their workplace, and they deserve our support when coming forward with allegations of misconduct.”

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Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* I’m having one of those mornings, campers. So, talk amongst yourselves for awhile and I’ll be back as soon as I can. Keep it Illinois-centric and be nice because I don’t have time this morning to police your comments. Thanks.

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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Brady makes some unusual appointments to discrimination and harassment task force
* Pritzker sues endorser, deletes ad she appeared in
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Candidate announcement
* Best tweet of the day
* Question of the day
* Roskam race moved to "Toss Up" by Cook Political Report
* Kennedy lashes out at Emanuel, while Pritzker takes a softer approach
* Rauner refuses to weigh in on federal tax legislation
* Reports: Former Munger firm gets $12.5 million no-bid contract after a $12 million payment was frozen by Mendoza
* "Every time I see a little kid waving I always try to wave back"
* Londrigan, EMILY's List stand by their false statements
* In praise of Mary Ann Ahern
* George Will: Illinois "approaching a death spiral"
* Rauner urged to sign education funding "cleanup" bill
* Republican Party wants Durbin, Duckworth to give away Franken's cash
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