* My annual City Club speech is Monday at noonish. You can click here to watch it live. The event has been sold out for months, but you can click here to bid on tickets through Friday night at 10 o’clock. Proceeds benefit Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.
Over four years, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown reported $72,000 in income from a side business as a motivational and religious speaker. Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot made nearly $1 million last year as a law firm partner and gave $52,000 to charity. And former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas recorded no taxable income in the year before Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed him to an administrative post at Chicago State University. […]
On Nov. 1, the Tribune requested four years of tax returns complete with all schedules and attachments for 16 declared candidates for mayor.
Lightfoot, Brown, Vallas, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza and state Rep. LaShawn Ford all provided full tax returns for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Law firm partner Gery Chico provided only the top sheets of his Form 1040 for those years without the attached schedules and statements, leaving unanswered what investments he might hold and what tax exemptions he claimed, among other things. […]
Joining Daley in not releasing their tax returns: McCarthy, Enyia, wealthy businessman Willie Wilson, tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin, activist Ja’Mal Green, Southwest Side attorney Jerry Joyce and attorney John Kozlar. The Tribune also requested tax returns from former Ald. Bob Fioretti, a late entrant to the race who so far has not complied. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has released his complete tax returns dating back to 2005.
Chicago Election Board hearing officer Barbara Goodman on Friday ruled three facets of Preckwinkle’s challenge to Mendoza’s nominating petitions can proceed, while agreeing with the Mendoza campaign to dismiss a fourth. […]
Goodman said the Preckwinkle campaign hadn’t established a pattern of fraud by some of those who collected Mendoza’s signatures, and so struck that argument from the challenge.
But she said evidence must be presented before she can rule on Preckwinkle’s allegations that more than 13,000 signatures the Mendoza campaign submitted do not match people registered at those addresses, as well as claims of duplicate signatures and other problems with the names. […]
[Mendoza campaign lawyer Tony Jacob] said Mendoza has been prevailing on the vast majority of the line-by-line signature arguments the campaigns are waging behind the scenes.
* This is small potatoes money-wise, but they need to pay more attention to this stuff over there…
Returning the $$$ now: @susanamendoza10 has now decided to return $1K from Rick Simon, who is mentioned in reports about the #AldBurkeRaid, 20 minutes ago Mendoza had no answer on the Simon $$, re-thought that awkward answer #ChiMayor19
* SEIU Local 1 has a long-running grudge against Simon, and the union is backing Toni Preckwinkle, so keep that in mind…
The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 spokesman Nick Desideri in response to reports Susana Mendoza intends to return a campaign contribution from alleged mob associate and anti-worker United Maintenance head Richard Simon. Both Bill Daley and Gery Chico returned donations from Simon in 2013 and 2010 respectively:
“It speaks volumes about Susana Mendoza that she only returned alleged mob associate Richard Simon’s 2016 donation amid her mayoral run and serious federal scrutiny of her mentor Ed Burke.
“What is Mendoza’s relationship to Simon and Burke that it took her years and the pressure of a federal investigation to return this troubling donation from an alleged mob associate?”
Data from the Illinois Department of Revenue show that the wealthiest taxpayers, those earning more than $500,000, submitted about 58,000 returns and paid $3.2 billion in income taxes in 2015. Those earning between $100,000 and $500,000 totaled one million returns and paid $5.4 billion in taxes — the largest segment — while middle-income taxpayers turned in 1.3 million returns and paid $2.7 billion.
The task at hand, of course, is to figure out how to give the lower tiers a significant tax break, while still producing enough new revenue to un-hollow-out the government and do things like spend more money on education, lower property taxes, etc.
The negotiators will have far more detailed numbers than these, but I thought you might like to see them anyway.
* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Democratic Illinois State Senator goes to Sen. Melinda Bush…
(H)er work on changing the sexual harassment culture in Springfield and work on gender equality doesn’t get enough credit. She is not afraid to vote for what’s right even after everyone else tells her some issues are too liberal for her district. She was also fearless and successful this past campaign cycle getting women elected to office up and down the ballot in Lake County. She is also one of the funniest people under the dome.
Andy Manar got a bunch of votes, so my hat’s off to him as well.
* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Republican Illinois State Senator goes to Sen. Jason Barickman…
He is relatively young (at least for a Republican,) smart, thoughtful, and absolutely willing to buck his party for the right policy. He’s handling the legalized marijuana with a pragmatic and open-minded approach to help get a seat at the table and stop any outrageous parts of an eventual bill. He did it with gay marriage, and I suspect he’ll do it again. He represents two of the most conservative counties in the state (Ford & Iroquois) and hasn’t gotten as much of a hint of a primary challenger. He’s doing things right, and he’s the future of the GOP in our state.
Congratulations to both honorees.
* Let’s move along to today’s categories…
* Best Illinois US Representative
* Best elected statewide official
Remember to explain your nominations or they won’t count. And do your utmost to nominate in both categories. The statewide electeds category includes US Senate, by the way.
A bill restricting which state employees can join unions is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is expected to sign it. […]
State workers in middle management positions flooded to join labor unions after ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration froze their salaries, among other things. More than 96 percent of the state workforce is now unionized, the most of any state. Quinn and others said that cripples his ability to properly manage.
The bill removes about 1,900 people from unions, and another 1,600 job titles would be prohibited from joining unions in the future. [Emphasis added.]
This effort really got going when legislative liaisons were allowed to join a union.
[Gov. Pat Quinn] approved a measure that allows the governor to deny collective bargaining rights for up to 3,580 managers and supervisors. […]
The law applies to “managerial or supervisory” positions under the governor and other statewide offices — such as the secretary of state and attorney general — that are not currently represented by a union or those who have gained representation since December 2008.
Supporters of the measure argue that state executives can’t effectively run the government with so few managers loyal only to them. They say that 97 percent of the state work force is backed by a union.
An Associated Press analysis in 2011 showed 10,000 state workers had joined unions from 2003 to 2011 — four times the number of the previous eight years. Including petitions pending at the time, it showed there were only 1,700 managers left among a payroll of 50,000. [Emphasis added.]
.@GovRauner tells reporters that many managers within state government are illegally unionized. “Unionization within state government in IL is at record levels…93%” This, six months after Rauner’s win in union-weakening SCOTUS case Janus v AFSCME. pic.twitter.com/hgsbGrxJG3
[After he signed the bill into law] Quinn’s administration then filed unit clarification petitions with the Illinois Labor Relations Board to reclassify employees as excluded from the ability to collectively bargain. Though the law allowed him to do so for 3,580 employees, Quinn through the board only ended up reclassifying 1,700. […]
The outgoing governor touted his efforts to remove mid-level managers and other state workers from unionization eligibility. This past summer Rauner’s administration filed dozens of bargaining unit clarification petitions with the labor relations board, totaling 2,500 individual positions the administration has gone after since 2016.
The administration claims that its investigation discovered that key positions like inspector general investigators and supervisory security personnel at state prisons and mental health facilities were filled by union officials, even though those positions are specifically barred from collective bargaining under the Illinois Labor Relations Act, and were clarified as being excluded in the 2011 tweak to the law.
But AFSCME claims the Rauner administration is going after employees in jobs that have every right to be unionized, and alleged the governor is seeking to strip more than 1,000 people of their rights to collectively bargain.
* The administration claims that its agencies have identified 5,000 employees who should be stripped of collective bargaining rights, including…
* Supervisors responsible for disciplining employees that refuse to do so adequately.
* OIG Investigators responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, abuse, financial exploitation or other malfeasance by union employees.
* Supervisors that run state prisons at night, and chiefs of security at mental health facilities.
* Administrative law judges and other attorneys who make binding decisions for management that impact important policy matters.
* Other staff that has access to the State’s confidential bargaining strategies.
Today, the Pritzker-Stratton Inaugural Committee announced the two anchor events of inauguration weekend in Springfield. They will both take place on Inauguration Day, Monday, January 14, 2019.
The ceremony to swear in Governor-elect JB Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton and the other statewide elected officials will begin at 11 a.m. at the Bank of Springfield Center. Doors open at 9 a.m. Those interested in attending the swearing-in ceremony can request up to two complimentary tickets on the inauguration website beginning December 28.
The governor and lieutenant governor will host their inauguration celebration at 7 p.m. at the Exposition Building of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Pre-sale tickets are on sale by invitation only with general sale tickets to be announced pending availability. Ticket sales will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation.
ABOUT CABRINI GREEN LEGAL AID
CGLA was established in 1973 to serve legal needs arising from the lack of opportunity, criminalization of poverty, and racial inequity experienced within the Cabrini Green community. Since then, CGLA has grown beyond a single neighborhood to become a citywide, countywide, and now recognized statewide leader in supporting low-income individuals negatively impacted by the criminal justice system. Our mission is to seek justice and mercy for those living in poverty by providing legal services that strengthen individual lives, families, and communities. We aim to proactively fill the void of legal representation, wraparound services, and advocacy for those affected by the criminal justice system.
ABOUT THE ILLINOIS FAIRGROUNDS FOUNDATION
Leaders in the agricultural community established the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that seeks to promote, support, assist, and sustain the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation’s activities will emphasize capital improvements at these sites, with an emphasis on restoration of buildings and capital enhancement.
ABOUT THE JB INAUGURATION COMMITTEE
The JB Inauguration Committee is collecting and voluntarily reporting the name, address, employer, and occupation of donors that contribute more than $1,000. We will not accept anonymous contributions or contributions in cash. JB Inauguration Committee is a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit organization.
All donations made to and ticket purchases made from the JB Inauguration Committee will be donated to Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Inc. and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Inc. and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation are 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations registered in the State of Illinois.
Contributions or gifts to the JB Inauguration Committee are not tax deductible.
“I will miss a lot of the people I have had the privilege to work with,” Rauner said. “I will not miss the stress. This has been the hardest job I’ve ever done by far.”
“What I’m gonna do is actually give time to reflect. Frankly, I’ve been so focused on governing and messaging in the moment I haven’t done as much reflecting and analysis of the last six years,” he added.
Rauner also spoke about what he learned about his political nemesis Mike Madigan.
“I learned that working with him directly won’t get the result, he responds through his caucus. Pressure through his caucus is the way to get the Speaker to move,” he said.
One way you can pressure the House Speaker is to line up all three legislative leaders against him via a “grand bargain” to break a two-year impasse and… oh, nevermind.
Illinois Governor-Elect JB Pritzker met with President Trump Thursday at the White House.
Trump welcomed governors-elect from both parties to the White House. Among the other governors were Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, Georgia Republican Brian Kemp, Wisconsin Democrat Tony Evers and newly inaugurated Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican.
White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Doug Hoelscher had said they’d be discussing “shared priorities,” including workforce investment, prison reform and combating the opioid epidemic.
The visitors also met with Cabinet members as part of a broader White House outreach effort to local officials.
PRITZKER: Mr. President, I’m JB Pritzker, the governor-elect of Illinois, and I founded 1871, which is the- well named this year the world’s best business incubator, and as I’ve been speaking with your daughter, I’ve also been a national advocate for early childhood education.
“He seemed to be in a good mood and was welcoming to all of the governors,” Pritzker said. “We had a good conversation about the issues that were important to us.” […]
Since the election, Pritzker has said that he will work with members of both parties, Democrat and Republican, to bring more federal dollars to the state of Illinois, and that includes President Trump.
“I was glad to go to Washington to advocate for the people of Illinois,” he said. “We need to bring more federal dollars to Illinois, and I had the opportunity to advocate for infrastructure, and he expressed his desire to get a bill passed as well.”
Afterward, I caught up with Pritzker as he was leaving the White House and one of my first questions to him as we stood on a chilly Pennsylvania Avenue is why after all his Trump bashing he bothered to make the day trip.
The answer is that Pritzker, switching from campaigning to governing, has the luxury and necessity now to be practical and see how he can use his perch to get more federal dollars to Illinois. […]
“Well, I had an opportunity to express to both of them and to the president and the vice president how important it is that we pass an infrastructure bill for the states, and they agreed. And then I especially focused on the formula, which is very important to get an infrastructure bill that works for the states. We need to go back to an 80/20 formula,” Pritzker said, a reference to the state having to come up with a 20 percent match in order to collect the federal funds.
“…The other topic that we talked about and that I advocated for was help with the Asian Carp problem in the Great Lakes. As you can imagine, we have the governor of Michigan there, the governor of Wisconsin was there, the governor of Ohio was there. We’re all affected by this crisis.
“The president didn’t seem to know anything about it. But he was very interested in helping and said that he would speak with the Army Corps of Engineers and work with our states to make sure that we’re addressing the problem.”
Bruce Rauner, in his final month as governor, revealed in an exclusive interview that he tried to convince two men and two women to run in his place this election cycle.
“And I said I’ll step aside, I’ll give you huge financial resources, you run for governor, I’ll support you. You have as good or better chance to get elected than me. All four of them said no, too tough, too unlikely, too difficult,” said Governor Bruce Rauner.
Sources say former state senator Karen McConnaughey was one of them, when reached by phone she declined to comment. Sources also say Cubs part-owner Todd Ricketts was unsuccessfully recruited by Rauner. […]
“When President Trump won the White House, but lost Illinois by 16 points, I think 16 to 17 points, that changed the dynamic from good chance for reelection to very, very difficult chance for reelection,” Rauner said.
Sources said Rauner’s recruitment effort also included Todd Ricketts, a member of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs who is now finance chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Erika Harold, an Urbana attorney who at the time was the GOP nominee for attorney general. She ultimately lost to Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul. A source close to Harold said Rauner contacted her about replacing him on the ticket in August, mere months before the general election. […]
McConnaughay, who retired from the legislature in September, said Rauner’s effort to remove himself from the ticket was “indicative of how he governed” and how he repeatedly sought to avoid blame for failures.
“He tried to take himself out the same way he came in. He never learned the job,” McConnaughay said.
“He really came into office with this belief that he had some sort of mandate to strong-arm his agenda through. But he never understood the process. He didn’t try to understand the process. He didn’t think he needed to understand the process,” she said. “As a result, he demonstrated a lack of respect for the process.”
[Rep. Jeanne Ives] said she was not one of the four asked.
“It was obvious from the beginning that he was not serious about winning the race so he destroyed Republicans up and down the ticket by not bowing out politely and letting someone else take the lead,” Ives said.
She said there’s no doubt in her mind GOP leadership in Illinois knew about this and “let this go on.” She demanded top leadership step down.
“It’s really unfortunate for everybody involved in politics who now completely understand that [Rauner] essentially bought his race and then lied down to the Democrats and was never going to be the watchdog that we need in the face of Pritzker’s tax increase and increased spending that will drive Illinois to the brink of disaster,” Ives said. […]
“Politics is a very tough game,” Ives said. “If you’re heart’s not in it, it will show through and voters will know you’re not authentic and Rauner was not authentic and voters knew it.”
“I hope it’s a wake up call for all these other elected officials who sat on the sidelines while Rauner lied about who I am and what I stand for and they let him get away with it,” Ives said.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider
Neither myself nor the staff at the Illinois Republican Party had any knowledge of the discussions Governor Rauner had regarding his candidacy.
Karen McConnaughay said Rauner approached her in April about taking his place, but she quickly rebuffed his proposal.
“I was concerned in my conversations that he didn’t really understand that if he really did want to take his name off the ballot, that he couldn’t just pick a replacement,” she said. “He hadn’t sought any counsel about the process, so he couldn’t understand it.” […]
In the end, McConnaughay said the conversation mostly focused on the protocols of replacing him on the ballot and her trying to explain to him that it’s not something he gets to do in a vacuum.
“It was not the kind of conversation you could take seriously, because he had not contemplated the process of how any of that would work,” she said. “To replace a sitting person on the ballot is the work of the party, not a hand-picked choice. I was flattered that he thought of me, but there’s a whole process to this, and I told him to do careful consideration to all of that before you have conversations with people about replacing him on the ballot.”
“They knew that Rauner was not in for the fight,” said Ives, R-Wheaton. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they knew he asked others to run. [Schneider] can say what he wants to all day long, I do not believe him.”
McConnaughay said she didn’t know if GOP officials were aware Rauner wanted someone else to take over in the race against Pritzker.
“I only know what I know and I’m not interested in engaging in conspiracy theories, I’ll leave that to Representative Ives,” McConnaughay said.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Cook County Republican Chairman…
Sean Morrison condemns Bruce Rauner;
calls for emergency Illinois GOP Meeting
Chicago, IL – To learn yesterday that Bruce Rauner secretly tried to abdicate his candidacy - on several occasions - is an affront to everyone in the Illinois Republican Party and the entire State of Illinois. It is an egregious betrayal of trust that countless members of the Republican Party placed in him, and that 1.7 Million residents of Illinois had when they cast their vote for him in November.
I personally asked the Governor on two separate occasions before the Primary if he was committed to his re-election. Both times, to my face, he made clear that he was all in – not only for himself but for all Statewide candidates. We now know, by his own admission, that he deceived me and others.
Evidently, the deception didn’t end there. After the primary, Bruce explicitly promised a statewide absentee ballot and early voting program to boost Republican turnout. Was the program ever implemented? No. And his answer to questions about this program’s failure was nothing more than continued excuses.
It is abundantly clear now that Rauner’s lack of commitment to his own campaign for re-election brought about complete failure. But he didn’t just fail himself, he failed each and every Republican candidate across the state, and as a result, we lost in record numbers; many races we might have otherwise won had his commitments been kept.
It saddens me to have to say this, but this private surrender by Bruce Rauner shows a lack of loyalty, integrity, and character. Many good people across our state, including myself, stood with and supported Bruce Rauner over the last four years even in the midst of many horrible policy decisions made by the governor. But we remained loyal, steadfast and committed to the Governor and all Republican Party candidates – from the top to the bottom of the ticket.
Every person that committed their time, effort and money to re-elect the Governor, from the 75 year old retiree making phone calls to the 18 year old high schooler who walked door to door in the rain for the Governor and the entire Republican ticket is owed an apology.
As a Republican elected official and a member of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee, this kind of betrayal and deception is totally unacceptable and has no place within our party. For this reason, I will call for an emergency meeting of the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee to address this deeply troubling matter and to immediately forge a plan forward to rebuild our party as one that will fight for the working families of Illinois and will challenge Illinois Democratic Party policies that have forced our state into economic peril.
This time there was no brown paper covering the entrance to the third floor finance committee office at Chicago’s City Hall, but federal agents returned to the office of Alderman Ed Burke on Thursday, sources tell NBC 5.
According to two sources, six to eight federal agents arrived at the alderman’s City Hall office at approximately 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon with a search and seizure warrant.
Just two weeks ago on Nov. 29, agents executed search warrants on both Burke’s 14th Ward office and his finance committee suite.
Like the previous search, there is still no official word on what agents were looking for when they searched the offices.
Former Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans is laying out a bill of particulars against Ald. Edward Burke (14th), alleging that he worked repeatedly behind the scenes to inappropriately pressure her and her staff on airport business. […]
• Burke personally intervened to make sure that the clout-heavy United Maintenance, which held janitorial contracts at O’Hare Airport, got paid promptly.
• Burke pushed to renew or extend a contract with Go Airport, which operates a shuttle service at O’Hare.
• Burke worked to help Clear Channel, the company that controls indoor advertising at O’Hare, when it was upset over a competitor’s actions at the airport.
• When dozens of leases for hangars and aviation support facilities were coming up for renewal, the City was obligated to offer them the same business terms. Those terms required City Council approval. However, Burke insisted that each lease be separately submitted to Council – which delayed and complicated the approvals.
Click here for some background on United Maintenance.