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This just in… Tristano pleads guilty

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006

Fox News Chicago is calling around asking for comments from people about Mike Tristano pleading guilty today and allegedly implicating Rep. Lee Daniels. Tristano is Daniels’ former chief of staff. More details later.

UPDATE: I just called the US Attorney’s office and they said they’ll fax me the agreement in about a half hour. I’ll post it then. So check back sometime before noon.

UPDATE 2: The Sun-Times story is up.

Michael Tristano, who was the top aide to former Illinois House Minority Leader Lee Daniels, pleaded guilty this morning to diverting at least $128,000 in state resources for political purposes.

Tristano, 58, is certain to get jail time under a plea deal with the government and the feds cut that deal on the basis that he cooperate with them in other investigations. He’ll get a break on jail though if he cooperates - up to 20 months instead of up to 37 months, prosecutors said. […]

Daniels has never been charged but Tristano’s plea agreement indicates: “In both his capacities as Chief of Staff and Executive Director, defendant reported to and took direction from Lee Daniels.”

Tristano used state employees from Daniels’ staff to do political work on targeted campaigns, according to the plea agreement.

UPDATE 3: The plea agreement is posted here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - LittleEgypt - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:56 am:

    I can’t wait to see how Blago is going to use this in his campaign ads.


  2. - Jake - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 12:15 pm:

    Why would he LE, he’s got enough of this type of activity in his own house…nice try though


  3. - Rich Means - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 12:15 pm:

    Finally! All of our work was not in vain. Maybe Illinois is finally ready for reform.


  4. - Budget Watcher - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 12:24 pm:

    Hopefully he’ll get what he deserves. He represented some of what is still wrong in Illinois politics today. Unfortunately, I don’t see a groundswell of voter dissatisfation with the status quo.


  5. - DOWNSTATE - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 12:26 pm:

    Blago has to many investigations going on in his house with his name at the top of the page to go near any smear on anyone else.


  6. - Not Guilty - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 12:51 pm:

    Once again, politics is being criminalized.


  7. - Not So Fast - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 1:00 pm:

    Gee, wonder if any of that campaign work on State time was done on the wifey’s (successful) judicial campaign? And how does she make credibility determinations if she thought this guy had good character? Of course, now that he’s been caught, she’s divorcing him.


  8. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 1:02 pm:

    Was there ever an investigation and/or subpoenas issued to Mikey Madigan’s office on the same issue?


  9. - Sideline - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 1:27 pm:

    RRW - Madigan moved staff from state payroll to campaign payroll far earlier than Daniels ever did. There were complaints, and Rich Means went after Madigan for a long time (maybe he’s still going after Madigan), but nobody ever proved to a prosecutor that the HDems were doing anything improper. (Other than creating makework jobs for campaign staff during the other six months of the year)


  10. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 1:47 pm:

    Madigan has always been a stickler for following the letter of the law. People move in and out, but they follow the law or they get fired. He’s been investigated several times. Everyone I’ve ever talked to who worked for the guy has told me it just wasn’t done on state time–now, doing constituent service or moving off the state dime, yes, but while on the state dime, the expectation was to meet the letter of the law.


  11. - PerryMason - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 1:58 pm:

    The judge’s campaign committee shows it was filled withj $$$ from Roger Stanley’s LLC, but when those were exposed in the Ryan/Fawell charges, the “donations” were given back and they took out a loan.
    Wonder if this crimps JBT’s plan to load her campaign with former Daniel’s staffers?


  12. - Old Time CMS - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 2:01 pm:

    It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy, I have to say. We from the era of his reign of terror as CMS Director will be clinking glasses and toasting tonight.
    Karma sure works slowly, but it DOES seem to work.


  13. - Gregor - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 2:04 pm:

    Domino effect: you keep pressing on the little fish untilo they give up the bigger ones. You guys think he’s going to bring down Lee Daniels?


  14. - NumbersGuy - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 2:22 pm:

    Here’s to you, old time CMS. That miserable jerk aged me ten years in 18 months under his “rule” there.
    I imagine Mikey will enjoy plenty of bottoms up time himself once he gets in the graybar.


  15. - ol director - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 4:08 pm:

    this guy was one of the nastiest i encountered in my time in state gov—-i still remember when he was director of cms and tried to force me to do something by showing me a list of phone calls an employee of mine made—apparently he monitored the call info on people he didn’t like—god bless the karma train


  16. - B Hicks - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 4:11 pm:

    Hmmm, sounds like a few people are getting a little worried. I wonder whos name will pop up.


  17. - Lloyd Dobbler - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 4:25 pm:

    Not Guilty…. criminalizing politics? NO, its enforcing the puny laws we have. You make me sick!


  18. - Beowulf - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 4:26 pm:

    To Gregor at 2:04 PM, “Oh, yeah!”

    Tristano will be as helpful to Daniels as throwing a concrete life preserver to a drowning man would be.


  19. - Criminal Enterprise Called Illinois - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 2:53 am:

    Go Fitzgerald Go! Unfortunately, his office is only scratching the surface. Many of us know of all the illegal shenanigans that go on in all the legislative leaders’ offices and coded agencies - and still do, no matter how closely “they follow the letter of the law”. Yeah, right. Skirting the law is an art practiced by politicians and agency wonks every day, and no one is the wiser. What’s the number to call and who do we talk to? Lots of posters have a wealth of institutional memory to pass along…I really do need a number. Time to sing everyone!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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