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This just in…

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

* 3:58 pm - Yikes. It looks like Assessor Houlihan’s good buddy at PTAB is trying to stir the pot

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been asked to rule on whether House Speaker Michael Madigan, her father, has a legal conflict of interest in dealing with a key property-tax cap bill that’s now pending before the General Assembly.

In an official — and politically explosive — letter, the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board requested that Ms. Madigan issue a formal opinion on whether her father’s second job as a property-tax appeals lawyer disqualifies him from taking a leadership role in a huge ongoing debate over whether to extend or cut an existing 7% annual limit on tax hikes on residential property in Cook County.

Ms. Madigan so far has not responded to the July 3 letter, which comes as the Illinois Senate is preparing to vote on a proposal by Mr. Madigan to effectively phase out the 7% cap for hundreds for thousands of Cook County residents.

A spokesman for Mr. Madigan said his legal clients actually oppose the proposed bill.

* 4:02 pm -
No leaders meeting today. I just hope those Chicago-area ministers who were promised an invite by the guv’s chief of staff didn’t bother sticking around.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Caption Contest!

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Health insurance bill; McPier; CTA; Fritchey; Chapa LaVia (Use all caps in password)

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

What, in your opinion, is the most corrupt institution in Illinois? It doesn’t have to be a political or governmental entity, either. Explain, but try to leave personal names out of it, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      

Tax and spend

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

* Last week, the Illinois Press Association sent out an urgent alert to its newspaper publisher members warning them that the governor was pushing a $42 million “newsprint tax” as one of his ideas for closing corporate loopholes. Newsprint is not currently taxed, and neither is ink or advertising. The IPA also included Sen. Bill Brady’s press release about the loophole ideas.

“The Governor seems to be addicted to the idea of these stealth tax increases on Illinois citizens – first a multi-billion dollar gross receipts tax that was soundly rejected by Republicans and Democrats, and now nearly another billion dollars in corporate tax increases that will harm every area of Illinois,” Brady wrote.

Yesterday, the Pantagraph penned a scathing editorial about the loophole ideas…

Illinois’ business climate already has a bad reputation. Gov. Rod Blagojevich isn’t helping matters with his hit list of “loopholes” he wants to close.

Don’t be fooled by any claims that he is going after “big business.” The impact of the governor’s proposal — if approved in its entirety — would go far beyond what most would consider “big business.”

The impact will be felt by costs being passed along to consumers.

The impact will be felt by small businesses for the work they do collecting taxes for the state.

The impact will be felt by businesses postponing or canceling purchases in Illinois.

The impact will be felt by jobs being eliminated or expansion being scaled back.

The impact would also be felt by newspapers, but that was never mentioned, of course. Instead, a whole host of other industries were discussed.

* Meanwhile, Sneed walks back her story from last week…

As per Sneed’s tip last week, will House Speaker Michael Madigan proceed today to pull off the legislative coup of the decade?

Budget analysts are poised to see whether Madigan has a deal to pass a budget acceptable to the House and Senate, and has mustered enough votes to pass a veto-proof package.

It ain’t gonna happen today. There may be some progress, but don’t expect a sudden coup.

* And Bethany Carson has a ministerial roundup

“We’ve had the governor to our churches on several occasions, singing, what’s his favorite song, ‘Precious Lord, take my hand,’” Rev. Roosevelt Watkins of Bethlehem Star Church in Chicago said. “I think that if there’s no budget, absolutely, he’ll get a different reception. Not only him, but we’ll have Emil Jones, who we have a lot of lines with. All of them, they all will get a different reception.”

* More end of session stuff from Paul…

* AFSCME: Another 1-month budget measure needed

* Chicago Public Radio: state budget still deadlocked

* Editorial: Health care downsized

* Opinion: It’s health insurance premium day

* Ministers march on Capitol to call for more school funds

* Ministers seek more money for education

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Hot rhetoric, but the bill will probably pass anyway

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

* 49 aldermen signed a letter criticizing House Speaker Michael Madigan’s property tax assessment cap legislation. And Mayor Daley, who until now has said he supported Madigan’s plan, was giving off conflicting signals yesterday afternoon.

The Tribune

Mayor Richard Daley has signed on to the House version because he wants to ensure “we can provide our residents with good relief as opposed to nothing,” spokeswoman Jodi Kawada said.

The Sun-Times

Deputy mayoral press secretary Jodi Kawada said Daley signed on to Madigan’s plan only after Houlihan’s version was overwhelmingly defeated.


Now that the General Assembly is in overtime, a super-majority vote is an even longer-shot, [Kowada] said.

“The reality of this legislative session is that we are at risk of ending up with no relief for homeowners,” she said.

* 49 aldermen don’t sign something unless the mayor is quietly encouraging it. But despite the hot rhetoric…

Chicago homeowners could see their property tax bills rise by 40 percent over the next three years if the Illinois General Assembly follows House Speaker Michael Madigan’s lead and phases out a 7 percent cap on annual assessment increases, a dozen aldermen warned Monday.

“They’re really going to get clobbered in years two and three. . . . People are going to be forced out of our neighborhoods — and God knows where they’re going to end up,” said Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th).

…It’s likely to pass and be signed into law…

A key Senate sponsor said Monday that lawmakers would compromise in favor of a bill pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, even as a group of Chicago aldermen complained it was not good enough. […]

Gov. Rod Blagojevich shares the aldermen’s concerns and hopes lawmakers will amend the bill, but it’s unlikely he would veto the House version if that’s what lands on his desk, spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.

Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), the chief sponsor of the Senate version, said he expects the Senate will approve the exemption provisions passed by the House. But he said the bill will include a requirement for a review next year to possibly increase the exemption for 2008 and 2009.

* And Assessor Houlihan, who’s been leading the fight against Madigan’s bill, took a whack at Madigan and his alderman yesterday, the only one who didn’t sign the letter…

Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan called out Ald. Frank Olivo (13th) in a news release Monday. Houlihan said Olivo is only supporting the pending property tax relief bill because of his close ties to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, who is pushing the bill.

“We’re just pointing out that 49 out of 50 aldermen sign it and the one alderman that doesn’t is Madigan’s,” said Houlihan spokesman Lucio Guerrero. “And (Madigan) has been consistently against long-term relief for homeowners.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Rate relief deal praised, panned, analyzed *** Updated x1 ***

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

*** UPDATE - 2:28 pm *** Rep. Art Turner just announced that the House will vote on the electric rate bill on Thursday. The bill isn’t even drafted yet. Committee hearing tomorrow.


* Phil Kadner takes a close look at the electric rate deal and likes most of what he sees. Here’s one example…

The attorney general insisted on the creation of a new government body, the Illinois Power Agency, which will negotiate the price of electricity in the future with generating companies.

This agency also will have the authority to create state-owned power plants in the future. The reverse auction, which occurred last year and created the huge spike in electric rates, is dead. Instead, the Illinois Power Agency would have the ability to solicit sealed bids for power and then negotiate for an even lower price than the lowest bid if it chooses, according to Lisa Madigan’s office.

“What this means is that ComEd would no longer be accepting bids from its parent company, Exelon, to purchase power, which I think is a very good idea,” Scully said.

Will the Illinois Power Agency have greater credibility than the Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates the electric utility industry? The attorney general’s office claims that conflict-of-interest measures and other oversights built into the legislation will make it less likely that the power authority would be compromised. In addition, its scope will be limited to soliciting bids for electricity and operating power plants.

* The Daily Herald has some legislative reaction, pro and con…

For many lawmakers, however, this proposal was the first sign of progress in months for what has been a contentious issue.

“I’m extremely pleased that we were able to provide assistance and actually a long-term plan for purchasing electricity, hopefully at a lower, more reasonable rate. I think this is good news for every customer in Illinois,” said state Sen. Susan Garrett, a Lake Forest Democrat.

But many lawmakers remain wary of any power deal until its on their desks ready for a vote.

State Sen. John Millner, a Carol Stream Republican, questioned if ComEd wasn’t paying too much toward a pool of money that’s ultimately go to downstate Ameren customers.

Actually, that money is coming from Exelon, and Chicago-area legislators now have something they can hold over their Downstate colleagues (think mass transit).

* More from the Daily Herald…

However, if this deal holds, it could clear the way for resolution of numerous other issues, most notably the state budget, which remains stalled. A temporary budget approved last month to keep the state open expires at the end of this month. If there’s not another short-term budget, or a full year budget by then, it would threaten state support of local schools in addition to shuttering state offices and parks.

Downstate lawmakers previously held up other budget plans, saying they’d block any such spending until action was taken on electric rates. One of the leading downstate Democrats on the issue said Monday that he’d not relent until the House and Senate had approved a power bill relief plan.

* Consumers remain skeptical

Like other consumers interviewed by the Sun-Times, Chicago retiree Sheldon Landy was skeptical the deal provided enough relief.

The former railroad executive, who is 76, also said he was soured by Jones’ insistence that consumers should not be granted a rate freeze because of its ramifications on ComEd’s bottom line.

“His constituents probably can ill afford any kind of increase, and yet his main concern throughout all of this was ComEd going bankrupt. That was pure nonsense,” Landy said. “If Commonwealth Edison and their counterpart Downstate were willing to give up $1 billion, that’s just a start.”

* But there was a different mood in New York…

Shares of ComEd’s parent company, Exelon Corp., rose by almost 2 percent Monday, closing at $80.37.

* The bill hasn’t been filed yet, but when it does, it will probably be attached to this piece of legislation.

* More rate stories, compiled by Paul…

* Rate relief deal could help end budget impasse

* Rate relief package outlined, Madigan & Jones predict passage

* Utility rate relief: refunds, rate cuts, reform

* Democrat’s power bill could roll back 45% of rate increase

* Leaders pull off $1 billion rate deal

* Rate relief a reasonable outcome


- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s issue of Capitol Fax (Use all caps in password)

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007

* Lawmakers continue to push smoking exemptions for casinos

* Governor signs smoking ban bill

* No public puffing? Now it’s personal

* Smoking ban going statewide

* Illinois bans smoking in public

* State posts no smoking sign

* Richard Roeper: Shocking that smoking ban is still needed

* Editorial: Statewide smoking ban will save lives

* Report says disparity persists in Illinois traffic stops

* Tribune Editorial: No more driving drunk

This spring, the legislature approved a bill to require interlock devices for all DUI offenders. The bill, which awaits Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s signature, would issue all convicted drunken drivers, including first-time offenders, restricted licenses to drive only vehicles equipped with the devices. If offenders refused to install interlock devices, their licenses would be suspended and all driving privileges would be revoked.

* Sun-Times Editorial: Chicago State University president should resign

* State may limit teachers’ ability to strike

Strikes are illegal in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Miami. Just 15 states allow strikes, and when they do, they often require a cooling off, “fact-finding” process first. This requires an independent party to evaluate the issues and recommend a contract settlement. After that, teachers can strike.

This is what business leaders want for Illinois. The influential Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, with the backing of Chicago school officials, floated the idea in May. Legislators are now mulling it over.

* Gaming board OKs plan to move Rock Island casino inland

- Posted by Paul Richardson   38 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Audio and photos from today’s protest (Use all caps in password)

Monday, Jul 23, 2007

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This just in… *** Important updates in “red” *** Details released on rate agreement *** Ministers arrive at Statehouse *** Protest a dud ***

Monday, Jul 23, 2007

* 10:50 am - Remember this story about how a group of ministers planned to come to the Statehouse today and take over the House chambers?

More than 100 religious leaders from the Chicago area are threatening to take over the Illinois legislature if lawmakers fail to pass a state budget in the next week. The potential protestors say they will storm the capitol and occupy every seat in the Illinois House. […]

[The ministers] threatened to take over the Illinois House in Springfield next Monday, sit in the lawmakers chairs and vote on a symbolic budget with more money for education, health care and mass transit if Governor Blagojevich and the other elected officials can’t agree on a real budget by then.

Well, they’re on their way

Gov. Blagojevich and state lawmakers are going to get an earful today from dozens of Chicago ministers who are traveling to Springfield on their own budget mission. […]

The ministers gathered outside Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on 45th and Princeton and boarded four tour buses. They rolled out about 7:15 this morning.

Paul is headed to the Statehouse now. Check back for updates.

* 11:00 am - Paul reports that security seems to be heightened outside the House chambers. A half dozen or so guards are present. The ministers haven’t yet arrived.

* 11:26 am - Some details of the new electric rate agreement were announced today. Here’s the press release from Jones, Madigan and Madigan. And here’s a one-page explanation of the package.

* 11:59 am - The rate details are also posted in pdf format at the House Democrats’ website.

* 12:39 pm - The ministers aren’t at the Statehouse yet, so while you’re waiting, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s appearance on WBBM Radio’s “At Issue” program can be heard here.

* 12:50 pm - The ministers have finally arrived. Stay tuned.

* 1:13 pm - The ministers have broken up into smaller groups and some are meeting with individual legislators. A couple of dozen are in front of Speaker Madigan’s office, just milling about.

* 1:17 pm - The ministers are planning a press conference in the Blue Room in 20 minutes or so. Any action on the House will come after that - if at all. Paul reports that they don’t seem to be very organized.

* 1:24 pm -Krol has the round-up of the governor’s media availability after he signed the smoking ban bill…

On the prospect of a budget deal: more of the same, he’s “cautiously optimistic” something will happen in the next week. No specifics. […]

Were you invited on the electric rate fly-around? Ask the staff, although he knew he was signing the smoking ban today.

What if no budget by the end of the month? It “makes no sense to have it quick and fast” if budget shortchanges education and health care. […]

Given the focus on public policy today (electric rates, smoking ban, budget, tax increase), one reporter just pointed out that no one asked about Blagojevich’s $600 make-up job.

* 1:34 pm - The ministers’ press conference is beginning. We’ll let you know their plans, if any, as soon as they say something. It would be nice if we could get the Blue Room feed put on the Intertubes.

* 1:36 pm - No leaders meeting today.

* 1:45 pm - The one alderman who sided with Madigan was The Speaker’s own Frank Olivo…

The Chicago City Council is jumping into a bitter Springfield political war over property taxes, siding with Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan and Illinois Senate President Emil Jones against Speaker Michael Madigan and Mayor Richard M. Daley on the question of how much tax relief should be offered to whom.

At a Monday morning press conference, aldermen released a letter signed by 49 of the 50 council members alleging that tens of thousands of homeowners in their wards will suffer under the “weak” relief plan being pushed by Mr. Madigan. The speaker’s bill “is nothing more than a disingenuous attempt at property tax relief and will result in most homeowners seeing increases as great as 40%” the letter states.

But a spokesman for the speaker suggested that the aldermen “are not fully aware of the facts” and that “rich people” do not need property tax relief.

* 2:08 pm - The ministers said they were planning to enter both chambers. First target is the House. Four security guards are in front of the House, four in front of the Senate. Three guards on the second floor.

* 2:10 pm - The ministers asked to enter the House floor, and were denied. They’re now praying.

* 2:12 pm - Apparently, the ministers have abandoned plans to enter the House floor, and are now walking across the hall, singing loudly, and heading for the Senate.

* 2:15 pm - Rejected entrance to the Senate floor, the ministers have begun praying again.

* 2:17 pm - The ministers are now heading downstairs to the governor’s office. Some have bristled at the implication that they are acting as an agent of Blagojevich today.

* 2:18 pm - Four security guards are in front of the main entrance to the governor’s office. Loud singing now as some are marching arm in arm towards the guards.

* 2:20 pm - Predictably, the ministers were once again denied entrance.

* 2:22 pm - The governor’s chief of staff has now emerged to shake hands and talk with the protesters. He invited as many as can fit into his office to talk to them.

* 2:25 pm - The chief of staff went back into his office without any of the ministers. He invited the ministers to tomorrow’s leaders meeting.

* 2:30 pm - A small group of ministers will reportedly meet with CoS John Harris soon. The rest are heading back to the busses. So, it looks like the fun is over. No civil disobedience, no real controversy. Just a loud, relatively small protest (the crowd shrank every time they were denied access, apparently).

If you say you’re gonna take over the House, then walk away meekly without argument or resistance, what’s the point?

* 2:56 pm -
Press release from Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31…

[I]f a full-year budget cannot be agreed upon and passed in the very near future, another one-month budget must be approved,” Bayer concluded. “State employees and the citizens who rely on their services should not be held hostage to the ongoing budget impasse. Under no circumstances should that impasse be allowed to shut down state government.”

* 3:00 pm -
WDWS’ podcast this week is State Senator Bill Brady, who “discusses who’s to blame for the state budget impasse and his political future.” Click here to listen to the audio from the WDWS site.

* 3:59 pm -
Pay particular attention to the last line in this AP story…

Dozens of Chicago ministers visited the Capitol to demand that state officials stop squabbling and pass a budget that gives more money to schools.

The ministers stopped short of calling for a tax increase. But they say the governor and lawmakers must find ways of pumping more money into the state treasury. […]

The Reverend Marshall Hatch says it’s time for officials to “grow up and be responsible.”

Governor Rod Blagojevich’s call for a major new health care program has been a key sticking point. The ministers say that’s important but shouldn’t hold up education funding.

I’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s Capitol Fax.

- Posted by Rich Miller   90 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Jul 23, 2007

First, the setup

The Illinois Republican Party’s top brass came to visit at a town hall meeting last week, only to be peppered with questions about the uncertain future for the fractured party.

A lot of older faces and a few younger ones greeted their party leaders with questions on all sorts of topics — the budget, medical malpractice, tort reform, elections, voter turnout, taxes, and more. In a nondescript room Thursday at the Gateway Convention Center, Illinois GOP Chairman Andy McKenna and state Sen. Frank Watson, the minority leader and Greenville Republican, and other area officials were grilled over the party’s performance in past elections.

“We recognize we’ve not done well in recent years,” McKenna said after the meeting. “We admit that.”

No one needed reminding that in 2002 the GOP gave up the governor’s mansion after a generation and that former Gov. George Ryan was indicted on corruption charges a year later. In 2004, Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, bowed out early amid a divorce scandal; his replacement, ultraconservative Alan Keyes was trounced. And 2006, when Republicans finally lost every statewide office, “was a great disappointment,” McKenna said.

But McKenna and others see a new opportunity, one they are desperate to seize. With a gleam in his eye, McKenna talks about the infighting and bickering among Democrats in Springfield.

Now, the question
: Can the Republican Party be salvaged in Illinois? More importantly: How?

Adding… The article also claims that the state Republican Party is now supporting a statewide referendum asking whether voters want gay marriage banned. So, here’s a late bonus question: Is that wise?

- Posted by Rich Miller   86 Comments      

The confusing mess continues

Monday, Jul 23, 2007

* My syndicated column this week takes a look at a curious event that happened last week…

So what the heck was House Speaker Michael Madigan up to last week when he finally came out in support of an income tax increase and urged the governor to drop his opposition to the idea?

Madigan has always been coy about whether he really supports an income tax hike. Most people thought he probably did and that he might somehow be maneuvering the legislative session in that direction. So when he finally announced that he supported the increase, the whole Statehouse took notice.

On one level, it was a response to a letter sent by Gov. Rod Blagojevich earlier in the week demanding that Madigan and the two Republican legislative leaders come up with an alternative revenue stream to fund education. It also was undoubtedly designed to get tongues wagging and freak out the governor, a staunch opponent of a tax hike.

It certainly did both of those. While the Statehouse buzzed with talk of Madigan’s remarks, Gov. Blagojevich reportedly ranted about the income tax idea during a meeting of the legislative leaders, loudly taunting Madigan and others who attended, “Go ahead and pass it,” over and over again. Blagojevich was concerned enough about earlier revelations that Jones and Madigan had been privately talking about the budget and about Jones’ agreement during that days’ leaders meeting that he would work with Madigan to craft a new budget that he kept Jones in his office for several minutes after the other leaders had left.

Please read the whole thing before commenting. Thanks.

* Meanwhile, Team Blagojevich managed to tick off a US Senator

He released a letter Friday signed by seven members of the U.S. Congress declaring, “It is important that the General Assembly … provide coverage for the working uninsured.”

When CBS 2 told Sen. Dick Durbin his apparent signature was on it, he was surprised.

“Well, that’s a very good question,” Durbin said. “When did we send the letter?”

Durbin said he was confused because the letter was not what the governor’s staff claimed in a press release. Durbin said he was endorsing expanded health care, but not the Blagojevich proposal.

“Well, I think some people either misread what I sent to them, or tried to take advantage of the moment,” Durbin said. “I think the people in Illinois are just fed up with this bickering that has gone on for so darn long.”

* Finke had this interesting tidbit. Senate President Jones, as you may know, is taking all the credit for the electric rate agreement and is participating in a fly-around today to tout the deal with Speaker Madigan and Attorney General Madigan..

Senate President EMIL JONES, D-Chicago, was asked last week if he regretted the way he dealt with an electric rate freeze bill sponsored by Sen. GARY FORBY, D-Benton.
If you remember back a few weeks, the Senate approved the bill, which would have rolled back electric rates to last year’s levels and then frozen them. However, Sen. RICKEY HENDON, D-Chicago, a top Jones lieutenant, used a parliamentary maneuver to nullify the vote, leaving Forby stunned. Jones last week implied he wasn’t involved.

“I’m just the presiding officer,” Jones said.

Um, yeah, and House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago, is just a state representative from Chicago.

* More overtime stories, compiled by Paul and myself…

* What if there’s no budget by August? - State probably would have to set strict priorities

* Legislators rework health-care proposal - New plan would be funded by employer tax

* Pantagraph: Although there is still no budget, not everyone left the Statehouse empty-handed. Blagojevich, a big fan of Elvis Presley, exited the building Friday holding a couple of PEZ candy dispensers of the King.

* * Tribune Editorial: Is there will to help schools?

* Still time before Aug. 1st budget meltdown

* Bernie Schoenburg: Governor’s jogging route takes him past hostile signs

* Settlement will cut rate hike nearly in half

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

The fine print

Monday, Jul 23, 2007

* Campaign contribution stories are almost always uniformly negative. For instance

With no statewide elections to fund this year, Illinois campaign contributors nonetheless managed to donate, loan and transfer more than $54 million worth of political money in the first six months of 2007, according to newly filed records.

As usual, industries with high-stakes policy fights pending before the Legislature were among those pumping money into the state’s no-limit political contribution system, according to campaign disclosure reports that were required to be filed by midnight Friday.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, the records show: […]

Ameren and ComEd utilities, currently close to a deal with legislators that will prevent an electric rate freeze, contributed more than $100,000 to those same legislators as the talks were progressing, including thousands of dollars individually to key legislative negotiators.

Not noted anywhere in the story was that several legislators refused to cash their ComEd checks. According to ComEd’s latest political action committee filing, a dozen legislators never cashed their ComEd PAC checks, for a total of $28,700. One would think that might be considered news. But that would be “good” news, so you probably won’t see it anywhere.

And, here’s something odd. Last week, Lee Newspapers reported this

…utility records show ComEd gave state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, and state Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, $300 each.

But those contributions don’t show up on ComEd’s PAC report or on either of the two legislators’ disclosure reports. Strange, that.

Also, Exelon and ComEd have always maintained that they are two distinct entities, but Exelon contributed well over half the money that ComEd’s PAC raised during the filing period.

ComEd, through its PR front group CORE, spent way more on advertising this year than it gave to political campaigns. No mention of that anywhere.

* Also, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform is trying to paint a falsely ominous portrait of Act Blue, a national pass-through PAC which allows Internet users to contribute to Democratic campaigns online. The users themselves (not Act Blue) completely direct their own contributions to individual candidates or committees, but this is how ICPR described the PAC…

It looks like it’s taking a page from U.S. Senator Barack Obama and others who have focused on Internet fundraising on a national scale; but this one seeks to funnel that money into state legislative races.

All ICPR had to do was go to the group’s directory and see that people can choose which state to focus on, and then contribute to any Democratic candidate in those states. And it’s not just legislative candidates, it’s all candidates for every state office, plus Congressional offices and presidential.

* Related stories, compiled by Paul…

* Campaign finance reports reveal politicians interests

* Blagojevich campaign fund pays $1.1 million to law firm

* Exchanges good to Daley, but they don’t need his help

* Tribune: Service Employees International Union, gave more than $2.7 million in campaign cash and services to council candidates, records show.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Monday, Jul 23, 2007

* Provena wins ruling to restore tax-exempt status

* Business groups praise former lawsuit haven Madison County

* Editorial: Timing of alleged scheme from Ryan’s term quite galling

* Governor expected to sign state smoking ban bill on Monday

* Editorial: BP’s lake dumping plan unacceptable

* Chicago Public Radio: BP dumping fight heads to Congress

* Dropouts could lose licenses

Under the measure, students who have more than 18 unexcused absences, are expelled or drop out, can have their licenses revoked until they turn 18. The licenses and learner’s permits can be reinstated if the students return to school. Students in Illinois must attend school until they are 17.

* Traffic stops study raises questions

* PrairieStateBlue: Illinois Dems, Gov, scrutinized at Green national meeting

* Failure to read fine print costs county $330K

* Exchanges hike Daley donations

* Opinion: As city gentrified, black professionals squeezed in the middle

- Posted by Paul Richardson   13 Comments      

* Even more shenanigans!
* More shenanigans!
* Saturday campaign money report
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Shenanigans!
* Tribune drops bombshell on Biss running mate
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner: "Madigan has rigged the Democratic primary for Pritzker"
* New Ives radio ad claims Democrats are trying to help Rauner, while Brady does Rauner robocall
* *** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Elections board says DGA should file disclosure for Ives ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Jones; IEA/IFT; Reis; Mitchell; Edgar
* ISRA, Drury both try to claim Raoul inserted "poison pill" into gun bill
* Pro-life group launches GOTV effort for Lipinski
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner opens new online track against Ives
* Erika Harold still can't remember comments, but says "I was wrong"
* Rauner calls Madigan "a unified force of bad, of evil"
* Sen. Duckworth gets involved in another state central committee race
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Has Pritzker gone to ground?
* Illinois House Bill HB 4900 Wastes Government Resources
* McCann, barred from SGOP caucus meeting, claims Rauner threatened to "destroy you and your family"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Caption contest!
* Obama mailer kerfuffle in Lipinski district
* Rauner attended Quincy campaign event after Quincy veterans' home presser
* After spending millions in Dem primary, Rauner accuses "Washington liberals" of "hijacking" the GOP primary
* Yesterday's stories

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* EXCHANGE: Losing a limb has not handicapped Pekin bowler
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Judge gives FBI more time in alleged serial killer case

* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
* Pritzker defends putting $69.5 million of his fortune into campaign
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Madigan backs Dem central committee incumbent in 13th
* Trump factor looms large in Illinois governor primary campaigns
* Ray LaHood brokers deal for O'Hare expansion
* McCann says Rauner threatened to 'destroy' him in 2015 over vote
* Rauner looking into state buying vacant nursing home in Quincy
* Luciano: What if Downstate dumped Chicago and formed new state?
* AP review: Push for gun laws faces resistance in most states

* Crain's tells the stories of women in business
* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Amazon search team in Chicago next week
* Amazon HQ2 search team visiting Chicago March 21-22
* Pension mess? You'd hardly know it from 2018's gubernatorial candidates.

* Race to the bottom: voters puzzled by primary slugfest
* Garage fire leaves Palatine house uninhabitable
* Portage Park intersection, once a shopping mecca, could be turning the corner
* Running tab for DOJ investigation of CPD: $7.4 million and counting
* Mock Draft 4.0: Predicting 32 picks – a Bears surprise – after trades, signings
* Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, influential pediatrician, advice columnist, dead at 99
* Here are the questions for Tuesday — the answers are up to you
* Sean Bean on his many deaths and ‘Game of Thrones’ legacy
* Man shot in Gage Park
* Sun-Times/WBBM Religion Roundup: Anti-Semitic incidents in Illinois up sharply

* Turtle racing's had a long, slow burn in Chicago
* Officials wanted Florida school shooting suspect committed in 2016
* Former Cubs reliever Justin Grimm signs $1.25M deal with Royals
* Tyrek's take: Cooper says North Chicago played 'for pride' in placing fourth in the state
* U.S. and British lawmakers demand answers from Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg
* Controversy-free spring was just what the White Sox needed
* Turkey forces capture Syrian Kurdish town of Afrin
* Russia votes but outcome is clear: 6 more years of Putin
* Trump rails against Mueller investigation, dismisses McCabe's notes as 'Fake Memos'
* Illinois recruit Ayo Dosunmu leads Morgan Park to second straight Class 3A state title

» A Feisty Debate, Offshore Accounts — And Some Side-Eye
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: March 16, 2018
» The Week in Review: Pritzker Slammed Over Offshore Holdings
» Web Extra, The Week in Review: American Airlines Changes Stance
» How Parking Ticket Debt Punishes Black Drivers In Chicago; The Best Illinois Movies
» State Week: Rauner's Gun Veto; Dem's Mean Debate
» #642 Songs About the Music Industry & Antibalas
» March 15, 2018 - Full Show
» Illinois Has Issues: Gov Candidates Talk Marijuana
» Rauner: Replace Legionnaires’-Stricken VA Home With New ‘Ultra-Modern’ Facility

* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
* Pritzker defends putting $69.5 million of his fortune into campaign
* Statehouse Insider: Sadly, the primary campaign is coming to an end
* Bernard Schoenburg: My predictions for Tuesday's primary election
* Our View: A recap of The State Journal-Register’s endorsements
* Bernard Schoenburg: Guessing who will be celebrating Tuesday night
* Madeleine Doubek: Time to end gerrymandering in Illinois
* United Way: Reporting results that matter
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Madigan backs Dem central committee incumbent in 13th

* Look Ahead: What's coming this week
* Photos: St. Patrick's Day in the Quad-Cities
* Illinois 200 | The Daley family legacy runs deep in Illinois, Chicago
* PFOP: Local minister became well-known newspaper columnist
* SIUC faculty will present research 'lightning' talks next week
* Public art could provide 'wow' for the riverfront
* Alexander County enters utility deal with SmartWatt that could save the county
* The primary election is Tuesday. Here's what you need to know before you vote.
* Authorities still trying to identify man killed by MetroLink train in East St. Louis
* Good cause, fellowship, food draws thousands to Mennonite Relief Sale

* NCAA Latest: Purdue holds off Butler to reach Sweet 16
* Top-seeded Louisville women run past Marquette 90-72 in NCAA
* Correction: Playing 20 Seasons story
* UK lawmaker: Facebook misled Parliament over data leak risk
* Northeast snowstorms give ski areas late season powder blast

* River Town Chronicles: Randy Hultgren is T...
* 7 Democrats talk strategy for winning prim...
* 14th Democratic hopefuls talk guns at Bata...
* Primary candidates vie for Democratic nomi...
* 14th District candidates agree: Global war...
* ICOs Draw Fire at US Congressional Hearing...
* What to Expect When Congress Talks ICOs To...
* 7 Democrats talk strategy for winning Tues...
* 14th District Dems voice opinions on immig...
* Letter: Stripped state's rights - Northwes...

* Bipartisan lawmakers defend Mueller amid T......
* Hillary Clinton 'wrong' about Trump voters......
* Durbin blasts Trump for 'desperate and rec......
* Durbin Slams Clinton for Remarks About 'Ba......
* US Senator Durbin: No government shutdown ......

* Zinke defends use of Japanese word: How co......
* Congolese mother and child finally reunite......
* Schatz to convene field hearing on false m......
* Congolese mother arrives in Chicago, still......
* Duckworth on Zinke's improper use of Japan......

* Boss Berrios tanking and undecided for governor is in second place after having spent nothing on the campaign.
* Sketchbook.
* Our antiweed governor better take note: downstate is also going to pot
* Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers’ election interviews.
* This week.
* Tucker: Washington not worried about male wage crisis
* State of the Legal Industry: A Leading Innovator Concludes that Inefficiency Prevails
* Wednesday, March 14, 2018
* Monday, 3/12/2018
* Online University Programs and Microcredentials Enhance Professional Learning

* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties
* Winter Storm Warnings for Areas Along and North of I-80
* IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes

* Twitter is reportedly planning to ban cryptocurrency ads
* Facebook Lite debuts in major markets from US to New Zealand
* Tinder’s parent company is suing Bumble for patent infringement
* People are accidentally setting off Apple’s Emergency SOS alert
* How advertisers can stay afloat after net neutrality is gone
* The robot dogs I have loved the most
* 15 best Android launcher apps of 2018!

* Spring Stats Glance
* White Sox announce James Shields as Opening Day starter, because of...
* Cool with No. 2? Avi paces Sox 5-2 win
* Lefty Ross making case for bullpen spot
* Shields honored to be Opening Day starter
* Shields honored to be Opening Day starter
* Shields to start for White Sox on Opening Day

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