* The Tribune editorial board continues its loud and steady drumbeat for the passage of a constitutional amendment for recall in the Illinois Senate…
Two Chicago Democrats in the Illinois Senate paid a call on the Tribune editorial board last week. When prompted, Kwame Raoul and Heather Steans told us they don’t want a recall amendment added to the state constitution. They do, however, want an amendment to kill the mandate of a flat-rate state income tax, now 3 percent for individuals. They telegraphed urgency: Any potential amendment has to clear the General Assembly by May 4 to make November’s ballot.
When Raoul and Steans finished, we asked: So you want the people of Illinois to be able to vote in November on your income tax amendment—but you oppose giving them a vote on the recall amendment?
Pause for reflection on that irony.
“That’s right,” said Raoul, looking down.
“Yes,” added Steans, looking down.
As if that wasn’t over the top enough, they also put the Statehouse phone numbers for every Senate Democrat on their editorial page. The Senate isn’t in session today, so the secretaries will have to deal with these calls on their own.
* While the Tribune beats the drums for recall, some have moved on to more immediate solutions. My syndicated newspaper column concludes with these lines…
Ata’s guilty plea has shocked even some of the most hardened, cynical Statehouse types like little I’ve ever seen before. And when the shock wore off, a word started spreading through the crowd that had until now only been whispered on the fringes.
* Scott Reeder had this fun little nugget…
But until recently, the word “impeachment” only came up quietly as politicians sipped beer at various Springfield watering holes.
Now it is being talked about publicly.
Joel Brunsvold, a former state representative and Blagojevich cabinet member, recently told a group of visiting Quad-Citians he was surprised on how well versed Speaker of the House Speaker Michael Madigan’s staff is in the procedures to impeach a governor.
Even though, it has never happened in the state’s history.
* Unlike last year, Speaker Madigan refused to take the issue off the table…
Late Friday afternoon, [House Speaker Michael Madigan[ told Flannery: “I don’t plan to create a committee for this purpose, today. Every day’s a new day. If we have to … my resolve is to do it appropriately and professionally.”
* But there is much resistance. Republican state Rep. Brent Hassert, who is a Tier One target and a member of House GOP leadership, downplayed the whole idea when asked by CBS 2…
But until there is more evidence of wrongdoing by the governor, some critics of Blagojevich oppose impeaching him, including the second-highest ranking Republican in the Illinois House, Rep. Brent Hassert (R-Romeoville).
“Somewhere down the line that might change, but right now I don’t see anything that’s impeachable,” Hassert said.
* Meanwhile, the Tribune had a well-researched piece yesterday on a curious pattern to the governor’s campaign fundraising…
Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s aggressive fundraising machine collected hundreds of $25,000 checks in a campaign effort that dwarfed his predecessors’, and most of these big givers ended up benefiting from his administration.
A Tribune examination of all 235 of those donations shows that three of every four came from individuals, companies or interest groups who got something—from lucrative state contracts to coveted state board appointments to favorable policy and regulatory actions. […]
All told, Blagojevich’s campaign has raised more than $58 million since 2000, with nearly $6 million coming in donations of exactly $25,000. Those contributions—235 in all—came from 166 different donors. Those donors gave an additional $8.6 million in amounts larger and smaller than $25,000.
I didn’t see it in the story, but it would be helpful to know how many of thos donations came shortly before or shortly after those contracts and appointments were made.
* Related stories…
* Report links governor’s donors with getting benefits
* ($25,000) Check, please!
* Rove: Kjellander feared the Fitzgeralds
* Blagojevich - big game for federal corruption hunters?
* Beleaguered gov singing different tune
* Another governor heading for prison?
* Rezko trial diverts attention from governor’s agenda
* Ex-fugitive put up homes to spring Rezko
* Ex-inmate helps free Rezko from jail
* Key Witness to Testify in Rezko Trial
* ROUNDTABLE: Governor Recall
* Sen. Cronin: Stop stalling on a needed recall law
* Constitutional amendments busy lawmakers this year
* State Constitution headed for change?
* Constitutional convention up to voters
* Editorial: Any hope of progress in legislature?