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Impeach, ethics and Campaign 2010

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008

* We’re not sayin’, we’re just sayin’

Impeachment, rather than recall, would be the better option to pursue if people think that Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be ousted from office, two Democratic state senators said Monday.

Sens. Mike Frerichs of Gifford and Kwame Raoul of Chicago made it clear, though, that they’re not saying the governor ought to be impeached.

“If you have a problem and if it has to do with dereliction of duty, you know, that (impeachment) is the route to take,” Raoul said.

* Meanwhile, the great game continues on the ethics bill

Illinois lawmakers are close to an agreement to outlaw “pay-to-play” politics — an agreement that may include an unusual public vow that the Legislature will override any attempt by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to change the bill.

A Blagojevich spokeswoman hinted on Monday that the governor might, in fact, change the bill by “amendatorily” vetoing it. The governor says it doesn’t go far enough — a stance his critics allege is designed to prevent any reform at all from passing. […]

“I want a public statement from Senate leadership that there will be … an override of any veto of the bill,” said Fritchey, who believes Blagojevich may use his amendatory veto powers to stall the reforms.

Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, the lead Senate negotiator on the issue, confirmed that the negotiations included a “mutual understanding” on how to respond to a gubernatorial veto.

It’s not difficult to understand why Fritchey would want such a public vow. The broken promise on last year’s budget deal has completed poisoned the Statehouse waters, and those who believe that Senate President Emil Jones would just go along with the governor again and not override a veto - which would kill the bill - are well within their rights.

* Speaking of ethics, this press release just landed in my in-box…

A university professor who aced an ethics test has won a legal battle with state officials who wanted him punished for completing the written exam too quickly.

A settlement agreement has been reached between the state and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) professor, Marvin Zeman… The settlement agreement states that Zeman and Wallis read and understood the material and successfully passed the test when they originally took it in 2006.

What a stupid thing to punish college professors for understanding the ethics materials too well.

* Comptroller Dan Hynes is keeping up the drumbeat

“For a long time, this state has been without effective leadership out of the executive office. Now, at the worst time possible, we have an administration that is retrenched and in hiding. Our deficit is growing, our bills are mounting, our roads are crumbling, hospitals are closing, revenues are disappearing and our governor is hiding,” Hynes said.

* My intern asked me yesterday when the 2010 campaign would kick off. I said it already has. Petition filing for the primary begins in something like 16 months. Hence, the Hynes statewide tour and, possibly, Paul Vallas’ return visit to Chicago

Illinois Democrats are already looking past Gov. Rod Blagojevich and to the future. Paul Vallas, who lost to Blagojevich by a scant 21,000 votes in 2002, is back.

As CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports, Vallas looks like he’s getting ready to run again.

A standing ovation greeted Vallas Monday at a City Club luncheon. The former chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools, who now runs the system in New Orleans, used the forum to send the strongest signals yet that he wants to replace Blagojevich as governor of Illinois.

Vallas told the crowd he plans to work in New Orleans only one more year. He said he’s now a commuter, and that he and his wife, Sharon, moved with their children to a home in the southwest suburbs last summer.

He’ll be starting with a very big disadvantage if he waits until next May to begin campaigning and raising the big bucks. There are reports floating around that he wants to the education job if Obama wins the presidency, and this is his way of putting pressure on Obama, who would likely support Alexi Giannoulias for the governor’s job.

* More reform and renewal…

* Vallas re-run would be a mistake

* ‘Fitzgerald would be terminated’

* Witness: Hastert linked to alleged plot to dump Fitzgerald

* Hastert’s Name Comes Up in Rezko Trial

* Hastert Named In Alleged Scheme To Oust Fitzgerald

* Second witness refers to hint of Fitzgerald ouster

* Witness: Rezko said ‘Fitzgerald would be eliminated’

* Rezko Quoted As Saying Prosecutor Would Be Replaced

* Obama to donate funds received from Rezko friend

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Levois - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 9:33 am:

    I suppose we can’t have our professors understand the material too well can we. It just might be inconvenient and it might seep into the minds of intelligent young people.

  2. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 9:47 am:

    The possibility of the Illinois legislature actually passing an ethics bill with teeth in it is the legislative equivalent of Dennis Kucinich getting the Democratic nomination for Prez. Won’t happen.I’m happy to see that my state Senator, Don Harmon,is burnishing his creds for the Oak Park liberal crowed by leading the charge, though. Can’t do Don’s political aspirations any harm.

  3. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 9:50 am:

    Vallas? I actually supported Vallas. He was run out by Daley for a weak Arn(i)e Duncan whom Daley could control. (My interpretation) He bounced after he lost the election. He came back for a minute, found out he couldn’t run and left again. I don’t think his canddiacy will fly…especially with a Gianoul..Alexi who is performing far above expectations and Little Lisa who has done good things as well, has a powerful father and is a woman

  4. - Wild Bill - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 9:54 am:

    Any hint Paul has learned to like flying?
    If not, most doubt Illinoisan will make another mistake…they went with Stevenson twice and he did not prove that he had learned anything.

  5. - Douglas M. - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    Impeachment would be a great option if the legislators had a backbone in place. IMO, a recall provision allows the people to solve a problem that elected officials won’t face for political reasons or for misguided loyalty.

  6. - Me - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:18 am:

    Levois–I don’t know what happened with the professors in 2006, but now days it is clearly made to employees that their time and activies while logged in and taking the training may be monitored. I know several plan ol’ frontline workers that had to retake the training/test because it was believed they breezed through it too quickly and therefore did not maybe actually read all and get the full extent of the training–so they took it again and got the same results. Yes, I know people read and comprehend at different levels/speeds, but too quick leaves one suspect to the powers that be no matter how silly that thought is.

  7. - Are you kidding me? - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:30 am:

    How can Rebecca sleep at night? Her boss raises more money than anybody in state history, takes 25,000 contributions left and right, and now wants to talk about contribution limits?

    Ronen meet Rausch, Rausch meet Ronen. Separated at birth.

  8. - Eye - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 11:33 am:

    Me - One problem with the ethics testing was that the appropriate amount of time spent taking the test was completely up to the state administrator. Whatever he/she thought was too little time resulted in a non-compliance letter. The state was forced to retreat from its blatantly unfair and indefensible position.

  9. - Jim Merriner - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 12:03 pm:

    I’ve gotten to the age where I’ve seen/heard it all before. Rezko-trial testimony about the attempted dumping of Pat Fitzgerald reminded me that Bill Clinton’s crony Webb Hubbell was going to dump the U.S. attorney in D.C. who was going after Danny Rostenkowski. I discussed this in Mr. Chairman, my biography of Danny. I wonder what your readers would make of the fact that neither Bill C nor George W was able to fire U.S. attorneys whose cases were embarrassing his White House?

  10. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 12:09 pm:

    Impeachment IS the proper vehicle for legal charges, such as those including dereliction of duty; but it is NOT the proper vehicle for political charges, such as the citizens not liking how the Governor performs their duties, while remaining compliant with all applicable law. Recall is the proper vehicle for these types of political charges; and it is nothing more than the inverse of the election process itself, which obviously does not require legal cause–it can even be considered a sort of unelection.

  11. - Irish - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 12:24 pm:

    The Ethics test is a joke. Every year we have to go through the motions of taking an Ethics test to ensure that as frontline employees we are not breaking any laws and that we are not doing anything that would appear to be unethical. There is a line that appears on about every question that I will paraphrase, “If something appears to be unethical, even though it is not unethical, it should not be done. If it appears to the public that it could be unethical it is wrong.” Every time I read that I think about the actions of the Governor, and other “leaders” in our State and wonder how they can possibly be passing this test.
    Although the test is worded a little differently each year the concepts and rules of ethics are the same. An ethical person can read the material once, and be retested every year and NOT read the material and still pass the test. It is assinine that any ethical person would be penalized for taking the test too quickly AND PASSING. Maybe that is the issue the test givers are not used to dealing with ETHICAL PEOPLE.
    It just makes my blood boil that this test was the idea of “The Reformer, better known as POA!”

  12. - Metro East News Guy - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 12:29 pm:

    Maybe there should be a different test for ‘behind-the-scenes’ staffers. (1) When accepting a campaign contribution, do you offer a six-figure job before or after the check clears? As ‘Diamond’ Joe Quimby says to mobster Fat Tony, ‘you know I prefer a nondescrepit briefcase to a sack with a dollar sign on it.’ Vote Quimby!

  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 4:03 pm:

    I’m not so sure about Obama supporting anyone for Gov. If he wins the presidency, I think he stays out of it. If he doesn’t, I think he runs himself to get his executive experience card punched.

    For Vallas to get in the mix, I think he’d have to nudge out Alexi to secure the lucrative Greek community fundraising base. Vallas’ had his shot, I don’t know that he gets another good one considering the potential field.

  14. - Odyssey 2010 - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 4:22 pm:

    Tejada was generous in comparing Vallas to Hofeld and Salvi - they actually made it to general elections.

    One of the more interesting facts about his 2002 race is how little he raised. Can anyone be considered a serious candidate for governor when they don’t have money and have a historic fundraising high of $2.5 million?!

    Sorry, the proper comparison is Mike Bakalis (2002).

  15. - TrailRunner - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 6:04 pm:

    The state ethics test is a complete waste of time. You are told ahead of time “Don’t finish it too quick or you could get in trouble.” They recommend taking at least 30 minutes for this ridiculous excuse of a test. For anyone with at least a third grade education it could be completed easily in 15 minutes. Of course the only reason us front line employees have to take the test in the first place is so Blago can claim he is making us more ethical. We have nothing to give of any value that anyone in their right mind would try to bribe us for in the first place, secondly the risk would be far greater than any reward. No one is going to give me 25 grand for anything.

  16. - Captain America - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 6:55 pm:

    My sensee is that Paul Vallas’ time to run for Governor has come and gone. There are two many qualified and capable alternative candidates. I volunteered on his behalf in 2002. However, I think he might be a credible and potentially electable candidate for Mayor of Chicago.

  17. - Captain America - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 6:57 pm:

    Make that “too” many qualified and cappable candidates.

  18. - Captain America - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 6:59 pm:

    One more time: Make that too” many qualified and “capable.”

  19. - Hearing Voices - Tuesday, Apr 29, 08 @ 8:48 pm:

    As a current state employee I am concerned that we have not yet started our annual ethics training. The online training provided by California contributors must not be working this year.

  20. - Dr. James Smith - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 5:04 pm:

    I get it. Vallas becomes the Governor. Phil Hansen becomes the Secretary of Education and runs ISBE. Cozette Buckney becomes the Lt. Governor. Gery Chico becomes Special Counsel to the State. Perfect!!!!

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