Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » 2008 » April
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* What a pleasant week this was. No session, the boat was in the water at my secret blogging location. Things were just peachy. That ends next week when the General Assembly returns to town. I’m gonna have some fun this weekend, and I hope you can do the same.

Meanwhile, we have newbies at Illinoize, so go check ‘em out.

* This seems appropriate. Turn it up…

Don’t believe a word
For words are only spoken
Your heart is like a promise
Made to be broken

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Must-see video

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* Things got pretty rough on Chicago Tonight last night as two current and one former state legislator went back and forth about impeaching the governor. Click on the pic for the video…

“There is an unfair standard being applied here… They’re applying a standard to the governor that they’re not applying to others.” - Former Sen. Carol Ronen, now an administration official.

“The governor created the standard for himself.” - CLTV reporter Carlos Hernandez Gomez

It gets kinda nasty, with Ronen claiming that Rep. John Fritchey was lobbying for the payday loan industry and dredging up allegations about Rep. Jack Franks and his father.

If last night’s show is any indication of the future, they’re not going down easy, campers.

…Adding… Larry has some commentary of his own.

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      

Purity lesson of the day: Nobody, but nobody can possibly be 100 percent pristine

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* I’ve been taking a tiny bit of amusing heat from another blog about my post this week on former Sen. Steve Rauschenberger. It was no big deal, and I got a nice chuckle out of it, as did a few other bloggers.

Their love for their hero of political cleanliness is commendable, but it got me to thinking about this whole idea of holier than thou purity that we hear so often from the self-described “reform” wing of the Republican Party. So I did about 30 seconds of checking and found something curious.

* Four years ago, Tribune columnist John Kass wrote the following about Sen. Rauschenberger, who was at that time attempting to move up the ladder to US Senate. Kass was referring to Rauschenberger’s quest to kick Bob Kjellander out of a top GOP slot for, among other things, working with the Democrats on bigtime money-making deals…

He’s the the only one of them willing to stand up and oppose the combine.

* Indeed, Rauschenberger continues to this day in his role as tireless spokesman in the fight against “The Combine” and the harmful influence of Chicago politics. He was on a radio program this week and made this stark comment…

“In Illinois, we all should remind people that ‘change’ means kicking the Chicago Democratic Machine out of Springfield.”

Listen to the whole thing…

He had quite a few good things to say on that program. That’s not a surprise. Sen. Rauschenberger has done a lot of good things over the years. He was a decent, competent legislator.

* Rauschenberger is now a registered lobbyist in Illinois. You can view a screen cap of his official lobbyist disclosure form by clicking here.

* Notice that one of Rauschenberger’s clients is Advanced Practical Solutions. APS is run by Milan Petrovic, Gov. Blagojevich’s most prodigious fundraiser

FBI Agent Charles Willenborg testified that internal documents from the campaign showed Rezko’s bundles [for Blagojevich] totaled $1,437,350 from 2000 to December 2004 — making him the No.2 bundler after lobbyist Milan Petrovic.

Petrovic’s bundles totaled $1,963,485, by the FBI’s count.

* You can read more about Petrovic here.

* As far as I know, Petrovic has never been accused of anything untoward at the Statehouse. But you won’t hear Petrovic talking about kicking the Machine out of Illinois because, well, Milan Petrovich is part of that Machine. And now he and Steve Rauschenberger have hooked up to lobby the Statehouse.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a very positive move for Petrovic. He’s known as a Democrat and a “Rod guy,” so it’s always a plus to have an “in” with the Republicans if you want to have a fuller, rounder Statehouse operation. And because of his years of experience, Rauschenberger has an intimate knowledge of how the General Assembly runs and how to best construct legislation. All good.

Rauschenberger asked not to talk on the record when we spoke yesterday, but it was clear from our (mostly pleasant) conversation that he sees nothing at all wrong about this. He obviously respects Petrovic and believes him to be on the up and up. I don’t disagree. In Statehouse terms, or even in my own terms, this is just good business for both men, little more.

* But considering the inflamed environment within the way over the top “reform” wing of the GOP, and its repeated purge attempts against accused “Combine” members who appear to be hiding under every bed, you wonder how Rauschenberger’s impassioned anti-Combine admirers are gonna feel about this admittedly smart career move.

Hopefully, they’ll be understanding and kind.

As for me, I wish him the best of luck.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

Calling all potential pundits

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* Ocasionally, I like to inject some new life into Illinoize, so if you think you have what it takes to post over there, click the “Contact Me” link just under the banner. Let’s talk.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Question of the day

Friday, Apr 25, 2008


…Adding… I think this was too easy. Please, try harder. I haven’t laughed yet.

- Posted by Rich Miller   104 Comments      

More pressure on Oberweis, and Ozinga’s uphill climb

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* RealClearPolitics takes a look at some Illinois congressional races. Here’s one…

llinois 14: Former Speaker Dennis Hastert was replaced by Democrat Bill Foster in a special election in early March, and a rematch in November will again pit Foster against Republican Jim Oberweis, a candidate many in his own party blamed for losing the seat. Both candidates spent more than $3 million in their bids, and both have a long way to go to rebuild their war chests. Foster had $262,000 in the bank after March, while Oberweis had $132,000 lying around.

In three previous contests, Oberweis has had to largely self-fund, and if donors don’t kick in contributions now, he will either defer to another candidate or start writing checks again. Watch next quarter’s report to see how serious Oberweis will be this Fall in a district that, despite the Obama-mania, McCain should carry.

I’m told House Republican Leader John Boehner said at a recent event that he wants Oberweis out of the race. Boehner’s campaign office did not return a call asking for comment. I’m not sure Oberweis will ever drop out, but the pressure continues.

* They also looked at the 11th

[Likely GOP candidate Martin Ozinga] will face State Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson, who has already raised $861,000 and still has $673,000 left in cash. Not only will Ozinga have catching up to do, but national Democrats have already hammered him for his business dealings. If Ozinga doesn’t respond by defining himself soon, Democrats will remain strong favorites to pick up this seat based largely southwest of Chicago.

* Halvorson has her problems, but Ozinga surprised some observers by saying recently that he will limit the spending of his own money…

Part of Ozinga’s appeal to GOP leaders is that he has enough money to pay for his campaign, but Tuesday, Ozinga said he would not spend more than $350,000 of his own money—the federal benchmark that would allow Halvorson to ask donors for more than the $2,300 individual limit.

But Ozinga said it was philosophical strategy, not political strategy, that persuaded him not to dip into his personal account if he is chosen as the nominee. He said he intends to generate broad-based support, including friends and business associates from all over the country, which would demonstrate to voters he has the political will to win the seat.

It’s not a bad concept if it works. But that will be tough if the analysts continue to place this R seat in the Likely D category.

Also, it would help if he tried to get a grip on his campaign staff. [Language warning]

…Adding…. It turns out that the comments mentioned immediately above appear to be coming from Ozinga’s business, not the campaign site.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Reform and Renwal, Part 947,496

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* We somehow missed Bernie’s column yesterday. The top item was about confessed briber Ali Ata and his long relationship with Gov. Rod Blagojevich…

“He’s a friend,” Blagojevich said [in 2003], adding that they had been acquainted for 15 years. […]

“He’s totally committed to our mission of change and reform,” the governor said.

Unfortunately, that “mission” apparently wasn’t about the sort of “change and reform” that we normally associate with that phrase.

* The governor, by the way, “postponed” an appearance set for today. It’s not hard to wonder why…

A half a century after former U.S. Congressman Ken Gray was working on plans to help build a major highway right through West Frankfort, the retired legislator will have to wait just a little longer for the unique honor of having this area’s portion of the Interstate named after him.

Original plans called for the official ceremony to take place on April 25, at the southbound rest stop near Benton. However, to accommodate the governor, the date for the event has been changed to May 8, at 3 p.m., at the same location, according to the office of Illinois Senator Gary Forby

* Meanwhile, Mike Lawrence had this to say when asked whether the Rezko trial was making it more difficult for the governor to get anything accomplished this year

“I think it is reaffirmation for legislators that he’s not someone they want to get close to.”

* The Tribune editorialized today that passing a capital plan depends on trustworthy leaders

When the Blagojevich administration pushed through a $10 billion pension bond deal in 2003, it selected a bond house that paid a mysterious $800,000 consulting fee on the deal to Republican power broker Robert Kjellander.

You may have read about him this week. A federal prosecutor said a former buddy of Rezko who pleaded guilty to corruption charges this week is prepared to testify that Rezko told him in 2004 that Kjellander was pushing White House operative Karl Rove to remove Patrick Fitzgerald as U.S. attorney in Chicago. The ostensible goal: take the heat off the pols in Illinois. Rove and Kjellander deny there was any such effort.

Meanwhile, under the direction of a federal judge, $12 million in Chicago tax money is being paid to 1,427 people who were victims of political discrimination by the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Illinois needs billions for roads, schools, bridges and more. But just as surely, it needs political leaders whom the people of Illinois think they can trust with 25 billion of their dollars.

I’m not sure how we get from Point A to Point B with the players we have, but maybe the Tribune will inform us later how that might be accomplished.

* Over at the Rezko trial, Hollywood producer and real estate mogul Tom Rosenberg testified yesterday about an alleged shakedown attempt to squeeze $1.5 million in campaign contributions for Gov. Blagojevich’s campaign. Rosenberg has immunity from prosecution, so he was quite blunt about his alleged conversation with Bill Cellini over how much he would make from an investment deal with the Teachers Retirement System…

“I expected Mr. Cellini to offer a solution,” Rosenberg said, “and to give me an amount that would be necessary to pay to the Blagojevich campaign.”

* Rosenberg also claimed that he could see the future, and it wasn’t pretty

[Rosenberg once predicted to] GOP power broker Bill Cellini that the way a state board operated, people could end up in court. Rosenberg called up Cellini when he had business stall with the Teachers’ Retirement System board. Rosenberg had a feeling that his old nemesis Stuart Levine, who was on the TRS board, was behind torpedoing the deal. […]

Cellini allegedly told Rosenberg in Feb. 2004 that TRS executive director Jon Bauman was under “serious stress.”

“Bauman was having serious stress issues because he was being pressured by the governor’s people to invest TRS money into incompetent companies or risky ventures,” Rosenberg said he told Cellini. “I said, tell him not to do it. He said: ‘Jon is not that strong,’ Rosenberg said.

“One day, Jon Bauman is going to be raising his hand under oath and he’s going to tell what happened and that day is going to be very bad for Mr. (Chris) Kelly and Mr. Rezko.”

* Rosenberg also claimed to have said this

“And if there isn’t a grand jury already on Mr. Rezko and Kelly, there shortly would be,” [Rosenberg] said he warned.

* Related…

* ‘Men With Broken Hearts’

* Hollywood mogul says he didn’t like being squeezed

* Give me a million dollars, baby

* The Human Stain — an Allison Davis sidenote

* Let the people vote on recall measure

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Supremes live large

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* The justices like them some food

Illinois’ auditor general is again rapping the state Supreme Court for costly food tabs on taxpayers’ dimes — with some meals hitting nearly $50 rather than the recommended $8 per person.

The court far overspent for breakfasts and meals at five conferences for judges, with a combined tab of more than $200,000, according to Auditor General William Holland’s report released Thursday. That includes $78,000 for 1,700 meals at a February 2006 conference in Chicago.

Lunch at one conference ran $48 per person for 958 attendees, with breakfast at the same event costing $40 apiece for more than 800 people.

Travel guidelines limit judges’ reimbursement to $8 for breakfast or lunch when traveling to Chicago and $7 per meal downstate, Holland said. He recommends judges either follow the smaller meal limits or increase the guideline limits.

Forty bucks for breakfast? Did that include the Bloody Mary’s?

And the Supremes are unrepentant. The Court refuses to comply with the Auditor General’s recommendations, claiming that conference costs shouldn’t be compared to daily reimbursement allowances.

Read the full report here, or the summary report digest here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

* Rauschenberger vs. Obama: Round 5

* Golly, Mr. Barron, are you gutsy

* Many states appear to be in recession

“Whether or not the national economy is in recession — a subject of ongoing debate — is almost beside the point for some states,” said the report to be released today by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

* State Budget experts say finances in sorry state

* Coalition pushes for support of governor’s $25 billion capital plan

* Chicago State burned again

On learning that a new state audit of Chicago State University will once again show questionable financial practices by President Elnora Daniel, several members of the school’s Board of Trustees got mad. Real mad.

* House GOP launches audio outreach

* Court says Neuqua student can wear anti-gay T-shirt

* Chicago Plans to Limit Annual Building Inspections

* Committee OKs corporate sponsors for seminars

But, should the city department that licenses and regulates businesses take money from them?

“I don’t think there’s a conflict … We’re very focussed on what the law requires and we require all businesses to uphold that law — whether they’re sponsoring our events or not,” Eisenhauer said.

* City Hall to revamp new code of conduct

New language suggested by Hoffman will be included “in the next revision,” said Anthony Boswell, Daley’s pick to head the Office of Compliance. Reached on vacation, Boswell said he did not know how many already had been printed or how soon new copies would go to press.

* Women’s advocates fight Daley merger plan

* Stroger’s goofs no secret

* Want to polish your image, Todd? Just do a good job.

* Daley to host private anti-violence meeting Friday

* Tribune smokers have rebate coming

* ITRS seeks to dismiss Chicago Board of Ed suit

* Exelon shifts from merger mode

* Attorney, former journalist to head Pa. open records office

* Distinguished Young Alumni Bethany (Carson) Jaeger

* AT&T service gains support

* Friday Beer Blogging: Internet Carding Edition

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   8 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax

Friday, Apr 25, 2008

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Question of the day
* Home Services Program workers to finally receive legally mandated pay raises
* What do you do with all that money?
* The other pension bomb
* Poll: Graduated income tax might be a squeaker
* Flooding a "dress rehearsal for the main event"
* They can afford to do their own cheerleading
* It's just a bill
* When Illinois women vote, Democrats win
* A slow return to a semblance of normalcy
* "I'm just not a believer in the test situation"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition and an event list
* Caption contest!
* A question of trust, or the lack thereof
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...











Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller