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Quinn sworn in *** Granberg likely out at IDNR; Parks, historical sites to reopen; Pontiac, IDOT moves to be “reviewed” *** Blagojevich security pulled ***

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 5:42 pm - Taking the oath now. All constitutional officers are present. Speaker Madigan and Leader Cross are also present.

“The ordeal is over.”

“My parents taught me that everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”

Lots of applause lines.

“Together we can” is the phrase Quinn used to symbolize the future.

* 6:01 pm - Gov. Quinn is holding a press conference right now.

Meanwhile, former Gov. Blagojevich will speak to the media at 6:05 pm. The guy can’t let go…

He sees this as an opportunity to speak directly to the people who twice elected him governor of the great state of Illinois.

He will not take any questions.

The former governor wishes to spend this time with his family and asks all media to respect his privacy.

Privacy? Sheesh.

* 6:06 pm -
Back to Quinn, who is promising to reopen the state parks closed by the governor.

“We don’t really know the real size of the deficit.”

Move the budget address from Feb 18 to March 18.

“I think the governor has to level with the people of Illinois. That’s what they want.”

Avoid income tax increase? “We’re going to have to take a look at what the damage is.”

No staff announcements for a week or so.

Going to governor’s mansion tonight for dinner. “I look forward to living in the governor’s mansion. It is the peoples’ house.” “I think our governor’s mansion is going to get a good workout this year.”

“What we’ve seen in the last 50 days is something that’s in the rearview mirror.”

* 6:11 pm - Citizen Blagojevich: Not surprised but saddened

Back to Quinn: “I’m an organizer. Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize.”

Pontiac closure and the IDOT transfers to southern Illinois to be “reviewed.”

* Asked about the late appointment of former Rep. Kurt Granberg to run IDNR, Quinn said: “I believe there should be a natural resources professional at the Department of Natural Resources. I’ve said that for 6 years.”

* Quinn: “We need a humble governor who’s proud of our people.”

* Blagojevich: “Will fight to clear my name’”

* Quinn: April 15th is not my favorite day. Never will be. But price of living in a democracy is taxes.

* Quinn: Pulled Blagojevich’s state police security team. Quinn said he did say that he spoke with the Chicago police about making sure they had adequate protection.

* 21st Century capital plan that invests in sustainability. If we’re building a road, we should have trenches along the road for fiber optics.

* Historical governor to model administration on? Altgeld. (For those playing along at home, Google: Haymarket Square pardon)

* Quinn was asked about his past support of Gov. Blagojevich. He pointed to his strong support of recall, particularly last year. “This may be the moment for recall.”

* 6:30 pm - OK, we’re done. Heading to the Alamo.

- Posted by Rich Miller   103 Comments      


Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* I’ll be at the Alamo in Springfield tonight. This is for all of us…

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 4:36 pm - There will be two votes. The first will be to remove the governor from office. The second will be to ban the governor from holding any public office for the rest of his life.

Each Senator will be called upon individually to answer Yes or No, with a Yes vote for removal.

* 4:41 PM - The 40th vote has been reached. A two-thirds majority means that the governor has been removed from office.

* 4:43 PM -

There is a technical difficulty because the Senate President’s button isn’t working. He’s going to the front of the chamber to vote his switch there.

Still a problem. Stand by. They might have to revote. We’ll know in a minute.

The rules say that Senators have to vote orally and electronically. Since the button didn’t work, Cullerton hasn’t officially voted. The Chief Justice is about to make a ruling here. They’re going to redo the roll call. Same result. 59-0.

* Sen. Michael Frerichs (D), a Tier One target in the 2010 elections, moved to disqualify the governor from holding any future public office.


* Chief Justice Fitzgerald thanked the Senate and the staff and said he had learned a lot about the legislative process “which will be a help to me in my day job.”

The Senate has passed a resolution praising the Chief Justice and presented him with a framed copy signed by every member of the Senate. Nice touch.

* 5:08 pm - Impeachment tribunal has been adjourned sine die.

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

The Senate deliberates

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 2:10 pm - They’ll have five minutes each…

* As I predicted to my subscribers this morning, Sen. Rickey Hendon is asking that the question be divided so that some of the charges can be separated out from the single article of impeachment.

Chief Justice: I believe that the only one at this late juncture even possibly authorized to make such a change would be the House itself. The CJ also cited a trial rule that prohibits such motions.

Motion denied.

Sen. Cullerton will now preside over the deliberations.

* Sen. Haine (D)
- (A former state’s attorney) Thanked the House and the House prosecutor for bringing the Senate a “Well-founded bill of impeachment.” Thanked Speaker Madigan for his “constancy over the years” and for “upholding the constitutional system here in this state” as well as the “rule of law.”

The evidence is clear that this governor and his associates… not only misused a position of great power and authority… but he misused good public policy to enrich these associates and himself to further his political gain.”

The governor’s argument is “consistent” with his patter of abuse in office. “He did not present any evidence to contradict the sworn statements under oath.”

“We must act consistent with our oath and we must find him unfit for this great office.”

* Sen. Righter (R)
- The executive is not solely responsible for what has gone wrong. But Rod Blagojevich is the focus, so our attention should be there.

“Repeated and intentionally and apparently without reservation, violated federal law [and his duties].” Said the governor should be removed and forbidden from ever holding office again.

* Sen. Dillard (R) - “How pathetic is it that we have a governor who says he’s concerned with healthcare” and then tries to shake down a hospital administrator for a 50K contribution?

* Sen. Murphy (R) - “He reminded us today in real detail that he is an unusually good liar.” “He lied about the process [rules].”

* A few stories of interest. Illinois Issues: Blagojevich makes his case… Trib’s Clout Street coverage… Lots of quotes at SJ-R Twitter page

* Sen. Delgado (D) - Very, very sad day in the state of Illinois. We’re here to restore that public trust, to make sure that our communities are at the table and not on the menu. (He didn’t actually talk to the issue, however.)

* Sen. Raoul (D) -
“The House prosecutor was right. Being governor is not a right, it’s a privilege and it’s one that’s been abused by our governor.”

“It’s a lie for him to say that he didn’t have an opportunity to present evidence. A lie… The governor presented absolutely no evidence in this case, absolutely no evidence.”

* Sen. Rutherford (R) - “The greatest offense by this governor is that he effectively paralyzed our state government.” As he played his “bizarre political theater,” families have suffered. “Rod Blagojevich has actually hurt real people, and you know what? I know that.”

“If he was sincere about providing healthcare he wouldn’t be trying to shake down the chief executive of Childrens Hospital.”

“All the evidence is overwhelming.”

* Sen. Luechtefeld (R) - If things don’t change, we’ve been spending an awful lot of time for naught.

* Sen. Viverito (D) - Offers prayers for the Blagojevich children and the rest of the family, as well as for the citizens of Illinois “who have suffered through this ordeal.”
* Sen Brady (R) - Athough we are closing this chapter today, our work is not done. We know from the evidence we heard that corruption still exists in this state…. We know that we need to pass whistleblower laws…

* Sen. Burzynski (R) -
The governor has proven his disdain for us as legislators.

* Sen. Noland (D) - No one is above the law. Illinois needs a new business model for politics

* The Senate GOP has posted all the audio from earlier today (prosecutor and governor) on this page.

* Sen. John O Jones (GOP) - “The governor put the icing on the cake today when he said ‘I did not intend to break the law.’ He did break the law.”

“He named those people [potential witnesses] for a reason, because he knew they could not come here and testify.”

* Sen Bomke (R) - “Instead of cleaning up corruption and pay to play, he’s epitomized it.” Auditor General Holland had the most compelling testimony when he said this governor has violated both state and federal law.

* Sen. Link (D) -
“…Well, the whole world is watching Illinois again today. And you know what? I’m sick and tired of it.”

“We’ve been duped again. You were (pointing to Republicans) with the last governor, we were (Democrats) with this governor.”

“We in this chamber can do something about this now. This isn’t a partisan problem.”

What we do today is history, but… “It’s not going to be a footnote that you’re going to be happy that your grandchildren are reading.”

* 3:40 pm - In case you’re wondering, some of us will gather at the Alamo in Springfield today to contemplate the trainwreck and look forward to the future. A few will begin arriving after work. I’ll be there after this is over. There will be another announcement after the vote.

* Sen. Syverson (R) - “The governor gave a good speech today. But his speeh doesn’t change the facts of this case.”.

* Sen. Sandoval (D) - “This day truly will go down as a day of infamy.”

* Sen. Schoenberg (D) - There is no disputing, as the evidence and testimony has overwhelmingly proved, there is a consistent thread tying all the behavior together that demonstrates an abuse of power.

* Sen. Sullivan (D) - “His appearance today was, to say the least, too little, too late.”

“As a colleague told some of us today, ‘I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.’”

* Sen. Koehler (D) - We shouldn’t use impeachment for policy reasons, “and I don’t think we’ve done that in this case.”

* Sen. Martinez (D) - Claimed she heard a joke on CNN this morning, but said she wasn’t sure it was a joke, that nothing would come to Illinois from the federal stimulus package as long as Blagojevich was governor. Not true, of course.

“I think tonight I’m probably going to sleep a little better.”

* Sen. Meeks (D) - Praising the constitutional process of removing a governor from office without any need to resort to violence.

“We have this thing called impeachment and it’s bleeping golden.” Quote of the day, particularly since it came from a minister.

* Tribune

“They’re doing an impeachment when they didn’t prove a single wrongdoing, didn’t prove a single wrongdoing. And now they’re even saying things like we don’t have to prove anything wrong, we just want to move in a different direction,” Blagojevich said. “I probably shouldn’t say this…I’m getting ready to go run. I’ll see you on the way and one of these days you guys will go back to what you used to do, right?”

* Sen. Hendon (D) - “This is a sad day. It’s a sad day for the citizens of Illinois.” Hendon criticized some for blaming all corruption on George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. He said he was for recall, and criticized the House for “playing games” with the recall measure. He pushed publicly funded campaigns. “Let’s get something out of this for the people of Illinois, for the people of America.”

Hendon also predicted the impeachment vote would pass 59-0.

* Sen. Hutchinson (D) - Mentioned “the absence of a defense” as a main reason for believing that Blagojevich should be removed from office.

* Sen. Watson (R) - Teared up while saying he might have played a role in the this tragedy. Talked about the strain put on staff during this process.

“Yesterday’s testimony by Bill Holland was it… It focused the attention of all of us to what was going on….

“We’re only as good as the people we have around us… Where were the good people who were around Gov. Blagojevich?”

“He wouldn’t look at me when we talked about I-Save RX.”

* Sen. Radogno (Republican Leader) - “This isn’t about disagreement with the governor, as he would have us believe.”

“The totality of evidence shows the governor has abused his power repeatedly and over a long period of time.”

* Sen Clayborne (Majority Leader) - In my previous life I was a prosecutor. “They did an excellent job.”

Clayborne is making an excellent point. The governor talked about how he wanted to call Rahm Emanuel, Dick Durbin, etc. as witnesses for his defense. But Clayborne asked why didn’t the guv want to call his brother? Why not others mentioned as alleged co-conspirators? This is a point that has been way overlooked by everyone, but particularly by the NY bloviators who took up Blagojevich’s cause as their own. He didn’t mention calling them because they wouldn’t have helped his case.

“I believe that, governor, you are unfit.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   133 Comments      

The prosecution’s rebuttal

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 1:02 pm - As mentioned below, the governor was not sworn in before he gave his closing argument, so that will likely be mentioned by the House prosecutor.

Blagojevich did speak about the US Senate seat and the racetrack allegations, but conveniently left out the very damning evidence about how he held up $8 million for a pediatrict hospital program in exchange for a rather large campaign contribution.

We’ll see how the rebuttal goes, but those would be things I would mention, including the other point I wrote about below: A great speech, but he asked members to trust his word that he didn’t do anything illegal, nor intended to do anything illegal. His word is not exactly golden in this town.

* Prosecutor David Ellis:
“I can’t give a speech like the governor… When the cameras are on and he thinks people are listening, the governor can give a pretty good speech. But I want to talk about Rod Blagojevich when he’s off camera and he doesn’t think people are listening.”

When the camera’s on he wants healthcare, particularly for children. When the camera’s off, I’m going to hit him for 50. “We can pull it back if we need to, right? Budgetary concerns” That’s Rod Blagojevich when he’s not on camera.

Our case is not built on what other people did after the governor directed them to do things…. Our point was on the governor’s words…. The governor himself. He could have put himself under oath and faced my questions, and more importantly your questions. He wouldn’t put himself under oath.

He simply says there’s no evidence and walked off the stage. No evidence. 60 recorded conversations by the federal government.

Federal agent was put under oath and swore that those tapes are true. Unrefuted testimony. 60 different conversations where the governor is using his powers as a chit for personal gain.

As always, the governor plays by the rules that he chooses.

Under the governor’s rules, he talks, you listen, no questions.

Everybody in this room is taking this seriously, nobody is taking this casually.

Why do we have impeachment? We have it to protect the citizens. It’s not about punishment. The governor talks about the impact on him.

He doesn’t think for one minute about the people. He just thinks about himself. He does not have a constitutional right to govern. And that’s what the governor doesn’t understand Being governor is not a right, it’s a privilege.

I think the people of this state have had enough. They’re looking to you now and they want to know: Is today going to be more of the same?


* Caucus for one hour. Come back then and we’ll have the deliberation, followed by the vote.

* Personally, I thought Ellis did a very good job. He hit all the right points, and perfectly focused much of his rebuttal on the governor’s self-obsession. The “when the camera’s off” lines were spot on.


Not that it matters. But a great job.

- Posted by Rich Miller   89 Comments      

The governor speaks *** Refuses to resign: “I have done nothing wrong” ***

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 11:04 am - I’ll be live-blogging this one. Fasten your seatbelts, campers…

All quotes are paraphrased. Mistakes are my own.

The governor is being escorted into the chambers.

The guv said he’s been talking to people about his desire to appear before the Senate and tell the “whole story” and tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Never intended to violate any law.

Once again trashes the Senate rules and talked about all the witnesses he wanted to bring, like Rahm Emanuel and Dick Durbin, etc.

When he made his case to people, he said, they were “mostly sympathetic,” over his claim that he couldn’t confront his accusers. Emanuel, by the way, is not an accuser.

So, people said that he should go to the Senate and tell them this.

Think about if you knew were you right and you knew you were innocent.

The guv said he wanted to tell the truth. Warts and all, the truth. Unadulterated truth. And there was never a conversation where I intended to break the law.

There was no criminal activity on those four tapes. You can express things in a free country, but those four tapes speak for themselves. Those are conversations… that all of us in politics do.. to win elections.

That’s why I am appealing to you, that unless I’m allowed to bring this evidence in [then it should be heard in a court of law.]

Articles 1 through 8 don’t prove a criminal case. So how can you throw him out of office. Used impact it could have on other officeholders here and out of state.

I’m appealing to you and your sense of fairness. Since the articles don’t prove any criminal activity, I don’t know how you can throw me out of office.

He’s on to the health care stuff now and the JCAR fight. JCAR members, he pointed out, are in good standing with legislative leaders. In nine other states, he said, there have been court challenges to their JCARs. I’ve respected that committee. My legal advice, and I believe they’re right, that JCAR is an advisory committee, that it cannot dictate to the executive branch. If you want to stop an executive branch, the House and Senate passes a bill, I veto it, it goes back to you and then you override my veto.

12 lawmakers picked by the legislative leaders cannot constitutionally thwart the executive branch. In nine states, this has been upheld.

Flu vaccines: In 2005… there were warnings coming from the Center for Disease Control about the worst flu season in American history. There was a shortage of vaccines because of a contaminated supply.

So, take the flu vaccine, bring them in. Wouldn’t be the first time I’d be criticized. Bill Richardson asked for help.

If it is an impeachable offense, it should’ve been done during the first term. The people chose me again. They evidently approved of what I did.

Drugs from Canada. How many of us talked about those things in speeches? How many of us railed against the FDA because they wouldn’t allow seniors go to Canada? How many of us believe in free trade? Yet, somehow, we don’t have free trade on this issue. So, we found a way.

Rahm Emanuel came to me and suggested the solution. Go to Canada. I loved the idea and we did it. And so did Wisconsin, and so did Kansas and so did Vermont. Those governors ought to be impeached if you’re impeaching me for it. Expel John McCain and Ted Kennedy. President Obama should fire Rahm Emanuel.

Auditor General. And what did I do there? The AG had a misunderstanding with CMS. Almost nothing I’ve done, couldn’t have been done without you in the state Senate.

We streamlined to save money. They saved over $500 million for taxpayers. In this particular case, they found a way to save money, but then the AG got involved and said stop, don’t do it.

When the Inspector General and the Auditor General said don’t do it, we didn’t do it. How can that be an impeachable offense? And, again, this was an issue that took place in the first term, not the second term.

* Inspector General report on hiring. Allegation, nothing proven, nothing shown yet to be true, that someone may have violated some of the hiring rules. Never an allegation that I ever knew anything about it. How can I be thrown out of office for something that was never claimed that I knew anything about? Again, it took place in the first term, not the second term.

* So far, a crime has not been proven. How can you throw a governor out of office for insufficient and incomplete evidence?

Again, pleas with Senate to allow him to bring in witnesses.

I know, we’ve had ups and downs. Praises SDem caucus for working with him. Philosophical differenes with Republicans, honest differences.

But we worked together on public works program.

We’ve had disagreements, but isn’t that how a democracy is supposed to work?

Talking about his past, his parents, his dream of higher office.

Said he came from humble beginnings, wouldn’t have dared mess up his chance. Wanted to help people and change priorities of state government.

* So far, this has been a pretty darned good speech. Perhaps the best of his life. He’s made some decent points, but glossed over the criminal complaint, asking members to trust his word that he didn’t do anything illegal, or intended to do anything illegal. That’s his biggest problem.

“I confess, maybe, I pushed too hard. I confess, maybe, I fought too much.”

Is it the right precedent to set to throw a governor, twice elected, out of office. Think about the dangerous precedent you’ll set… Quoting prosecutor Ellis, the ends don’t justify the means.

Impeachments are very rare… designed to be used only in extreme cases. That’s why I stand before you in a unique and lonely place.

You haven’t been able to show wrongdoing in this trial. If I could call witnesses I could show that I haven’t done anything wrong and have done a whole lot of things right.

Appealing to the Senate’s sense of fairness, sense of responsibility. “I’m asking you to aquit me… or extend this process to allow me to bring my witnesses in to show I did nothing wrong.”

”Walk a mile in my shoes.” Imagine going to bed one night thinking everything is fine… And then the next morning your whole world changes… Not even aware or knowing what it’s all about… Then the whole world is outside your house. And before you can even catch your breath the whole world has convicted you.

*** “I didn’t resign then, and I’m not resigning now because I have done nothing wrong…. Let me show you I have done nothing wrong.” ***

* The governor has finished speaking. Both parties will caucus until 1 o’clock.

* Sen. Mike Jacobs walked over to the press box a few minutes ago and quoted an old legislative proverb: “I’ve heard a lot of great speeches in my life. A few changed my mind, but none of them changed my vote.”

* Something to keep in mind: The governor was not under oath when he made his statement.

- Posted by Rich Miller   212 Comments      

The prosecution makes its closing arguments

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* 10:00 am - Here we go.

FYI, Mike is handling live blog duties on this one in comments.

Also, the guv is in the building.

More FYI: The gallery is full enough that the doormen are allowing people in only when people come out, I’m told.

Awaiting the governor. There’ll be a fresh thread soon.

- Posted by Rich Miller   108 Comments      

Final day impeachment trial roundup

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* I’ll post another thread once the prosecution begins making his final arguments…

* Gov’s pension safe, even if he’s booted

* The defense doesn’t rest: “Sen. Cullerton asked him to come down,” said Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero. “I don’t think he’s going down there to resign; I think he’s going to make his appeal to senators,” Guerrero said.

* Will Blagojevich cause last-minute mischief?: Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said that anything Blagojevich does will be well within his rights as governor, but that he doesn’t plan anything “grandiose.”

* Expect the unexpected: “He’s all about PR,” Radogno said. “He’s all about press releases. I mean that’s how he’s governed for the whole time that he’s been here.”

* Governor will finally speak to Senate: “Unfortunately, all the testimony was heard. The things we will consider, all that has taken place,” said Sen. James Clayborne, a Belleville Democrat. “He had to put on evidence.”

* Blagojevich and the Politics of Diversion: If you turned on a radio, a television or cracked open a newspaper earlier this week, there’s a good chance you caught Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. In an attempt to overshadow his own impeachment trial in the Illinois state legislature the governor went on a national media blitz. Blagojevich’s attempt to divert attention from controversy was not a new strategy. WBEZ’s Ben Calhoun reports that in less public ways, Blagojevich has been using similar tactics for years.

* Senate trial Day 3: Gov. wants to give closing statement: “He is entitled to a fair and thorough process,” said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont. The GOP objections provided a glimpse of partisan bickering in a trial where most lawmakers had said they wanted to avoid such fighting. “The trial shouldn’t be driven by a time schedule,” added state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon. “It should be driven by the evidence.”

* Senate trial Day 3: fewer witnesses

* Is impeachment trial moving too fast?

* Context? Truth? In the end, it’s really your call

* Showdown In Senate: Governor To Speak At Trial

* The governor speaks

* Mr. Blagojevich Goes to Springfield

* Let gov have his say at impeachment trial

* The Governor’s Closing Argument

* Idiot governor takes center stage

* Senators wonder what Gov. Rod will say

* Rod Blagojevich to inject new drama at impeachment trial

* Bernard Schoenburg: What will he do? With Blagojevich, nobody knows

* Hey, Rod: After you’re ousted, need lift home?

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Quinn at the ready

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* Everybody has been getting interviews with Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn lately. Here’s one by CBS2

Q: You’ve been called a gadfly, a consumer activist. You’re the only guy that I know of who got a standing “boo-vation.” The Illinois House stood up and booed you for 3 minutes.

A: When they introduced me to the House of Representatives, they stood up and booed, as you said, for a long time. Led by Mike Madigan, who said I wasn’t worthy of being called an Irishman, for goodness’ sake.

Well, he and I are good friends today. He maybe over spoke back there in 1976. And I look forward to working with him on more ethics legislation. I think we can do a great job this year.

Times are changing, campers. In a huge way.

* Sun-Times

The Bible is ready. The oath has been prepared. The lieutenant governor and his family are on their way to Springfield. And the current governor’s belongings are boxed up and waiting to be picked up at the Executive Mansion.

“I definitely plan to be in Springfield and I will be ready,” Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday. Quinn said he has been careful not to be “presumptuous” over the last seven weeks as the Legislature has marched toward today’s expected impeachment and removal from office of Gov. Blagojevich. […]

If the Illinois Senate votes to remove Blagojevich from office, Quinn will immediately head with his mother, sons and supporters to the state House chamber and place his hand on a Bible while his longtime friend, Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, will administer an oath of office prepared by Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

At that moment, Blagojevich will no longer be welcome in the governor’s office.

“The attorney general has already made it crystal-clear that under the law, if the Senate acts, then the governor is no longer the governor of Illinois,” Quinn said. “He is a private citizen and the appropriate thing for him to do is leave the office and go home.”

“Private Citizen Blagojevich.” It has a nice ring to it, no?

* Related…

* Your tax dollars at work

* Tollways will be free of Rod Blagojevich’s name, Pat Quinn promises

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

* In Illinois, politics and ethics go together like oil and water

Case in point: It took the ragtag operation of the Cook County Republican Party to draw attention, as recently as last week, to the routine practice of campaign activity inside Chicago aldermanic ward offices.

The Illinois Supreme Court last week sided with the Cook County GOP in its years-long expose of ward office abuses, remanding a case to the Illinois Appellate Court for further review.

Need a city sticker for your car? You might fetch it from a ward office where political yard signs also are distributed. Staff therein, paid with your nonpartisan tax dollars, might be working on a traffic plan for the ward - or raising campaign cash for their boss, either one. At least 16 Democratic campaign operations are housed inside ward offices in Chicago.

Hello? Has anyone heard of the U.S. attorney’s office?

* Illinois could see at least $22.3 billion in tax cuts and increased spending from President Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus package that Wednesday passed the U.S. House, 244-188.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat, voted in favor of the bill because the economy needs it. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, voted against it because it does too little at too high a cost.

Illinois could see at least $22.3 billion in tax cuts and increased spending from President Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus package that Wednesday passed the U.S. House, 244-188.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat, voted in favor of the bill because the economy needs it. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, voted against it because it does too little at too high a cost.

* Stimulus bill could pay for Chicago-area transit projects

* Reps. Manzullo, Bean disagree on stimulus bill

* Halvorson backs huge stimulus bill

* Gov’t to report on jobless claims as layoffs rise

Economists forecast that about 575,000 initial claims were filed, down from 589,000 the previous week. Still, last week’s figure matched a level hit in November that was the highest in 26 years, although the labor force has grown by about half since then.

* Opponents of Chicago Olympics come under e-attack

* 6,200 college students get another chance to receive state aid grants

* Scholarship help vital as college costs escalate

* Allstate Posts Loss, Plans to Cut 1000

* Coal company seeks new mine permit

* America’s immigrants split by education levels

America’s foreign-born population is highly fragmented along educational lines, with a large portion of immigrants possessing relatively low levels of education while sizable elite have attained advanced degrees, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report found that a much smaller percentage of foreign-born adults had completed high school compared with their native-born counterparts—nearly 88 percent of native-born Americans versus 68 percent of foreign born adults.

But that 20 point difference shrinks close to zero when looking at adults who have attained a college degree. Almost 28 percent of native-born adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 27 percent of foreign-born adults.

* Hospital expansion rejected

An Illinois public health board on Wednesday rejected the expansion plans of a suburban Chicago hospital whose CEO helped a federal investigation that led to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest. […]

Edward Hospital President and CEO Pamela Davis told reporters earlier this month that she believes staff members at the board have blocked the project because she helped blow the whistle on what federal prosecutors say was major corruption on the panel

* Blizzard of I-PASS violations buries recipient

* Luciano: Loophole in DUI law is the problem

* Wait for license saving lives?

Since last January, Illinois teens have had to wait nine months instead of three months to get their licenses, and new drivers must wait a year before they can carry more than one teenage passenger. New statistics indicate that the “graduated driver licensing” law is having an effect — the number of Illinois teens 16-19 who died in car crashes dropped more than 40 percent in 2008 to 92 deaths, from 155 in 2007.

* Secretary of state cites new laws for drop in teen driving deaths

* Attorney general proposes strengthened law on stalking

Attorney General Lisa Madigan plans to introduce legislation to strengthen state stalking laws and increase the protection available to victims.

* Worker admits to forgery in Lake Co. election

One of two men accused of forging signatures on nominating petitions for state Sen. Terry Link was placed on probation Wednesday after pleading guilty.

Kenneth Davison, 50, pleaded guilty to nine counts of perjury for signing a sworn statement on the petitions that the signatures were legitimate… Link was not charged with any wrongdoing in the case.

* Northwest suburbs expect lively local election season this spring

* Let’s have a clean fight, candidates

* Ron Huberman booed, heckled at his 1st school board meeting

* Boos greet new school chief

* Fans, schools adjust to Chicago Public Schools’ ban on visiting fans at basketball games

* Downtown Protests Over School Closures

* Cook County workers’ jobs depend on balanced budget

* Investigation into tow-truck bribery grows

A federal investigation into the shakedown of tow-truck operators by Chicago police has expanded with the unsealing of charges against another officer.

Jimmie Akins is charged with attempted extortion for allegedly taking bribes in 2006 and 2007. It is alleged Akins received $100 per towed car in a bribe scheme

- Posted by Mike Murray   4 Comments      

Hey, CMS!

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

Your new e-mail system is apparently blocking the distribution of Capitol Fax to some state agencies. Please fix this. Thanks.

Rich Miller

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Pritzker "outraged" over "gross mistakes" by "irresponsible" DCFS contractor: "These children are our children"
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Judge knocks down Deerfield assault weapons ban
* Question of the day
* Pritzker appoints 5 new SIU trustees
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser lists
* "It’s a car in a very small tunnel"
* Illinois Family Institute calls legislator a "feticidal maniac"
* DCFS contract caseworker under investigation
* It's just a bill
* College Illinois bailout will cost state $501 million
* After Sterigenics shutdown, EPA testing shows "a pretty rapid drop" in cancer-causing chemical emissions
* Moylan's "go slow on pot" resolution reaches majority support
* Chicago isn't the outlier, Downstate is
* Dueling arguments
* Another self-own
* *** UPDATED x1 - Daniels responds *** Strip club manager's "fears" are unfounded
* Yesterday's stories

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