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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - AUDIO: Sens. Murphy, Righter on governor, trial process

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - This just in… Governor’s PR guru talks about new public push

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Late afternoon question *** UPDATED x1 ***

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* What do you think the governor will say and do tomorrow during his 90 minute “closing argument” at the Senate impeachment tribunal? Explain fully.

Try to hold down the snark, please.

*** UPDATE *** From Lee News

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said the governor has no plans of resigning tomorrow

Emphasis added.

- Posted by Rich Miller   182 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - AUDIO: Sen. Syverson explains SGOP concerns

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Fresh impeachment trial live-blog *** Prosecutor to finish witness list today *** CULLERTON: GUV WANTS TO SPEAK ***

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* 12:49 pm - There hasn’t been much talk about this extremely important segment of the criminal complaint filed against Gov. Blagojevich. The NY bobbleheads never broached it with Blagojevich, and it was barely mentioned yesterday during the trial, but it strikes directly at the governor’s state of mind…

ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that his decision about the open Senate seat will be based on three criteria in the following order of importance: “our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. This decision, like every other one, needs to be based upon on that. Legal. Personal. Political.”

Every decision, not just the US Senate decision, but every decision he confronted, the governor said, had to be based on his own legal, personal and political situations, in that order.

If that doesn’t show a willingness, even an eagerness to abuse his powers, nothing does. And if it doesn’t show how easily he veered into lawlessness, I’m not sure what planet you’re from.

He also said this about the US Senate seat…

According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, “the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.”

And this…

ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he is “struggling” financially and does “not want to be Governor for the next two years.”

* Take everything Blagojeivch is caught saying on those FBI surveillance tapes, run it through that “legal, personal, political” filter, add in those two other quotes about struggling and wanting out of his job, mix vigorously and this is a slam-dunk case.

* Anyway, the trial resumes at 1 o’clock. Comments on the morning live-blog post are now closed, so all comments on the trial go here.

* 1:12 pm - With a hat tip to a commenter, this is from the governor’s PR firm Twitter page

Alert from The Publicity Agency: the gov is not making any public statements today and will be doing no media interviews whatsoever

* 1:13 pm - The trial is resuming now. We’ll have questions from both Dems and Repubs this time around.

* 1:16 pm - The Chief Justice said he may change the way questions are read to the witnesses. The Senate secretary may read them. No explanation why. The CJ has had trouble pronouncing names.

* From Illinois Issues

[GOP Sen. Kirk Dillard] said he was particularly worried about why Rep. Constance Howard, a Chicago Democrat, was scratched from the list. She originally was scheduled to testify about the injury to the people that has happened since the governor’s arrest, including a dropped bond rating that makes it more expensive for the state to borrow.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno said the evidence intended to demonstrate the governor’s mismanagement of the state “seems to be getting truncated at this point.” She added: “I think it’s not good for the public. The public is the one that’s been harmed by this … I think that it’s incumbent on us not only to give the governor a fair trial, but to let the public know that we have a good handle on the extent of this corruption.”

* 1:21 pm -
Sen Hendon just asked whether JCAR is favoring the House over the Senate, pointing to a bill that passed the Senate on health care that didn’t clear the House. That bill was then essentially turned into an executive order that JCAR tried to block and which eventually wound up being blocked by a court. Hendon sponsored that Senate bill.

* 1:36 pm - JCAR witness excused. No news there except the Hendon questions, which he telegraphed earlier in the day.

Announcement that Rep. Lang will not be called as a witness. The executive ethics commission report is being distributed.

* 1:37 pm - Radogno again complains about the shortened witness list. Give the people an opportunity to see the full case against the governor. “Live witnesses really help” the case “come alive.” Not sure I agree with her, considering the witnesses to date.

Andrew Morriss is being called as a witness. He’ll also speak about JCAR, and is a law professor.

* 1:43 pm - From the Sun-Times

Meanwhile, a small stir occurred this morning outside the governor’s Statehouse office when a staff member was seen carting out several bank boxes of documents. But Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said the documents were part of a “routine” transfer of documents from Springfield to Chicago, not anything the governor wants to take with him should he be forced out of office this week.

“These were just documents coming back to Chicago,” Guerrero said. “I don’t know what was in it. But what wasn’t in it were the governor’s personal effects.”

The governor isn’t packing up anything from his state offices or the Executive Mansion in anticipation of being forced out, Guerrero said. “It would be presumptuous for the governor to start packing,” Guerrero said.

* 1:48 pm - President Cullerton just said that he was under the impression that the House prosecutor will finish calling witnesses for the entire trial today. Prosecutor: One more witness, Auditor General Holland. One hour for his testimony.

* 2:40 pm - OK, they’re back. Witness questions. The Secretary of the Senate will be reading the questions for now.

* Interesting question about whether the professor had ever seen such an example of gubernatorial overreach as the JCAR maneuver. He said he hadn’t.

Sen. Hendon asked if any other professors might disagree with his opinions, and he responded that none he knew of disagreed with him on this particular question. Zing.

* Witness is finished.

* Senate President Cullerton: House prosecutor will give a one-hour closing argument tomorrow at 10 o’clock.

*** Cullerton said the governor wants leave to appear tomorrow and give his own statement after the prosecutor’s closing statement. The governor will apparently act as his own attorney.

The governor will be allowed to speak for 90 minutes.

The Senate would have to vote to allow the governor to speak. Sens. Cullerton and Radogno have both said they will urge the chamber to allow the governor to give a closing argument. The prosecutor would then be allowed a 30 minute rebuttal. ***

* 2:58 pm - Auditor General Bill Holland is on the stand now. Kind of an anti-climax after that last announcement.

* 4:37 pm - OK, they’re back for questions of Bill Holland. Mike will handle most of the live-blogging in comments.

* 5:13 pm - Holland questions are finished. No redirect. No questions for the House prosecutor. The prosecutor is handing out the special investigative committee’s final report.

The prosecution rests.

Chief Justice Fitzgerald: No defense can be presented since the governor is not present.

Closing arguments tomorrow.

Senate adjourned until 9:45 am tomorrow.

- Posted by Rich Miller   206 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Again, this is a bit late. Sorry for that. Forgot about it.

I’m rooting for the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl for a couple of reasons. The Cardinals have the second-longest championship drought in professional sports, following only the Chicago Cubs’ 100-year slog. A Cardinals win would be just one more ding at Cubdom.

Sorry, but I can’t get beyond the hate.

Also, the Cardinals started out in Chicago, so they’ve got that going for them. And they are one seriously exciting team.

* The Question: Your Super Bowl predictions are…? Explain fully.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - AUDIO: Sen. Hendon on the guv, the trial, the tapes and the charges

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Sen. Brady on the trial and the mystery boxes

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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5th CD roundup *** UPDATED x1 ***

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Forrest Claypool is set to endorse Mike Quigley for Congress this morning at 10 o’clock. It’s no big surprise, but I’ll have the press release when it’s sent out.

Quigley, of course, is running in the 5th Congressional District special election. The Claypool endorsement could help Quigley, if his own poll is to be believed

Forrest Claypool is extremely popular among 5th District Democrats (66% Fav / 9% Unfav), with a favorability ratio of better than 7 to 1. A Claypool endorsement could play a major role in this race, with 56% of primary voters more likely to vote for a candidate with Claypool’s support.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the press release…

“No one has fought the old, failed politics of Todd Stroger longer or more effectively than Mike Quigley,” Claypool said.

“Mike is just the kind of ally President Obama needs in Congress to
change America,” Claypool said.

Quigley welcomed Claypool’s support, saying that “there is no leader
in Cook County whose endorsement sends a stronger signal about my
commitment to reform.”

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile, Fox Chicago finally caught up with another candidate in the 5th District special election, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. The station has been trying to get an answer about a poll Feigenholtz ran that used some pretty harsh and misleading questions about two of her opponents, Quigley and Rep. John Fritchey. Feigenholtz didn’t answer many questions. Watch it by clicking here.

* As you may already know, Rosanna Pulido of the Illinois Minutemen Project is running as a Republican in the 5th District race. Her nominating petitions are being challenged by Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights director Josh Hoyt. Via Progress Illinois, here’s Hoyt’s statement

“For years Ms. Pulido has poisoned the immigration debate with her vitriol, preventing rational debate on reasonable solutions for our broken immigration system. Now it is clear that her demagoguery was only to build a platform for her political ambitions […]

“If Ms. Pulido’s has not followed the rules and does not have enough valid signatures to be on the ballot, then the 5th CD will be mercifully spared from her hateful rants in pursuit of her own political ambitions.”

More from PI…

Back in 2007, [Pulido] told a House subcommittee that Chicago is “under siege by illegal aliens who speak Spanish, use public services and take jobs away from citizens.” During a May 2008 appearance on a local radio show, she suggested that the Chicago Police bring AK-47s to an (ultimately peaceful) protest by a group of immigrant rights activists. She also opposed a bill to allow detained immigrants to receive visits from members of the clergy here in Illinois. Furthermore, she is the regional field coordinator for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), whose leadership is linked to white nationalist views.

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

Quinn prepares to assume power

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* The Pantagraph takes a look at the transition

If Gov. Rod Blagojevich is convicted by the Senate and removed from office, the transition of power is designed to be virtually seamless.

Under the state Constitution, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn automatically becomes the state’s 41st governor if Blagojevich is ousted, but he would not be able to execute the powers of chief executive until he signs a formal oath of office.

That document is likely already prepared and ready to be forwarded to Quinn from the Illinois Attorney General’s office. […]

“I think probably Thursday, maybe Friday,” said state Sen. Dan Cronin, R-Elmhurst. […]

Under the state constitution, Quinn wouldn’t have to be formally sworn into office by a judge, but could choose to do so as a ceremonial gesture.

* And the infamous Tollway signs will be taken down

Should the Senate vote to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday that he would immediately begin erasing some of the imprints his former running mate made on the state.

One target would be the signs displaying Blagojevich’s name over state tollways, which Quinn called a symbol of “pompous government.”

“The signs will go down, and we’ll probably have a ceremony to do it,” Quinn told the Tribune. “I might even ask some toll payers to help us out.”

Speaking in his Chicago office with the Senate impeachment trial blaring in the background, Quinn said he would end a period of “imperial governorship” that began under Republican Gov. George Ryan and was continued by Democrat Blagojevich.

* Quinn’s also been doing some hiring

e Better Government Assn.’s executive director, Jay Stewart, plans to resign Wednesday from the organization.

Mr. Stewart, who has worked for the non-partisan watchdog group for nine years, said he has taken a job with Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Mr. Stewart served as general counsel for Mr. Quinn for a year in between jobs at the BGA.

He informed the BGA board president on Monday of his intent to resign.
“I am sorry that I did not have more time to give the BGA notice of this development, but as you are all well aware, the situation with Gov. Blagojevich has thrown the normal course of business out the window,” Mr. Stewart said in an e-mail to BGA’s board.


- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      

Impeachment trial live blog

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

[Comments are now closed. We have a fresh thread open. Click here.]

* They’re starting now. Have fun in comments.

* 9:31 am - The Senate Democrats have no questions for Rep. Rose. But the Republicans do want to question him about his testimony yesterday.

* 9:45 am - The Senate Republicans asked for a caucus to reformulate their questions to Rep. Rose, apparently because their original questions were outside the scope of Rose’s testimony. 30 minute caucus.

* 10:17 am - Senate Republicans want to ask some questions , but there will be no live witnesses to ask. So, the House prosecutor just offered to answer those questions himself. The Senate agreed. The SGOPs are complaining that some witnesses have been dropped.

* 10:25 am - The Senate Republicans have a strange agenda today. For instance, a questioner just asked Rep. Rose whether it was true that removing the governor would not solve the state’s budget deficit. The focus now is on the state’s credit rating.

The trouble with this line of questioning is that Rep. Rose testified yesterday about Ali Ata and Joe Cari. The Republicans are asking him about completely unrelated topics, like the governor’s security clearance.

* 10:35 am - Two storage boxes were wheeled in to the governor’s Statehouse office not long ago and then four boxes were wheeled out a short time later. No comment yet from the governor’s office about what’s going on.

* 10:40 am - The SGOPs appear to have gotten their questions back on track with Rose.

* 10:58 am - The Senate will take a short recess. The Chief Justice wants to see both party leaders in his chambers. Interesting. By the way, Senate President John Cullerton is getting more direct about his criticisms of Blagojevich today

“Before I suggested that perhaps the governor had just been misreading the (Senate) rules, now I’m pretty sure he’s lying about the rules,” Cullerton said. “He’s had plenty of time to read these rules. I saw him on television last night. He flat out misrepresented what these rules said.”

The Senate president went on to add that he’s “pretty sure” the governor is “lying” about the trial rules.

“He wants us to change the rules,” Cullerton said. “I’ll tell you one rule that I would be willing to change, and that is for us to ask questions directly, not in writing, of the governor.”

* 11:03 am - Sen. Hendon was just talking to reporters. He repeated his assertion that he wants the single impeachment article split up. He also said that he wants to listen to all the federal wiretap tapes.

* 11:05 am - The Chief Justice is back at the podium. He’s calling them back to order.

* 11:09 am - Vicki Thomas, the executive director of JCAR, is now testifying.

* 11:30 am -
They’ve taken a lunch and caucus break. Will return at 1 o’clock to ask questions of Director Thomas.

[Comments are now closed. We have a fresh thread open. Click here.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

A slip by guv? We’ll see

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Rachel Maddow thinks she got Gov. Blagojevich to admit to some questionable things last night. I’m not so sure, except for one point. Here’s the video

This is the one area where the guv probably slipped up but good. From the transcript

BLAGOJEVICH: That Cubs deal was an example, a legal process, but an example of the legislature not willing to do something to keep Wrigley Field in Illinois. So we found a creative way, through the Illinois Finance Authority, to keep the Cubs in a place where it was in their interest and the interest of the people, I thought, where they could stay.

That was something, the sort of thing that they would say is an impeachable thing ‘cause I’m using the executive office, they think, without the legislative approval. The Tribune editorial board was advocating that I be impeached for those sorts of things.

And so again, without going into detail, they’re getting the benefit of these things to try to help the Cubs. We just would prefer that they don’t, look, that—that the things that they’re advocating that I be impeached it’d be nice if they they laid off on an issue like that.


BLAGOJEVICH: No. And there was never any discussion with anybody at the Tribune.

MADDOW: John Harris never told them to lay off on your behalf?

BLAGOJEVICH: Never directed to do any of that. But, again, I shouldn’t get into this. That’s the wrong thing to do.

If you read the criminal complaint, Harris and others were told to get the Trib to lay off.

* Meanwhile, don’t worry too much about this because the guv is a goner. But Sen. Lightford did make some good points here

The much-anticipated sound bites of Blagojevich reverberated through a political body whose members often have walked the fine line between pushing legislation for a special interest and taking campaign contributions from supporters.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), an assistant majority leader feeling pressure from constituents to oust Blagojevich, said she and a growing number of colleagues believe the “federal case isn’t strong.” At the same time, she criticized Blagojevich for boycotting the proceedings in favor of a national media campaign blasting the trial as unfair.

“The governor [and his defense counsel] should have been there, in my opinion, to defend themselves,” Lightford said. “I think they would have had a grand opportunity to take some context and turn it into substance because I just felt like there wasn’t much substance to it today.”

* This Sun-Times editorial is right on the mark about the recorded tapes played yesterday…

Instead, the secretly recorded tapes of Blagojevich played in the Illinois Senate on Tuesday are most disturbing because they suggest just how routine scheming by our governor appeared to be.

* More on the alleged shakedown attempt caught on those tapes

…Tuesday night the attorney for Johnny Johnston - the racetrack owner at the center of the alleged shakedown on those tapes - was talking.

Johnston’s attorney Dan Reinberg says his client never made an inappropriate campaign contribution and when asked for one in exchange for the governor’s support on a gaming bill, Reinberg says his client passed.

Asked if Johnston realized he was the subject of an apparent shakedown attempt, Reinberg said, “Well, he certainly was put in a horrible spot by virtue of this request, and yes he understood the request… let me just say this. He was not comfortable with the request.”

Reinberg said Johnston has been told he will be a witness in the criminal trial.

* Related…

* ‘I’m just the opposite of Nixon’

* Gov.’s management style in Senate cross hairs today

* Gov. Blagojevich’s impeachment trial rolls along

* Not a pretty picture for our governor

* Senate trial Day 2: FBI recordings

* Gov not only one who wants full story told

* FBI agent ‘confident’ it’s Blagojevich on the wiretaps

* FBI plays wiretaps of Rod Blagojevich at state Senate impeachment trial

* Governor’s words ring loudest at impeachment trial

* Blago’s own words haunt him at trial

* Blagojevich’s voice makes appearance at trial

* Tale Of Tape: Blagojevich’s Own Words Haunt Him

* SJ-R Opinion: Tapes show governor put himself first

* Blagojevich on the line

* Let’s make a deal

* Rod remains defiant on Day 2 of media blitz

* Blagojevich’s Media Circus Costing Taxpayers

* National media fail to follow the money

* Don’t let governor’s sideshow distract you from reality

* A sideshow? Not our Blago!

* What should Blagojevich tell his daughters?

* Fact-Checking Blagojevich’s Claims

* ‘Biggest Loser’ would be good show for gov

* Despite bizarre behavior, experts say Blagojevich isn’t crazy

* Experts say gov isn’t crazy, but he may have a narcissism disorder

* Our View: Is there no end to narcissism in Illinois politics?

* No sympathy for crooked governor

* Blagojevich has no golden parachute if impeached.

* Blago should have to pay cost of impeachment

* Even jobless, governor can be bleepin’ golden

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

* Lipinski seeks $10 bil. for transit in stimulus

* Roskam, Kirk unchanged on stimulus package

Suburban congressmen Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam came away from a sit down with President Barack Obama and other House Republicans Tuesday unchanged in their opposition to a $825 billion economic stimulus plan.

* Taxpayers told not to worry

The City of Vancouver is considering borrowing $375 million or more to finish construction of its 2010 Olympic Village.

The budget for London’s 2012 Olympic Games is four times what was initially projected.

* Labor Bill Could Have Big Impact in Illinois

* Suburban officials are struggling with record snowfall, salt costs

* Chicago museum attendance healthy

* Regulators greenlight two hospital projects

* Another Illinois hospital’s discounts for uninsured

* Ailing Hartmarx hopes to size up a sale

* Daley standing by school chief choice

* Another Manager for CPS

* Good choice for schools

* Huberman moving from CTA to oversee school system

* CTA improved under new Chicago schools chief Ron Huberman

* Numbers battle clouds Cook Co.’s planned cuts

Cook County Board members Tuesday tossed around the idea of roughly 4 to 6 percent cuts for the 2009 budget in the face of strong opposition to borrowing $326 million.

* State holding $1.5 billion in unclaimed property

* Illinois vault holds more than $1.5 billion left behind by residents

* Puppy mill law long overdue

- Posted by Mike Murray   16 Comments      

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

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

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* Janus apparently no longer loves his state job, hires on with Illinois Policy Institute
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker meets with moms who've lost their kids to street violence, police shootings
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
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* Caption contest!
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* "And admit that the waters/Around you have grown"
* A tiny bit of good news from Moody's
* Proft files suit so his independent expenditure committee can coordinate with campaigns after caps busted
* Cook shifts governor's race from "Toss Up" to "Lean Democrat" - Third-party candidates "the tipping point"
* Unsolicited advice
* The impasse and the damage done
* Entire IPHCA executive committee resigns, lawyer let go after racism controversy
* Chicago to get its first public law school, but is it a wise move?
* Doom and gloom abounds, but a new pension idea emerges
* Another lawsuit filed in Quincy veterans' home deaths: "For a year and a half, he loved that place. And it killed him"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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* IDPH Investigation Continues As Foodborne Illnesses Increase
* Gov. Rauner signs HB 5611
* Summit for Success: IDOT providing tools, opportunity for disadvantaged businesses
* Illinois Payrolls Jump +18,100
* Liquor Control Commission Underage Compliance Report for Cook County

* FCC now accepting your petitions on whether T-Mobile - Sprint merger should go through
* Freeform has renewed Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger for a second season
* The rumored Samsung Galaxy Watch will come in two sizes
* Galaxy Watch seen at FCC with sleeker package
* Joss Whedon is developing a ‘richly diverse’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot
* A Japanese startup has ambitious plans for on-demand meteor showers
* Watch the first trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass

* Abreu happy to talk about ASG, not rumors
* In My Words: Dylan Cease
* Nelson Cruz
* Nicky Delmonico back in lineup as White Sox take on Mariners
* White Sox' Omar Narvaez catching against the Mariners
* White Sox' Yolmer Sanchez moves all the way down to nint...
* Nick Delmonico

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