* SEIU and ACORN have now become an issue in the 10th Congressional District GOP primary. From a press release…
Robert Dold, Republican candidate for Illinois’ 10th Congressional District, today is calling on his Republican opponent, liberal State Representative Beth Coulson, to cut ties with SEIU after Congressman Mark Kirk’s recent revelations of SEIU’s deep ties to the corrupt group ACORN.
Coulson was endorsed by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in her State Representative campaign in 2008, and until recently proudly displayed the endorsement on her Congressional website. It was taken down after Republican activists expressed their outrage.1 Coulson has received numerous donations from the corrupt group totaling thousands of dollars throughout her career.
“Sadly, this is business as usual for Springfield,” said Dold, former Investigative Counsel for the Government Reform and Oversight Committee. “Beth Coulson should have the courage to cut ties completely with this tarnished group and return their tainted money. I will never accept a single contribution from this organization, and when I’m in Washington I will do everything in my power to make sure that no hard-earned taxpayer dollars go to ACORN.”
IllinoisReview has compiled a list of some Republicans who took money from SEIU.
* Once again, Pat Quinn referred to Dan Hynes as an ankle biter…
“There’s always going to be ankle biters on the sidelines who weren’t in the arena when it really counted, chirping away. But I don’t think they’re helping solve the problem. The comptroller wasn’t part of the solution, and it doesn’t appear that he ever will be.”
Quinn gets on a phrase and can’t get off of it. Chirping on the sidelines is another one. He referred to Hynes as an ankle biter last month in southern Illinois when asked about a Hynes critique…
“There’s a lot of ankle-biters out there running for office,” he said. “They’re going to tear me down, but I think the people of Illinois know I’m good and true when it comes to standing up for them.”
* Little surprise here. Congressman Danny Davis may be leaning towards reelection. From The Hill via Progress Illinois…
Davis said Monday that he is prepared to file for re-election to his Congressional seat if he decides to drop his bid for Cook County Board president before this fall’s deadline.
“I have enough signatures to turn in for the nominating process for re-election to Congress, should I choose to do so,” Davis said in a phone interview. […]
Davis has encountered competition in the Cook County Board race. Davis, who served on the board before he came to Congress, is one of several black candidates in the open-seat race for Cook County Board president — a circumstance that could lead to the election of a nonblack candidate next year, much to the dismay of local black community leaders.
According to a couple of Democratic operatives familiar with the race, Davis thought he could clear the field if he ran, but that hasn’t happened.
More than 250 African-American ministers met to endorse a black candidate for Cook County board president on Tuesday, but the lack of consensus only served to illustrate the difficult political dynamics.
“This is not about person,” [Albert D. Tyson III, senior pastor at St. Stephen AME Church] said. “This is not about personality. This is about whose best going to service us and who has the best possible chances of being elected against the forces of evil.”
“The forces of evil.” Sheesh.
Todd Stroger was also at the meeting…
“I think in government there should be an African American who is at the top,” Stroger said before making a reference to the influence of his post. “So, I think there should be some unity behind a candidate. A good candidate. Me.”
He lives in another world, campers. A world that none of us will ever visit.
* Speaking of other worlds, Ab Mikva thinks David Hoffman is less of a long shot than Barack Obama was…
“Barack was probably an even longer shot than for both president and for senator than David is … he was barely known in the rest of the state or the city,” Mikva said.
Yeah, but he raised a lot of money, ran a super-smart campaign and was a natural. He also had something that Hoffman completely lacks: Campaign experience, including a defeat.
* Here’s something else to consider when backing longshots in the primary…
Once the ballot is finalized in a few weeks, the campaigns will heat up. The primary is Tuesday, Feb. 2 – the earliest it’s ever been. That doesn’t leave much time for little-known candidates to separate themselves from the pack, and the holiday season will make that job even tougher.
Tougher and a whole lot more expensive. It won’t be easy to go from relative obscurity to beating a well-known, well-funded candidate by February 2nd.
* Stroger talks sales tax, pensions with suburban residents
* High-speed rail hits another speed bump: House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, introduced legislation Tuesday that would bar the state from spending money on a segment of the line in Springfield that is designated as the high-speed rail route.
* A new Government Accountability Office audit out of DC has found some serious abuses of the Medicaid prescription program.
The GAO looked at five states, including Illinois. Those states alone made up 40 percent of Medicaid’s prescription-drug payments in fiscal years 2006 and 2007, according to a story in USA Today…
[The five states] are not fully taking advantage of federal databases or technology that could spot fraud, the report said.
Not good at all.
Here’s what the GAO found…
• About 65,000 cases in which Medicaid beneficiaries visited six or more doctors and up to 46 pharmacies to acquire prescriptions — a practice known as “doctor shopping” that allows purchasers to exceed the legal limit of drugs.
• Sixty-five doctors or pharmacists writing or filling prescriptions after being banned from Medicaid, some for illegally selling such drugs.
• About 1,800 prescriptions written for dead patients and 1,200 prescriptions “written” by dead physicians.
Dead voters, dead patients and dead doctors. A perfect fit for Illinois [/snark].
In the big picture, we’re not talking about a gigantic dollar amount here. It’s less than $33 million per year for two years - and that’s all five states combined. If Illinois shares equally, that’s less than $7 million, or about $3.5 million in state dollars at a 50-50 match.
With the state’s ongoing budget problems, this could become an issue, however. The full GAO report is here.
* More budget stuff…
* Play Whac-a-Mole to plug budget gap: The governor tried to appease everyone without solving anything.
*** UPDATE *** William Kelly has asked his supporters to come over here and comment because he thinks we’re being unfair to him. He apparently doesn’t respond well to criticism.
I’ve already deleted several comments from his supporters because they are commenting under different names with the same IP address. Very stupid move, and usually done to make it look like somebody has more supporters than they actually do. Those people are banned from the blog for good. They probably don’t care because they’re newbies anyway. Still, if you come here, expect to play by the rules or you’ll just be deleted.
[ *** End of Update *** ]
* I guess it takes all kinds to make a political world.
William Kelly, the host of a twice a week Comcast Cable TV show which airs after midnight, has tried and tried to get noticed by a wider audience, without a lot of luck.
Kelly began his quest by challenging Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias to a charity boxing match. No coverage resulted and there was no response from Giannoulias, of course.
Then, Kelly stopped Giannoulias in front of a US Senate campaign fundraiser on the morning of September 11th to interview him. Giannoulias smiled, said “It’s good to see you, Bill” and walked away. Kelly sent out a press release claiming he had “flustered” Giannoulias, but that’s not really what the videotape showed. The video did earn Kelly a write-up in a Washington Times blog, but little else.
So, like just about everybody else in the world, Kelly has now jumped on the SEIU/ACORN bandwagon and tried to talk to Giannoulias at a fundraising event this week. Giannoulias kept walking. Hard to blame him. Here’s the video…
From Kelly’s press release today…
“You are seeking and have accepted the endorsement of SEIU. Don’t you think it is better to do an investigation of SEIU first?” asks Kelly. “Under what circumstances would you consider returning the $? Under any circumstances?” When Giannoulias can’t take it anymore, he hides behind his two female assistants. One says to Kelly, “You have to make a contribution.” Kelly retorts, “I am making a contribution.”
* Kelly is actually running for comptroller as a Republican. This has to be one of the oddest campaign strategies I’ve ever seen. Giannoulias is the treasurer. So, what’s the beef? I just don’t get it. Strange.
It’s really all for naught anyway because he’s gonna get creamed by Judy Baar Topinka in the GOP primary. And I gotta wonder how long Comcast is going to tolerate him using his TV show to boost his campaign and vice-a-versa.
But, hey, this is a free country. It’s actually kind of fun to watch Giannoulias squirm a bit. But this is weird, man.
* Secretary of State Jesse White formally kicked off his reelection campaign yesterday. If he wins, and it’s more than just highly doubtful that anybody could beat him, he’ll get a fourth term. And if he serves out that term, he’ll have held the job longer than anyone else in Illinois history. But this will almost undoubtedly be his last campaign…
“I’ve enjoyed this ride,” White said. “I want to ride it one more time, and I will always, always work on behalf of the people of the state of Illinois.”
White ran in 1998 and promised not to use the office as a springboard. Jim Edgar and George Ryan had both used their SoS tenure to get them elected governor. But White’s promise has meant that nobody else has been able to move up the ladder. SoS is a much coveted job, to say the least. So, while he’ll be lauded for the next year by members of both parties, inside many will be plotting their 2014 bids.
Most of the heavy-hitters showed up for White’s Chicago announcement yesterday…
On Tuesday, White was endorsed by fellow Democratic state office holders Gov. Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Comptroller Dan Hynes, who is challenging Quinn in the Democratic governor primary, did not appear because he was spending time with family, but also supports White, a campaign spokesman said.
Not too sure what to make of Hynes’ no-show.
…Adding… I’ve been told that Hynes’ twin sons had a birthday yesterday. Completely understandable why he missed the event.
White didn’t just announce in Chicago. He also headed Downstate…
During a full day campaign run, starting in Chicago, stopping in Springfield, and ending in Marion, White made his intentions clear. He intends to hold office and do the best he can for Illinois for four more years. […]
During his stop in Marion, White spoke of what his office has been able to accomplish in past 11 years, including lowering the automobile accident death rate in persons 15-20 by 40 percent, increasing Internet traffic for the ISS office by 78 percent, and initiating a ban on texting while driving that will start in January of 2010.
White is a talented politician. He won all 102 Illinois counties in 2002 - an amazing feat. His work with the Jesse White Tumblers made him a hero in many minds. Few people even want to drive past Cabrini Green, let alone go in there and turn so many kids around…
Citing White’s biography – U.S. Army paratrooper, Chicago Cubs player, founder of the Jesse White Tumbling Team – [Attorney General Lisa Madigan] said, “It’s no wonder that Jesse White is the most popular elected official in the State of Illinois.”
And he wisely made some early moves to clean up his office which have allowed him to stay in the office…
He inherited an office that was embroiled in a scandal that sent dozens of people to prison, but cleaned it up by banning employees from making campaign contributions to him, and by hiring an independent inspector general, former U.S. Attorney James B. Burns, who is still on the job today.
He’s about as close to unbeatable as one can get in politics. It’s no wonder that the Republicans had to search high and low and ended up with an amateur from Aurora to run against him.
Twenty employees of Chicago’s scandal-scarred Buildings Department were summoned to the commissioner’s office Tuesday to explain why their names appeared on a list of city employees who allegedly accepted $100 and $200 gift cards from a permit expediter-turned-government witness.
The gift cards were allegedly distributed in 2005 by Catherine Romasanta, a former expediter caught up in the federal investigation known as Operation Crooked Code who testified in the trial that culminated in last week’s conviction of former supervising building inspector Michael Reese.
The “four most egregious offenders” have now been charged in the videotaped fatal beating of Fenger High School honor student Derrion Albert, Chicago’s top cop said Tuesday.
But even as 17-year-old Eugene Bailey was ordered held without bail Tuesday, police Supt. Jody Weis pleaded for the public’s help in identifying three more people seen in an amateur video that has shocked viewers around the globe.
Unions representing the city’s police officers, firefighters and public works employees have negotiated amendments to their contracts, which are designed to reduce by $600,000 the city’s $1.5 million budget shortfall.
* The template I chose for our new website is currently unable to handle the sort of high-volume traffic that we experience here on a regular basis. We’re working on a fix, but we’re also taking the new site offline for a while because it was killing this site as well (they’re both on the same servers).
Be patient. We’ll get it worked out somehow. I’d hate to have to start all over again, though. Sheesh, that was a lot of work.
* Gov. Pat Quinn is hosting a rally of university types this afternoon at UIC. The rally is designed to boost Quinn’s efforts to pass legislation to fund the rest of the year’s MAP scholarship grant program. The money runs dry at the end of this semester.
In July you said you had “no reservations about signing the budget bill” and that it “stabilizes our budget,” even though it slashed funding for the MAP program by 50 percent. This weekend you blamed the General Assembly for the crisis, calling it “unacceptable” that it “decided to only fund the first semester of college scholarships.” How do you justify laying the blame so squarely on others even though as the Governor you have had the authority all along either to push to fund the program fully, or to restore funding?
Quinn made that “no reservations about signing the budget” comment during a July press conference that we videotaped at the time. Quinn, you may recall, surrounded himself with his budget staff during the media event.
I’ve isolated Quinn’s “no reservations” comment for you today. Also in this clip, Quinn talks about how he would have to “manage” the budget “very well” to make sure everything went smoothly. I guess that didn’t happen? Watch it…
Even after it became apparent that hundreds of thousands of students who rely on MAP grants were being put in a terrible bind, why haven’t you used any of your remaining allocation authority to restore funding?
As I told subscribers yesterday, the governor used his wide discretionary authority (given to him by the General Assembly) to squirrel away $180 million in a reserve account. But throughout this MAP debate, Quinn hasn’t said Word One about using that cash stash to help keep the scholarship program alive. The program is short about $225 million. Instead, he wants to raise income taxes to shore up the program or hike the cigarette tax by a buck a pack.
If there was one ranking that generated controversy last time, it was Illinois. Surely, the critics suggested, Obama’s home state would never replace him with a Republican. In the end, the true-blue nature of Illinois — along with an expected serious financial investment from a White House laden with Chicagoans — would surely assert itself come November 2010. Right?
We’re simply not convinced that the field of Democratic candidates — with the possible exception of former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman — can present the sort of “outsider” credentials to avoid being lumped (fairly or not) with Rod Blagojevich, et al. Plus, it’s hardly unusual for a state’s voters to develop a “throw the bums out” mentality when one party has overstayed its welcome. Even so, can Rep. Mark Kirk (R) convince voters that his nine years in D.C. qualify him as the heir to the “outsider” mantle?
Hoffman, by the way, was endorsed today by Abner Mikva.
* One of the problems with witch hunts - aside from the fact that they’re too often used for nefarious purposes - is that they eventually start to burn those who merely associated with the alleged witches. Things can get way out of hand because it becomes impossible to stop the endless strings of associations that can be made.
And so it goes with this ACORN thing. Not content to just bash the organization, it’s now been deemed necessary by some that those who’ve associated with the group must also be demonized.
Enter Republican US Senate candidate Mark Kirk.
You’d think with all the boasting about how Kirk is the heavy-duty GOP primary front-runner, that someone known as one of the most liberal Republicans in DC (which is somewhat of a misnomer because DC GOPdom is so rightwardly skewed) wouldn’t have to prove he’s just like those bloggers at Illinois Review.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. IR does a very good job on many, many things. But the site has been obsessed with ACORN lately and has been pairing the group with the Service Employees International Union in a single name for weeks. Kirk eagerly jumped on the IR bandwagon yesterday and produced a complicated flow-chart to demonstrate why the US Census should disown SEIU because the union has supported ACORN in the past.
ABC7 didn’t cover the presser, and neither did NBC5 or CBS2. The Olympics coverage is pretty much drowning out almost everything right now. Fox Chicago had a preview of yesterday’s Kirk presser on its early morning show, but nothing else has been posted on its site.
U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican Senate candidate, said Monday the Census Bureau should drop any involvement with the Service Employees International Union for the 2010 population count. But at the same time Kirk had to acknowledge receiving past campaign donations from the union at the center of a partisan firestorm.
On the heals of a congressional vote to de-fund ACORN, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is calling on the U.S. Census to sever all ties to Illinois’ largest union, the Service Employees International Union, because that union, Kirk says, is too close to ACORN.
Kirk also urged the firing of the National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, who he blames for under-estimating Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
* Obviously, Kirk is following the classic GOP presidential election strategy. Move way right in the primary and then move to the center for the general. Reassure the Downstaters and the more right-leaning suburbanites that he’s with them now. Then worry about assuaging the moderate independents later. He’s also obviously taking advantage of the fact that SEIU has endorsed the Democratic frontrunner, Alexi Giannoulias.
But, as I’ve pointed out before, this SEIU thing is a landmine for Illinois Republicans.
State Rep. Beth Coulson is considered the best bet to hold onto Kirk’s US House seat, but she’s been endorsed by SEIU in the past.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard received an SEIU contribution earlier this year.
The Republican State Senate Campaign Committee accepted $10,000 from SEIU in March.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross took a $10K contribution in February from SEIU Healthcare, which was once a brother/sister of ACORN Illinois, back when the group existed (there are actually two $10K contris listed from SEIU to Cross on the same day, but that could be a duplicate computer entry).
As explained at the top, it’s dangerous to conduct a guilt by association witch hunt of SEIU when so many of Kirk’s fellow Illinois Republicans have been taking the union’s cash over the years. If SEIU is guilty of its associations with ACORN, then what does that say about the Republicans who have associated with SEIU? Where does the witch hunt end? Does he want to burn them all?
Maybe that’s why yesterday’s presser was so lightly covered.
The inspector general’s office is recommending the firing of the No. 2 man at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications for alleged contract irregularities that cost taxpayers $2.25 million.
Former Chicago Housing Authority chief Terry Peterson, who has emerged as one of Mayor Daley’s closest political confidantes, is the mayor’s choice to replace departing CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown, City Hall sources said Monday.
Judge Ronald Guzman enjoined the City of Chicago and Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd, from denying the hotel a cafe due to a long strike by hotel employees. Guzman wrote that “the only reasonable conclusion” was that the alderman refused to sign off on the hotel’s application because he’s a strong backer of the striking union.
In its suit, the hotel claimed that the alderman’s actions violated the National Labor Relations Act, which forbids state and local governments from trying to tip a labor dispute to one side. By the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, a federal law takes precedence over local law — or in this case, an unwritten but real political practice, the judge ruled.
Guzman found that Fioretti was exercising “aldermanic privilege,” a long-standing pillar of Chicago politics that makes an alderman a final arbiter of zoning matters in his own ward.
Cook County State’s Atty. Anita Alvarez has notified two of her investigators that they may face administrative charges for discrediting her office after a convicted felon escaped from their custody this month and eluded police in a two-day crime spree.
This time, it was on 111th Street, a few blocks from Fenger High School. The cell phone video shows an honor student, caught up in a gang fight, being clubbed to death. Our hope is that the video will lead to the identification and punishment of all those responsible for the death of the boy, 16-year-old Derrion Albert.
Rockford police officers, who say they are already understaffed, feel betrayed by a city that intends to lay off eight officers this week, police union President Aurelio DeLaRosa writes in a letter addressed to union membership and released during Monday night’s Rockford City Council meeting.[…]
“(The union) feels this mayor is a threat to the health and well-being of every person in this city,” DeLaRosa writes. “Someone should start mayoral impeachment proceedings.”
Buses carrying 188 Illinois National Guard troops on the last legs of their trips home from Afghanistan fanned out across the state Monday, bringing to an end a yearlong deployment that cost 18 of the state’s soldiers their lives.
One in every 228 Illinois drivers will hit a deer this year, according to a State Farm analysis.
Illinois deer-car collisions are up 3 percent from five years ago, a slight uptick compared with the 18 percent increase in collisions around the country in that same time period, State Farm is reporting.
The insurance agency’s research suggests that every 26 seconds in America, someone slams a deer with a vehicle.