*** UPDATE - 1:48 pm *** Quinn’s campaign finally whacks back at Brady on his votes…
A far more serious breach that deserves immediate investigation is Brady’s repeated votes on legislation that served to financially benefit himself and his business interests. Senator Brady can’t possibly claim he didn’t know there was a conflict of interest.
The people of Illinois who pay his salary need to know why Senator Brady repeatedly voted on bills that he knew would promote development projects in which he plainly had a substantial and personal financial interest.”
They couldn’t have done that on Sunday or Monday? Sheesh.
[ *** End of Update *** ]
* As we’ll see in a bit, this isn’t the first time that Bill Brady has demanded that Lisa Madigan investigate Pat Quinn’s fundraising. From a press release…
Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady is calling for an investigation into Governor Pat Quinn’s acceptance of $75,000 in campaign cash from the Teamsters Union just before his amendatory veto on McCormick Place that would have benefitted the union.
“It’s appears to be another shameful example of pay-to-play politics,” Brady said. “The people of Illinois deserve a thorough investigation.” Brady will ask Attorney General Lisa Madigan to begin the investigation.
* My Sun-Times column today is about how both of these candidates are under a cloud…
I’ve been wondering all week why Gov. Quinn’s campaign has all but ignored an explosive but little-noticed story.
Quinn has been silent about the revelation that his Republican opponent Bill Brady had voted for three different bills that directly helped his struggling real estate company develop a project in Champaign.
The area that Brady was developing had no sewer system, and Champaign was having trouble buying the property easements to lay pipe, so the town asked the General Assembly to give it “quick take” powers that would allow them to seize the land for a fair price.
A very high-level Democrat who is often the target of media investigations told me the other day that he would be sent to prison if he voted to directly benefit his own business.
It’s one thing if, say, a farmer votes for a bill backed by the Illinois Farm Bureau that would help lots of farmers throughout the state.
It’s quite another thing if that same farmer voted for a bill which helped only himself.
This ought to be big news, and it’s full of rich targets for campaign press releases.
“Brady voted to pad his own pockets,” is one hit that springs to mind. The “sewer” stuff writes itself.
The same guy who didn’t pay federal income taxes for two straight years was involved in a project subsidized in part by federal funds. But Quinn’s campaign didn’t take the bait.
He should’ve done something, because now the governor has found himself on the defensive.
Last year right about this time, Quinn got into trouble when it was revealed that a campaign staffer was asking lobbyists to set up fund-raisers. This happened near the scheduled end of the spring legislative session, so all of those lobbyists had bills awaiting the governor’s signature or veto.
The lobbyists leaked the story, and Quinn was forced to apologize. He vowed not to do any more fund-raising until after the session was over.
Apparently, that promise didn’t apply to this year’s spring session.
On Thursday, my buddy Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business broke the story that the governor had received some very large campaign checks — totaling $75,000 — from the Teamsters Union in late April. At the time, the Teamsters were fighting legislative attempts to change McCormick Place’s union work rules. The work-rule changes remained in the McPier reform bill that passed both chambers, and the Teamsters were furious. They threatened to sue to block the changes.
Not coincidentally, Quinn has been saying that he was worried that the bill would prompt lawsuits.
Quinn eventually decided to slap the bill with an amendatory veto. Buried within the text was a provision that killed off a small McPier union and handed its members to the Teamsters.
Think of it as a consolation prize.
The Legislature voted to override Quinn’s veto Thursday.
Quinn alienated every public employee union in the state last month when he signed a pension reform bill into law. Those unions contribute millions of dollars to campaigns, and they’re not giving him any money now. He couldn’t afford to also alienate the big unions at McPier.
So, it was pretty much a given that his amendatory veto was pure politics. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was that Quinn had already taken a large pile of cash from the Teamsters.
When Quinn got into that fund-raising trouble last year, Brady almost immediately called on Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate.
Maybe she ought to take a look at both of them.
And call me paranoid, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s why Quinn has been so strangely silent about his opponent’s serious ethical lapse.
* By the way, the Tribune followed up on Greg Hinz’s piece without any attribution. And notice the lede…
Only a month before Gov. Pat Quinn rewrote legislation to help the Teamsters at the McCormick Place convention center, the labor group gave the Democratic governor $75,000 in political donations, his campaign acknowledged Thursday.
That’s a crisp, concise AP Style lede with everything you really need to know up front. Now, contrast that with the lede on the story about how Brady voted three times on bills that directly benefited his real estate company…
On the southwest fringe of Champaign along Interstate Highway 57 stands the Curtis Road interchange, its ornate limestone overpass and decorative red-brick towers surrounded by acres of open farmland.
You have to read 25 grafs into the piece before you find the Brady bills stuff.
Sure makes you wonder why the two stories are so different.