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Pay to play? C’mon

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011

* Gov. Pat Quinn has nominated Terry Cosgrove for a spot on the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Cosgrove runs Personal PAC, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure Quinn got elected last year. Indeed, one of Bill Brady’s top campaign operatives blamed Personal PAC’s efforts for his candidate’s narrow loss last November.

Brady’s spokesman responded to the appointment…

Brady spokesman Dan Egler said the governor “reached out to reward one of his big-time political supporters. The citizens of Illinois deserve fair and open-minded people on state’s boards and commissions—not pay-to-play political appointees.”

Pay-to-play?

Gimme a break.

* If anyone thinks that Terry Cosgrove supported Pat Quinn because he wanted a part-time state job, then you really need to get your head examined. Brady is 100 percent pro-life. Cosgrove despised the man and was very worried that Brady would be elected, so he went all out. “Pay-to-play” is by very definition a mercenary act. Say what you want about Cosgrove, but he ain’t no mercenary. He fully believes in what he does.

Rewarding political allies with sweet little plums is as old as government. Brady wouldn’t have given any of his pals state jobs? Please. Get real.

Also, Cosgrove is qualified for the post. He helped pass human rights ordinances in Champaign and Urbana back in the day and has long been a quiet force behind the scenes for gay rights. He’s probably not the most unbiased person on the planet, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a gay voice on the Human Rights Commission.

Brady lost. Not by much, but he lost. Time to move on and stop over-reaching for non-controversies like this one.

* But this may rankle the state Senator as well. I received an e-mail from Rebecca Sanchez this week…

Hey Rich,

I wanted to keep you in the loop and let you know that the gov appointed me as his senior advisor on Hispanic issues. I’ll also act as a liaison between the Hispanic Caucus and the governor.

Friday is my start date.

Sanchez is a reporter for the Spanish-language newspaper Extra. She’s the one who asked Brady during an ABC7 gubernatorial debate last year why he attended a fundraiser thrown by Rod Blagojevich cronies Juan Ochoa and Dean Martinez. Brady was tripped up by the question and then called the two men “good people,” which resulted in a firestorm.

That appointment ought to make Brady’s head explode again.

* In other personnel-related matters

Illinois’ top insurance regulator said Tuesday he’s committed to working with Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers on pressing state issues during his last two months on the job.

Insurance Department Director Michael McRaith is leaving in June to take a post in the President Barack Obama’s administration. Until then, McRaith said, he’s dedicated to working with Illinois lawmakers this session on reforms to workers compensation, health insurance and financial regulations.

“My first objective is to work hard every day and be a constructive leader on insurance-related issues,” McRaith said in an interview with The Associated Press.

McRaith is Quinn’s point man on workers’ comp reform. There’s real worry out there that he won’t be as focused as he should be while preparing for the DC gig. Let’s hope the worriers are wrong.

* Another Quinn appointee has to step aside on a contentious issue. Hiram Grau has been nominated to run the Illinois State Police. He used to work for the Cook County State’s Attorney, who has refused to file any charges in the death of David Koschman. Koschman died after allegedly being punched or shoved several years ago by Mayor Daley’s nephew

Responding to the Sun-Times’ reports, Alvarez called Thursday on the State Police to examine the handling of the Koschman investigation, saying an outside, “independent” police agency needed to step in.

The next day, the State Police agreed to do that, even as Gov. Quinn announced he was appointing Alvarez’s chief investigator, Hiram Grau, to head the State Police. At the time of Koschman’s death, Grau was a deputy police superintendent with the Chicago Police Department, overseeing the department’s detectives. According to the State Police, Grau had no role in investigating the Koschman case but, “out of an abundance of caution, Mr. Grau will be recusing himself from the State Police’s review of the matter.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

39 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:28 am:

    Rich-
    You are way, way, way too cavalier about giving out jobs to contributors. You say, “Rewarding political allies with sweet little plums is as old as government. Brady wouldn’t have given any of his pals state jobs? Please. Get real.” I agree with your analysis, absolutely including that Brady would be just as bad with patronage abuse, but that does not make it acceptable. Fortunately, the public is starting to wake up to sweetheart arrangements like this, and rightly question the ethics. You should, too.


  2. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:35 am:

    ===rightly question the ethics.===

    Perhaps you should concentrate on real corruption instead of fake stuff.


  3. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:43 am:

    ==Cosgrove despised the man ==

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the world would be a better place if words like “despised” were reserved for murderers, child molesters, animal torturers, and ex-spouses, rather than used for ones political opponents.


  4. - tak1885 - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:51 am:

    I agree with the anonymous commenter. Placing someone on the tax payer’s payroll as a reward for campaign contributions is about as corrupt as you can get. Seems like a logical first place to start weeding out the corruption to me.


  5. - Mutedhorn - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:55 am:

    @Responsa

    For some of us 0politics is more than an academic exercise. It’s about protecting the people we love from the people who want to hurt them. Despise is an appropriate for those who want inflict pain on the people you care about.


  6. - Moderate REpub - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    On McRaith -
    Is it the labor interests that are worried about McRaith’s focus? Because I think business would be relieved if the guy was replaced as the Gov’s point person. Its not like McRaith is liked by most GA members, so he doesn’t bring much to the table in helping pass any legislation that comes out of the reform meetings. The guy gets dogged every time he is up working an issue of substance in any legislative committee.
    My point is I think work comp has a better chance without the guy. He just isn’t a negotiator that can bring people together. Its not one of his strengths (and I think the guy has strengths, but bringing people together is not one of them, nor is articulating his point to members of the legislature).
    Only my opinion obviously, but that’s what blogs are for right?


  7. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:03 am:

    But you know someone agrees with your positions if they gave money to your campaign. You guys sound as if you think Quinn should be appointing Brady supporters because hey, no corruption there.


  8. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:09 am:

    “She’s the one who asked Brady during an ABC7 gubernatorial debate last year…”

    “I wanted to keep you in the loop and let you know that the gov appointed me as his senior advisor on Hispanic issues. I’ll also act as a liaison between the Hispanic Caucus and the governor.”

    An unbiased reporter trips up a losing candidate and is rewarded by the winner. For some reason, I find this more problematic than Quinn appointing his supporter (although whose human rights a pro-abortion advocate is advocating for bothers be a bit, but at least I understand the issue). Or perhaps Quinn is just rewarding ALL of his supporters, no matter what they do.


  9. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:12 am:

    To the victor goes the spoils. At least Quinn was smart enough to get his desserts through the political campaign system instead of the daughter’s birthday present system.
    Cosgrove sounds like a decent fit for the Human Rights Commission who will be able to add insight.
    Hopefully he would be moved to reconsider his current stance against the human rights of humans waiting to be born.


  10. - Real Corruption? - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:13 am:

    Is real corruption agreeing to no afsme layoffs for two years for supposed future conceccsions. Then getting an endorsment from the union and over 1 million campaign contributions? This patronage hiring is the least of Illinois worries. We like the corruption in Illinois it gives stability. Without it we would have no idea who we would get in politics and reform might actually happen. Now that would be scary.


  11. - phocion - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:14 am:

    Rich,
    Perhaps you should look a bit deeper here. The issue is whether Cosgrove is a lobbyist under the Illinois Lobbyist Registration Act. If so, he is ineligible to serve on the Commission. The Act provides that a lobbyist is a person who has “any communication with an official of the executive or legislative branch of State government as defined in subsection (c) for the ultimate purpose of influencing any executive, legislative, or administrative action.” Clearly in his role at Personal PAC, Mr. Crosgrove meets the threshold that would require that he register as a lobbyist. Meeting that threshold, the Act goes on to provide that “any natural person who, for compensation or otherwise, undertakes to lobby, or any person or entity who employs or compensates another person for the purposes of lobbying, shall register with the Secretary of State as provided in this Act, unless that person or entity qualifies for one or more of the following exemptions…” (none of which apply to Cosgrove).

    The Act also provides that “a person required to be registered under this Act, his or her spouse, and his or her immediate family members living with that person may not serve on a board, commission, authority, or task force authorized or created by State law or by executive order of the Governor..”

    The SOS site, however, does not show that Mr. Cosgrove did register, as is apparently required by law. So, the first question is why Cosgrove didn’t register as a lobbyist as is required under the Act. And if he is in fact supposed to, why did Quinn appoint him to a position which for which a registered lobbyist is not required to register.


  12. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:16 am:

    ==For some of us 0politics is more than an academic exercise…..Despise is an appropriate for those who want inflict pain on the people you care about==

    See, the problem I have with that logic in a political setting in the real world is that it is a two way street. Despising ones opponent as an individual (as opposed to strongly disagreeing with, or challenging the opponent’s ideas) makes it virtually impossible for a person to accept the legitimacy of an election result once the “despised” one of either party wins. As I said, this can become a dangerous two way street and it is not a healthy development for effective governance or for electoral office transistions in my humble opinion.


  13. - Obamarama - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    ==Clearly in his role at Personal PAC, Mr. Crosgrove meets the threshold that would require that he register as a lobbyist.==

    Nope.


  14. - amalia - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:23 am:

    would be nice if the part time paid work was spread around to someone who does not have a job currently. I’m not ripping Cosgrove, just, don’t other people need the money more?


  15. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:24 am:

    ==the world would be a better place if words like “despised” were reserved for murderers, child molesters==

    If I get this right, the person alleged to have despised the other person represents the camp called murderers by the child molesters. Not to insult anybody’s views, those are the words really used. It would be fine with me if everybody ratcheted their rhetoric down and worked on paying the bills.


  16. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    - I’m not ripping Cosgrove, just, don’t other people need the money more? -

    So you’re saying important board and commission posts should be filled based on monetary need?


  17. - phocion - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    Well reasoned response, Obamarama.

    Does Cosgrove never attempt to influence legislators or members of the executive branch? Seems he wouldn’t be doing his job very well if he werent’ doing just that.


  18. - anon - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:41 am:

    Cosgrove would not be the first openly gay member of the Human Rights Commission. Daniel Sprehe was a strong member of the Commission for several years.


  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:42 am:

    phocion, Cosgrove was down here yesterday. That’s the first time I’ve seen him here in forever. He doesn’t lobby. He raises and spends tons of cash.


  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:00 pm:

    –Brady spokesman Dan Egler said the governor “reached out to reward one of his big-time political supporters.–

    I didn’t realize Brady was keeping campaign folks on his political committee payroll.

    Smart to stay independent of Senate leadership, if you can afford it and want to take another crack in 2014.


  21. - Fed up - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:01 pm:

    The AFSCME contract was real pay to play and is ignored. I agree with Rich on this one this appointment is no big deal certainly less questionable than madigans wife being on state boards.


  22. - soccermom - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:02 pm:

    I don’t know Terry Cosgrove well, but his advocacy for human rights and the concerns of everyday people date back decades to his years at U of I, when I first heard of him. He is clearly a tireless advocate, and I am certain he will do a great job. Good man.


  23. - phocion - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:22 pm:

    Rich,
    I understand Cosgrove is a good guy and I agree with his issues. Just doesn’t seem likely that he never signed a letter to a legislator voicing support or opposition to a bill going down in Springfield - regardless of whether or not you’ve seen him at the rail. Just sayin’…


  24. - Spliff - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:30 pm:

    Phocion
    By that criteria the thousands of people who send emails and letters to legislators on a daily basis would be exempt for working for the state or a board and commission.


  25. - Ghost - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:35 pm:

    Brady knows this stuff, he is after all adapt at identifying when its ok to vote to change zoning to benefit land he owns; and that is no conflict, so clearly Brady knows conflicts when he sees em.


  26. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:38 pm:

    - Ghost - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:35 pm:

    “Brady knows this stuff, he is after all adapt at identifying when its ok to vote to change zoning to benefit land he owns; and that is no conflict, so clearly Brady knows conflicts when he sees em.”

    The election is over, and you sound like the “Blame Bush” crowd, I will grant that Brady’s conduct was sleazy. Will you grant that Quinn has done at least as much or worse with his union deals and other things, or is you outrage a one-way street?


  27. - phocion - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:57 pm:

    Spliff,
    Only if they are doing it as part of their job. Point is, these rules are insane and have unintended and ridiculous consequences. I don’t think Cosgrove should be disqualified from serving. I do think a strict reading of the Lobbyist Registration Act can provide a sound argument why he should be disqualified. The more they try to “reform” in Springfield, the bigger problems they seem to cause. That’s all, folks.


  28. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 1:01 pm:

    - The election is over -

    Maybe you’d do better to remind Brady of that.


  29. - SUE - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 1:08 pm:

    LOL- come-on- appointment to the IHRC is a punishment not a reward- if the appointment had been to an entity where there was an opportunity to rip off the state it would be one thing but when was the last time anyone got into trouble at the IHRC?


  30. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 1:17 pm:

    So, according to you, STL, Brady can never again voice any opposition to anything Our Boy Pat® does without it being traced to his election loss. Sounds like you and Ghost were separated at birth.

    Like it or not, until someone else steps forward, Brady is the face of the state GOP, just as Quinn is for the Democrats.


  31. - Rarely Posts - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 1:21 pm:

    “Quiet”? Terry? Rich, you must not know Terry too well. LOL …


  32. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    - So, according to you, STL, Brady can never again voice any opposition to anything Our Boy Pat® does without it being traced to his election loss. -

    That doesn’t even make sense, oh great accuser of straw men. This is a campaign style talking point about nothing, and Brady’s next possible election against Quinn is a long time off. Did you not catch the words of our great leader:

    - Brady lost. Not by much, but he lost. Time to move on and stop over-reaching for non-controversies like this one. -

    And if Brady is the face of the state GOP, someone ought to let him know because he hasn’t exactly getting his face out there much lately.


  33. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 1:36 pm:

    Can I despise Fred Phelps? Please?


  34. - Rudy - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 3:20 pm:

    Does Rebecca Sanchez succeed Billy Ocasio, or is she being appointed to a different position? And if she succeeds him, any news on where Billy is going, or why?


  35. - Pat Robertson - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 4:03 pm:

    Small Town Liberal –This is a campaign style talking point about nothing, and Brady’s next possible election against Quinn is a long time off.–

    Making campaign-style talking points is all anyone does these days (except maybe the Speaker). Quinn is an excellent example, disturbingly close to matching his predecessor in the office at the art of campaigning rather than governing.


  36. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 4:46 pm:

    Sounds like Eglar is jealous these guys were appointed to state jobs and he’s still stuck with the candidate who lost.


  37. - Obamarama - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 4:59 pm:

    ===Like it or not, until someone else steps forward, Brady is the face of the state GOP, just as Quinn is for the Democrats.===

    Really? Our multiple time loser State Senator from Bloomington is the face of the IL-GOP? Actually that sounds about right.

    I would argue that Quinn isn’t the face of the DPI either–the face of the state maybe–but not the party. I suppose when I think of the face of the DPI, I think the Speaker, and then that tall goofy looking guy from Hyde park.

    But hey, if you guys want to claim Brady as your poster boy be my guest.


  38. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 6:23 pm:

    Rich: there was an openly supremely qualified gay man on the commission already: Greg Simoncini. Hmmm…not a political payoff to replace one gay man for another who hugely supported Quinn. And 47K annually is something, not even Cosgrove, wouldn’t want.


  39. - Chris - Saturday, Apr 2, 11 @ 7:46 pm:

    Cosgrove is not a lobbyist. His work communicates with the public, not with politicians.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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