Fahner: “I misspoke”
Tuesday, Aug 6, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller
* From an e-mail I received yesterday from Civic Committee President Ty Fahner…
Regarding my comments at the Union League Club in March, I misspoke.
First, while I may have said so, I didn’t call the ratings agencies, nor did any of our Civic Committee staff. My response to the questions was very confusing and inarticulate. If you notice, at the end of my answer, I close by saying it wouldn’t be the responsible thing for me to have done so with our members being the state’s largest employers. But I did say it.
He misspoke? That’s a pretty long story for a simple misspeak. Here’s the complete Fahner quote…
“The Civic Committee, not me, but me and some of the people that make up the Civic Committee, some of the same names I mentioned before, did meet with and call, in one case it was in person, a couple of calls to Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, and say, ‘How in the hell can you guys do this? You’re an enabler to let the state continue. You keep threatening more and more and more.’
“And I think now we’ve backed off, because we don’t want to be the straw that breaks the back, But if you watch what happened over the last few years, it’s been steadily down. Before that, it’s been the blind eye, and that’s a whole different topic, as you know, about how the rating agencies act and don’t act. That’s more in your field and stuff. It has been irresponsible. We have told them that we thought they were being irresponsible, but we stopped that a couple months ago. I do know that we suggested that they talk to the governor, the governor’s staff to see if he could give them comfort on where the state was going, and I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re really close now. I hope we’re close.”
“Inarticulate,” maybe, but not really confusing. He said what he said, and it was pretty darned detailed.
* Anyway, Fahner told me nobody from staff spoke with the ratings agencies, so I followed up with a question about whether any Civic Committee members had meetings and here’s his e-mailed response…
Rich, to be clear, I am not aware of anyone connected with the civic committee that contacted the rating agencies to urge Illinois be downgraded or for any other reason.
So, he made the story up out of whole cloth? And this guy is running the most powerful business group in Illinois?
* Back to Fahner’s original e-mail…
Finally, if there’s any good news in this, it’s that even a cynical political columnist like you now cares about pension reform, something we’ve been screaming about for a while now. We appreciate that. Stay on it. Illinois is in critical condition and we need everybody’s hands on deck.