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Report: Proft won’t run

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

* From the Twitters…


I’m not sure anyone ever really thought he was gonna run, but whatever.

…Adding… Illinois Review has a statement

“I feel a bit odd making a statement about something I am not going to do. However, since I have been openly contemplating another run for Illinois governor, it is appropriate I make my decision known for clarity’s sake and for the sake of generous supporters past and present. Therefore, after careful consideration and reflection I have decided that I will not be a candidate for governor in 2014. Instead, I will continue to work in support of selective Republican candidates for office at the local and state legislative levels. And I will continue to work from the platform I am fortunate to have at WLS radio in Chicago to do intellectual battle with the craven Illinois Ruling Class and to advance the flag for policies and personalities in furtherance of free minds and free markets.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      


Today’s mystery

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

* I received several text messages and phone calls about this automated poll last night…

Robo-calls in the 9th and 16th congresional districts, as well as parts of Lake County, hint that Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) could be considering a 2014 bid for Governor.

Tuesday night, Republicans in those Illinois districts began getting robo-calls that asked first about the four current Republican candidates seeking the nomination for Governor, then whether the person would support Kinzinger if he ran for Governor.

Given how relatively late in the GOP nomination process it is, there is little probability that Kinzinger will actually jump into the 2014 Governor’s race, and it is difficult to determine who or what group is behind the calls and the questions.

The Illinois Review writer goes on to list a bunch of theories about what’s going on, but I’ve made quite a few calls and don’t think that Kinzinger is considering a run. I’m just not sure what’s up.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

* From Lee Newspapers

“We are second-to-none when it comes to growing corn and soybeans in Illinois, and many other things,” Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday.

* The Question: What “other things” is Illinois known for growing?

- Posted by Rich Miller   86 Comments      


Actually, this is a good thing

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

* Sun-Times

Another new PAC that has ties to gubernatorial candidate and millionaire businessman Bruce Rauner emerged this week. Since Monday, Rauner, Jack Roeser and Richard Uihlein — all wealthy businessmen — have dumped $94,000 into the Reform PAC, according to a state campaign filing. Roeser is one of the most influential Republicans in the state.

“What they want to reform is anyone’s guess, but it’s an interesting gathering of people,” David Morrison, Deputy Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said in a post on Tuesday.

This is the second committee with ties to Rauner that’s outside of the candidate’s straight-up election committee.

* Actually, the explanation is pretty simple. From the PAC’s Board of Elections’ page

Purpose: To support Illinois Republican House candidates in the general election

* Freshman Rep. Dave McSweeney has been heavily involved in the PAC. From an August 24th e-mail…

I’ve helped raised $100,700 for a newly formed PAC called Reform PAC. The purpose of the PAC is help GOP State House candidates. The PAC will have minimal administrative expenses and will only invest in top tier winnable races. We’re confident that the PAC can quickly raise an additional $90,000 so that the total raised in the short run will be over $200,000. […]

The reason that I helped raised money for this effort is that we want to increase the number of GOP House members. In an off-year election, we should be successful if we unite and all GOP House members focus on raising money and continuing to recruit good candidates.

With the House Republican Organization’s finances in complete disarray, this is actually a good thing that Rauner and the others are doing. Not everything has to be a whack.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Vote set for tomorrow on House GOP Leader

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

* Subscribers have known about this for a few days

Illinois House Republicans are gathering to elect a new leader on Thursday following a summer of internal squabbling while the current caucus chief debated his political future.

The 1 p.m. meeting at Springfield’s Statehouse Inn follows House Republican Leader Tom Cross’ announcement last week that he would be stepping down from his post to run for treasurer. […]

According to House caucus rules, a majority of Republican members’ votes — 24 — are needed to elect a new leader.

* Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) was not pleased with the meeting’s timing and sent a letter to his colleagues blasting Rep. Jim Durkin. From the SJ-R

“It sounds like even though some of my people can’t be there, they are going to press ahead with their meeting on Thursday,” Poe said Tuesday. “I don’t’ think they worried about if my people could be there or not, they’d just like to have it.”

In a letter to House Republicans, Poe said the hasty election threatens a rift in the party. He said it was his understanding that Sept. 12 was selected by Cross because a majority of House Republicans said that was the most convenient time to meet. He also said changing the meeting date on such short notice will require the Republicans to suspend their internal rules for conducting caucus meetings if they want to vote on a new leader Thursday.

“I would suggest we not start our new caucus with this type of underhanded activity,” Poe said in his letter. “One Michael Madigan is enough.”

Ouch.

* And Poe isn’t giving up

“I have the assurance from the majority of our caucus that they will vote for me to be the next leader,” Durkin wrote. “And it has been made very clear that our caucus wants to get this vote behind us as soon as possible.”

A new leader needs 24 votes to get elected. Poe said he has 24 votes between solid commitments and “leaners.” There are 47 House Republicans.

“I’m not convinced he’ll have enough people there to win, either,” Poe said. “I don’t know what we do then.”

Subscribers have the full letters from both men.

Stay tuned.

…Adding… I forgot to mention that Illinois Family Action has weighed in against Durkin

Making him the minority leader for the Illinois House Republicans would undoubtedly elevate Representatives Ron Sandack (R-Westmont) and Ed Sullivan (R-Libertyville) into leadership positions. This is completely unacceptable. Both of these lawmakers are lobbying for him for this position. Both of these lawmakers are co-sponsors of SB 10 [gay marriage].

Another enormous blot on Durkin’s record is that more than anyone else, he was responsible for the elevation of Pat Brady to the post of Illinois Republican National Committeeman and then Illinois Republican Party Chairman. When Brady came out publicly and strongly for homosexual “marriage” earlier this year, he did more damage to the Illinois GOP than anyone since former Governor George Ryan. Jim Durkin’s cozy relationships with feckless politicians like Pat Brady and State Representatives Sandack and Sullivan have apparently caused him to reconsider his defense of true marriage.

A bit much, if you ask me.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Do they want failure?

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

* One of the components of the possible pension reform compromise that’s under discussion would be to use money currently appropriated for pension bonds to make pension payments once those bonds are paid off. The Tribune editorial board doesn’t like the idea

The state sold a total of $17.2 billion in bonds to make payments into the pension funds in 2003, 2010 and 2011. The state will be done paying off some of the bonds by 2015. One huge bond sale — the $10 billion borrowed under Rod Blagojevich — will be retired in 2033, freeing up more money to pay down the pension system’s liability.

That component — one of the linchpins of the draft proposal — worries us.

First, future money that would be set aside after the bonds are paid off is money that might better be spent elsewhere on education, Medicaid and services for the state’s most vulnerable. Or — get this — tax relief. Instead, under this plan it would be spent propping up a system that will perpetuate overly generous benefits that taxpayers simply cannot afford.

* OK, but the Tribune has repeatedly and forcefully editorialized in favor of House Speaker Michael Michael Madigan’s pension reform proposal, including this May 8th diatribe entitled “Knock yourselves out, Senators - But know that the fate of Madigan’s bill will define you”

Madigan’s plan makes it easier to project savings because it is based on more predictable outcomes.

* From an April 30th SJ-R story about Speaker Madigan’s pension plan

Madigan’s plan also calls for the state to use $1 billion a year now allocated to repaying pension bonds to paying down pension debt once the bonds are retired.

So, the Trib is now attempting to slay a proposal that it has long supported. Why? I dunno. But I think it’s fair to suggest the same answer that the Tribune itself discussed on June 12th

And there’s plenty of suspicion that good buddies Madigan and Cullerton aren’t really at impasse, they’re just gaming everybody; failure, for some reason, suits them.

* Now, let’s go back to the more recent editorial blasting the possible compromise plan

Money from the state’s main checking account that now pays down pension borrowing debts would be redirected once the debts are paid off. The money would be invested and, assuming an 8 percent return, eventually get pumped back into the pension system to reduce the liability.

Any investment adviser will tell you that expecting an 8 percent return is, um, an arguably fanciful projection. Yet the plan would work only if those steady returns materialize.

* From the Tribune Company’s 2012 financial statement

Effective Dec. 30, 2012, the Company began utilizing the Aon Hewitt AA-Only Bond Universe Yield Curve for discounting future benefit obligations and calculating interest cost. The Aon Hewitt yield curves represent yields on high quality (AA and above) corporate bonds that closely match the cash flows of the estimated payouts for the Company’s benefit obligations. Prior to Dec. 30, 2012, the Company had utilized the Citigroup Pension Discount Curve for discounting future benefit obligations and calculating interest cost.

The Company used a building block approach to determine its current 7.5% assumption for the long-term expected rate of return on pension plan assets. This approach included a review of actual historical returns achieved and anticipated long-term performance of each asset class.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Today Lard

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

* From a photo taken at yesterday’s Du Quoin State Fair Republican Day and posted on 115th House District candidate Terri Bryant’s Facebook page

…Adding… Just so there’s no confusion, I’m not trying to cast any aspersions at all on Ms. Bryant. It’s just a funny picture.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013

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A black mark on apparent success

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* From the AP

After shutting down all early-out programs for three years, a revised, stricter plan was approved by Quinn and lawmakers last spring that overall appears to be less problematic. Records analyzed by the AP show that since March, more than 1,600 inmates have been let go up to six months early, and only 20 have been returned to prison for violating parole — just over 1 percent.

* But one of those early parolees may have committed a murder

The suspect in the recent fatal shooting of a Decatur man was released from an Illinois prison five months early as part of a revamped out-for-good-behavior prisons program, according to records reviewed by The Associated Press.

Joshua A. Jones served 19 months of a four-year sentence for drug-dealing and left the state prison in Vandalia May 3. Jones is now in Macon County Jail charged with murder in the Aug. 17 shooting death of 22-year-old Marvin E. Perry in Decatur — three months before his original release date.

The case is a potential embarrassment for Gov. Pat Quinn and the Department of Corrections under the revamped early-release program, just three years after the governor struggled to win the 2010 election following a scandal involving the early release of more than 1,700 inmates within weeks or even days of arriving at prison. The AP reported at the time that they included hundreds of prisoners convicted of violent crimes or with violent histories.

* Background on Jones from the Decatur paper

Jones has had three felony cases, including two involving firearms, in the past eight years.

He received his four-year sentence on Dec. 10, 2012, after pleading guilty to charges of dealing cocaine and heroin. In that case, he was arrested after police received a report of a man with a handgun near the intersection of Main and Hilton streets on Oct. 3, 2011. When officers arrived, Jones reportedly ran from them while holding a semiautomatic handgun. When he was booked into the jail, a bag was recovered from his rear end containing 18 crack cocaine rocks and 25 heroin rocks.

Felony charges of armed violence were dropped as part of a plea deal. With credit for time served awaiting trial and day-for-day prison credit for good behavior, Jones was released May 3.

In 2009, Jones was charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon for carrying a handgun in a vehicle. As part of a plea agreement, he received 18 months conditional discharge, a lighter form of probation, and his charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

* How it went down

Perry was shot to death about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 15 in the 1200 block of North Union Street, as he stood near his girlfriend’s home. There were many people in the vicinity at the time, including some who were involved in a verbal altercation. The victim was apparently briefly engaged in the argument before he was fatally shot in the chest.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Fahner blasts Poe

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* The Civic Committee’s Ty Fahner has come out from under a rock to blast the possible election of Rep. Raymond Poe as House GOP Leader

“Poe’s selection as leader would be another reason why employers large and small would think it prudent for those companies and shareholders to look for a less hostile business climate,” said Mr. Fahner, noting that Mr. Poe favors only the relatively modest plan that was bargained with state unions by Senate President John Cullerton, rather than the much deeper cuts that Mr. Cross has supported.

Then came the knife. “Any member who supports Poe can expect little or no financial support (from business) going forward given the critical need for meaningful pension reform and Poe’s public opposition to it.”

Subtle. As is another comment from Mr. Fahner: “Poe has taken a very substantial amount of money from all of the public employee unions. . . .I guess his leadership would not be overly concerned with the interests of the roughly 95 percent of the people in Illinois who are not public employees.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      


Pat Brady to lobby for gay marriage

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* From WBEZ

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has hired former state Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady to lobby for a same-sex marriage bill in Springfield, months after his own support of gay marriage sparked a controversy that led to his resignation.

The ACLU confirmed Tuesday that it has hired Next Generation Public Affairs, the lobbying and public relations firm Brady co-founded after he left his party job in May.

“I think the very core of the conservative movement, which I consider myself a part of, is application of equality under the law for all,” Brady said Tuesday in an interview with WBEZ.

Brady will focus on lobbying House Republicans in hopes of getting the same-sex marriage bill passed during this fall’s veto session, he said. He’ll also tap the political donors he cultivated during his four years as party chairman to raise money for groups that support gay marriage, and for Republican lawmakers who may be hesitant to cast a yes vote, fearing a challenge in next year’s primary.

Brady’s hiring comes after the ACLU launched a $10 million national push in June, aimed at winning support for same-sex marriage from Republican lawmakers and voters in a handful of states, including Illinois.

Steve Schmidt, a GOP strategist who was formerly a top advisor to Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, is heading up the national effort.

It’s probably not a bad hire at all, particularly if he follows through on the fundraising aspect. That alone could make him more effective than he was as chairman, when he couldn’t convince more than one Senate Republican and two House Republicans to vote for gay marriage. Brady also wasn’t the only Republican operative pushing gay marriage in Illinois last spring. Aside from Sen. Mark Kirk, some highly experienced and capable GOP lobbyists were also on board. They didn’t have much success.

I have no evidence yet, but I figure Tom Cross might decide to be a “Yes” vote now that he’s stepping aside as House GOP Leader. But that won’t have anything to do with lobbying. It’ll be about the fall campaign.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Another HGOP leadership update

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

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Question of the day

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* From Tedd McClelland

Some time next spring, Michael Madigan will become the longest-serving state House Speaker in American history.

The current record is held by Thomas Bailey Murphy, who ruled the Georgia House of Representatives for 29 years, from 1973 to 2002.

First elected speaker in 1982, Madigan has held the job for all but two years — 1995 and 1996, when Lee Daniels sneaked in, as a beneficiary of Newt Gingrich’s “Republican Revolution.” Madigan long ago eclipsed the Illinois record of 11 years, held by Republican David Shanahan, who served from 1915-21, 1923-25 and 1929-32. […]

Madigan has a few things in common with Murphy. Both reigned as political bosses whose style was formed in an earlier period in their state’s history. In Murphy’s case, it was an era when rural courthouse gangs dominated Georgia politics. In Madigan’s case, it’s been the Democratic machine that reached its maximum effectiveness under his first patron, Mayor Richard J. Daley.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Murphy “could with the nod of his head make or break legislation.”

* Reboot Illinois has a list of the top ten longest-serving Illinois legislators

* The Question: Do you support term limits for state legislators? Bonus Question: Do you support term limits for the four top legislative leaders? Take the polls and then explain your answers in comments, please.


survey services


polls

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


A cautionary tale

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* I was visiting a good friend’s office yesterday and accidentally left my mobile phone behind. I was sitting at a stop light in front of her office building listening to some loud tunes on the radio when my passenger door suddenly opened. The next thing I knew, there was a smiling person pointing my phone at me.

Needless to say, I was startled out of my mind, although I eventually managed a big smile and a “Thank you!” to my friend.

As I drove away, the incident got me to thinking. Even if I had a concealed carry permit, it wouldn’t have done me much good if my friend had been a carjacker. No way did I have enough time to react, let alone respond. I didn’t see her walk up to my vehicle. If she’d been a carjacker, my truck would’ve been gone, along with my gun.

Your response might be, “Well, you were in a ’safe’ area, so there was no need to be on your guard.” I’d point to the horrible murder of Sen. Napoleon Harris’ brother-in-law in a pretty safe South Loop neighborhood this summer. The family said they believed it was a carjacking.

* All I’m saying here is that I doubt most criminals are stupid enough to come at you from the front and give you time to respond. Predators try to take advantage. So, as someone who is himself planning to get a concealed carry permit once they’re available, I’m under no illusions that I’ll be all that much safer.

And God help me if I had overreacted and shot my extraordinarily helpful friend. I don’t want to even think about that. I wasn’t carrying yesterday, of course, because I don’t have a permit. But one day I may be.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


New play to debut about Stu Levine

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* From a press release…

During the federal investigation of former Governor Rod Blagojevich, one of the biggest stories became the unsavory life of political insider and star government witness, Stuart Levine. As the judge said at Levine’s sentencing: “you are certainly one of the most corrupt individuals this district has ever seen.”

The tawdry and salacious headlines about Levine - bribes, kickbacks, sex, drugs, and E-cigarettes - grabbed the attention of actor and writer Tim Touhy, a native Chicagoan and lifelong political junkie. Touhy also worked as a senior communications staffer for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and a former Governor of Illinois (Republican Jim Edgar). Using court transcripts, news articles and group devising techniques, Touhy and The Agency’s Artistic Director, Andrew Gallant, put together this ground-breaking work.

“This is not the story of how the feds caught up with Rod Blagojevich; frankly, who cares anymore,” said Touhy. “This is a story of how one man yanked the business-as-usual politics of Chicago and Illinois out from behind the curtain and put them on display for the world to see.”

“I Wish to Apologize to the People of Illinois” is the name of the play. It premieres at Collaboraction’s Pentagon Theatre in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee…

Previews Oct. 31 - Nov. 3; press opening Nov 7; runs Nov. 8 - Dec. 8. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 PM; Sunday matinees at 3 PM.

Maybe we should do a group outing? Some of you may remember that I once held a party at the “How the Blagojegrinch Stole Christmas” play a few years back.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Grogan to announce this afternoon

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* From a press release…

DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogran will hold a press conference to formally announce his candidacy for Illinois State Treasurer on Tuesday, August 27, in Du Quoin. Grogran (R) would be the first CPA to serve as State Treasurer.

What: Bob Grogan press conference, announcing for State Treasurer
Date: Tuesday, August 27th
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Republican Tent, Du Quoin State Fair, Du Quoin, IL

Notice the misspelling of his own name. Oops.

* Shall we welcome him to the race with a caption contest? From Grogan’s Facebook page

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      


Dillard promises to appoint conservative advisory committee, wants “second gas tax” instead of casinos

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* Illinois Review has an interesting roundup of the weekend’s “Conservative Summit,” which picked state Sen. Kirk Dillard as their guy for governor

Dillard promised the group conservatives would have unprecedented access to him, and that he would appoint, and regularly meet with, a committee of conservatives to strategize on public policy.

* But he also created an opening for anti-tax candidate Bruce Rauner

When asked about gambling expansion, [Dillard] said he would try and pair down the number of casinos, preferring a second gas tax rather than gambling expansion to fund roads.

* And what about that Obama TV ad? It’ll help him in the general, Dillard said

As to the 2008 ad he did praising Barack Obama, Dillard told the attendees he has never supported Obama, but that the ad does give him some credibility in the Black community.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Follow-up on HGOP Leader election

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

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Union coalition blasts pension reform outline

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* From a We Are One Illinois press release…

“Published reports suggest the legislative conference committee on pension reform is ready to rehash the same unfair, unconstitutional attacks on retirement security.

“Particularly harmful is the committee’s threat to delay and sharply reduce the cost-of-living adjustment that protects retirees from inflation. Research shows that a COLA cut to half the rate of inflation slashes the benefit earned by a retiree just as deeply as the drastic Senate Bill 1 that was twice rejected in the Senate.

“Teachers, police, nurses, caregivers and hundreds of thousands more working and retired public servants earned their pension, never missed a payment, and in most cases aren’t eligible for Social Security. They deserve better from the conferees. So does the Illinois Constitution, which lawmakers are sworn to uphold and which provisions of the committee’s outline would directly violate.

“We urge conferees and all legislators to abandon unconstitutional cuts and focus on Senate Bill 2404, a compromise pension solution that maintains basic fairness, saves nearly $140 billion and has majority support in both the Senate and House.”

The research referenced in the statement is here. Over twenty years, the half-CPI proposal would reduce SERS pension benefits by 25.4 percent, according to the study.

…Adding… Tribune

The Teachers’ Retirement System, which covers 700,000 working and retired teachers outside Chicago, downgraded its estimated savings from the Madigan plan by about $24.5 billion. That cuts the estimated overall savings for the Madigan plan to $163.2 billion.

And

Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, Madigan’s pension leader, also cautioned that the elements that have surfaced don’t represent a deal.

“No one said ‘yes,’ but no one said ‘no’ either,” Nekritz said about the overall “package or on individual components.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   92 Comments      


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