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*** UPDATED x1 - Drops another half mil into campaign *** Rauner releases three years of tax returns

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

*** UPDATE *** A commenter just pointed out that Rauner reported contributing another $500,000 to his campaign late this afternoon. That puts him at almost $1.25 million from himself.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Well, this is a heckuva way to bury a news story. Release your tax returns on the same day as candidate filing and a few days before Thanksgiving. From a press release…

Rauner 2012 Tax Summary:
Income on Federal Return: $53,487,803
Adjusted Gross Income on Federal Return: $53,069,810
Federal Income Taxes Paid: $10,136,134
Federal Tax Rate on Income: 19%
Federal Effective Tax Rate on Adjusted Gross Income: 19.1%
Illinois Net Income on State Return: $55,128,335
Illinois Income Taxes Paid: $2,657,192
View the 1040 by clicking here

Rauner 2011 Tax Summary:
Income on Federal Return: $28,154,293
Adjusted Gross Income on Federal Return: $28,066,984
Federal Taxes Paid: $6,072,630
Federal Tax Rate on Income: 21.5%
Federal Effective Tax Rate on Adjusted Gross Income: 21.6%
Illinois Net Income on State Return: $31,700,229
Illinois Income Taxes Paid: $1,582,102
View the 1040 by clicking here

Rauner 2010 Tax Summary:
Income on Federal Return: $27,158,836
Adjusted Gross Income on Federal Return: $26,915,158
Federal Taxes Paid: $4,585,913
Federal Tax Rate on Income: 16.9%
Federal Effective Tax Rate on Adjusted Gross Income: 17%
Illinois Net Income on State Return: $29,987,092
Illinois Income Taxes Paid: $899,613
View the 1040 by clicking here

I’ll post his running mate’s returns in a bit.

…Adding… As promised…

Sanguinetti 2012 Tax Summary:
Income on Federal Return: $212,790
Adjusted Gross Income on Federal Return: $212,790
Federal Income Taxes Paid: $31,542
Federal Tax Rate on Income: 14.8%
Federal Effective Tax Rate on Adjusted Gross Income: 14.8%
Illinois Net Income on State Return: $202,171
Illinois Income Taxes Paid: $9,254
View the 1040 by clicking here

Sanguinetti 2011 Tax Summary:
Income on Federal Return: $210,392
Adjusted Gross Income on Federal Return: $210,392
Federal Income Taxes Paid: $33,051
Federal Tax Rate on Income: 15.7%
Federal Effective Tax Rate on Adjusted Gross Income: 15.7%
Illinois Net Income on State Return: $200,014
Illinois Income Taxes Paid: $9,150
View the 1040 by clicking here

Sanguinetti 2010 Tax Summary:
Income on Federal Return: $267,658
Adjusted Gross Income on Federal Return: $267,658
Federal Income Taxes Paid: $52,270
Federal Tax Rate on Income: 19.5%
Federal Effective Tax Rate on Adjusted Gross Income: 19.5%
Illinois Net Income on State Return: $209,477
Illinois Income Taxes Paid: $6,284
View the 1040 by clicking here

- Posted by Rich Miller   80 Comments      

Madigan tells members to expect “one day” session December 3rd

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* From an e-mail to House Democrats…

All members should be plan on being in Springfield for Session on Tuesday, December 3 at 11 a.m.

The House would expect this to be a one day session.

In addition, some committees may be posted for Monday, December 2 for midafternoon. Postings will be done on Tuesday, November 26.

Executive Committee will be meeting on Monday, December 2 at 3 p.m.

Thanks and have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

Tim Mapes | Chief of Staff

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

A clue or a hack?

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* This was posted on “Da Speaker’s” Twitter account and was then quickly deleted

The identity of “Da Speaker” has been a mystery for months. S/He’s a pretty funny person, whoever it is. A recent chuckler

* Anyway, “President Klickna” referenced in the deleted Tweet is the Illinois Education Association’s President Cinda Klickna. Could Da Speaker be with the IEA? I asked IEA spokesperson Charlie McBarron via e-mail if either he or his union are involved…

Hi Rich:

Wow. We just put that video up on our site about 45 minutes ago.

No, sorry. We aren’t him.

I hope this increases our views though.


* And then this appeared…

Hacked? Yeah, right.

Wasn’t that Chief Keef’s excuse?

* I then e-mailed Illinois Issues’ Jamey Dunn, who profiled Da Speaker in a recent piece, and asked whether she’d seen the Tweets. She hadn’t, but she did say this…

I was just talking to somebody the other day about how the parody account thing could be pretty tricky just for that reason. It would probably be easy to fire off a tweet from the wrong account.


I sent Da Speaker a direct message via Twitter. I’ll let you know if I get a response.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* As noted below, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tio Hardiman and his running mate filed nominating petitions today. Hardiman has contributed a few thousand dollars to his own campaign, but is still filing reports on paper.

* He has a website which lays out his “20/20″ economic development plan

Tio Hardiman’s 20/20 Plan for Job Creation in Illinois has three core components.

Eliminate the Head Tax in Illinois to Create more Jobs

As Governor, I plan to eliminate the Head Tax in Illinois which has caused many corporations to consider doing business in another state. Eliminating the Head Tax will help encourage economic development in Illinois. Revisions to the Illinois Tax Code will be required to entice businesses to stay in Illinois and cause others to return. I am opposed to balancing the problems of the state on the backs of working class people and corporations doing business in Illinois.

Recruiting Investors

As Governor, I would organize strategy sessions with select billionaires to help strategize on how to boost the economy. He will also use this opportunity to help small and mid-size businesses reach their fullest potential.

Reducing the Deficit and Reforming the Pension System

Tio Hardiman has a plan to help reform the Illinois pension system and reduce the state deficit. He would propose a special tax on business transactions executed at the Chicago Board of Trade and a special set aside Lottery that goes directly into a Pension Fund which cannot be liberated by the General Assembly other than for pension purposes only.

* He has a new Internet video

* From the Twitters

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

What’s in a backlog?

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* From an SJ-R story on the state’s bill backlog

[Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s spokesman Brad Hahn] said that a strong tax season this year allowed the office to “aggressively pay down bills” in April and May. By the end of May, the backlog was down to $5.8 billion and vendors were waiting a minimum of two months to be paid, half what they were waiting at the start of April.

That was, however, the high-water mark in the state’s efforts to pay bills on time. By the end of June, also the end of the state’s fiscal year, the backlog was sitting at $6.1 billion.

By Oct. 1, the backlog was up to $7.5 billion, including bills being held in state agencies prior to being given to Topinka’s office for payment. And as of late last week, the total was at $8.8 billion — an even higher number than at the start of April.

Hahn said the office believes the total will hit $9 billion by the end of December, exactly where Topinka predicted it would be last summer. It is the second year in a row the backlog will sit at about $9 billion at the end of the calendar year.

* Drudge had a little fun at Illinois’ expense today…

* But let’s define “backlog,” shall we?

According to the comptroller’s office today, $4.6 billion of that $8.8 billion “backlog” is less than 30 days old. I’m not sure how that can be defined as old bills.

Also according to the comptroller’s office, $1.6 billion of those bills are between 30-60 days old, so that’s not terribly horrible. But, $2.6 billion in invoices have surpassed the 60-day mark since the comptroller received the payment paperwork.

Yes, the trend is not good. But the problem isn’t as bad as reported.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

More campaign stuff: Simon won’t file today - Grogan’s possible conflicts - Vallas and the teachers

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon has not yet filed her nominating petitions and according to her campaign won’t be filing any today.

From Simon’s campaign manager…

We’re still rounding up and verifying.

Simon has no Democratic primary opponent, so filing nominating petitions today is not really necessary.

But petition filing day is more than just standing in line and handing in sheets of paper. It’s also about perception. Filing on time is seen as a sign of strength and organization. Not filing can show weakness.

* I mean, heck, even Bob Grogan filed for treasurer today.

Grogan, by the way, loves to trumpet the fact that he’s a “certified fraud examiner.” From the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s code of ethics

A Certified Fraud Examiner shall not engage in any illegal or unethical conduct, or any activity which would constitute a conflict of interest. [Emphasis added.]

But if you look at Grogan’s endorsement list, you’ll see that the vast majority are officials whom Grogan audits.

Conflict perhaps?

* Meanwhile

Since landing work outside Illinois more than a decade ago, former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas hasn’t just focused on leading troubled school systems in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Conn.

Last summer, in a little-publicized $311,000 consulting deal with the Illinois State Board of Education, Gov. Pat Quinn’s newly named running mate offered a financial blueprint to turn around the nearly bankrupt North Chicago school district.

Teachers weren’t happy.

To avert insolvency in North Chicago Community Unit District 187 by 2015, Vallas recommended closing four of the district’s nine schools and laying off 130 teachers and staff — 39 percent of the district’s workforce.

Vallas, a longtime backer of charter schools, also singled out the financial drain caused by the lone charter school in District 187 but didn’t offer strategies in the report to address what he said “inequitably amounts to a heavy subsidy at the expense of the rest of the district.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Unions ponder next move

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column…

Illinois union leaders are reportedly mulling several options about what to do in the governor’s race. But the only thing the leaders appear to agree on so far is that anti-union Republican gazillionaire Bruce Rauner cannot be allowed to win.

Some union honchos are looking at endorsing a candidate in the Republican primary. State Sen. Kirk Dillard, for instance, already has strong support from the Operating Engineers, a union that is now even more opposed to Rauner since the candidate’s endorsement by the strongly anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors group. Other unions have also taken keen notice of that endorsement.

Surprisingly enough, Dillard is also being looked at by some public employee unions. They’re hoping that he’ll be a “No” vote on pension reform. Dillard told the Kankakee Daily Journal several days ago that he wants employees to pay more into the system and wants a later retirement age, neither of which appear to be in the cards at the moment. Dillard would know what was going on behind the scenes with the pension reform conference committee because his running mate, Rep. Jil Tracy, sits on the committee.

However he chooses to explain it, a “No” vote on pension reform could bring him closer to a possible union nod. Then again, Dillard told the Sun-Times last week that he had always supported pension reform and denied rumors that he was planning to vote against the bill. But even a pension bill “Yes” vote will not, in and of itself, prevent some unions from endorsing Dillard.

Dillard’s campaign has struggled to raise money, barely able to meet its expenses (if that), so a labor endorsement would bring in much needed dollars. Unions have backed Dillard in the past, to the tune of $400,000 from public employee unions alone during his career. They know he’s a social conservative (he was endorsed last week by noted figures on the far right like Phyllis Schlafly and Penny Pullen), but they feel they can at least get a fair hearing from him.

Treasurer Dan Rutherford has tried to reach out to labor, particularly on the pension issue. He has attempted to steer away from taking a hard public line on pension reform, urging compromise. But Rutherford doesn’t have much history with the unions, so he’ll have to work very hard to woo labor leaders if he wants their support. Dillard speaks their language while Rutherford is more of an unknown quantity. Rutherford’s campaign has far more money on hand than Dillard’s, but nowhere near enough to compete with Rauner.

Still, does any candidate really want organized labor’s support in a Republican gubernatorial primary? If you’ll recall, a Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll conducted August 21st found that a whopping 80 percent of likely GOP primary voters said they’d be less inclined to vote for a Republican candidate for governor “who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from public employee unions.”

So, others in organized labor are strenuously arguing against any endorsement at all, believing today’s Republican Party voters are so hostile to labor’s interests that overt support for a preferred union candidate would almost surely result in a political death sentence and result in a host of unknown, uncontrollable possibilities.

That particular faction is arguing hard for an all-out assault on Rauner during the primary. None of the other candidates would be nearly as hostile to labor’s interest as Rauner would be, goes the reasoning.

An all-out TV advertising assault on Rauner could knock him out of contention. There’s a thick opposition research book on Rauner, but his association with Democrats like Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be just as enormously toxic for GOP primary voters as public employee campaign contributions (83 percent less likely to support, according to an August Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll).

However, some labor leaders say that Gov. Pat Quinn has been moving to the opinion that running against Rauner might not be so horrible after all. Despite Rauner’s potential to spend tens of millions of dollars next year, some Quinn backers think Rauner’s background gives them enough ammunition to thump him.

Yeah, well Rauner has enough of a personal fortune to stay on the air from now through next November without a break. His ads are already focused on painting Quinn as the bad guy, and that theme will only intensify if he wins the GOP primary. He could bury Quinn before the governor has a chance to bury him.


- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Rauner’s money

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* The Tribune has a story on Bruce Rauner’s wealth

“Bruce has never let his success change him,” declares the campaign’s official bio. “He still drives a 20-year-old camper van, wears an $18 watch, and stays in the cheapest hotel room he can find when he’s on the road.”

But while Rauner may have a bargain-basement Timex on his wrist, his real estate portfolio is pure Rolex.

* Illinois Review helpfully compiled the nine Rauner homes into a handy list

* A New York penthouse on Central Park in a century-old Beaux Arts style building known as The Prasada, which they paid $10 million for eight years ago, and now worth possibly $48 million.

* An oceanfront home in Key Largo, Fla., currently worth almost $7 million.

* A farm in Wyoming where he grows barley, alfalfa and winter wheat

* His New Moon Ranch in Livingston, Mont with a 6,000-square-foot home valued at $2.2 million

* A condominium in the luxury Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City valued at $1.75 million

* Two condominium units on East Randolph Street in Chicago’s Loop. Records show Rauner paid more than $1.2 million for the smaller one, $4 million for the other.

* A second ranch in McLeod Montana.

* A Winnetka house estimated at $3.3 million, the property the Rauners consider their primary residence, on which they paid $64,337.84 in property taxes this year.

* More from the Trib piece

Rauner, 57, who describes himself as just a middle-class kid “who worked his fanny off,” grew up mostly in upscale North Shore suburbs. His father was a vice president at electronics giant Motorola.

The watch stuff I can take because it appears to be real. The myth about his hard scrabble upbringing is just goofy, however.

* Meanwhile, the Sun-Times looks at the history of wealthy candidates

With the exception of former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald — the Illinois Republican who self-financed his campaign and spent one term in Washington — a good number of millionaire statewide candidates who attempted to fund their own campaigns, in whole or in part, have suffered sound defeats.

There are common pitfalls: They’re too touchy and too stuffy. Many, having been CEOs, are not used to taking orders, not willing to get in a room with voters or not willing to listen to expert staff, particularly when it’s the candidate’s own money on the line.

They’re rigid enough for business but lack warmth needed on the campaign trail.

“If you wrote a sentence about any of those guys, would the word ‘charisma’ be in it?” said Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University.

Green said millionaire candidates often fly off the handle at debates and crumble under criticism.

“When everyone’s telling you ‘yes’ your entire adult life, you develop an awfully thin skin,” Green said. “It develops because they’re used to people kissing their butt.”

Except that really doesn’t apply to Rauner. He seems to be enjoying himself out there.

* Also this

Gidwitz spent $4 million of his own money and raised another $5 million. In the end he got roughly 75,000 votes.

Rauner has already raised over $4 million from people other than himself. Rauner has far greater appeal to donors than Gidwitz did.

- Posted by Rich Miller   92 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Hendon with Hardiman *** Filing day kicks off

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* I went to a restaurant at the Springfield Hilton last night to meet with some people and ran into several folks who were in town to file their nominating petitions. It was a jovial atmosphere. Petition filing day is sorta like the beginning of spring training. Optimism abounds. Anyone can be a winner.

Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign has filed his nominating petitions. I’m told they collected something like 25,000 50,000 signatures and pared that down to their best 10,000 over the weekend.

Quinn’s Democratic primary opponent Tio Hardiman has filed his petitions, although there’s a mistake in his running mate’s name on the Board of Election’s website. Her actual name is Brunell Donald-Kyei. She’s an attorney who started at the Public Guardian’s office and is now in private practice. She’s a former foster ward, who went into the system after her mother’s death. She has no political background.

*** UPDATE *** Sun-Times

Hardiman undoubtedly will face a challenge to knock him from the ballot, but he vouched for his signatures and thanked his consultant, former state Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, for personally “vetting” the names to “make sure the signatures were solid.”

Hendon usually does a pretty good job with petitions (he also became an expert at knocking people off the ballot), so Hardiman has a good shot at staying on the ballot.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

All four of the Republican candidates have filed petitions.

* Both Jim Oberweis and Doug Truax have filed petitions to run for US Senate. From a Truax press release…

Doug Truax’s building campaign passed its first milestone early this morning as the West Point grad, Army veteran and successful entrepreneur filed his nominating petitions in Springfield for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.

As a political newcomer, it is a daunting task for a first-time statewide candidate to gather the needed signatures. Truax passed the test with flying colors and has gained additional momentum with two important early endorsements.

“Our campaign is bringing young and old, men and women, rural, urban and suburban regions together in a growing coalition to retire Dick Durbin and take Illinois and Washington in a better direction,” Truax said in Springfield Monday.

In the first two important joint appearances before major Republican audiences where both major candidates spoke, Truax strongly bested perennial candidate Jim Oberweis.

    On Saturday in Bolingbrook at the state convention of the Federation of Illinois Young Republicans, Truax won the straw poll vote with 70.9 percent of the vote.

    Last week, Truax won 64 percent of the vote at Palatine Township Republican Organization after hearing from both candidates.

“There is a yearning out there for a new kind of conservative candidate who can build a wider coalition in order to defeat Dick Durbin,” Truax said. “We are pleased that the early results indicate that our message is resonating with GOP voters.”

* You can click here to watch the petitions come in and search those already filed. Tell us what you see.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Rauner and Madigan

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* My Sun-Times column

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has made no bones about his eagerness to take on House Speaker Michael Madigan if he’s elected.

Rauner constantly claims he is the best man for the job of cutting the entrenched, powerful Democrat down to size.

The other three Republican candidates also claim that they are the best people to deal with Madigan. But Rauner has been more forceful than all of them put together, going so far as to say he will “stand up to Madigan, because I know where his special interest groups are, and I can go after them.”

Much of this is just red meat for the GOP masses, who despise Madigan. Heck, some of the same folks who are backing Rauner now have also backed Madigan or worked with him.

Ken Griffin, the richest man in the state, gave half a million dollars to Stand for Children’s Illinois political action committee back in 2010. So did a lot of other Rauner pals. Rauner himself takes credit for bringing the school reform group into this state. And as part of Rauner’s own legislative strategy, the group made huge contributions to several of Speaker Madigan’s candidates. They kicked in $50,000 to Madigan last year for good measure.

So, if Rauner “goes after” Madigan’s special interest groups, at least some of them will be his own friends.

Rauner is no fan of teachers’ unions, and those unions, in turn, really don’t care for Speaker Madigan, either. Indeed, Madigan eagerly took all that cash from Stand for Children in 2010 because he was warring with the teachers unions over education reform.

Rauner also detests AFSCME, the union that represents state workers. Madigan is no fan of that union, either, which has boycotted contributions to his campaign committees. Mention the name of the union’s executive director Henry Bayer to Madigan and he rolls his eyes. Last year when AFSCME was backing a candidate for the Illinois House who was also a member of the union, Madigan barely lifted a finger to help the guy.

And, of course, the public employee unions are all up in arms over the way Madigan has pushed to cut pension benefits.

Would Madigan like to see AFSCME’s wings clipped? Probably so. Same goes for the teachers’ unions.

Madigan pushed for gay marriage, Rauner says he doesn’t oppose it. Both men spend a lot of time hanging out with rich people, corporate CEO’s, etc. They speak much the same language.

They do have their differences, of course, but it’s mainly a matter of degree. Rauner is pushing hard for term limits, but his proposed constitutional amendment won’t take effect until January 1, 2023. By then, Madigan will be almost 81 years old.

Frankly, I think both men could work together pretty well if Rauner is elected. They both have a keen understanding of how money and politics intertwine, for example. Rauner was one of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s largest contributors. He made Mayor Rahm Emanuel a millionaire by hooking him up with a sweet corporate deal. He understands, like Madigan, that the best way to a politician’s heart is through his wallet. They speak the same language.

But, maybe Rauner won’t want to work together. It’s very possible that he could take the Rod Blagojevich route, declare war on Madigan, shut down government and generally make a disaster of things. A little “creative destruction” is necessary every now and then, but Blagojevich always took things way too far.

If that turns out to be Rauner’s chosen path, well, Madigan has plenty of experience dealing with such matters.


- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Tornado relief update

Monday, Nov 25, 2013

* Thanks to generous donations from Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon, Tom and Lori Cullen, Donna Baiocchi and many others, our total raised for Washington, IL-area tornado victims is now $7,504.

We did good.

If you haven’t participated yet, you can still click here to donate for as long as you want. I’ll update the total again tomorrow.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* A generous $500 contribution from Rep. Dave McSweeney bumped up our fundraising total to $4,804 as of 5:43 this afternoon. Many, many thanks to everyone for helping out the Washington, IL-area tornado victims.

Of course, you can still contribute any time. Click here to give. Thanks!

*** UPDATE 1 *** As of late Saturday morning, our grand total is now up to $5,969! Many, many thanks to Rep. Mike Zalewsi, Allen Skillikorn, Jo Johnson and several others for their generous contributions since yesterday afternoon. Click here to help. Thanks!

Here’s a photo of Oscar at his birthday party last night…

*** UPDATE 2 *** A bigtime donation from Rep. Lou Lang as well as other generous gifts have helped push our grand total so far to $6,679. Thanks to all! Click here to keep it going!

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* Oscar the Puppy is loving his birthday haircut, by the way. Here’s a bit of chaotic video I shot at the salon when I picked him up

He’s such a little cutie.

* Will Cousineau helped choose the winner of today’s caption contest. I’ll be donating $100 to our tornado relief fund in Oswego Willy’s honor

“We know you are married, but where does ‘Speaker Madigan’s Ward Office’ fall on your ‘Speed Dial’…”

* Rep. Greg Harris generously donated $250 to our tornado relief fund today. Greg’s had a pretty good week, what with his gay marriage bill being signed into law. So, I let him choose our Friday music video. He didn’t disappoint

Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* Thanks to some incredibly generous donations from people like Mark Glennon, Reps. Greg Harris and Dennis Reboletti, Matt O’Shea and many, many others, as of 3:42 pm we’re just shy of $4000 raised today!

Thanks to everyone from the bottom of my heart for helping us raise money for the tornado victims in Washington, East Peoria and Pekin.

* Unfortunately, I can’t yet share a post-haircut video of Oscar because he’s still at the “salon.”

But here’s an Oscar the Puppy photo collage made by his mommy. Click it for a larger version…

I have never been able to get over how cute that little guy is.

* There’s still plenty of time left in the day. Please, click here and help! Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

Rate the Oberweis announcement video

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* State Sen. Jim Oberweis announced his US Senate campaign via YouTube today. He answers a question right off the bat about why he’s running again. He admits to making “mistakes” in his past campaigns. He even says he plans to work across the aisle in the Senate. Oberweis also criticized Sen. Dick Durbin for serving in DC since Michael Jordan was a college sophomore.

Rate it

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

We’ve reached our third goal!

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* Donations to Washington, IL-area tornado victims from this website alone have exceeded $1,000. The grand total raised as of 2:18 pm is $2,417.


* Here’s your Oscar the Puppy video

If we raise another $500 by the end of the day, I’ll post a video of Oscar’s new haircut. You don’t wanna miss that one, so please click here and donate!

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Caption contest!

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* Will Cousineau runs campaigns for House Speaker Michael Madigan. Last night at about 7:30 a friend of his sent me a photo of Cousineau camped out at the State Board of Elections with a big stack of nominating petitions…

I texted Cousineau to see how he was doing. His reply…

Just enjoying a nice evening outdoors.

He said that two years ago he was actually able to get a good night’s sleep and was hoping to do the same this year.

At the time, he said, he and his wife were the only people standing in line.

Campaign work ain’t all glamour and glitz. It’s mostly stuff like that.

* I’m off to the groomer’s for Oscar’s birthday haircut, but I will donate $100 to our tornado victim fundraiser in honor of the funniest commenter.

So, have at it. And don’t forget to donate!

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

Our second goal has been reached!

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* I said that I would match your contributions for Washington, IL-area tornado victims up to a thousand dollars, and we’ve already reached that goal. So, I’ve kicked in my match.

As a way of saying thanks, here’s another Oscar the Puppy video. Playing tug of war with his dad

We started out the day with $415 raised via my Facebook page. So, we need a few hundred dollars more to get donations from this website up to a grand. I’ll post another Oscar the Puppy video when we’ve reached that goal.

Please, click here to donate. Thanks!

* Meanwhile, click here to check out before and after satellite photos of Pekin, East Peoria, and Washington, IL.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* Subscribers know more, but the four legislative leaders said there was progress on pension reform during a teleconference meeting yesterday. Sun-Times

[Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton] declined to outline any specifics of the plan being discussed, but said talks on the cost-of-living issue have used a plan proposed last spring by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, as a general template.

Earlier this year, she proposed giving a retiree annual increases of 3 percent of an amount equal to the number of years they worked for state government, a university or Downstate and suburban school district, multiplied by $1,000.

An aide to House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, characterized the talks as productive but stressed a final deal isn’t in place to deliver to rank-and-file members.

“We’re optimistic there will be something done before the end of December. We’ve said that all along. But there’s no plan. There’s nothing solid yet to present to the members or anything at this point,” Durkin spokeswoman Vicki Crawford said. “But the talks have been very productive and are ongoing, and that’s a good thing.”

The legislative leaders are expected to resume talks again next week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

* The Question: Have you changed your mind about whether a pension reform bill will be passed in the early December session? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey software

Also, notice that I did not ask you about whether you wanted it to pass or not. It’s about your thoughts on whether it will or won’t pass.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

We’ve reached our first goal!

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* I told you earlier today that as soon as the tally board hit $1000 on our fundraiser for Peoria-area tornado victims that I’d post an Oscar the Puppy video. That goal has now been reached.

* Oscar and I haven’t been able to sit outside lately because of the weather, so we’re hanging out in our “great room,” by the fireplace. Occasionally, though, I get busy and he gets bored and wants to play. Sometimes, he makes that frustration audibly evident, as he did yesterday

Many, many thanks to everyone who has donated so far. If you haven’t yet contributed, please click here. It’s a very easy process.

* Meanwhile

State Sen. Bill Brady is opening his Bloomington offices to accept donations for Washington tornado relief tomorrow.

The tornado-ravaged city is running out of places to store much needed donations. Brady said his office will accept toiletries, baby items, hats and gloves and basic hygiene items.

Brady said gas cards are also in demand.

“A lot of the folks are having to travel a great distance to and from school, to and from work and wherever they are living,” Brady noted.

Brady’s offices at 2203 Eastland Drive will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      

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Friday, Nov 22, 2013

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

A very good question

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* The four Republican candidates for governor were asked during a forum yesterday whether they’d allow the temporary income tax increase to expire. All four said they want it to go away. But Treasurer Dan Rutherford added this

“I don’t want it to stay, but when someone says they’re going to outright veto it, a fair question is: where are you coming up with $6 billion to $7 billion worth of cuts,” he said.

Sen. Kirk Dillard does have a plan…

“The Senate Republican caucus has a plan that shows you how you phase out that tax. It lays out a menu of options,” he said.

That plan, you may recall, was used by the Senate Democrats last year to hammer Republicans for wanting to cut programs. Republican slams against the Democratic tax hike didn’t work.

Then again, that was last year, a presidential election with the state’s own resident at the top of the ticket. Next year’s electorate will be different.

* Also, this

As for how the state would make up for that huge loss of revenue, Brady said he would “demand the Legislature live within its means,” while Dillard suggested a constitutional amendment that would withhold legislators’ pay if they didn’t adopt a balanced budget.

* Brady also wants some growth, which would help balance the budget

Brady said a major goal if elected governor would be to create 100,000 new jobs annually and put policies in place that “move (Illinois) to the forefront of this nation’s economy.”

* From the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s announcement that the state’s unemployment rate had fallen to 8.9 percent

Illinois has added +268,900 private sector jobs since January 2010 when job growth returned following nearly two years of consecutive monthly declines. Leading growth sectors are Professional and Business Services (+117,700); Education and Health Services (+57,700); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+51,600). Government has lost the most jobs since January 2010, down -27,300.

That’s an average annual rate of about 70,00 jobs, so Brady would need to raise that growth rate by about 42 percent.

* In other GOP primary news, Rauner’s fundraising juggernaut continues

State filings from yesterday (11/21) afternoon show Illinois’ richest man, Ken Griffin, pitching in $250,000 to Rauner’s campaign.

It’s the second time this week Rauner received a donation worth a quarter of a million dollars. […]

Both of Rauner’s biggest contributors have previous ties to Democrats. Former CEO of AllScripts Glenn Tullman donated to Gov. Pat Quinn in the last governor’s race. And Griffin, who’s President of Citadel, helped out Chicago Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the tune of $100,000.

This isn’t the first time Griffin has helped a candidate promising to change how things are done in Springfield; back in 2002 and 2003, Griffin gave $70,000 to Rod Blagojevich.

Not including the $500,000 he put into his own campaign, Rauner has raised more money in the last nine days than Rutherford has raised all year. He’s reported raising more money in the last three days than Dillard has all year. And Rauner raised almost twice as much yesterday as Brady has raised all year.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Oberweis’ wife “winters in Florida,” claims out of state residence

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* I somehow missed this one earlier in the week

GOP state Sen. Jim Oberweis told me Tuesday he is definitely making a U.S. Senate bid and, in an unusual twist, confirmed his wife, Julie, became a Florida resident because of the “tax advantages” of the Sunshine State.

Julie Oberweis voted in 2012 from Florida and ironically will not be able to cast a ballot for her husband next year. […]

His wife, however, Oberweis confirmed, spends winters at their condo in Bonita Springs, Fla., which they bought in 2010 for $1.3 million.

She became a Florida resident three years ago. “Obviously, there are tax advantages to being a Florida resident,” Oberweis told me. Oberweis, an anti-tax hawk, ticked off the Florida tax benefits: no state income tax and lower estate and property taxes.

He told me he and his wife file separate state income tax returns and joint federal income tax returns. […]

I told Oberweis it seemed to me the unusual situation regarding his wife’s Florida residency could impact his Illinois Senate run. Voters may not appreciate the Oberweis tax-avoidance strategy.

Oberweis mentioned that Durbin’s wife, Loretta, is a Springfield lobbyist.

I don’t know how “spending winters in Florida” can qualify as an out of state residence, but maybe the Department of Revenue can clear this one up.

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

Oscar the Puppy birthday fundraiser!

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* Oscar the Puppy was born on Thanksgiving last year, which is a year ago today. He’s going to the “salon” later today for a much needed haircut…

* This little dog has given me so much love and affection since I got him in January that I cannot possibly imagine life without him. Watching reports of the Illinois tornados last Sunday got me to thinking what I would do if something happened to him. Not a pleasant thought.

But it did get me to thinking that I should do something positive for the world on Oscar’s birthday, and I wanted to give y’all a chance to do the same. So, we’re going to do a bit of fundraising today.

* I called an animal shelter near Washington, IL and they suggested that we donate to the Red Cross. Donating to specific causes on the Red Cross website isn’t easy, but then I found a site sponsored by the Morton Chamber of Commerce that is raising money for the American Red Cross of Central Illinois to support supplies, food, and community restoration for the victims in Washington, Pekin, and East Peoria. I set up a companion site for our own fundraiser. Click here to see it.

I posted the site on Facebook last night, so we got a little head start.

* I will match your contributions up to a total of $1,000. I’ll also give Oscar a big hug every time somebody donates. If we make it to $1,000, I’ll post an Oscar video, and for every $1K afterwards I’ll do the same.

So, let’s get to donating!

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Dillard campaign charges Rauner with “pay to play”

Friday, Nov 22, 2013

* From a press release…

The campaign manager for Republican candidate for Governor Kirk Dillard and his running mate Jil Tracy denounced the campaign tactics of billionaire Bruce Rauner, who reportedly steered thousands of dollars to the Palatine Township Republican organization ahead of the group’s official endorsement.

“This is the height of pay-to-play,” Glenn Hodas said. “Rauner and his allies are basically buying votes while making it appear as though he’s getting widespread support. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

The Illinois Observer reports Rauner gave $1,000 to the Palatine Township GOP and $2,500 to Palatine Township Committeeman Aaron Del Mar’s personal political committee earlier this year. Del Mar is also the Chairman of the Cook County Republican Party.

In addition, the Observer reports, Rauner ally and wealthy activist Jack Roeser and his company have contributed a combined $56,500 to Del Mar since Del Mar took over the Cook County GOP organization last year.

Rauner’s campaign was also believed to have paid the $25 membership fee required for several individuals to attend the endorsement session and cast their vote. In the end, Rauner handily won the group’s backing.

“Not only will Rauner spend millions for TV commercials, he’s trying to buy votes at the grass roots level,” Hodas said. “This is the kind of thing Republicans ought to be against. It’s really shameful.”

* The other campaigns chimed in

“I just don’t think the Republican Party is looking for someone who’s going to try to buy an election,” Bill Brady, Republican, candidate for governor. […]

“The fact is he’s got a lot of money. The fact is he’s got a lot of people with a lot of money and he’s going to go out and try to buy name I.D. and positive favor,” Dan Rutherford, Republican, candidate for governor. “And no one’s ever taken as much special interest or out-of-state money as Bruce Rauner.”

* Denials all around

Dillard’s news release states Rauner’s campaign “was also believed to have paid the $25 membership fee required for several individuals to attend the endorsement session and cast their vote.”

Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said that wasn’t the case. “The Rauner campaign spent no money last night, however we do greatly appreciate the endorsement as well as the free publicity generated by other campaigns touting our victory,” Schrimpf said in an email.

Del Mar, who is also chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, said donations didn’t have anything to do with the Palatine Township GOP’s endorsement of Rauner. In fact, Del Mar says, Dillard himself made a $250 contribution to the committee this year.

“I believe Bruce Rauner is the best candidate for governor we have,” Del Mar said. “He represented very well to our organization and won our endorsement. Period.”

Del Mar also denied that Rauner “paid anybody’s dues.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

* Even more shenanigans!
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* *** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Elections board says DGA should file disclosure for Ives ad
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