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*** UPDATED x1 *** Last man standing is leaving

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* I heard this was coming last week. The timing couldn’t be worse. Greg Hinz

A senior Quinn Administration official is leaving his post amid continuing fallout from a patronage hiring scandal in the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Deputy Chief of Staff Sean O’Shea is going off the payroll, effective Friday, Aug. 29. He’s held that position since August 2011, and his responsibilities included overseeing IDOT and its hiring of senior officials in policy positions.

A spokesman for the Quinn Administration confirmed the departure, but insisted it has nothing to do with the hiring matter. […]

The Quinn spokesman said Mr. O’Shea will be leaving for an unidentified private-sector post and that the new job “has been in the works for weeks.” The spokesman also underlined the administration’s view that, while it was aware of the hirings, only officials at IDOT were aware that the employees actually were working on routine, nonpolicy matters.

Earlier today, the campaign of GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner sent reporters an email making an issue of Mr. O’Shea’s continued state employment. “Why does a top aide that the Inspector General says approved patronage hiring still work for the governor — even months now after Quinn was shown the IG’s report?” it asked.

There’s that Sgt. Shultz defense again, “only officials at IDOT were aware that the employees actually were working on routine, nonpolicy matters.” Yep. Stick with that. It’s your only hope.

The Quinnsters insist that O’Shea’s new job is legit and didn’t have anything to do with the current scandal. That could actually be true, even though the timing won’t help Quinn any. O’Shea had made a mortal enemy out of House Speaker Michael Madigan over the years. And, as subscribers know, Madigan’s ire peaked this past spring.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner’s Mike Schrimpf…

“It’s time for Pat Quinn to stop misleading voters about his illegal patronage hiring schemes. This scandal goes straight to the top; there’s no one left to fire except Quinn himself.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* From a press release…

Today, the Dold for Congress campaign released its first ad of the 2014 campaign, “Enough Blame”, which highlights Bob Dold’s focus on putting people before politics and ending the partisan blame game in Washington.

“Like millions of Americans across the country, 10th District voters are tired of the partisan finger pointing in Washington and are anxious to restore serious, effective, bipartisan leadership to their seat in Congress. As a small business owner and father of three with a clear record as an independent leader who puts people before politics, Bob Dold offers 10th District voters a positive alternative to the status quo and a commitment to growing the economy and improving the quality of life for families throughout the District,” Dold Campaign Manager James Slepian said.

* The ad will be running on cable TV and online

* The script…

Who’s to blame? Washington’s favorite question. Bob Dold says, just fix it.

‘It’s putting the people first, in front of the politics’

Running a small business, raising three kids, Dold knows we’ve got problems to solve.

‘More jobs are leaving, uncertainty around retirement, cost of education. We need to make sure that there’s a level playing field.’

Bob Dold’s plan: Job training for the unemployed. Improve mass transit. Make college more affordable.

‘Washington should be trying to make it easier for you. I’m Bob Dold and I approve this message.’

* The Question: From one to five, with five being the best, your rating? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


panel management

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Quinn again deflects responsibility to IDOT

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* AP

Gov. Pat Quinn says it was up to his transportation secretary to follow employment rules even when hiring candidates the governor’s office favored.

The Chicago Democrat said Tuesday his cabinet members “have a duty to make sure that they comply with the rules that I’ve set down” and are accountable for that.

* Let’s review, shall we?

In a blow to Gov. Pat Quinn, his former transportation secretary has accused his office of pushing “the vast majority” of improper political hires in her agency even though an ethics report released Friday shied away from blaming the governor’s office. […]

“It is my recollection that [the] vast majority of Rutan-exempt hires were chosen from those recommended to me or my staff by the governor’s office,” Schneider said, referring to the landmark Rutan U.S. Supreme Court opinion that placed limits on political hiring in government jobs.

“The governor’s office would have been provided resumes of all such candidates and would have requested that we complete the process of having the recommended person approved for the open position,” she said. […]

“Neither I nor my staff were in a position to reject the recommended individuals for these exempt positions as no additional interview process was required,” she said.

* And

The inspector general’s report said dozens of the staff assistants had ties to Democrats including the top leaders of the legislature, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, both of Chicago.

* And

According to Mr. Croke, if the agency has already identified a candidate that it wishes to hire into a Rutan-exempt position:

    · the agency submits an ePAR to the Office of the Governor for approval;
    · the ePAR is approved by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget;
    · the ePAR is approved by both the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Chief of Staff; and
    · the agency fills the vacancy with the desired candidate.

So, Quinn’s top staff runs dozens of low-level political hires through IDOT and never once stops to consider if all those sweet jobs that they couldn’t place anywhere else were properly classified?

Perhaps you have a different view of this. If so, please enlighten me.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner campaign response…

Fact #1: Pat Quinn recommended patronage hires to IDOT.

Fact #2: His chief of staff and deputy chief of staff (who still works for Quinn) approved all the hires.

Pat Quinn’s explanation is an insult to Illinoisans. He needs to stop making excuses about the illegal political hires in his administration. His office recommended the hires and then signed off on the hires. Not even Rod Blagojevich would be so brazen.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


A different sort of ice bucket challenge

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* From Joan Parker…

Hi Rich:

I don’t know if you ever promote this type of thing on your blog, but given the popularity of the ice bucket challenge, I do want to share this information with you.

As you may recall, my late husband Brewster died of ALS (20 years ago— can you believe?) Since that time, I have become very active in the Les Turner ALS Foundation which serves more than 90 percent of the ALS patients in the Chicago area, and through its affiliation with Northwestern, is one of the country’s key research centers for this disease. Both Dawn Clark Netsch and former Senate staffer Pat Hanley were treated at our clinic at Northwestern. As Board members, we did a more serious challenge last week —- see link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i1AAZzFbZM

If I can challenge all of my legislative and lobbyist friends through your blog, I would appreciate it. Or, if they have already done the ice bucket thing, and are looking for a place to donate, the information is: http://www.lesturnerals.org/about-the-foundation/why-take-ice-bucket-challenge

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Joan

* I’ve always had trouble saying no to Joan. This video isn’t as “fun” as the other ice bucket challenge, but it could raise even more money...

Click here to donate.

At first I wasn’t all that keen on the ice bucket thing. It seemed self-aggrandizing and a bit pointless. But it has raised a ton of money, so I’ll be accepting the challenges I’ve received this week.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Group claims it registered 25K voters this summer

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* That’s a lot of newly registered voters, but they’re gonna need more than this. A lot more

A coalition of community organizations affiliated with the Chicago Teachers Union and with groups opposed to many of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s policies will announce today that they have registered 25,000 new voters this summer in advance of upcoming local and state elections.

Officials from the Grassroots Collaborative will appear with Cook County Clerk David Orr to talk about where the people they have registered live and their attempts to register another 25,000 new voters prior to the Nov. 4 state and federal elections.

The group said it is canvassing neighborhoods to register new voters by talking to residents about “raising the minimum wage and the fight for quality public schools.”

* And speaking of the minimum wage

Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday afternoon held a behind-closed-doors discussion on raising the minimum wage, appearing briefly afterward for the cameras.

Biden’s visit, which included a campaign fundraiser for the governor, allowed Emanuel and Quinn to draw attention to their efforts to raise the minimum wage in Chicago and Illinois. […]

Emanuel has said the city is prepared to act on his proposal if Springfield lawmakers do not raise the state minimum wage after the election. The mayor has refused to say, however, whether he would still push for a $13 minimum wage in Chicago if lawmakers raise the state rate to $10 an hour.

“I’m not going to answer hypotheticals at this point,” Emanuel said earlier this month. “If the state acts, I’ll bring the (city) task force back together and see what we want to do.”

* More

In the Biden event, reporters were only allowed in for the final 10 minutes to listen to statements by Biden, Emanuel and Quinn. They did not take questions.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


Today’s quotable

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* Sen. Bill Brady

Brady said Quinn was in his “honeymoon period” in 2010, but now the honeymoon is over.

“He had taken over from Rod Blagojevich. He had a household name. People trusted him,” said Brady. “The difference now is Pat Quinn can’t blame it on Rod Blagojevich. He’s got a full four years of his own and he’s got some problems with his administration.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


Rauner claims he’s being outspent 2-1

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* From yesterday’s Bruce Rauner fundraising appeal…

Right now we’re being outspent by about 2 to 1 by the special interest allies who support Quinn-Madigan.

Will you help us get this ad out far and wide by making an urgent contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, or even $2,500?

Quinn-Madigan and their allies are literally spending about a million dollars a week in lies to protect their system.

But you can stop them today, right now, with a donation.

Join us, today.

Bruce

* His campaign manager sent one out today…

Pat Quinn and his special interest allies are spending about $1 million PER WEEK with lies about Bruce.

If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. They’re outspending us about 2 to 1.

Quinn will spend more money this year than anyone has ever spent to win the Illinois governor’s race. Ever. He’ll spend millions more than even Blago.

Why so much? With Pat Quinn under federal investigation, more news about patronage hires, an economy in the tank, cuts to education funding, and a whole host of other problems it will take record-breaking special interest cash to give Quinn a chance.

You know when the courts are intervening to kick term limits off the ballot despite overwhelming support from rank-and-file democrats, independents, and republicans that the deck is stacked against us.

But no one ever thought shaking up the system in a state like Illinois would be easy. The machine will pull out every stop to win. Of course.

So I spent all day yesterday re-crunching the numbers. We need $437,332 to give our advertising a needed boost to close the gap with Quinn and his special interest machine.

Are they sure that’s not $437,332.47?

Price specifics like that are designed to make the ask sound more believable. But unless all of Rauner’s GTCR stock just tanked, I find it hard to believe that he’s starving for cash.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


A very good question

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* From the Illinois GOP…

On IDOT Patronage: Ann Schneider, the former head of IDOT, says Pat Quinn’s office strong-armed the agency into appointing Quinn’s political cronies. The Inspector General report shows Quinn’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff personally approved every single patronage hire. Pat Quinn must answer Ann Schneider’s allegations – and he must explain why his chief of staff and deputy chief of staff would have approved a spike in patronage hires if Quinn had indeed given orders to stop it.

That highlighted point is spot on

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Rauner’s stinging response *** Quinn campaign says Rauner trying to “disguise himself as a moderate”

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* From the Quinn campaign…

Today is Women’s Equality Day. As part of Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner’s attempt to disguise himself as a moderate in Illinois, he repeatedly claims on the campaign trail that he “doesn’t have a social agenda.”

But his money sure does.

Both Bruce and his wife have donated nearly $1 million to right-wing conservative candidates and organizations that are anti-choice and embrace policies that are anti-women. Not to mention, as has been previously noted, Rauner has historically taken a “Mad Men” approach to doing business, as evidenced by the fact that Rauner lists only 6 women on his firm’s staff of 51.

And where does Mr. Rauner stand on major women’s issues of the day, like the recent Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby? He won’t tell us.

In the meantime, here’s an overview of the Rauners’ financial support to anti-choice, right-wing candidates and organizations:

    Donated $700,000 to the Right-Wing, Conservative Organization Donors Trust. According to the State Journal Register, “There was a combined $700,000 in 2011 and 2012 to Donors Trust, an Alexandria, Virginia-based organization that, its website says, is ‘explicitly devoted to supporting organizations that promote liberty.’” [State Journal Register, 7/12/14]

    Donors Trust Donated a Total of $745,000 to Judicial Education Project, which Wrote an Amicus Brief in Favor of Restricting Contraceptive Coverage in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case. According to Source Watch, Donors Trust donated a total of $745,000 to Judicial Education Project. The Judicial Education Project filed an Amicus Brief in favor of the plaintiffs challenging the ACA’s contraceptive mandate. [Donors Trust Grant Recipients, Source Watch, accessed 8/19/14; Judicial Education Project, Amicus Brief, accessed 8/19/14]

    Donated a Total of $12,500 to Tim Pawlenty. The National Review dubbed Pawlenty as the “Strongest Pro-Life Candidate in 2012.” The article cites several bills that Pawlenty signed into law as Governor of Minnesota, including the Woman’s Right to Know Act, giving women information about abortion risks and alternatives, and the Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act which gives women information about pain fetuses “feel” during an abortion. Pawlenty designated April as “Abortion Recovery Month” in Minnesota. This declaration urges agencies in the state to help women who are suffering problems following their abortions, “recognizing the massive national post-abortion movement, which features millions of women who regret their abortions…” [National Review, 3/29/11]

    Donated a Total of $15,600 to Bobby Schilling in August 2013. Bobby Schilling is a Republican running for U.S. House in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. He has been endorsed by Campaign for Working Families and received a 100% rating on the 2011-2012 National Right to Life Committee Position scorecard. According to his campaign website, “Bobby is pro-life, and he supports common sense, reasonable restrictions on abortion. The most basic rule of law tells us that it is wrong for one person to take the life of another person, no matter their stage in life. In 2011, Bobby voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. He also supports the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would limit abortions after 20 weeks.” [Project Vote Smart, Interest Group Ratings, accessed 8/11/14; Bobby Schilling for Congress, Issues, accessed 8/11/14]

    Donated $12,500 to Jon Huntsman in July 2011. The Salt Lake Tribune reported in August 2011 that, “Already on record as an abortion foe, the former Utah governor favors amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade and outlaw abortion. ‘Governor Huntsman supports a federal amendment that would ensure legal protections for the unborn,’ said Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller. ‘He’s proud of his record in Utah and will continue to advocate for life on a national level.’” [Salt Lake Tribune, 8/23/11]

    Donated a Total of $20,600 to David McSweeney. According to McSweeney’s campaign website, he was endorsed by four pro-life organizations: the Illinois Federation for Right to Life, the Illinois Citizens for Life, the Lake County Life PAC, and the Pro-Life Victory PAC of Right to Life of McHenry County. In an interview, McSweeney claimed that he supported a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and did not support a rape, incest, or health of the mother exception. [David McSweeney for State Representative, 1/18/12; David McSweeney Interview, accessed 8/12/14]

    Donated a Total of $15,900 to John D. Anthony. John D. Anthony was a sponsor for HB 5463 Abortion Law-Informed Consent. This bill would require a 24-hour “informed consent” period where a woman who seeks an abortion has to have an ultrasound and heartbeat detected. The bill is designed to shame and coerce a woman to not have an abortion. [Illinois General Assembly, Bill Status HB 5463, accessed 8/13/14]

They didn’t mention several others, including state Sen. Darin LaHood, Rep. Dwight Kay, Chris Nybo, etc., etc., etc.

The Quinnsters are also pointing to a video of Rauner saying “Bill Brady lost last time and I can’t tell you how upset I was, I helped him raise millions of dollars. I was very upset.” Brady, of course, is pro-life.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner campaign…

“This is ridiculous coming from a governor who just rolled his female cancer-fighting transportation secretary for illegal patronage hiring his office directed.” - Rauner Spokesperson Lyndsey Walters

Ouch.

They also want you to see this Mark Kirk quote

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      


How did nobody notice this?

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* There was a time when newspapers had reporters in all the courts buildings. But this very significant ruling last Thursday didn’t get noticed until late yesterday afternoon

Cook County’s internal government watchdog recently won a round in his legal battle for authority to probe the offices of all countywide elected officials, but Assessor Joseph Berrios continues to challenge Inspector General Patrick Blanchard on the issue.

Circuit Court Judge Franklin Valderrama last Thursday ruled Berrios must comply with a Blanchard subpoena of documents relating to an assessor’s office employee who allegedly received a homeowner’s tax exemption to which he was not entitled. Berrios, who is represented by the state’s attorney’s office, intends to appeal, according to a news release issued by Blanchard.

Berrios resisted the initial subpoena, issued in August 2012, saying he was not required to comply as a separately elected countywide official. After months of legal wrangling, in June 2013 Blanchard sued to force Berrios to comply and get a declaration that countywide elected officials are subject to his subpoenas.

Valderrama concluded that Blanchard, whose office was created by the separately elected County Board and president, does have the authority to probe fraud and mismanagement in all of county government. “The IG ordinance requires the assessor, like every other county officer, to cooperate with and comply with the IG,” Valderrama stated in his ruling.

* Perhaps this chart from a couple of years ago could explain it…

* But, heck, even Berrios didn’t know

[Valderrama] suggested that both state and county officials could conduct investigations. Furthermore, he wrote that if lawmakers want to bar Blanchard from investigating officeholders such as Berrios, they need to pass a law specifically limiting his authority.

Reached Monday, Berrios said he was unaware of the court’s ruling. But he expects his attorney — the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office — to file an appeal.

“The state’s attorney is the one doing the case,” Berrios said. “They are the ones pursuing this, and they’re the ones telling me what to do.”

Weird.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Over a million bucks so far spent against Schneider

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* From Congressman Brad Schneider’s campaign…

FIRST

Karl Rove dumped $640,000 on Chicagoland T.V. to smear Brad’s progressive record.

THEN

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched another HALF-MILLION dollar ad blitz against Brad.

NOW

Moments ago, we learned Republican Bob Dold is piling on with an ad buy of his own.

You do the Math.

If we don’t have the resources to fight back against the onslaught of Republican attacks, Democrats could lose the 10th district for a decade.

There’s nothing on Dold’s YouTube page yet, and we’ve already discussed the US Chamber ad, but Rove finally posted his anti-Schneider ad

Rate it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Today’s numbers

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* As you’ll recall, Gov. Pat Quinn’s intense and high-tech social media efforts were chronicled by the Sun-Times the other day. But how do the numbers stack up? Check out the Facebook stats…

* Quinn for Illinois: 6,114 likes

* Bruce Rauner: 34,479 likes

Oof.

There’s plenty the campaign can do with Facebook users who are not Quinn “likers,” but, man, they’re doing a horrible job of attracting people to their page.

* Let’s put that into some context…

* Dick Durbin for US Senate: 31,072 likes

* Jim Oberweis: 15,355 likes

* Frerichs for Illinois: 3,004 likes

* Tom Cross: 4,108 likes

* Sheila Simon: 2,550 likes

* Judy Baar Topinka: 3,739 likes

* I’ve been running behind all morning (lots of stuff in this morning’s Capitol Fax and it took me forever to write it), and I wanted to get this posted quickly, so I just compared Quinn and Rauner on Twitter…

* Quinn for Illinois: 2,399 followers

* Bruce Rauner: 11,900 followers

* Capitol Fax: 10,300 followers

* Related…

* The 2014 digital ad juggernaut: A leading ad research firm recently estimated that more than $270 million will be spent across the country this cycle on digital campaign efforts — an 1,825 percent increase from 2010, when the first generation of tablet computers was just hitting the market.

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


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Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

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