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Still more progress on crime-related issues

Friday, May 29, 2015

* From the unusual coalition of the Illinois NAACP and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police …

State legislation regarding the use of body-worn cameras by police officers in Illinois has been a priority for both of our organizations this spring. In April of this year the NAACP and the ILACP met to discuss our mutual concerns, and body cameras emerged as a top mutual priority.

We are pleased to see this initiative advance in the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield this week, and we believe it is significant that our two organizations are making this statement of support together. We are committed to seeking and demanding transparency and accountability in law enforcement. Body cameras will help show the public that most police officers are engaged in constitutional policing, and they will help identify officers who abuse their authority or commit misconduct.

We are pleased that the legislation moving through the General Assembly adopts many recommendations from the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Police Executive Research Forum, the International and Illinois associations of chiefs of police, and the NAACP Legislative Agenda. It does not require every officer to wear a body camera. That could be prohibitively expensive in some communities. At the same time, this legislation makes grants available so that more police departments can purchase body cameras and it provides reasonable guidelines for their use. It will take some time for police departments to acquire the cameras and provide training for their use. Also, it will take some time for all citizens to understand the rules about when the cameras are turned on and when the cameras can be turned off.

We plan to work together to educate the public about the use of body cameras and other initiatives that will help build mutual trust. We all want to make our communities safer and the best way to accomplish that is for us to work together.

In the meantime, we continue to review other proposed police reforms in SB1304 and we thank Senator Kwame Raoul and Representative Elgie Sims and other supporters.

* And from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law…

Senate Bill 1547, now on its way to the Governor, creates a necessary protection to survivors of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities in Illinois. It will prevent local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances that punish tenants for calling 911 in response to domestic or sexual violence, or for crimes committed against them. The bill is a response to local ordinances that treat police calls as “nuisances”—sending a victim-blaming message to survivors of domestic violence and discouraging them from seeking help. No one should fear losing their home because they call the police to protect themselves.

The language of SB 1547 is a result of negotiations with local governments, property owners, law enforcement organizations, and advocates throughout the State. It strikes a critical balance between the needs of cities to address public safety concerns and the needs of tenants and landlords to be free from the dangerous impact of ordinances that impose penalties based on 911 calls. As a result, SB 1547 was voted unanimously out of both chambers and has the support of over 80 organizations, including the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, ACLU of Illinois, Illinois State’s Attorney, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Illinois Association of Realtors, Access Living, and Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

We thank Senator Toi Hutchinson and Representative Anthony DeLuca for their leadership in moving this important bill through the General Assembly and we urge Governor Rauner to sign it into law as soon as possible.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, May 29, 2015

* From the twitters…

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   96 Comments      

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Friday, May 29, 2015

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Unsolicited advice

Friday, May 29, 2015

* Gov. Bruce Rauner said over and over today during an afternoon press conference that he doesn’t want to see “phony reforms” passed by the end of the scheduled spring session. He said he wants “real” reforms or all bets are off.

He’ll obviously decide what’s real and what’s not, but - and I don’t think I’ve ever said this before [/snark] - he ought to heed Rep. Jack Franks’ advice

Thursday morning, Rauner released the prepared remarks of top aide Rich Goldberg to be given before a committee of lawmakers.

“In short, while Gov. Rauner says yes to reform and yes to compromise, the legislators in control of the General Assembly say no to reform, no to compromise, yes to unbalanced budgets and yes to higher taxes without reform,” he said.

Franks carried a property tax freeze proposal that Republicans decried as a stunt, but the Democrat says he agrees with the governor on the idea in general, and he had some advice for Rauner to advance his big first-year agenda.

“Do it incrementally. That’s what happens here in Springfield. I’d like to move things quicker, too,” Franks said. “It doesn’t happen overnight, because some people just aren’t ready for it. So you have to chip away.”

He’s right.

Get your foot in the door.

It’s what Gov. Jim Edgar did with property tax caps in the 1991 spring overtime session. Edgar settled for much less than he demanded and eventually the limits spread well beyond the handful of counties originally capped.

Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. You can go on and on. They started off much smaller than they are today.

* Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the half-good.

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

*** UPDATED x4 - Not so fast *** Where there’s a will there’s a way

Friday, May 29, 2015

* I told subscribers this morning that there’s been some interesting little behind the scenes movement over the past 48 hours or so. Keep your fingers crossed…

* And…

Media Advisory

What: Governor Rauner Holds Media Briefing

Where: Illinois Executive Mansion

410 E. Jackson St., Chicago

Date: Friday, May 29, 2015

Time: 1:30 p.m.

*** UPDATE 1 *** I wasn’t at the media availability, so I asked Cullerton’s press secretary to explain…

Cullerton again restated his commitment to work with the governor on reforms. Many of the governor’s ideas were given a fair hearing in the Senate.

Even though those bills failed, that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to work on a turnaround agenda that works for middle class families.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The event will hopefully be live-streamed by Click here.

*** UPDATE 3 *** The two GOP leaders said they didn’t think there would be a negotiated budget by Sunday, but they did hold out hope that some progress can be made on the non-budgetary front. Listen to the whole thing…

*** UPDATE 4 *** I really thought I could see a glimmer of hope in the governor’s remarks, despite the bluster.

But Speaker Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown told me he didn’t see anything in there to indicate that the impasse could be broken.

He also said that the leader’s meeting featured the governor repeating his usual talking points.

Brown added that when Rauner was told that his own budget proposal was $3 billion out of balance he acted surprised. “It was totally news to him,” Brown said. “I conclude that the bubble is perhaps more complete than we thought.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   81 Comments      

Pot, meet kettle

Friday, May 29, 2015

* Remember this tweet from yesterday?

* The back story

When Democratic Sen. William Haine of Alton asked whether defense attorneys were a part of the development of the tort reform bill, Radogno said, “I don’t think we should have the lobbyists drafting the bills.”

“I’m shocked, I’m shocked that you would say that,” said Haine, feigning surprise.

Then Rauner’s deputy chief of staff, Rich Goldberg, interjected, “I know Governor Rauner is not from Springfield. I’m not from Springfield. A lot of us are not from Springfield. The culture in Springfield has to change. That lobbyists, it’s status quo for them to help write your legislation, Governor Rauner wants to get the lobbyists out of government.”

Later, Goldberg added, “To accept the status quo of special interests and lobbyists writing legislation is something that we reject and it is really the reason why …”

Haine interrupted: “I’m not suggesting they write the legislation. I’m suggesting that the way we have historically done things here and in all states of the union, and Congress, is to have people in the room negotiating with the legislators who know the consequences to their groups.”

* OK, first of all, Radogno’s claims are completely unbelievable.

Defense bar lobsters may not have been physically at the table when the legislation was drafted, but, c’mon, man. Where did that language come from? The defense bar and its allies, obviously. It didn’t just organically spring up outta nowhere.

* Secondly

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.



The people have the right to assemble in a peaceable manner, to consult for the common good, to make known their opinions to their representatives and to apply for redress of grievances.

The founders of this nation and the drafters of our own state Constitution realized that the government truly needed input from the governed. That’s only logical.

Of course some lobbyists can get outta hand. This is not a perfect system, to say the least.

But legislators and governors are not all-knowing gods. They simply can’t, and shouldn’t, pass legislation without first consulting the people, businesses, groups, whatever who are being impacted by that legislation. It’s stupid governance to do otherwise. How would a lawyer from Skokie know anything about a farm bill without talking to farmers and their representatives and the folks on the other side?

* Haine is right. You don’t let lobsters write bills on their own, which is what the GOP did with their tort reform bill, whether they admit it or not. But you need to bring stakeholders into the room at some point so you don’t mess things up.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

Today’s quotable

Friday, May 29, 2015

* Tribune

The governor also has not taken questions from journalists since May 14. This week, after leaving a private meeting with Republican lawmakers, a Chicago Tribune reporter got in an elevator with Rauner and several aides and asked the governor a series of questions about the state budget Democrats were preparing. Rauner didn’t answer, but eventually looked at the reporter and said, “Can I give you a hug?” The reporter declined.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Credit Unions – Cooperative in structure, valued in service

Friday, May 29, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Credit unions are committed to several cooperative principles, including social responsibility. At First Illinois Credit Union in Danville, reaching out to area school children as part of their financial literacy program is a top priority.

For over 20 years, the credit union has partnered with area schools, educated students in the classroom and has invited them to open savings accounts. Scholarships are awarded to graduating eighth graders. Members that are high school graduates are also granted scholarships. By giving out scholarships at school-wide functions, it affords the credit union the opportunity to provide financial education to hundreds of students in the audience.

Educating children is just one facet of the credit union’s extensive outreach, which also includes breakfast meals for low income families, financial education for seniors during Money Smart Week, volunteering as a buddy at baseball games for children with disabilities, and many more local clubs and organizations. For all their efforts, First Illinois Credit Union has been recognized by their members and the community as a top financial institution.

At the heart of the credit union philosophy is the principle of people before profits – and another reason why members are so fiercely loyal.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Sturm Und Drang

Friday, May 29, 2015

* A good point

“We are going to have to wait until the Democrats realize they are going to have to come to the table and compromise,” [Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno] said. “Remember, they’ve had 13 years of complete control, so having to compromise is a brand-new way of thinking for most of them.”

It most certainly is and they’ve never experienced this kind of treatment before.

* For instance

“You go right to the heart and cut that off because you want to go after collective bargaining,” said [Sen. Kimberly Lightford] following a tense exchange in which [Richard] Goldberg, Rauner’s aide, at one point tried to speak over her in an attempt to rebut her argument.

Goldberg received a scolding from Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat who chairs the committee.

“When a senator is speaking to you, I would strongly counsel you to close your mouth and open your ears and then you’ll have a chance to respond,” Harmon said.

* And if something doesn’t change really soon, this state is careening toward DC-style gridlock

The budget battle between GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Springfield Democrats is producing lots of collateral damage, as the two sides hold up action on unrelated bills to send a message in the larger dispute.

For instance, a bill to tweak the state’s telecommunications law had appeared on the path toward passage early yesterday despite opposition from the Citizens Utility Board and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

The measure would block AT&T’s request to cut back on its number of land lines. But it would allow the company and other providers to begin imposing a means test for those who receive certain low-price phone packages via a grandfather clause in state law. It also would allow the city of Chicago to continue to impose a $3.90 tax on monthly phone bills to pay for 911 service, and would centralize 911 regulation outside Chicago into a new state agency.

But according to House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office, Rauner no longer is promising to sign the bill, risking passage prospects. A rather snippy Team Rauner isn’t denying that.

* Tribune

As Democrats who control the General Assembly make a big political show of rejecting portions of his “Turnaround Illinois” agenda day after day, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has all but disappeared from the public eye.

He occasionally surfaces outside his suite of key-coded, second-floor statehouse offices to pose for pictures with high school students, or to make a quick pitch to supporters of elements of his agenda. He’s visited Republican lawmakers in closed-door sessions at the Capitol to offer pep talks to try to keep them unified, and even had the House GOP caucus to the executive mansion on Wednesday night for a chat over beers. […]

Privately, rank-and-file Republican lawmakers say the hideaway strategy is simple: one, the rookie governor wants to avoid muddling his message. Two, the governor is preparing to use an ample campaign war chest with an assist from his allies to air a fusillade of TV attack ads this summer aimed at swaying public opinion to pressure Democrats to give him what he wants.

And so as Sunday’s deadline approaches, Republicans say Rauner already is looking ahead to overtime, rather than attempting to broker a broad-based deal to end the session on time.

I have a different view about his public silence, as subscribers are aware. But I don’t necessarily disagree with the Trib’s take.

* Related…

* Rick Pearson in Springfield: “We are heading to a showdown like we’ve never seen.”

* Standoff brewing over Illinois budget, reforms

* Senate refuses Rauner on lawsuits, property taxes: “So you think the key to turning around Illinois is to pay teachers less?” Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) asked Rauner administration officials.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

The Speaker giveth…

Friday, May 29, 2015

* You can bet all nine of the governor’s houses (and the Senate) that this thing is gonna be vetoed with relish

The state’s largest public employee union is pushing a bill that would prevent state workers from striking or being locked out in the event talks on a new labor contract stall.

Instead, the labor dispute would be handed over to an arbitrator to resolve through binding arbitration.

The House Labor and Commerce Committee approved Senate Bill 1229 on Thursday night on a partisan vote. […]

“That will prevent any unilateral and dictatorial imposition of any harsh and unreasonable changes in employment, changes that would likely force a work stoppage, thereby causing massive disruption of state services,” [Mike Newman, deputy director for Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees] said. […]

Newman, though, said it was “highly unlikely” the two sides would reach an agreement by the end of June “given the extreme nature of the proposals that we’ve been looking at.”

The proposal is sponsored by Rep. Mike Smiddy, who was elected three years ago without much backing from Speaker Madigan, but with tons of support from AFSCME.

* But check out this passage from Speaker Madigan’s proposal to separate the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum away from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency...

Staff hired [by the new ALPLM entity] on or after the effective date of this Act shall not be subject to the Personnel Code or any applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Um, wow. That could’ve been written by Rauner himself.

AFSCME says they’re aware of the problem and are working on it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Consequences of failure

Friday, May 29, 2015

* Bloomberg looks at how the Statehouse impasse is impacting state bonds

Yields on the state’s 10-year obligations reached a 16-month high of 4.17 percent last week, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The spread was about 1.8 percentage points above benchmark debt, the widest since December 2013.

Debt from Illinois has lost about 1.3 percent this year, while the entire municipal market is about flat, Barclays Plc data show. […]

“I don’t see how this credit does not get downgraded within the next two months,” said Paul Mansour, head of municipal research in Hartford, Connecticut at Conning, which oversees $11 billion in munis for insurance companies.

Trading in Illinois bonds suggests the municipal market is moving in that direction. Federally tax-exempt general obligations maturing in March 2032 traded Thursday for an average yield of about 4.9 percent. In comparison, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index of BBB general obligations due in about 17 years has an effective yield of 4.85 percent.

* Meanwhile, in Chicago

In a measure of how serious Chicago’s financial woes have become, the city will pay unusually high interest rates on a $674 million borrowing deal reached Wednesday — the first since a major debt rating agency lowered Chicago’s creditworthiness to junk status this month.

A Tribune analysis estimated Chicago is paying at least $70 million more to borrow the money than if the city were rated at the higher level it was just 15 months ago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Denny Hastert oddities and ends

Friday, May 29, 2015

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the LA Times….

Indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was paying an individual from his past to conceal sexual misconduct, two federal law enforcement officials said Friday.

One of the officials, who would not speak publicly about the federal charges in Chicago, said “Individual A,” as the person is described in Thursday’s federal indictment, was a man and that the alleged misconduct was unrelated to Hastert’s tenure in Congress. The actions date to Hastert’s time as a Yorkville, Ill., high school wrestling coach and teacher, the official said.

“It goes back a long way, back to then,” the source said. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office.” Thursday’s indictment described the misconduct “against Individual A” as having “occurred years earlier.”

Asked why Hastert was making the payments, the official said it was to conceal Hastert’s past relationship with the male. “It was sex,’’ the source said. The other official confirmed that the misconduct involved sexual abuse.


*** UPDATE 2 *** New York Times

J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a man to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation into the payments. […]

The man – who was not identified in court papers — told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said on Friday. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* Riopell takes a look at some unanswered questions about the federal Denny Hastert indictment

Who is “Individual A?”

The indictment accuses Hastert of agreeing to pay an unnamed person, “Individual A,” $3.5 million in order to cover up some kind of “misconduct” on Hastert’s part. The document says Individual A is a longtime Yorkville resident who has known Hastert most of his life.

What is the “misconduct?”

The indictment is silent on this point. It doesn’t describe what federal authorities say Hastert was trying to cover up.

When did it happen?

The accusations also don’t describe this. Given the long time “Individual A” is said to have known Hastert, the “misconduct” described could predate his career in politics. Hastert was the longest-serving Republican speaker and spent 20 years as a member of Congress. Before that, he served at the Illinois Capitol. The indictment noted that before entering state and federal politics in 1981, Hastert served for more than a decade as a government and history teacher and wrestling and football coach at Yorkville High School.

* Politico

Hastert’s case was assigned Thursday to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin, an appointee of President Barack Obama. The former speaker was apparently not arrested. A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office said he would be arraigned at a later date.

* More on Durkin

Judge Thomas Durkin is the brother of House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, the GOP’s leader in the Illinois House. Jim Durkin is in the middle of a budget fight in Springfield against Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Judge Thomas Durkin was confirmed to the federal bench in 2012 and used to be a partner in the law firm Mayer Brown.

Hastert’s son, Ethan Hastert, is an attorney at Mayer Brown.

Leader Durkin, by the way, was not pleased with the lack of support shown for his US Senate campaign by Speaker Hastert.

* Tribune

On Thursday, there were signs that Hastert’s world has been turned upside down. A spokesman for the CME Group confirmed that Hastert had resigned from the board of directors of the Chicago-based futures market operator. Hastert also resigned his position as co-leader of Dickstein Shapiro’s Public Policy and Political Law practice, a spokesman for the lobbying firm confirmed late Thursday.

It also emerged that the Illinois House put on hold a proposal to spend $500,000 to put a statue in the state Capitol honoring Hastert. He declined the offer about a month ago, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said.

* About a month ago, eh? Hmm

Rumors that Hastert had serious legal problems were bouncing around the Capitol in recent weeks. In an interview with POLITICO last week, Hastert, the longest-serving Republican House speaker in U.S. history, denied that he had problems with the IRS and denied that he was about to be indicted.

“I read what you heard, but that’s not correct,” Hastert told POLITICO when asked about problems with the IRS. “I’m not going to talk to you.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.,talks to reporters in his office on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. Clyburn said South Carolina can’t improve if it continues to elect Republicans. Clyburn is South Carolina’s only Democratic congressman. (AP Photo).

When a POLITICO reporter told Hastert in a phone interview that he was about to be indicted, he said, “Well, it’s not true.”

“I’m not speaking to you right now, thanks,” Hastert said, before hanging up.

* The Tribune’s editorial is headlined “Denny Hastert’s dark secret”

On paper, he’s accused of moving money around illegally and fibbing to the feds about it. Between the lines, prosecutors suggest he has harbored a dark secret.

* Mark Brown

There’s no small irony in the fact that Hastert survived a career in Illinois and Washington politics with his reputation relatively unscathed only to have it crash down upon him in retirement for something that may predate his first run for the Illinois Legislature.

An individual of modest means when he first became speaker, Hastert is now wealthy enough as a lobbyist paid to influence the government of which he was a part that he could allegedly pay out $1.7 million over a four-year period to help clear his conscience.

It must have been something pretty bad.

* And I don’t know if it means anything at all, but watch the video. It is super creepy…

- Posted by Rich Miller   104 Comments      

The attacks continue

Friday, May 29, 2015

* I received two anti-Madigan and one anti-Democrat press releases from the governor’s shop today. Here’s the first…

The Southern: Rauner Matures, Madigan Pouts

Below is an excerpt from an editorial in The Southern:

    “Being surrounded by so many children must be frustrating for Gov. Bruce Rauner. And the neonates are tasked with funding the state.

    The General Assembly, particularly the House, has devolved over the past two weeks into preschool recess. And Speaker Mike Madigan is an accomplished playground bully. It’s an unacceptable state of affairs as the May 31 budget deadline looms.

    Rauner, for his part, has repeatedly shown an interest in compromise. The Republican governor and Legislature’s Democratic leadership have been at odds since Rauner stepped into the governor’s mansion. But, in recent days, it’s been the political neophyte Rauner who’s been acting his age…

    he’s shown a sudden willingness to sit, in good faith, at the negotiating table. All he requires is a victory or two. It’s called compromise and it’s how the system works. And it’s not like he created this mess in the first place.

* Second…

ICYMI: Speaker Madigan’s Interview with ABC 7 Chicago

In an apparent effort to remove any doubt that Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls are insistent on rejecting any compromise reforms and are only interested in raising taxes, the Speaker sat down for an exclusive interview with ABC Chicago.

Story Excerpt:

    The capitol’s most powerful Democrat commandeered the budget process from Rauner this week. He announced that he and Cullerton will write a spending plan that’s $3 billion short of money needed to pay for it.

    “We’re not hiding anything. We’re not being deceitful,” Madigan said. “The governor has his own spending plan. Both plans don’t have enough money to be paid for. We need more money to pay for the state’s spending plan.”

    But the governor says no tax increases unless he gets pro-business reforms that Republicans say will rescue the state’s sagging economy.

    “This Governor was elected by the people to address some of these structural problems we have. I think he’s holding firm and I support that,” said Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove.

    “Charles, those are non-budget issues, non-budget issues,” Madigan said.

To watch the interview, click the link:

* Number three…

ICYMI: Democrats reject 3 parts of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s ‘Turnaround Agenda’

An excerpt from GateHouse Media:

    Illinois Senate Democrats have rejected three components of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “turnaround agenda,” which the Republican has said needs to be adopted before he will discuss tax hikes to balance the state budget.

    Democrats on Senate committees on Thursday voted down the administration’s proposed reforms of civil liability lawsuits and a property tax freeze that was coupled with allowing local governments to restrict what they collectively bargain with employees and not pay the prevailing wage on projects.

    A Senate committee on Wednesday voted down the Rauner administration’s proposed changes to workers’ compensation.

    At a morning hearing on the lawsuit reforms, Rich Goldberg, Rauner’s deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs, said the governor had compromised on his reform agenda to produce the bills being considered in Senate committees.

    “Sometimes no compromise is good enough for those who stand in the way of reform,” Goldberg said. “Taxpayers are fed up with pouring their hard-earned money into a system that is broken.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   91 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Friday, May 29, 2015

* The clock is rapidly ticking down toward May 31st. Watch the hands move via ScribbleLive, sponsored by The Illinois Kids Campaign. Pray for peace

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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Friday, May 29, 2015

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Good morning!

Friday, May 29, 2015

* T.F.G

Moved me from myself

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** This just in… Denny Hastert indicted

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* From the US Attorney…


CHICAGO — The former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives was charged today with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his withdrawals. The defendant, JOHN DENNIS HASTERT, 73, of Plano, Illinois, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI in an indictment returned by a federal Grand Jury. He will be ordered to appear for arraignment on a later date in U.S. District Court.

According to the indictment, in 2010, Hastert agreed to provide Individual A $3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A. From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to Individual A. Beginning in approximately July 2012, Hastert started structuring his cash withdrawals in increments of less than $10,000 to evade the filing of Currency Transaction Reports (“CTRs”), which banks are required to file for cash withdrawals in excess of $10,000. In December of 2014, when questioned by the FBI regarding his structuring of cash withdrawals, Hastert falsely stated that he was keeping the cash.

The charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Stephen Boyd, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Block and Carrie Hamilton.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

* The complete indictment is here

1. At times material to this indictment:

a. From approximately 1965 to 1981, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois. From approximately 1981 to 2007, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was an elected public official, including eight years as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. From approximately 2008 to the present, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT has worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

b. Individual A has been a resident of Yorkville, Illinois and has known defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT most of Individual A’s life.

c. In or about 2010, Individual A met with defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT multiple times. During at least one of the meetings, Individual A and defendant discussed past misconduct by defendant against Individual A that had occurred years earlier.

d. During the 2010 meetings and subsequent discussions, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT agreed to provide Individual A $3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.

e. Shortly thereafter, defendant began providing Individual A cash payments.

Oh, man, this doesn’t look good at all.

*** UPDATE *** Yeah, this does not look good

Although the indictment specifies neither the “bad acts” nor the victims, sources said they could be from before Hastert, who is now a lobbyist in Washington, entered politics in 1980. [Emphasis added.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   111 Comments      

What Isn’t Exelon Telling You about Its Corporate Bailout Legislation?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Exelon is already getting bailed out by the PJM auction and doesn’t need legislators to vote for a rate increase to bail them out a second time

• Exelon will receive hundreds of millions in new annual revenue through a revised PJM electric grid auction to be held later this summer.

Illinois ratepayers will be socked with a rate increase to pay for this new revenue.

Exelon is spending billions in other states – often in cash - so what are they planning to do with $1.6 billion from Illinois?

Exelon is spending $6.8 billion IN CASH to purchase Pepco Holdings.

• Exelon is offering more than $180 million in refunds, job training and renewable energy programs to Maryland and D.C. ratepayers as part of the Pepco takeover.

Exelon opposes subsidies and above-market contracts — except when they’re for Exelon

• “We’re saying we don’t want to be subsidized and no one should be subsidized in the competitive markets…” Exelon CEO Chris Crane, 5/13/14

• “Exelon has long believed that there is no need to promote subsidies for proven technologies at any cost, nor for electricity consumers or taxpayers to pay more than required for a clean electricity supply.” – Exelon Website

Just say no to the Exelon Bailout. Vote No on SB 1585/HB 3293.

BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. Visit

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*** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Sun-Times

In March, Rauner tapped Beth Purvis, a former charter school director, as his education secretary at an annual salary of $250,000. […]

But her contract, signed March 13, indicates that she’s being paid out of the Department of Human Services, even as it indicates she will “report directly to the governor’s chief of staff or designee.”

Three weeks after Purvis’ contract was signed, the governor’s office announced that the Department of Human Services was strapped for cash, and sliced $26 million in services including for autism, epilepsy and burials for the indigent. The cuts, later known as “the Good Friday Massacre,” caused some programs to completely shut down. The cuts caused a furor, prompting House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, to call a public hearing on why it happened after Democrats said they believed a budget deal with the governor protected such services.

* But check this out

Reached by phone while at a conference in California on Wednesday, Purvis declined comment

Um, wait.

It’s May 28th, three days before the May 31st end of session deadline and she’s in California?

* Ms. Purvis…

* The Question: Caption?

And keep it clean, people.

*** UPDATE *** Sun-Times

llinois House Democrats are asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to appear before a House committee to explain why the governor’s office arranged to have his $250,000-a-year education czar paid out of money meant for “the frailest and most vulnerable populations in the state.” […]

In a letter to Rauner, obtained by the Sun-Times, state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Ill., questions testimony by then-Acting DHS Secretary Gregory Bassi and then-interim secretary James Dimas “that the lack of available funding was responsible for the decision to eliminate or reduce funding for these vitally needed programs. These programs serve many of the frailest and most vulnerable populations in the state.”

“I invite you to appear before the House Human Services Appropriations Committee to explain the decision-making process that led to this situation. We are also interested to know if there are other department heads whose compensation is buried within the budgets of departments other than those that they lead,” wrote Harris, chairman of the committee.

The full letter is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   159 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update on lobbying the executive branch

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Afternoon thought

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* I really miss Judy Baar Topinka.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Today’s illustrative tweet

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Whew…

- Posted by Rich Miller   69 Comments      

On the bright side…

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* This thing looks like it’s rolling forward

State lawmakers believe they’ve reached a deal on a police reform package that includes guidelines for body cameras.

Legislators said at the beginning of the year that police reform was going to be a key issue this session. Senate Bill 1304 aims to address several areas besides body cameras, including officer-related homicide investigations and additional training. It also includes $6 million in funding for crime labs at the request of House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. […]

The package contains provisions for police body cameras but does not mandate them. The bill would change the current eavesdropping laws requiring two-party consent to allow officers to record without permission.

Police who decide to wear the cameras could only turn them off when talking with a witness or victim or during personal and strategic conversations. All interactions with the public would have to be recorded.

* More

The package, negotiated by state Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, calls for adding a $5 fee to traffic tickets, with a portion going to pay for cameras.

It also sets out rules for how officer-involved incidents are investigated, including a requirement that officers from outside of a department are called in to investigate.

“What we wanted are objective eyes on an incident,” Sims said.

The proposal also outlines how reports are to be made public in order to ensure there is no secrecy.

* And no Republican opposition means there’s no current Rauner brick. Good news, for a change

The Illinois House on Wednesday overwhelming pushed through a sweeping measure aimed at curbing heroin use and preventing overdose deaths by expanding specialized drug courts that focus on treatment.

The measure also would require police departments and fire houses to stock opioid antidotes that could be used to counteract heroin overdoses. In addition, the state’s Medicaid health care program for the poor would have to cover the cost of drug treatment programs. […]

The House approved the measure 114-0, though Republicans expressed concern about the possible costs of the bill, which originally were estimated to be as high as $25 million a year. […]

The measure also attempts to strengthen the state Department of Human Services’ prescription monitoring program to help doctors and pharmacies detect “doctor shoppers,” a practice in which drug addicts obtain various prescriptions from several doctors. It also establishes drug education programs for schools and reforms drug court programs to keep users out of jail and in rehabilitation programs.

Despite all the other implosions, some serious progress is truly being made on crime issues this year.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

“Always bet on nothing”

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Since it opened a decade ago, the Lincoln museum has been under the control of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The museum has its own advisory board, but House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says those advisors were frustrated. […]

Under Currie’s proposal, the two will operate independently.

Gov. Bruce Rauner had wanted Historic Preservation to adopt a tourism focus and be merged with the state’s economic development agency. But that idea was dropped over concerns Historic Preservation would lose its focus on, well, historic preservation.

* But unless both chambers pass it and can override a veto, this ain’t happening

“My understanding from our staff is (the Rauner administration is) copacetic with these changes in the structure of HPA on the one hand and ALPLM on the other,” Currie said.

She said details are still being worked out on the idea of creating a public-private partnership for some of DCEO’s economic development activities.

However, Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly disputed Currie’s statement.

“We do not support this legislation,” Kelly said.

* And until the war dies down, this probably ain’t happening, either

ayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to solve his police and fire pension problem by paying less upfront, taking longer to pay off the debt and getting some of the money to cover what the city owes from a Chicago casino.

The approach is designed to soften a massive financial hit expected next year, when the city is required to increase its payments into the two pension funds by $549 million as required by a 2010 state law. That’s equal to nearly one-sixth of the city’s yearly operating budget and accounts for the bulk of a 2016 budget shortfall now pegged at nearly $1 billion.

Emanuel, however, wants to hit the reset button. Instead of paying the additional $549 million next year, the city would spend significantly less than that. Then the city would start to increase how much it puts into the police and fire pension systems over a number of years while also spreading out its payments over a longer period of time.

The mayor’s plan comes three years after he first traveled to Springfield to declare that the city’s financial day of reckoning was fast approaching. Emanuel is now trying to persuade lawmakers to act on a specific proposal, but he’s doing so as they remain embroiled in their own stalemate over state budget woes.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

More on strike preparedness

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Amanda followed up on my post yesterday about the strike Contingency Preparation Form sent to agency heads

Rauner’s spokesman ignored repeated inquiries about the origin of the leaked document; instead he said only that “we continue to negotiate in good faith.”

I can’t tell you where and how I got it, of course, but I can say the form was most definitely not leaked by the governor’s office.

* More

AFSCME’s spokesman says there’s never been a strike in the 40 years Illinois has had collective bargaining. But he says after six months of contract negotiations, the two sides remain far apart. The union spokesman went on to call the Contingency Preparation Form a “troubling sign” that Rauner’s pushing for a confrontation that’d disrupt important state services.

I still think it’s just reasonable management to have preparations at the ready in case a strike does happen.

* More

The governor was asked in mid-May if state employees should be concerned about layoffs or a strike. “Hopefully not,” he said. “We’ve got to make some big changes. Changes are hard. And there’s going to be a lot of resistant to change.” Rauner went on to say he wants to be able to pay employees more, based on productivity - not just seniority, “so we’re going to have some tough discussions. But I want everybody who works in government to have a great career. I want them to be well compensated. I want them to have a great retirement. But we need a system that’s affordable, and also incentives everybody to save taxpayer money because the tax burden on our citizens is too high already.” […]

“I may have to … take a strike and shut the government down for a few weeks … that’s a possibility,” [Rauner said in March of 2013]. “I don’t know many politicians who would be willing to do that. I won’t be happy doing it, but I will do it proudly because it’s the right thing to do.”

Which Rauner will emerge?

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      

Workers’ comp reforms go down in flames

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* From

Stephen Schneider, Midwest region vice president at the American Insurance Association in Deerfield, Illinois, said the insurance community is optimistic that Illinois lawmakers will have continued discussions during the current session about workers comp reforms, including some ideas the AIA would like to see proposed.

Those include controls on physician dispensing of medication to workers comp claimants and tying the state’s workers comp medical fee schedule to a percentage of Medicare pricing for similar services.

“It’s going to be day-by-day through the end of session and perhaps longer,” Mr. Schneider said of the chances of action on comp-related legislation.

PCI’s Mr. Junkas agreed that workers comp reforms may still be on the table for Illinois, saying many political experts expect the legislative session to extend beyond its scheduled May 31 adjournment.

“There’s going to be continual discussions ongoing, and I think workers compensation’s going to remain in that mix,” Mr. Junkas said.

* I agree that workers’ comp reform needs to be on the table and could actually be resolved eventually. But, man, things aren’t going all that well these days. From yesterday’s Senate hearing on workers’ comp reform

Greg Baise of the Illinois Manufacturers Association said workers’ compensation costs hang “like an anvil around the necks of job creators in Illinois. We’ve seen the loss of 300,000 manufacturing jobs since the turn of the century, and reforming workers’ compensation is the first step in making our state more attractive.”

Several times during the debate tempers became short, particularly when Barickman said that the decisions of other states could be “used as a template” for Illinois lawmakers. He cited changes in Florida, Oregon and Indiana.

“Where is your proposal for us to consider?” Barickman asked of committee chairman Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago.

“Mine was a 2011 package that we negotiated with employers at the table, the right way,” Raoul responded, his voice rising in anger. “As far as these working groups, senator, I brought up the same points that I’m bringing up today. They were not addressed, senator.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Ask the Insurance Industry “Where’s the money?”

Thursday, May 28, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Two recent studies published by NPR/Pro Publica and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show that nationwide, insurance companies have kept any cost savings from recent workers’ compensation “reforms” for themselves, with profits climbing to 18 percent in 2013 – while middle and lower-income families and taxpayers are paying the price.

In 2011 Illinois enacted its own workers’ compensation “reform” package aimed at lowering costs for businesses. Workers gave up longstanding rights and in return, insurance companies were to be transparent with pricing and pass savings along to employers. As it turns out, only the workers kept up their end of the bargain.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is an independent, non-partisan agency comprised of insurance professionals licensed by the Illinois Department of Insurance to assess workers’ compensation in Illinois and make premium rate recommendations to insurers. Since 2011, NCCI has recommended insurance premium reductions totaling nearly 20 percent.

The 2011 reforms were projected to save insured employers nearly $1 billion assuming the insurance industry would fully adopt the NCCI recommendations.
The insurance industry’s failure to fully implement NCCI recommended rate reductions has prevented Illinois insured employers from realizing any meaningful savings.

No matter how many benefits are cut, medical reimbursements are lowered, and claims are denied, the state’s businesses won’t see corresponding savings without our leaders addressing the promises previously broken by the insurance industry.

For more about workers’ compensation, click here.

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Today’s quotable

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet)

“Once again, it looks like Speaker (Mike) Madigan is going to preside over another round of long overtime summer sessions under his third or fourth governor now. What’s the common denominator in all of this? Madigan.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

An ever-widening war

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Greg Hinz

As Springfield battles over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pro-business “turnaround” agenda, you’d think he’d want the top business group in the state’s economic center at his side. And you’d think that group would be fully engaged.

In fact, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is being snubbed by the governor after it appeared to snub him—frozen out of key negotiations over business-oriented legislation put before the General Assembly.

Though both sides are trying to play down any dispute, there’s bad blood between the GOP governor and the state’s largest business group. And the topic of why the chamber is being dissed is sparking all kinds of chatter among other business groups. It certainly reveals a few things about how power works in Chicago and Illinois, as well as the obstacles Rauner faces in getting approval for his ideas on workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance reform, limits on unions, an end to the prevailing wage and other changes. […]

“They’re the largest business organization in the state, and they have to get updates from others because they’re not at the table,” another source said. “It comes directly from the governor’s office. No question about it.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Back to the future?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Remember this one?…

We raised a bunch of money for charity with those slogans and more on mouse pads, t-shirts, polo shirts, coffee mugs, even (by special request) underwear.

We may be revisiting that idea.

Thanks to Dave Comerford for the post, by the way.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Why Illinois Needs The Low Carbon Portfolio Standard

Thursday, May 28, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The Low Carbon Portfolio Standard (LCPS) is good for Illinois consumers, our economy, our environment, and the reliability of our electric system. The LCPS is a WIN-WIN for all of Illinois’ low carbon sources of energy, which include wind, solar and existing nuclear facilities.

Unfortunately, energy policies of the past have failed to properly value Illinois’ nuclear facilities for the economic, reliability and environmental benefits they provide, and as a result, some nuclear facilities may close. If that happens, the consequences of consumers and communities all across the state of Illinois would be catastrophic:

    • $1.8 billion every year in lost economic activity
    • Nearly 8,000 jobs lost, many of which are highly skilled, good paying jobs
    • Up to $500 million annually in higher energy costs statewide, according to a PJM analysis
    • $1.1 billion per year due to increases in carbon and other pollutants
    • Hundreds of millions of dollars to construct new transmission lines

In fact, the cost to Illinois of allowing nuclear plants to prematurely retire are as much as 12 times greater than the maximum cost of the LCPS, when fully considering increased wholesale power prices, transmission costs, adverse economic impacts, and adverse environmental impacts, according to a State of Illinois report.

Members of the General Assembly: Vote YES on the
Low Carbon Portfolio Standard (HB 3293 & SB 1585)

Learn more at

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Keep calm and… Oh, nevermind

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* AP

Democrats have abandoned Gov. Bruce Rauner’s idea to privatize the state’s business-development agency but are moving ahead with Speaker Michael Madigan’s plan to make the state’s shrine to Abraham Lincoln a separate agency. […]

Democrats proceeded with their agenda, [Speaker Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown] said, because Rauner’s press operation has been churning out anti-Madigan statements over disagreement on a budget plan and Rauner’s business reforms in the closing days of the spring session.

“We were trying to put together a plan in cooperation with the governor that had a lot of transparency,” Brown said. “But I guess I’d have to say right now it’s under review while the governor calms down.”

* Needless to say, the governor ain’t calming down. From a press release issued early this morning…

Will Legislators “Continue to be part of the Madigan-Cullerton problem, or will they stand up for the people of Illinois?”

On the heels of rejecting compromise worker’s compensation reforms to grow the economy, legislators controlled by Speaker Madigan will consider compromise lawsuit reform and property tax freeze legislation today.

Belleville News Democrat - Editorial: Same sad story for Illinois

    “We had hoped that this time it would be different, but no. Illinois lawmakers seem ready to wrap up their spring legislative session and once again kick the budget can down the road. No solutions? No problem. Guess no one really should be surprised that Democratic leaders Michael Madigan and John Cullerton are choosing not to work with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. The new governor wants to reform the way Illinois does business but the two grizzled veteran leaders have no desire to change. Illinois may be dysfunctional, but it’s a system that works just fine for them and political insiders. It’s so incestuous…

    It’s so blatant it’s breathtaking, and Republican lawmakers alone can’t stop them. They would need help from rank-and-file Democrats who are also fed up with refusing to address the state’s fiscal problems. What will our local Democratic lawmakers do? Will they continue to be part of the Madigan-Cullerton problem, or will they stand up for the people of Illinois?”

Rockford Register Star – Editorial: Who will right Illinois’ fiscal ship?

    “’You just can’t spend like a bunch of drunken sailors all the time.’

    No, that wasn’t Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner or one of his Republican allies who said that, although it certainly would have been appropriate after Democrats passed a budget that would have the state spend $3 billion or $4 billion more than it expects to take in.

    It was the state’s former treasurer and comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka, who died late last year. Topinka’s remark came after Gov. George Ryan’s 2002 budget address. Needless to say things have not gotten better in Illinois the past 13 years…

    …The governor wants reforms and Madigan has shot down those reforms. The governor asks for responsible spending and Madigan and his friends pass a budget that has a huge hole in it.

    Reform and budget negotiations should not be separated, as Madigan wants. There’s no better time to discuss one because it affects the other. When politics works, it’s a give-and-take process.

    You don’t have to buy into everything Rauner wants to acknowledge that Illinois must change to have a competitive economy in the 21st century…”

* The governor’s press shop also just sent reporters the Senate committee testimony this morning of Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs Richard Goldberg. The following sentences were the ones specifically highlighted by the governor’s staff…

Unfortunately, no compromise is ever good enough for those who stand in the way of reform.

In short, while Governor Rauner says Yes to reform and Yes to compromise, the legislators in control of the General Assembly say No to reform, No to compromise, Yes to unbalanced budgets and Yes to higher taxes without reform.

Taxpayers are fed up pouring their hard-earned money into a broke and broken system. This morning, this Committee and those in control of the Senate have an opportunity to change course.

The bill before you is a critical reform we need to Turnaround Illinois – to make Illinois more competitive, to grow our economy and to create jobs. The bill before you represents compromise and reform.

- Posted by Rich Miller   88 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Another session day, another live session coverage post via ScribbleLive, sponsored by The Illinois Kids Campaign. Just a few regularly scheduled days left

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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Good morning!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Steady, are you ready?

Take another bite

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

* Pritzker endorses Croke over appointed Rep. Pizer in Dem primary
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* It's just a bill
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tobolski's chief of staff indicted on red-light cam bribery charges
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 - Biz groups raise concerns *** Pritzker claims FY21 budget savings of $225 million
* The devil, as always, is in the details
* Gift Of Hope Supports The Illinois Kidney Care Alliance
* Mike Invests In Black American Futures
* Baise is right about this
* Mailer attacked for being "extremely offensive"
* The easy way out needs to end
* Despite ISP's post-Aurora shooting efforts, "revoked FOID cardholders who have not accounted for their guns rose 14 percent"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* Madigan, Pritzker, Burke top list of campaign legal spending for 2019
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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