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*** UPDATED x1 *** Two non-scandals and a potentially serious one

Friday, May 27, 2016

* I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody make a big deal about such a common practice before

The head of the agency managing state construction solicited help from private builders to lobby for state funding in an email ethics experts say was inappropriate.

The email obtained by The Associated Press was sent Tuesday by Jodi Golden, executive director of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Capital Development Board. Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said it’s “outrageous” to suggest the email created a conflict of interest.

“This is about schools and important construction projects around the state that communities are waiting for,” Kelly said in an email. “They are all being held up by the majority party in Springfield. The people of Illinois have a right to know what’s going on and why.”

Golden’s email from a government account was addressed to “Construction Industry Partners,” urging them to contact lawmakers in favor of legislation providing $2.1 billion for this year and more for next year. […]

“Is this about good government and trying to get the state to improve the infrastructure?” Redfield asked. “Or are you using leverage - because there’s a financial relationship - to get someone to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do?”

Um, why wouldn’t they want to urge legislators to pass the funding bill?

Seriously. This is supremely goofy. Elected officials ask interested parties to help pass or kill bills all the freaking time. The Democrats have asked human service providers to help pass various bills that directly impact them, so would that be a scandal too? I don’t get it.

You can see the “scandalous” e-mail in question by clicking here.

* And the Illinois Policy Institute’s radio network apparently couldn’t even find a goo-goo to comment on this piece..

A former state Senate staff attorney turned lobbyist is being paid $10,000 a month to work on state pension reform.

Eric Madiar is Illinois Senate President John Cullerton’s former chief legal counsel. Madiar is now under contract to deal with pension reform.

Cullerton Spokesman John Patterson said Madiar is “just researching the pension clause and really becoming the state’s leading authority on that.”

Patterson also said Madiar has been combing over recent rulings from the state Supreme Court and “analyzing those opinions, interpreting what they mean, understanding how we can learn from what the court has ruled and incorporate it into a model that we think is constitutional moving forward.”

Oh, no! A lobbyist!!! Horrible.

Wait. Doesn’t that network’s parent company lobby? And isn’t that why the House and Senate refuse to allow the network access to the press boxes?

* Look, Madiar is an acknowledged pension expert. He’s perhaps the best pension expert this state has. Eric was right when he predicted the Supreme Court would strike down the last pension reform law. So, I suppose the Senate Dems could just rely on free advice from the Tribune editorial board and Ty Fahner’s Civic Committee, but they were dead wrong on that last pension law. And I’m betting their error cost this state a whole lot more in legal bills than Madiar’s total take.

Madiar’s also a lawyer in private practice now, so those services don’t come cheap. Could the amount be debatable? Maybe, but we don’t know how many hours he puts in. And if he comes up with a way to save us big bucks, it’ll be worth it.

* As we’ve already discussed, however, this is potentially troubling

A bill that would legalize and regulate online fantasy sports betting in Illinois has hit a major snag amid an apparent ethics scandal involving a lobbyist.

State Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, said in a House Judiciary-Criminal Committee meeting on Thursday she had become privy to an email from a FanDuel lobbyist to the Black Caucus that offered donations in exchange for a guarantee of votes. […]

“The email basically alleged that in exchange for considerations, donations, that he could guarantee votes. That’s illegal. We have a former governor in jail right now for doing that, so it is an issue,” Mayfield said, adding she wasn’t comfortable voting on the bill.

Mayfield said she learned from the head lobbyist that the lobbyist in question is still employed. […]

“We categorically reject the implication that DraftKings or FanDuel would partake in such behavior,” [Jeremy Kudon, the national lobbying point person for DraftKings and FanDuel] said in a statement. “We do not condone this type of activity. It’s simply not how we do business, here or anywhere in the country.”

There’s only one way to clear this up: Release the e-mail exchange. If you’re gonna tell us that no wrongs were committed, then release the e-mails and the problem immediately goes away.

The cover-up will get you every time. Come clean.

*** UPDATE ***  A rumor? You’ve got the chair of the House Black Caucus saying she saw the e-mail. Release the e-mail chain already…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    ==The Democrats have asked human service providers to help pass various bills that directly impact them==

    Did Quinn’s DHS do this? I’m pretty sure it didn’t.

    The difference, which Rauner has blurred, is whether a political party is asking someone to lobby, or whether an executive agency with fiscal relationships and contracting authority is asking.

    The latter is at best Blagoesque.


  2. - Grass Bowl - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:03 pm:

    The DraftKings/FanDuel situation is troubling on its face. There is also a lot of misinformation going around the Capitol about who was involved in that email, which is unfortunate for people who were not involved whatsoever. Releasing the email would clear that up quickly.


  3. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    Where is my post?


  4. - Daniel Plainview - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:06 pm:

    - The Democrats have asked human service providers to help pass various bills that directly impact them, so would that be a scandal too? -

    Are the “Democrats” directly in charge of the procurement process that selects the contractors? Are construction contractors lobbyists?

    This is not at all a typical situation, agency directors should not pressure vendors to engage in politics.


  5. - DuPage Dave - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    Somebody dig up a copy of the most recent “ethics training” and see what it says about that type of e-mail.


  6. - Justasec - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    ~crazy
    And expressly forbidden per the ethics law.


  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:19 pm:

    ===to engage in politics===

    Politics?

    Calling a legislator to unstick a bill isn’t politics. C’mon.


  8. - Anon - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:26 pm:

    —There’s only one way to clear this up: Release the e-mail exchange. If you’re gonna tell us that no wrongs were committed, then release the e-mails and the problem immediately goes away.

    The cover-up will get you every time. Come clean.—

    i would forward this to my ethics officer and staff attorney before I showed this to the press.

    However, can’t these be FOIA’d?


  9. - Daniel Plainview - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:28 pm:

    - Calling a legislator to unstick a bill isn’t politics. C’mon. -

    Did you even read the email?

    “The Governor has worked with House and Senate Republicans…”

    “While the governor has been clear…none of the bills have been assigned to committee by Democratic majorities”

    I know you’re fond of these guys, but you c’mon.


  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:30 pm:

    ===I know you’re fond of these guys, but you c’mon.===

    LOL

    Please. He can’t mention party names? Give me a break.


  11. - Anon - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:31 pm:

    Wait - wasn’t Claypool just down there? Didn’t Choose Chicago just send out an email blast. This is completely stupid.


  12. - Sue - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:32 pm:

    Why for Gods sake is Cullerton throwing out 10 k a month for someone to research what every lawyer who has ever looked at the pension clause already knows. Sounds like a gift to a former aide and nothing more but then again we can easily afford it right?


  13. - Daniel Plainview - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:33 pm:

    - Please. He can’t mention party names? Give me a break. -

    Yeah, that’s exactly what I was saying.


  14. - Sue - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    By the way- the true pension law expert is Rich Huzagh in the AGs office who also worked on the issue before going to work for Lisa


  15. - AlfondoGonz - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:38 pm:

    The nerve of Demmer to whine about soundbite press-release statements one day after questioning the 7 contested Democrats after the verification is notable if not appalling.


  16. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:51 pm:

    ==Release the e-mail exchange.==

    This. Even with the names redacted, releasing the e-mail exchange is the only way to clear things up for better or worse.


  17. - Give Me A Break - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    For the Love of Pete, all four caucus staff have been reaching out to interested groups on related legislation for years. Every Gov’s staff has done it too. And Yes, that includes Quinn.


  18. - Hank - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 1:11 pm:

    ===”Oh, no! A lobbyist!!! Horrible.

    Wait. Doesn’t that network’s parent company lobby? And isn’t that why the House and Senate refuse to allow the network access to the press boxes?===

    Logic is hard for the IPI.


  19. - northsider (the original) - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 1:24 pm:

    The difference is that the Capitol Development Board is the direct regulator, akin to a judge. If a judge asked a party appearing before him to lobby (or contribute) for a specific piece of legislation or candidate or party it would be an ethical violation since the person might feel that they MUST do it to stay in the court’s good graces. Same here, to my view.

    At least with a judge you can take a change of venue. The ‘Industry Partners’ Ms Golden wrote to are stuck with the Board and beholden to them for contracts and rulings. Very different from legislators revving up constituents.


  20. - DuPage - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:55 pm:

    E-mails are not near as effective as passing out “campaign” money right before a big vote.


  21. - Juvenal - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    It’s quite possible that prosecutors or other investigating authorities have requested the email not be released.

    File a FOIA, maybe they tip a card.


  22. - Concerned - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 4:26 pm:

    Mr. Kudon seems very nervous. Has he done this before?? Did he direct those actions? Interested people want to know….


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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