* 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…