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Mautino misses deadline

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

A public hearing is expected in the case involving Auditor General Frank Mautino’s campaign expenses after he failed to file amended reports Monday. The Illinois State Board of Elections is seeking amended reports to clarify hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign expenses paid to a bank and service station in his legislative district over the course of a decade.

The deadline came and went Monday for Mautino to turn in amended campaign-expense reports as ordered by the elections board.

That means the elections board will work with all of the parties to find a date for a public hearing in which the complainant will have subpoena power.

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform Chairwoman Susan Garrett said Mautino should be granted due process, but needs to comply with the State Board of Elections’ requests.

“But there comes a point when he has to do that,” Garrett said. “He just can’t hide behind a federal investigation. We want him to be open and honest about what happened.”

I asked Mautino’s private spokesman for comment. His reply: “No comment from us now on this.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Emanuel accepts Rauner’s apology, but with a catch

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday accepted Gov. Bruce Rauner’s apology for branding half of all Chicago Public Schools principals “managerially incompetent” and half its teachers “virtually illiterate,” but questioned whether teachers will forgive the insult.

“I’m gonna accept him at his word. More important is, will the teachers?” the mayor said. […]

If the governor is truly sorry for what he said, the mayor wants Rauner to prove it by putting the state’s money where his mouth is.

“The state finally leveled the pension inequity that existed where our taxpayers were taxed twice for pensions for teachers that don’t teach our children. I want to see that not only this year. I want to see it continue,” Emanuel.

“I accept that, sincerely, the governor apologizes. … I accept it because I want to move on and turn the page. [But] I want him to be a champion of the academic gains that the children of Chicago are making — not just against themselves, but against their national peers. … He should hold ’em up as an example of what you can do if you pull together principals, parents and teachers. … The governor of the state of Illinois should embrace the children of Chicago.”


…Adding… Rauner replies, via the Tribune

Rauner countered that he has long worked to improve schools in Chicago, but said districts across the state need help too.

“You know, I have worked for 25 years to improve the quality of the public schools in Chicago. And I passionately, I ran for governor so we could have outstanding schools in every community, not just Chicago,” Rauner said Tuesday during a term limits event at a central Illinois farm.

“Every school district needs more money, every teacher needs more support.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Trade secrets or hiding payrollers?

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* AP

Illinois officials say they won’t detail expenditures the TV show “Chicago Fire” made to qualify for nearly $16 million in tax breaks last year.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the move is a departure from last year, when the state publicly released the names and amounts show producers spent on actors, extras, crew and businesses that worked on the series’ pilot episode.

State officials say show owner NBCUniversal Media argued that Illinois was disclosing proprietary information that would yield competitive harm. The state agreed that the information was exempt from release under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

* Sun-Times

That’s a departure from last year, when the state released the names and amounts the producers of “Chicago Fire” spent on actors, extras, crew and businesses that worked on the series’ pilot episode in 2012. Those records detailed expenditures including $215,161 to Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, $6,200 to the Chicago Fire Department for “fire equipment” and $272 to Nordstrom for two pairs of shoes for the character Kelly Severide, played by actor Taylor Kinney.

But NBCUniversal Media, which owns the show, has now convinced Rauner administration lawyers that releasing such information about episodes since then would violate “trade secrets,” according to a July 8 letter attorney Patrick M. Callahan sent to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan explaining the state’s refusal to provide the information to the Chicago Sun-Times. […]

Madigan’s staff is reviewing the Sun-Times’ appeal of the Rauner administration’s decision.

Without seeing the records, it’s impossible for the public to know, for instance, whether politically connected people are benefiting from the series’ taxpayer-supported spending. Expenditures on the pilot episode of “Chicago Fire,” for example, included $57,810 paid to William T. Hogan III, son of the former Teamsters Local 714 boss, to work as a “driver captain/trans coord.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - 34 Latin Kings charged *** US Attorney to announce “significant new indictments against numerous alleged gang members”

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* Press release…

U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon and Other Law Enforcement Officials to Hold News Conference Today at 2:00 p.m.

U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon, FBI Chicago Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson and other law enforcement officials will hold a news conference to announce significant new indictments. The news conference will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the 9th Floor Press Room of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn, Chicago IL 60604. Media credentials will be required to access the Press Room, which will be open beginning at 1:15 p.m.

WHO: Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI
Eddie T. Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department
Several other law enforcement officials from the Chicago area and Indiana

WHAT: The officials will announce significant new indictments against numerous alleged gang members.

WHERE: U.S. Attorney’s Office
9th Floor Press Room
Dirksen Federal Building
219 S. Dearborn, Chicago IL 60604

WHEN: Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 2:00 p.m.

*** UPDATE ***  Here you go…

Thirty Four Alleged Gang Members Charged with Participating in Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Guns, Assaults and Attempted Murders in Chicago and Suburbs

CHICAGO — Two federal indictments unsealed in Chicago today charged 34 members of the Latin Kings street gang with participating in a criminal organization that assaults and attempts to murder its rivals and violently protects its territories in the city and suburbs.

Authorities uncovered the alleged gang activity through dual investigations conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). During the course of the multi-year probes, law enforcement agents confiscated more than 40 firearms, including two AR-15 assault rifles.

The indictments allege that members of the Latin Kings violently enforced discipline within its ranks and retaliated against rivals and former members to prevent cooperation with law enforcement. Its members and associates engaged in various acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, assault with dangerous weapons, arson, and extortion, according to the indictments. The charges include the attempted murders of rival gang members and a Melrose Park Police officer.

Thirty four alleged Latin Kings are charged with racketeering conspiracy. A 35th alleged Latin King is charged in the indictment with selling a firearm without a license. The 36th and final defendant is an alleged Latin King charged in a criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Several of the defendants were arrested this week and have begun making initial appearances in federal court in Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* All alone on the dais…

* The Question: What was he thinking?

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

Caption contest!

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* You didn’t think he could stay away the entire week, did you?…

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Rauner is gearing up

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* Gov. Rauner has started posting again to his campaign Facebook and Twitter accounts. He hadn’t posted anything to those pages since January (Facebook) or February (Twitter) of 2015, which is shortly after he was sworn in.

Also, his campaign website’s registration was updated on July 10th, but the site is still not yet activated.


- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Convention delegates are “not normal” party members

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* From the twitters…

* When you see “Bernie or bust” delegates loudly acting out, openly weeping and being interviewed on the teevee, remember this

Pew Research has been polling on the 2016 campaign for months, allowing it to track attitudes among voters over time. Nearly half of the Democratic electorate, 44 percent, changed their preference over the course of the three surveys Pew conducted. About 3 in 10 supported Clinton, wire-to-wire; about 20 percent Sanders.

Pew asked those consistent Sanders supporters whom they support in the general election. Ninety percent said they back Hillary Clinton. […]

Last week, as the Republican convention was going on, Pew offered similar research about the Republicans. Of the 44 percent of the party that never supported Donald Trump, 79 percent were planning on backing him in the general election — lower than the percentage of Sanders supporters backing Clinton, but still nearly 8 in 10.

So why so much outrage in Philadelphia? Delegates to party conventions are not normal members of political parties. [Emphasis added.]

Arguably, his most fervent supporters in the country are at the convention. They’re the ones who did the hard work to get themselves on the ballot, or worked the caucuses the most. The Bernie or Bust folks have put their hearts and souls into this “revolution,” and they’ve been convinced all along that the establishment has thwarted their will at every turn (and, indeed, the hacked DNC e-mails show that was the case in many respects). They are the true believers. Most people just aren’t that way, which the Pew polling shows.

In a nutshell, the Republican elite created their own problems by catering to the fears and beliefs of often angry white people for decades - and the “stuff-stirrers” firmly took over that party this year. The Democratic elite took their “stuff-stirrers” for granted for decades and they very nearly paid a heavy price this year, and are still having problems at their convention this week.

…Adding… As a longtime subscriber just told me, many of the younger Sanders supporters were raised in an era of participation trophies. “They were never taught how to lose”…

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

I’ll believe it when I see it, Lisa

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* Attorney General Lisa Madigan has teased a possible gubernatorial candidacy so many times (and often appeared to be doing so simply to raise money for her own reelection) that there’s just no way I can honestly say that this is a remotely real possibility, particularly since she announced a couple of years ago that she wouldn’t run for governor as long as her father was the House Speaker. And that guy appears to be having the time of his life so far…

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

SIU’s two crucial mistakes

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* Molly Parker has a very interesting read in the Southern Illinoisan about the future of SIU. Here is, to me, the best section, where President Randy Dunn talks about what has gone wrong

Dunn said part of the issue administrators are having with wrapping their arms around the enrollment situation is sifting through the specific causes of the downward [enrollment] trend. A portion of the decline is — and may be for some time — related to budget woes stemming from Springfield. For instance, SIU and other Illinois institutions of higher learning have suffered over the uncertainty of state funds for Monetary Award Program grants awarded to students by the state based on financial need.

But before this, SIU’s Carbondale campus also has suffered from what Dunn opined were significant administrative missteps — in terms of both SIU past leaders’ desires to raise standards on the high end, with regards to its standing as a research institution, and drop them on the low end, by opening the doors to students who were ill prepared for the university setting, based on tests and other factors, as a means of bolstering enrollment to avoid difficult budget decisions. […]

“I would submit to you that about 15 years ago, we started on this path that said SIU is going to be a mini-University of Illinois or University of Michigan,” Dunn said. “That was a goal to put us in the top 75 of research institutions and things like that.” […]

“I’m convinced that we went too far on that end of the continuum and forgot about the fact we are still a public institution, the regional institution for a bunch of counties in Southern Illinois,” he said.

On the other end, as enrollment dropped, Dunn said it’s his understanding, from reviewing enrollment data and corresponding student profiles, that during that same time frame some poor decisions were made to enroll students who, by all traditional measurements, were not prepared, leading to a retention problem when those students ultimately dropped out a semester or year later.

That also amounted to a disservice to those students, Dunn said, because the university did not have the structures in place to provide that many academically struggling students the supports necessary for success. […]

“We can serve a certain number of those access students and we tend to know what that number is and the supports are pretty good. But we were flooding the system with unqualified students who were dropping out after a semester or a year — with some debt, typically. Some stayed in the community, some went off without any set of skills. … We’ve got to quit doing that.”

So, when the spending required to elevate SIU into a higher tiered university didn’t bear immediate fruit, the school started letting in unqualified students to, essentially, scam some easy money from them for a semester or two to pad the books. Not good. Really not good.

But, hey, at least they recognize the problem. That’s the first step toward recovery. And they’re far from alone on this loosened standards on the low end thing. The other directionals need to take immediate note.

* Related…

* Illinois Colleges Besieged by Cuts as Budget Fight Trickles Down

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Sandack says no “compromising information” was accessed

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* Tribune

Rep. Ron Sandack, a top ally of Gov. Bruce Rauner, said he made his decision to step down from the Illinois House after several fraudulent social media accounts were set up in his name in recent weeks. He also cited recent automated telephone calls accusing him of accosting a Democratic staff member.

“I wasn’t looking forward to an ugly general election as it were; this additional stuff added undue pressure,” said Sandack, who up for re-election in November. “It made my family uneasy and made me re-evaluate my priorities. Politics has gotten too ugly. I don’t need it, and my family doesn’t deserve it.”

Sandack would not say if he believed the social media shenanigans was politically motivated but said he filed a report with the Downers Grove Police Department. Downers Grove police did not immediately say whether they had any police reports involving Sandack, instead suggesting the Chicago Tribune file an open-records request. The Tribune did so, but police have five days to respond. […]

Last week, Sandack suddenly deleted his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Asked Monday if any compromising information was accessed before he deleted his social media accounts, Sandack said “no.”

The word coming out of the HGOP organization is that, from what they know (and it’s not much), the attacks didn’t appear politically motivated.

* Gov. Rauner was asked about Sandack’s resignation yesterday after his press conference, but he walked by without saying a word…

* The governor’s PR people are flat-out refusing to respond to all questions about Sandack. Part of the problem here is that Sandack left without consulting them and refused to reconsider, and they are really not happy. “What am I supposed to do, say it’s a sad day but we’re thankful for Capitol Fax telling us about it?” asked one top Rauner official yesterday.

It also doesn’t help that the rumor mill is still in hyper-drive on this one. If this thing completely blows up, they don’t want to be anywhere near it.

So, it’s no coincidence that Team Rauner is backing a replacement who threatened to run against Sandack last year and who is supported by Sandack’s top local foe, DuPage County Republican chairman Brian Krajewski, a former Downers Grove mayor who Sandack defeated in 2007. Krajewski is by far Sandack’s biggest local detractor.

* Back to Sandack

The GOP floor leader in the House was rattled after finding several social media accounts set up in his name by unknown cyber-attackers.

Sandack was a prolific Twitter and Facebook user at the time, connecting with constituents during a regular flow of quips and chatter on social media.

In Downers Grove, where Sandack’s home office is, where he lives and where he was once the mayor, the fraudulent accounts prompted Sandack to take down his own pages and contact local police.

* And finally

But for Democrats in Sandack’s district his resignation is a happy surprise. Sandack was up against Democratic Downers Grove Commissioner Greg Hose in the November Election.

“They are going to have to run a 12-month campaign in 3 months,” said Dupage County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Peickert. “We are optimistic that the democrat is going to benefit from this.”

The Republicans I’ve spoken with are confident that choosing Krajewski’s guy David Olsen will not increase the likelihood of a Democratic pickup, which, while not outside the realm of possibility, was kinda small to begin with.

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 - VIDEO: Kennedy looked horrible *** Chris Kennedy speaks to Dems, flees without talking to reporters

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* You’ve got obvious ambitions and most of the state’s political reporters are all gathered in one room and you don’t take questions? Kinda odd…

I also wonder whether Speaker Madigan understands that anything nice he says about any of these potential candidates will be used as a battering ram against those same candidates in 2018. I mean, the dude has a 13 percent favorable rating.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Amanda has the elevator video. Kennedy did a lousy job and this did not go well at all. Wow. Just… wow…

Why go all the way to Philly and behave like that? It’s just beyond me.

…Adding… From Oswego Willy in comments…

he looks like he just got indicted


*** UPDATE 2 *** Tribune

Kennedy then walked toward a waiting elevator, but a crush of Chicago reporters followed him in, not satisfied with the nonanswer.

“This is sort of ridiculous, please,” Kennedy pleaded.

“What’s ridiculous is you don’t answer questions,” WFLD-Ch. 32 reporter Mike Flannery shot back. “You’ve run four or five campaigns in the gossip column. Are you running for governor or not?”

“I don’t have to address you. Please leave the elevator and let me go to my meeting. Please do that. Have some decency,” Kennedy responded. “What have you become? Please, please.”

*** UPDATE 3*** WBEZ

“I really don’t think that someone, no matter what they do in life, should be, you know, the subject of bullying and I don’t think being a reporter is a license to bully,” Kennedy later said to a much smaller group of reporters in the lobby of the Illinois delegation’s hotel.

He said he’s considering a run for public office, but still has to introduce himself to Democrats.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

G: Blagojevich doesn’t deserve leniency

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* Sun-Times

Rod Blagojevich broke his silence from prison last year, vowing he “must fight on” and “what is at stake is nothing less than the rule of law.”

Late Monday night, federal prosecutors threw those words back in the former governor’s face as he nears a key turning point in the battle for his freedom. They wrote in a court filing that Blagojevich’s comments “demonstrate a complete lack of acceptance of responsibility.”

“In the absence of acceptance, it cannot be said that the defendant has been rehabilitated or that he is deserving of leniency,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Riggs Bonamici wrote.

Prosecutors want U.S. District Judge James Zagel to reinstate Blagojevich’s original 14-year prison sentence at a hearing next month, scheduled after an appeals court tossed five of the former governor’s 18 criminal convictions last year and ordered his resentencing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

*** LIVE COVERAGE *** Democratic National Convention

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

* The feed stopped itself overnight, so I’ve mostly caught it up. Follow all the Illinois-related news with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

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