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Two different conflicts

Thursday, Jul 27, 2017

* Bernie recounts Gov. Rauner’s claims about Speaker Madigan’s alleged conflict of interest

“When a person who sets tax policy and has controlled it for 35 years also controls a property tax appeal law firm that fundamentally makes money from the property tax policy in a way that … specifically disadvantages the families of Illinois, that is wrong; our system is broken; it’s fundamentally unfair.”

* Here’s some of Madigan’s response via Bernie’s column

Asked about it at his own news conference later, Madigan reiterated what he has said in the past: His law firm’s clients are a matter of public record, and an extensive newspaper investigation into his law practice found no client that got special or inappropriate treatment.

“My firm and myself operate under conflict rules,” Madigan said. “Any potential client seeking a state benefit is rejected. If a client requests my intercession with a state agency, I refuse. If a client expresses an interest in legislation, I recuse myself from consideration of the bill.”

* Steve Brown sent me the outline of Madigan’s statement that he read to the press yesterday…

* It’s plain that they’re talking about two different types of conflicts of interest. Madigan is focusing on the legal and direct ethical conflicts of dealing with law firm clients. Rauner is talking about the broader concept.

Raw audio of Madigan’s presser is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    Rauner talks in “broad based” beliefs and thoughts.

    Madigan talks in existing and exacting points with clear words and points.

    You can make these statements on just about anything that’s happened these past 2 1/2 years.

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    Will no enterprising reporter point out they money Rauner made and continues to make from the state’s pension systems? Anyone try tracking down Stu?

  3. - cdog - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    This is a culture problem, not a problem for prosecution.

    Rauner is right. Madigan is the leader of the party that loves 7000 taxing bodies, 60,000 public employees and pensioners making over $100k, and chronically overspending and under-funding obligations.

    Madigan is happy to help those willing to pay to relieve a little of the tax pressure being applied to folks in order to maintain that big government utopia.

  4. - emergentorder - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    Who said anything about Madigan’s clients? The man running the whole assessment show is the Cook County Democratic Chairman and gets paid to lobby on the side. Clearly a conflict of interest for Madigan to profit from Berrios’ office.

  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:45 pm:

    One has to wonder how Madigan and Burke are the most successful when it comes to tax appeals vs. the other lawyers…

  6. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    ===One has to wonder how Madigan and Burke are the most successful when it comes to tax appeals vs. the other lawyers===

    How do you know they are more successful than other lawyers? That seems like an assumption on your part. You know what they say about assumptions, don’t you?

  7. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    Where is the discussion (or even mention) of the conflicts of interest that the Guv disclosed on his statement of economic interests?

  8. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    says Rauner who makes a 150 million and is trying to fet rid of social services and education so he can cut taxes and make tens of millions a year on the lower rate…. also while running an investment comoany that handles 401k and demanding the state move to 401k type portfolios.

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===conflicts of interest that the Guv disclosed===

    Those are just economic interests. Do you know of specific conflicts?

  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    ==How do you know they are more successful than other lawyers? That seems like an assumption on your part. You know what they say about assumptions, don’t you?===

    Look no further than Chris Kennedy

  11. - Poor Illnois - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    For those who still need help identifying Madigan’s conflicts:

    “In 2003, Madigan sponsored $3.5 million in state money to the city of Chicago for ‘all costs associated with road, water, sewer and lighting improvements on 76th Street and South Kostner Avenue.’”

    “That grant language directed money to a privately owned stretch of pavement that leads to the properties of two Madigan clients in his Southwest Side district.”

    Let’s stop pretending this is some big conspiracy theory.

  12. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:07 pm:

    Rauner would see a conflict in an ice cream sundae. He simply tries to deflect the discussion away from anything having to do with his failures. When a report comes out showing your disapproval is 63%, deflection is the order of the day.

  13. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    Try again Anonymous, and also, if you plan to continue a back-and-forth here, please pick a name. I’d like to know which uninformed anonymous commenter I’m responding to.

    From the link that you posted (but maybe didn’t actually read): “The majority of homeowners do not use attorneys in filing their appeals”

    Ass, u, me.

  14. - Where's the truth? - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    Only a lawyer can look at the current “system” and not see a conflict of interest. The commoners are paying a larger share of their stagnant income so that the political elite can feather their own nests. “Government by the people for the people” - just not in Illinois.

  15. - Anonish - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    When trying to quantify successful lawyers in terms of property valuation appeals are you talking about total dollars of value reduced or total number of appeals where a reduction was obtained? If the former then look at people who solely handle commercial and industrial properties, but the latter I would look at lawyers who handle residential appeals.

  16. - Perrid - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    cdog, I agree with most of your examples but your jab about 60,000 employees making more than 100k is a little off the mark. State employees have higher degrees (master’s, doctorate, or MD) compared to the general workforce, and so they have a higher average compensation (though not by that much). A paper out of UIUC a few years ago made the argument that people with bachelors, masters or doctorates actually made less working for the state than in the general workforce, while high school graduates made more. So “over-paid” state workers are basically a myth, at least in general.

  17. - iamthepita - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    Using Madigan’s statement posted above, I could see how someone might inquire on the following:

    “4 reporters and only 1 would acknowledge”

  18. - Just Observing - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    === ===One has to wonder how Madigan and Burke are the most successful when it comes to tax appeals vs. the other lawyers===

    @Anon - I would be very happy to concede that Madigan’s and Burke’s firms are the “most successful,” but you have failed, including with your Crain’s link, any facts to support your argument. Just because Chris Kennedy prevailed in a big appeal, doesn’t mean 1). That it wasn’t deserved; and 2). That only Madigan or Burke could have prevailed to that degree on that case.

  19. - Chris Widger - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:47 pm:

    Madigan’s a great guy who would never do something unscrupulous. Just ask Grasiela Rodriguez and Joe Barboza.

  20. - emergentorder - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    47th ward, see a problem here? Your defense of this man’s law practice is breathtaking. And regardless of clients, the man deciding the rules of the game makes money lobbying the speaker. I’ve never met someone in IL who doesn’t think M&G is a clear conflict of interest. Only Capfax commenters.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    ===I’ve never met someone in IL who doesn’t think M&G is a clear conflict of interest.===

    Maybe your outreach of people might be… narrow?


  22. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    I can’t imagine another person in Illinois that has been under the scrutiny that Madigan has endured over the last 30 years. He is obviously a smart lawyer that scrupulously follows the law. Perhaps you don’t like that he achieved so much success without going to jail but the problem you have is that we don’t send people to jail for following the law. Certainly, the crack posse from Tronc would have unearthed something by now. Hate on him all you want but that’s no excuse for Rauner’s sustained list of failures. He made a horrible situation worse and still has no plans to accomplish anything. His desire to inflict pain and create chaos is not leadership. Let’s face it, Rauner owns his failures now. He struck out and he blames the pitcher for not giving him anything to hit. Man up and try to govern instead of whinnin’, lyin’ and complainin’. You can also accept that Madigan and Cullerton aren’t afraid of you and they can count noses. So what are you goin’ to do to accomplish something?

  23. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    ===Only Capfax commenters.===

    Well, we’re different here. Most of us are pros, or insiders who know at least a little bit about what we’re talking about. We also try to use facts and logic to persuade others that our positions have merit.

    You really should try it sometime. It’s fun and educational, though less so if you have a simplistic view of these complex subjects. Then it’s hard. Like math.

  24. - emergentorder - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    47th Ward

    Oh, I apologize.

    I didn’t know profiting from an arrangement wherein you negotiate with a fellow party leader about what your clients’ properties are worth was just … complex math?

    I notice you used an ad hominem attack instead of addressing the article on that Midway property. Is this just what “pros” do?

    Again, I’m sorry for my simpleton ways. Here’s another link if you need help solving this rubik’s cube.

  25. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:19 pm:

    “the man deciding the rules of the game” There it is again. Um, there are others involved in setting tax rates you know.

  26. - cdog - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:30 pm:

    Perrid, I’m glad we are in agreement on some of this. There was an article in Forbes* the other day that completely blew me away regarding the runaway compensation of public employees in Illinois.

    I have a belief that public service should be hand in hand with an expectation of lower compensation because the salary is paid by the collective of society for basic services. I cannot condone what Illinois is doing to the tax base via these ridiculous salaries.

    To defend this will just perpetrate more of it. From the article, 84 “small town managers” in Illinois make more than every governor in the country.

  27. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    I’m sorry if your feelings were hurt emergentorder, but I didn’t respond to your link because it is off topic and I assumed it was a weak attempt to change the subject. Was it?

    I’m not sure what that link has to do with Madigan’s property tax appeals work, especially since the article doesn’t mention Madigan negotiating with fellow party leaders or anyone else. Dan Mihalapoulos has made a career of stringing together a series of facts and making it sound ominous and corrupt, without actually saying that. It’s his niche, but again, nothing but smoke and innuendo in that story.

    And the Tribune “expose” was a nice story seven years ago when they assigned the entire newsroom to dig through Madigan’s life in search of…what? They didn’t find anything worth noting, nor did at least one and maybe more U.S. Attorneys who have exhaustively investigated his public and private business.

    If you have anything new to add, feel free to share it. But the links you’ve posted aren’t persuasive today, just as they weren’t persuasive when I read them the day they were published. Just because the IPI and the Tribune Editorial Board check under their beds for Mike Madigan before they go to sleep doesn’t mean I should be afraid of the scary “corrupt” Speaker. I’m not 8 years old anymore.

    Again, sorry about your hurt feelings. Thanks for picking a nickname though. I’ll look forward to skipping over your comments in the future.

  28. - Huh? - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    Oh, God. Curse you, OW, for the earworm from the Patty Duke show.

  29. - cdog - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    To keep this post-centric, I believe that Madigan, as the leader of this blue-state sets the tone.

    His “protect the middle class” is just code for ripping off taxpayers, and continuing to collect union dues to keep the Dem political machine going.

    Illinoisans are beginning to wake up. I know I have.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===Illinoisans are beginning to wake up. I know I have===

    Rauner is below 40% approval and above 60% disapproval.

    People “woke up” on Bruce Rauner?

    - Huh? -

    The theme is genius. Apologies for the ear worm. Will I watch the show if I see it on?


  31. - bored now - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:47 pm:

    it was pretty clear to me that madigan had taken a very careful study into where the line was and will not cross it. very lawyerly. it may look bad (but roy cohn said, “you can smear anyone — just look what they did to me!”) but i still struggle to believe that most illinois voters will ever cast a vote based upon their views of michael madigan…

  32. - Honeybear - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:53 pm:

    Cdog- I saw that article this morning as well. Honestly I was shocked as well. Many many positions are overpaid. I hope a lot of that changes as more accountability comes to bear. I am concerned though that the pendulum doesn’t swing the other way to much. I make well well under 100 and I feel I’m fairly paid. Some merit comp state workers though aren’t paid well enough for what they do. But yeah, it angered me. I say this on the spirit of contrition.

  33. - cdog - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    Ow, Rauner is blowing it. His personal style doesn’t work in this environment, however, that doesn’t diminish the needs of Illinois that will never be delivered by a Democrat. Rauner may not be the vehicle, but less blue-state mentality is in Illinois’ future.

    Just take a look at the national Democratic Party. They are lost, with no economic message. They’re just all juiced on trying to normalize weird fringe stuff that taxpayers don’t really want to hear about.

    Again, to be post-centric, Madigan is the overseer of this disaster.

  34. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    ===They’re just all juiced on trying to normalize weird fringe stuff that taxpayers don’t really want to hear about.===


  35. - Honeybear - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    I do want it noted though that those were management salaries and not union ones for the most part that were so egregious.

  36. - cdog - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 3:04 pm:

    HB, I appreciate your thoughts. I bookmarked the piece and wish everyone in the state would read it and have the “eureka moment.” I couldn’t believe there was even a map with names.

    Ow, you’re being coy. I am not going to elaborate because it is not my intention to make a person or group feel badly. You know exactly what I’m talking about. :)

  37. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 3:12 pm:

    ===…you’re being coy…===

    No I’m not. I want to understand perfectly. No assuming by me.

    ===They’re just all juiced on trying to normalize weird fringe stuff that taxpayers don’t really want to hear about.===

    What are you saying?

    === I am not going to elaborate because it is not my intention to make a person or group feel badly===

    How could that be? It’s your belief and opinion.

    I just want to be clear is all.

  38. - Honeybear - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 4:28 pm:

    Okay cdog I just got on the interactive map. Wow both ways. I found people I know or know of and thought they were being underpaid, like my school districts superintendent. Then I move north snot to a tiny little town and their fire district. My jaw went through my desk. And yes I’m big enough to admit they were union jobs. The problem is though, how do we judge worth? I am Leary of that. Although at some point a buzzer goes off and you just know it’s too high. Or even too low and you wonder why they got screwed. I am though primarily concerned with a race to the bottom.

  39. - JP Altgeld - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 4:39 pm:

    Love him or hate him, gotta admit that MJM is easily the most effective/most powerful politician in the U.S. over the last 60 or so years.

  40. - Skirmisher - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 4:49 pm:

    Loathing as I do agreeing to much of anything Rauner says, I side with him in looking here at the bigger picture. No one employed in state government(Madigan included) has any business engaging in any private business that profits from public policy. Even though property taxes are local in nature, they are driven to a lconsiderable extent by state policies which are partly at least under Madigan’s control. In a truly ethical state, he would resign from the law firm or decline any clients wishing relief from any political entity. Just because you do not meet the legal definition of corrupt under Illinois law does not mean you are not corrupt.

  41. - justacitizen - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:32 pm:

    @OW ===Rauner talks in “broad based” beliefs and thoughts.

    Madigan talks in existing and exacting points with clear words and points.

    You can make these statements on just about anything that’s happened these past 2 1/2 years

    Just saw this. Spoken like the true R u are. lol

  42. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:35 pm:

    - justacitizen -

    Rauner is NOT a Republican.

    You need to come to grips with that, lol

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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