Bob Daiber, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools, officially filed his candidacy for Governor on Thursday. Daiber and his running mate Jonathan Todd filed over 9,500 signatures with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Daiber stated that they exceeded the required threshold of 5,000 signatures to ensure a spot on the March 20th Democratic primary ballot.
“Jonathan Todd and I would like to thank the volunteers across Illinois who have joined in this grassroots campaign to make our candidacy possible. The effort has been incredible,” stated Daiber.
Daiber is the only candidate outside of Cook County who has filed and the first Democrat from Southern Illinois to file for governor in twenty years.
* The Question: Do you think Daiber stays in the race to the end? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
* This is a $9,345 cable buy. Not much, but it’s enough to convince Roll Call to write a story…
NARAL Pro-Choice America is launching a five-figure TV buy attacking Illinois Democrat Dan Lipinski on Thursday.
The ad, shared first with Roll Call, hits the congressman for voting against the 2010 health care law, opposing abortion rights and background check and same-sex marriage legislation. It will run on cable TV in his 3rd District for a week.
Lipinski is facing a primary challenge from marketing consultant Marie Newman, who secured the backing of NARAL, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s leadership PAC endorsed Newman earlier this month.
“Dan Lipinski is way out of step with his constituents and with Democratic party principles when it comes to women’s rights, LGBT equality, and the basic freedoms that Americans hold dear,” Mitchell Stille, NARAL’s National Campaign Director, said in a statement.
SIUE officials attribute the enrollment growth to the evolving campus and community.
“SIUE’s consistent and steady growth over the past 20 years can be attributed to the ever-evolving nature of this campus and the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area,” said Association Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Scott Belobrajdic.
He highlighted past construction of residential halls, the addition of the School of Pharmacy, expansion of the School of Engineering and the move to NCAA Division I athletics as points that bolstered enrollment.
“Beginning in the mid-’90s we began the transition to a primarily residential campus,” he said. […]
“In 1996 the mean ACT for an incoming class of 1,191 was 20.9. Fall of 2014 brought a record of 2,126 new freshmen to campus with an average ACT of 23.5,” he said.
Adding and expanding reputable programs most certainly helped not only grow the student population, but attract more qualified students. And Edwardsville itself is a lot different than the backwater it was 20-some years ago. It’s now the jewel of the Metro East. The city and the university worked with each other, fed off each other and grew together. (It’s probably no coincidence that Edwardsville’s highly successful mayor of 20 years also ran the local YMCA and grew both while stressing quality. When the now-retired mayor took over the local YMCA, it had less than a thousand members. Now, as he is about to retire from that job, it has 19,200 members - three quarters of the town’s population.)
* Anyway, SIU-Carbondale? Not so great. Enrollment has dropped, the town has struggled and now we have yet another grand scheme from the campus’ tenth chancellor in twenty years - twice the turnover rate as SIUE.
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno has unveiled a plan to restructure the university’s academic programs. A core feature of the chancellor’s proposed plan underscores the need to minimize administrative costs and sharpen the university’s focus on teaching and curricula.
The plan calls for the elimination of SIU’s current department-based structure to be replaced by a system of colleges and schools within the university, thereby cutting down on administrative bloat.
Addressing the university’s fiscal priorities in a video posted on the university’s website, Montemagno said, “We are spending too much time and money on administration and not enough time on teaching and research.” […]
Full-time equivalent administrator positions at Illinois public universities increased by 26 percent from 2005 to 2015, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. But full-time equivalent fall student enrollment dropped by almost 3 percent over that time. Further, teaching- and classroom-related functions, including instruction, research and public service full-time equivalent positions, increased by only 2 percent.
If it saves significant money and doesn’t disrupt education, then go for it. But the university has to start thinking about way more than cutting bureaucratic jobs (which will, unfortunately, exacerbate the city of Carbondale’s problems). It needs stability and growth. A state of near-constant flux has not helped that place.
Kids want to go to schools where they can have some fun, and money is definitely an issue, but they really want to get a degree that’s respected in their chosen fields.
Today, the Thomas More Society filed a taxpayer lawsuit against State of Illinois officials in a counterattack against House Bill 40, which requires public funding of tens of thousands of elective abortions. The taxpayer lawsuit, filed in the Sangamon County Circuit Court, is brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Illinois taxpayers, represented by county and statewide pro-life organizations, the Springfield Catholic Diocese, and a group of Illinois legislators from across the state.
“The people of Illinois totally reject taxpayer-funded abortions,” stated Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen, who drafted the lawsuit. “Under HB 40, Illinoisans will be forced to pay for 20,000 to 30,000 abortions per year with their tax dollars. Even apart from the sincere moral objections that many folks have to paying for abortions, there is no money in this year’s Illinois state budget to pay for them. And, because of games played by Senate Democrats, in holding HB 40 until late September, after the May 31 cutoff for legislative action, this bill can’t be effective until June 1, not January 1.” Breen also serves as state representative for Illinois’ 48th District.
The complaint levels two challenges against HB 40. First, the General Assembly has not set aside funds to pay for HB 40’s tens of thousands of elective abortions, and there’s no money available to pay for those abortions and still be within the Balanced Budget requirements of the Illinois Constitution. Second, despite efforts to make HB 40 effective January 1, 2018, it cannot come into effect until June 1, because it did not pass out of the Senate until September 25, 2017. The Illinois Constitution imposes a May 31 cut-off date for General Assembly action for bills to go into effect faster.
If implemented, despite its illegality, HB 40 would force every Illinoisan to pay for free abortions for those on Medicaid and state employee health insurance. This would apply through the full nine months of pregnancy and for any reason, even when the latest scientific research has shown that the unborn child can feel pain and survive outside the womb.
There is no cap on the number of abortions that could be covered under Medicaid and no cap on the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on these procedures. Based on recent figures from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services showing a cost of up to $1000 per Medicaid abortion, state government spending on abortions could range anywhere from $15 million to $30 million.
The State of Illinois is unique in having a tradition of allowing taxpayer lawsuits, which are brought by private individuals to protect the public treasury. Illinois law requires such a suit to be brought by a petition for leave to file a complaint. The petition in this case has been set for hearing before Associate Judge Brian T. Otwell, on Thursday, December 7, at 10:30 a.m., at the Sangamon County Courthouse.
“Regardless of your feelings about abortion, it is incredibly fiscally irresponsible to enact a law designed to spend millions of dollars that Illinois does not have,” said Breen. “The state legislative process has steps that must be correctly followed in order to prevent budget-busting laws like this from being ramrodded through. It is part of our civic process of checks and balances.”
The Illinois legislators bringing the lawsuit include:
● Representative Barbara Wheeler, District 64
● Representative Mark Batinick, District 97
● Representative Steve Reick, District 63
● Representative Keith Wheeler, District 50
● Senator Dale Fowler, District 59
● Senator Kyle McCarter, District 54
● Senator Dan McConchie, District 26
● Senator Paul Schimpf, District 58
The pro-life groups listed on the complaint include:
● Pro-Life Action League, Inc.
● Springfield Right to Life
● Clinton County Citizens For Life
● Henry County Right to Life, Inc.
● Knox County Right to Life, NFP
● Lake County Right to Life Committee, Inc.
● Morgan County Right to Life, Inc., NFP
● Pro-Life Action League, Inc.
● Illinois Right to Life Action
● Illinois Federation for Right to Life
The above listed legislators and groups are joined in this action by:
● Diocese of Springfield In Illinois
Read the Petition for Leave to File a Taxpayer Action to Restrain and Enjoin the Disbursement of Public Funds and the Taxpayer Complaint to Restrain and Enjoin the Disbursement of Public Funds here.
Seems like a long shot at best, but you never know with the courts.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Pritzker campaign…
“Reproductive rights are once again under attack by Illinois Republicans, and we must continue fighting these archaic attempts to restrict a woman’s right to choose,” said JB Pritzker. “Whether it’s a new lawsuit filed today or legislation filed a month ago, the GOP is committed to rolling back the clock on women’s rights. As governor, I will be a champion for women’s rights, and I will always fight to expand and protect reproductive rights in Illinois.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Treasurer Mike Frerichs…
“My office has not yet been served in this lawsuit. But, perhaps before coming to me, the anti-choice groups and Republican representatives bringing this suit should first have a conversation with the Office of Governor Bruce Rauner, who signed HB40 into law.”
…Adding… Jesse Ruiz…
Passing HB 40 was an important milestone in the protection of a woman’s right to choose. Now a far-right-wing organization wants to undo the progress made by the Illinois General Assembly and throw out this vital law. They must be stopped.
This lawsuit demonstrates how critical it is that we elect an Attorney General who will fight for a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. As your Attorney General, I will be a champion for women’s rights, including the right to access contraception and safe, legal abortion.
I know that Attorney General Madigan will stand up strongly to this wrongheaded lawsuit, and I feel confident that our courts will overturn this extreme attempt to endanger women’s health in Illinois.
When Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois announced in October that he would seek reelection in 2018, he released a two-minute campaign video. It shows the Republican wearing blue jeans and a black leather vest as he rides his Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Chicago to Springfield, the state capital. “Four years ago,” he says in a voiceover, “I crisscrossed our state, looked people in the eye, and promised to fight business as usual.”
This boast came about a month after Cardinal Blase Cupich accused him of breaking his word and the Chicago Sun-Times put his picture on its front page, below a headline that shouted: “Benedict Rauner.” The governor’s offense was to have signed what may be America’s most radical abortion-funding law after vowing to veto it. The betrayal capped a season of defeats for conservatives, including an income-tax hike, a big bailout of Chicago’s public schools, and turning Illinois into what critics of illegal immigration are calling a “sanctuary state.”
Now Rauner, 60, confronts a problem that few would have predicted as recently as last spring: a possible Republican meltdown in the Land of Lincoln. In next year’s GOP primary, he’ll face a scrappy challenge from a credible conservative opponent. Jeanne Ives is a graduate of West Point, a mom, and a wonky state representative from Wheaton, Ill. “Somebody needs to stand up for Republicans and conservatives,” she says. “We can do a lot better than Bruce Rauner.”
This much is clear: Illinois hardly could do worse. It suffers from one of the weakest economies in the nation, with the slowest personal-income growth, low labor-force participation, and distressing levels of manufacturing-job losses. Its tax burden is among the heaviest in the country. It has the lowest credit rating of any state (just a notch above junk-bond status) and the highest level of unfunded pension liabilities (about $250 billion, according to Moody’s). Four of its last ten governors have wound up in prison. “Illinois is worth fighting for,” says Rauner in his new campaign ad — but many of its citizens have chosen to flee. The state has lost population every year since 2014
“Democrats and Republicans have finally found something they agree on – Bruce Rauner is the worst,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner cannot even count on the support of his own party in Illinois and conservative leaders have concluded that Illinois is worse off with him at the helm. Under Rauner, the state endured a two-year budget impasse that drove up debt, drove out jobs and people, and devastated the state’s services. The facts are undeniable – Bruce Rauner has failed.”
Although there are only two references to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in the story — one calling him “perhaps the most powerful state lawmaker in the country” — Rauner’s campaign chose to focus on the speaker in reacting to the story.
“We’re glad National Review pointed out that Mike Madigan and his cronies have consistently blocked Governor Rauner’s reform agenda just to protect their own corrupt practices,” campaign spokesman Justin Giorgio said. “Governor Rauner will keep fighting to make a Illinois a better place to live and work for everyone by working to lower property taxes, increasing school choice, and eliminating job-killing regulations.”
I wanted to follow up on yesterday’s post about the governor’s comments concerning Susana Mendoza. The Democrats feigned outrage on this issue is absolutely stunning. It’s ridiculous that the Democrats are crying wolf over words that they use on a regular basis. Where was the outrage when:
Sangamon County Democrats also called Jimenez “Rauner’s hand picked puppet” in a 10-18-16 Facebook post (photo attached)
Springfield’s Laborers Local 477 also called Jimenez a “puppet” in a 3-10-16 Facebook post (photo attached)
Mike Madigan’s DPI sent mailers against Avery Bourne and other female Republican lawmakers featuring Governor Rauner pouring them a glass of champagne, among other poses, last year (photos attached)
I could go on and on, but you get my point. Let’s assume for a second that the Democrats will apply their standard for acceptable political rhetoric to themselves.
Does Kelly Cassidy think SEIU’s comments toward Winger, Bourne, Jimenez, and Bryant were sexist? Does Christian Mitchell think Susana Mendoza is sexist since she called Munger “a lapdog”? Does Carol Ammons think Madigan’s mailers against Bourne and other female GOP lawmakers were sexist?
Hypocrisy is a word that comes to mind. If the Democrats think this sort of rhetoric is unacceptable, maybe they should practice what they preach.
* From yesterday’s appearance by Gov. Bruce Rauner on WJPF Radio…
I put out a balanced budget proposal, they overrode, uh, ignored it, passed an unbalanced budget, I vetoed it, they overrode me.
* Pritzker campaign…
Bruce Rauner can’t stop lying about the fact that he never presented a balanced budget. On WJPF yesterday, Rauner once again claimed his budget was balanced, but Politifact debunked that claim in March, rating it ‘pants on fire’ and saying the claim “doesn’t come close to adding up.”
“For three years, Bruce Rauner failed to complete his basic responsibilities to govern this state and now he’s set on pretending none of that ever happened,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “No amount of brazen lying will hide the truth: Bruce Rauner is a failed governor who never produced a balanced budget and did irrevocable damage to this state.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Governor Bruce Rauner is “applauding” Congressional Republicans’ efforts to pass a tax plan, which will raise middle-class taxes while cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Rauner said, “I hope they come through” in an interview with Tom Miller on WJPF radio. The Sun-Times reported that “moments later” the Illinois Republican Party, largely funded by Rauner, took to Twitter to defend the plan.
Numerous independent analyses, including by the Congressional Budget Office, have found that the GOP bill would raise taxes on middle- and lower-class households in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest. The latest analysis of the Senate bill shows:
By 2027, a majority of Americans earning less than $75,000 would pay more in taxes;
By 2027, 60% of middle-class American earners would face a tax increase;
Nearly all of the top 0.1% of earners would receive an average $208,060 tax cut;
Health care provisions in the bill would force up health care premiums on Illinois residents buying their own insurance. By 2027, a 27-year old would pay $745 more in premiums, and a 60-year old $1,928 more.
Costs are going to go up for middle-class Illinoisans, and Rauner’s “applauding” the effort.
“Bruce Rauner’s hypocrisy knows no bounds,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “By siding with President Trump and Washington Republicans, Rauner has proven his campaign slogans to be nothing more than a farce. Rauner just endorsed a plan that will raise taxes on middle-class families all to support a tax break for the wealthiest Illinoisans. No wonder Rauner wanted to hide his real views for so long.”
* SEIU Healthcare…
On Wednesday, Governor Rauner went on the record to support Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans’ tax plan, saying, “I’m applauding Congress. I hope they come through.”
The GOP tax plan will be paid for by slashing Medicaid and other federal health care supports and with tax hikes on a majority of all families.
SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley issued the following in response to Rauner’s support of the GOP tax plan:
“Today, Gov. Rauner showed his true colors. He’s not the Carhartt jacket, $18 watch wearing ‘every day man’ that he wants us to believe. He’s a billionaire who would rather have Illinois families give up their healthcare to pay for HIS massive $300 million tax cut provided by Trump and the Republican Congress. Rauner doesn’t need another mansion, but families – children, people with disabilities and the elderly — need healthcare provided through Medicaid, which would be drastically cut and lead to devastating circumstances for millions if Rauner gets his wish.”
Was the governor endorsing the Senate version of the plan or the House version? (The Senate version would eliminate the deduction for property taxes, which tend to be higher in Illinois than elsewhere. The House version would keep the deduction, but limit it to $10,000.)
Neither, apparently. Rauner spokeswoman Patty Schuh said the governor was expressing “general” support for reducing taxes and hopes Congress is able to “deliver when all said and done.”
*** UPDATE *** So, he’s not applauding them today?…
Rauner says Congress is “not where they need to be yet” on tax reform.
Big Tobacco. Big Oil. Casinos. The largest defense contractor in the world. And the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Those are just some of the hundreds of investment portfolio areas Democrats J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy list as part of paperwork they were required to file to run for governor.
The disclosure form — aimed at transparency — gives information about entities and investments. But it doesn’t provide full financial disclosure, including how much money is involved or other details.
Kennedy, a businessman and son of former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, listed companies linked to defense, tobacco and oil interests among the hundreds he named in the economic interest statement he filed Monday with the Illinois secretary of state.
Kennedy’s listings included shares in Philip Morris International, the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturer and part of the 1998 court settlement tobacco companies reached with the attorneys general of 46 states over public health concerns. […]
Pritzker’s extensive filing — 10 pages of hundreds of stocks, mutual funds partnership and membership interests — shows a partnership interest in Energy Transfer Partners LP, a pipeline operator that constructed and is a part-owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries oil underground from North Dakota all the way to an oil tank farm near Patoka, Ill.
“JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy’s financial disclosures perfectly encapsulate why we should be skeptical of billionaire businessmen who say they’ll fight for us—and why we need to see full tax returns to better understand their financial interests,” says Biss campaign manager Abby Witt. “How can we trust someone invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline to stand against big oil once in office? Someone invested in our nation’s largest cigarette company to work to curb teen smoking? Someone invested in fracking to keep fracking out of our state? The revelations of these financial disclosure forms, a legally-required bare minimum standard of transparency, raise serious doubts in my mind—and make me wonder what they’re still hiding.”
J.B. Pritzker’s mouth is writing checks even his wallet can’t cash.
In yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times report, it was revealed that Pritzker continues to hold investments in industries that don’t line up with his own rhetoric.
“Pritzker’s extensive filing — 10 pages of hundreds of stocks, mutual funds partnership and membership interests — shows a partnership interest in Energy Transfer Partners LP, a pipeline operator that constructed and is a part-owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries oil underground from North Dakota all the way to an oil tank farm near Patoka, Ill.
” … Pritzker also has a partnership interest in Niagara Casino Group, LP and a stock in A.N.P. Gaming Corporation. The Pritzker family has part ownership of the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Pritzker, too, invests in big oil, with stocks in Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.”
But just last month at a Sierra Club Forum, Pritzker repeatedly proclaimed the ‘evils of fossil fuels,’ saying things like:
“We’ve got to stand up to them. Our endeavor must be to say no when they say it’s ok if we pollute the air and make it harder to breath to stand up for the profits of the fossil fuel industry.”
“This idea of profits over people we have to do away with.”
“I believe we need that clean energy technology here in Illinois… in order to get to that 100% clean energy goal.”
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk said on Tuesday The Boring Company will compete to fund, build and operate a high-speed Loop connecting O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago.
Musk, the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, recently started the Boring Company to build transport tunnels for the system, which he says would be far faster than current high-speed trains and use electromagnetic propulsion. […]
Musk is seeking to revolutionize transportation by sending passengers and cargo packed into pods through an intercity system of giant vacuum tubes known as the “hyperloop.”
When asked on Twitter to elaborate on his “high-speed loop” proposal that would link O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago, Musk tweeted, “A Loop is like a Hyperloop, but without drawing a vacuum inside the tube.”
One of the golden rules of journalism is to stick to the facts. Unfortunately, a hit piece published by Gateway Journalism Review missed the mark. The authors of this piece set out not to investigate the truth, but to build a case to support a false premise they’d already convinced themselves was true. Virtually every paragraph is riddled with inaccuracies or distortions.
It’s important to note that before maligning the Illinois Policy Institute, the authors of this piece failed to pick up the phone and talk to the Institute. They even failed to offer our organization a chance to comment. If the authors had extended this basic journalistic courtesy, perhaps they could have avoided the many inaccuracies in their piece.
Our bias — as the authors like to refer to our point of view — is to advocate for policies that empower the people, not the government. We believe in fiscal responsibility, limited government and reforms that will grow the state’s economy. It’s very clear that Gateway’s complaint about our organization isn’t a process disagreement over modes of operation, which nearly every media organization has confronted and experimented with as new media has reshaped the landscape. It’s a desire to silence different points of view and new ways of reaching the public.
Hit pieces like this don’t make journalism better. They make Illinois worse.
This report is the work of an investigative reporting class in the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The project analyzed public records about an interlocking network of conservative news organizations connected to the free market, anti-tax, anti-union Illinois Policy Institute. The SIU reporting project examined documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, reporters tracked down freelancers who wrote local Illinois stories from thousands of miles away. Nathaniel Dean Fortmeyer was the student who took the lead in the investigation. William Recktenwald taught the class and reported from Harrisburg. Recktenwald was an investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune. William H. Freivogel is publisher of GJR.
A group of free-market billionaires and conservatives allied with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner controls a network of newspapers, radio stations, news sites and policy institutes promoting the governor’s agenda while presenting themselves as independent and free from bias.
When people in Carbondale, DuPage, Chicago, Kankakee, Rock Island, Will County and other Illinois communities pick up the local newspaper or click on a website, they are promised traditional journalistic values — the “highest standards of truth and accuracy…and independence” — “Just the Facts” — “nonpartisan, nonprofit…dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility.”
What readers get is a strong pro-Republican, pro-Rauner, anti-Michael Madigan slant manufactured by the interlocking group of media organizations revolving around the free-market, anti-tax, anti-union Illinois Policy Institute (IPI).
Readers also get “local” stories often written by freelancers thousands of miles away who never set foot in Illinois. And, even though the conservative network promises transparency, some funding is shrouded in dark, unreported money.
Brian Timpone — who runs ICS and the Local Government Information Services newspapers where the stories are published — describes himself as an “entrepreneur focused on developing software and systems that grow and enhance media.”
Timpone said in an interview that distant reporters are better and fairer than those who live in the community.
“The reason local news reporting is so crappy is because the reporters are too local. You don’t want them to live in the communities…. If you have [a reporter who has] done city councils in a city, you are too close.” Local journalists embedded in communities are “ill-equipped to objectively judge information,” he said. “I am partisan to ideas. Free market. Capitalism.”
In 2012 Timpone admitted that his company had made mistakes. This American Life had reported that a freelancer, Ryan Smith, had rewritten content from foreign contributors from the Philippines, who were given fake bylines. Timpone acknowledged the fake bylines were a mistake, although he still claimed the foreign contributors were just entering data, not writing stories.
Some of Timpone’s current journalists say they can’t talk about their duties because they are required to sign non-disclosure agreements. One of those is Chandra Lye, a freelancer from British Columbia. Her byline appeared on a Sept. 19 story in the Metro East Sun headlined: “Belleville area cheers Lisa Madigan’s decision to call it quits.”
Contacted via Twitter, Lye responded with an email, “I have been informed that I am not authorized to discuss the process with you.”
The newly appointed Inspector General in Springfield told the victim of alleged sexual harassment by a lawmaker to turn over unlimited access to her cell phone and social media account.
Anti-abuse advocate Denise Rotheimer says Julie Porter, the woman lawmakers tabbed to be the Legislative Inspector General, asked for a little more of her private life than she wanted to give up.
“What she was asking for was way too overreaching and unrelated to the complaint,” Rotheimer said. “I didn’t want to give her access to all of my text messages going years and years back.”
Eventually, Porter settled for just the information specific to Rotheimer’s complaint.
Rotheimer had already given Porter hundreds of pages of Facebook and other comments she received from married state Senator Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago. The comments included things that ranged from aggressive flirtation to lewd comments about Rotheimer’s body.
What’s more, if Rotheimer’s sexual harassment claims are validated by [interim Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter], the law license Silverstein has held since 1985 could be at risk, said the former 15-year head of the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which licenses Illinois attorneys and recommends sanctions against lawyers who engage in misconduct. […]
“If he were found to have engaged in conduct that amounted to sexual harassment of her in the context of representing her father — and there were a finding by some administrative body that the harassment had occurred — he would be vulnerable in terms of his law license,” said lawyer Mary Robinson, the ARDC’s former administrator who is now in private practice.
However, after reviewing portions of the emails Rotheimer released, Robinson said she is not entirely certain that what she read at WBEZ’s request constitutes a clear-cut punishable offense by her former agency.
“I don’t see a sense of him using authority to keep her engaged. It appears as much as you can tell from just reading black and white … to be a very collaborative engagement. No one seems to be pulling the other one way or another,” Robinson said.
“I didn’t read them all, but I didn’t see any instance in which I would have read any of his messages as suggesting she would be more likely to get what she wanted either on behalf of her father or on behalf of her base … by keeping him happy,” she said. “I did not see an indication he was trying to use power in order to get something she would have been otherwise unwilling to engage in.”
Taxpayers United of America has graded me at 92% in taxpayer friendliness. I want to improve on that by blocking more Madigan tax hikes so Illinoisans can keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. #twill#ilgovhttps://t.co/JBoxgUKI65
Bruce Rauner may be the governor of the “Land of Lincoln,” but he’s promoting kudos from a group led by a self-styled taxpayer watchdog who contends Abraham Lincoln fought the Civil War to keep collecting taxes from Southern states, not over the issue of slavery.
On Wednesday, Rauner’s campaign Twitter account noted the governor had “been graded 92 percent in taxpayer friendliness, because as governor, I’m the biggest advocate for taxpayers. I won’t stop fighting to protect Illinoisans from more tax hikes.” […]
Tobin’s foundation features several posts critical of Lincoln with such titles as “Lincoln brutalized the country and shredded the constitution,” “Illinois and Lincoln set the bar for political sleaze” and “Lincoln’s unpopular war.” […]
After the Tribune asked the Rauner campaign for comment, the Wednesday tweet promoting Rauner’s ranking by Tobin’s Taxpayers United was removed from Twitter. […]
The Tribune asked the Rauner campaign for comment about its promotion of Tobin as part of the governor’s re-election. A Rauner campaign spokesman sent a statement: “The Chicago Tribune, as well as other respected news sources, have cited Jim Tobin and the Taxpayers United of America several times.” Five Tribune stories were about transportation and school issues.
That’s true. Tobin is often cited by reputable publications that ought to know better.
*** UPDATE *** From Justin Giorgio at the Rauner campaign…
Providing some clarification on the Tribune story you posted this morning. They only mentioned 5 Tribune stories in the article, and justified those by saying they were ‘transportation and education’ focused. However, all had a political slant, and there were additional stories not focused on those issues at all. Here’s a list we provided of stories from the Tribune and others citing Taxpayers United of America.
Bruce Rauner was again promoting recent praise from Jim Tobin, an activist who believes the Civil War was fought over taxes, not slavery. But after the Chicago Tribune started asking questions about the controversial move, Rauner’s campaign deleted the now nowhere to be found tweet:
Despite pushback, Rauner’s campaign continued to defend the praise today and stand by Tobin and his radical views.
“After a 736-day budget crisis that hurt working families across the state, it’s clear that praise from the likes of Jim Tobin is the best this failed governor can muster,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is endorsing Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” Garcia in the Democratic primary race to represent Illinois’ 4th Congressional District. Garcia, who served as a national Latino surrogate for Sanders in his 2016 quest for the Democratic Party nomination for president, said yesterday he would run for the U.S. Representative seat after the current U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez announced he was retiring and backing Garcia to replace him.
“‘Chuy’ Garcia is the right person at the right time for the work we have ahead of us,” Sanders said. “He is ready and willing to stand up and fight for the working families of Chicago and our nation and take on the powerful special interests who have far too much power over the economic and political life of our country. He is also an experienced legislator who has risen up the ladder of Chicago’s brawling politics. That makes him well groomed for jumping into the House’s rough and tumble political battles.
“There will be no learning curve when Chuy gets to Washington. He served on the Chicago City Council, he was the first Mexican-American in the Illinois state Senate and he is currently serving on the Cook County Board of Commissioners. As an immigrant who has embraced his adopted homeland, he will be a fresh voice in Congress.
“And with his strong ties to the Puerto Rican community, he will be a strong ally and powerful advocate for our ‘Marshall Plan’ legislation to rebuild and renew that island.”
Sanders noted that the need to have a voice for immigrants on the national stage becomes more urgent every day, as the March 2018 withdrawal of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) protection for undocumented young people draws near and the Trump administration continues to escalate immigration raids, check-ins and deportations.
Garcia said he was looking forward to joining the new wave of progressive, national Democratic Party leaders, inspired by Sanders. He said he was aligned with the senator on virtually all of his key issues, including a strong program for rebuilding Puerto Rico, health care for all, immigration reform, boosting access to higher education and fiscal responsibility with a tax system where everyone pays their fair share.
“I support America, a nation of rich cultural heritage and unmatched strength, whose founding fathers believed in building bridges, not walls,” Garcia said. “I champion opportunity for all as an ally of independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. I will do everything in my power to move the nation forward on these crucial issues.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner traveled today with the Japanese Consul General for the Midwest to meet with key educational and manufacturing leaders in southern Illinois, where the state’s business ties with Japan are paying dividends in jobs.
Today’s schedule included a tour of the Aisin Manufacturing campus in Marion. The company’s footprint has grown from one plant to three since the Japanese firm’s first Illinois groundbreaking in fall 2001.
“Aisin — an esteemed, world-class auto supplier — is among the many examples of Illinois’ strong relationship with Japanese investors,” Rauner said while touring with Consul General Naoki Ito. “We have over 630 Japanese companies at 1,206 locations, employing more than 44,000 Illinoisans.”
“Aisin is very pleased to support the Japan Consulate-Midwest visit to our plant and honored that Gov. Rauner was able to attend,” said Glenn Edwards, executive vice president of Aisin Manufacturing in Marion, where a combined 2,500-plus are employed at the three Aisin Group plants. “This type of interaction and activity is key to a positive, long-term business relationship.”
Before the tour, business, government and educational leaders gathered for a working luncheon at Rend Lake College, a community college in Ina. New Southern Illinois University System Chancellor Carlo Montemagno, Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson, state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, and state Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, were among attendees.
Boosting coordination between colleges, universities and manufacturers to ensure a well-prepared, well-educated workforce is among the Rauner administration’s signature goals.
Jonathon Hallberg, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Corp., said Marion and other southern Illinois communities have benefited greatly from the Illinois-Japan connection, which dates back more than 140 years.
“Illinois has tremendous locational advantages for companies, with major cost advantages in the downstate area in particular,” Hallberg said. “I think that is why you have seen sustained investment by companies like Aisin, the Koito Group, and German-owned firms like Continental Tire the Americas LLC in our area. These international partnerships are the backbone of our local economy.”
Rauner said Japanese companies have driven economic development throughout the state. In smaller communities like Shelbyville, Lawrenceville, Marion and Mattoon, they form the foundation for robust economic development, he added.
Mark Peterson, president and CEO of Intersect Illinois, said Wednesday’s activities were a great follow-up to the governor’s fall trade mission to Japan.
“We are delighted that Consul General Ito is visiting southern Illinois to see the depth of the Illinois-Japan relationship,” Peterson said. “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the strength of Illinois’ manufacturing sector, workforce and partnership with academia to meet the needs of business.”
Tom Miller: Governor, I spoke with Comptroller Mendoza last Friday and it’s the governor’s fault that we’re spending too much money. [Rauner laughs] And, you know, they say ‘Look, the governor has extraordinary capability to cut. If he wants to cut, why isn’t he cutting?’ [Rauner laughs] Isn’t that a situation where you cannot win, because if you go out and cut, then they’ll go ‘Oh, look what he’s done’ [Rauner laughs] and if you don’t cut, they go “Oh, look what he’s done’?
Before we get to the governor’s response, the politics are the politics. All governors everywhere are in this trick bag. That’s why you gotta sometimes do things that aren’t popular if you occupy the big chair. It isn’t fun, but that’s the job. And if you can’t handle the job, then let somebody else do it.
There's no place in IL government, particularly in the Gov's office, for a man like @GovRauner who cannot comprehend that women can make smart political and policy choices without being instructed to do so by a man. Women are sick of this crap. #twillhttps://t.co/WSZmiiNxXs
@GovRauner's insinuation about @susanamendoza10 is in character. The leadership team at GTCR, his old firm, looks like a Trump family photo. His cabinet is male dominated and monochromatic. And every one of his budgets would have hurt women. This is who he is.
Another day in the alternate reality of Bruce Rauner. Instead of personally attacking female elected officials, the Governor should focus on addressing the $2.8 billion Fiscal Year 17 deficit that he hid from the people of Illinois for months.
…Adding Still More… Sen. Toi Hutchinson…
Even now in this heightened awareness about sexism and women in politics and government, Rauner is still jumping at the chance to spew dismissive rhetoric about a credible and capable woman in government. Debate is cool. Do it on the merits.
The reality is, Madigan has been in charge of our state for 35 years. And every year he’s been in charge, we’ve run deficits. We always spend more than we bring in and we don’t fund our pensions like we should, and I pushed to fund our pensions properly. We regulate the heck out of our businesses and they leave. And we’re in this long, slow decline and it’s been crushin’ southern Illinois. And I’m outraged about it.
And Mendoza, when she spins that kind of baloney, they have been in charge, they overrode my veto. I put out a balanced budget proposal, they overrode, uh, ignored it, passed an unbalanced budget, I vetoed it, they overrode me. And my answer is, we gotta get these guys out of office. That’s why this next election cycle matters so much.
Today, attorneys for Illinois public servant Mark Janus filed the first merits brief in the Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME. The brief asks the High Court to recognize that the First Amendment protects public workers from being required to make payments to union officials as a condition of working for their own government.
Plaintiff Mark Janus is an Illinois child support specialist who filed the challenge with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center. Janus is currently required to pay union fees to AFSCME union officials even though he opposes many of the positions union officials advocate using his money and feels he would be better off without the union’s so-called representation.
In the 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case, a divided High Court ruled that public employees could not be required to subsidize many political and ideological union activities; however the court left in place forced fees used to subsidize union monopoly bargaining with the government. In a series of cases in the last five years, the Supreme Court has begun to question the theory underpinning Abood.
In the National Right to Work Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU (2012) and Harris v. Quinn (2014) cases, the Supreme Court made clear that mandatory union payments invoke the highest level of First Amendment protection. In Janus, Mark Janus asks the Supreme Court to apply this heightened scrutiny to all mandatory union payments required of government employees.
If the High Court rules in Janus’ favor, over 5 million public school teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other government employees who currently are forced to pay money to union officials just to keep their jobs would be free to decide individually whether or not to make voluntary union payments. Oral arguments in the case are now expected to occur in late February.
“Forced union fees remain the largest regime of compelled speech in the nation,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Forty years ago in Abood, the Supreme Court erroneously left forced fees in place citing the artificial distinction between union officials’ ideological activities and union bargaining with the government that inherently seeks to alter public policy.”
“Now that the Janus case is being briefed for argument at the High Court, we are hopeful that in the coming months the Supreme Court will correct this anomaly in First Amendment jurisprudence by striking down all mandatory union payments for public workers,” continued Mix. “Americans shouldn’t forfeit their First Amendment protections just to work for their own government.”
“Government workers like Mark Janus shouldn’t have to pay for union politics just to keep their jobs,” said Jacob Huebert, director of litigation at the Liberty Justice Center. “The First Amendment gives everyone the right to choose which political groups they will and won’t support with their money.”
* Gov. Bruce Rauner is the ILGOP’s top contributor by far and Gov. Rauner has dodged every single question about the DC tax plan. From earlier this month…
“I’m not going to weigh into the detail that’s being debated in Congress right now at on the federal level. I have shared a few thoughts with federal officials, but I’m not going to weigh in to the media on this,” Rauner said.
The governor’s office and the Illinois Republican Party did not immediately respond to questions about whether the tweet and the interview [with Tom Miller on WJPF Radio Wednesday morning] now signal Rauner’s support for the plan — after steadfastly refusing to weigh in on it. […]
Miller countered: “Will D.C.’s tax reform plan, if passed, help you perform that task more efficiently, with better tractions?”
The governor said he hopes the federal government makes the tax code “more competitive and lowers [the] tax burden.”
“We need to reduce the tax burden on our working families, we need to reduce the tax burden on our companies, especially our small businesses that create most of the jobs. I’m applauding Congress. I hope they come through,” Rauner said.
“We’ll see. It’s a tough battle. What we need in Illinois is tax reduction. That’s why I want to roll back the Madigan income tax hike. I want to roll it back down to three percent, where it was years ago. And I want to help us with our property taxes. We have the highest in America, they’re crushing our working families and our small businesses, and I want to freeze our property taxes and give every voter the ability to do a referendum and lower their property tax burden, if that’s what they want to do.”
* Meanwhile, from a press release…
Today, Republican Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation responded to letters they received last week from Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth concerning tax reform and the impact on middle-income families.
The following letter was sent by U.S. Reps. John Shimkus (IL-15), Peter Roskam (IL-06), Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Mike Bost (IL-12), and Darin LaHood (IL-18):
Dear Senators Durbin and Duckworth,
We are writing to address your recent letter to Republican members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation. The massive 32 percent state income tax hike that was forced onto families earlier this year by Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly hurt the residents in our districts and across the state deeply. We have seen the negative impact these high taxes have had on our state’s economy and Illinois families. Now, we are coming together at the federal level to create a more competitive tax code and give middle-income families the tax relief they deserve.
The nonpartisan Tax Foundation projects that under H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Illinois will see an estimated 37,010 jobs added and an after-tax income gain of $2,333 for middle-income families as a result of this legislation. The Chief of Staff for the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation recently testified before the Ways and Means Committee that on average at every income level there will be a tax cut.
In your letter, you list deductions for medical expenses and state and local income and property taxes – as you are aware, the majority of middle-income taxpayers in Illinois see no benefit from these deductions, which are only available to those who itemize. However, lowering rates and doubling the standard deduction allows individuals to save a greater amount than they currently do even with the student loan deduction.
From businesses on Main Street to middle-income families across our great state, everyone deserves a tax code that rewards hard work by allowing them to keep more money in their paychecks. We urge you to reject the status quo and do what’s right for hardworking taxpayers in Illinois.
We encourage you to work with your colleagues to address any concerns you may have as they craft the Senate bill and we hope you will support these efforts to reform our tax code. Middle-income families deserve to keep more of what they earn and we are committed to lowering taxes for these families. By lowering rates, doubling the standard deduction, and increasing and expanding the child tax credit, the data clearly shows the majority of middle-income families in Illinois will receive a tax cut under H.R. 1.
We hope you will work with us to put an end to a tax system that benefits the wealthy over the middle-class. We look forward to working with you to get a bipartisan tax reform bill to President Trump’s desk.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Pritzker campaign…
Today, Bruce Rauner finally commented on a national issue affecting all Illinois working families: he praised Donald Trump’s regressive tax bill, and said he hopes that Congress “come[s] through.”
According to a recent analysis of the plan Rauner supports, working families stand to lose thousands of dollars to finance massive tax cuts for special interests. The bill also includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, causing 13 million to lose insurance by 2027.
“In the choice between Illinois’ middle class families and Donald Trump, Bruce Rauner just chose Donald Trump and his destructive tax bill,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Trump’s tax plan is an assault on working families still reeling from the damage Bruce Rauner has unleashed on our state.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Biss campaign…
“Once again, Bruce Rauner is putting personal profit over middle-class and working families in Illinois. Republicans in Congress are trying to push through a tax plan that gives major corporations and the rich a tax break, while increasing the burden on poor and working-class families and adding a trillion dollars to the national deficit. It seems the only time Rauner is willing to say anything about Donald Trump is when he’s likely to receive a tax break,” says Biss spokesman Tom Elliott.
“Worse yet, we don’t even know the full impact the GOP tax plan would have on billionaires and millionaires like Rauner, Pritzker and Kennedy because none of them have released their full tax returns. If we want to fix the rigged system that benefits the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of the rest of us, we need to reform our tax code to make billionaires pay their fair share.
“That’s why, with nearly a decade of experience in Springfield, Daniel Biss is the only candidate running for governor who is fighting for a progressive income tax, a financial transaction tax, and closing the carried interest loophole. These reforms would bring in billions in revenue and level the playing field for middle-class families like his.”
*** UPDATE 3 *** ILGOP…
This was not the first time the party tweeted about tax reform. Our first tweet on the issue dates back to September 14th. ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider penned an op-ed supporting the goals of tax reform on October 2nd. I’m not sure what’s surprising about today’s tweet.
The Illinois Republican Party supports any effort in Washington to increase wages, create jobs, and expand economic opportunity. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does just that.
J.B. Pritzker supported Mike Madigan’s 32% tax hike earlier this year that hit every Illinois family. And he’s made clear he wants another middle class tax hike soon. Pritzker’s hypocrisy on the issue of tax relief is stunning.
* Some of you noticed today that a guy named Terry Getz of Dupo just filed to run for governor as a Democrat. I tracked him down on Facebook. He’s a corrections officer at Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center in East St. Louis.
Getz said he didn’t file any signatures today and he doesn’t yet have a running mate. He said he would file signatures as soon as he got a running mate.
I asked via Facebook messenger what issues he’d push and Getz replied: “Top issue being a state budget.”
Any other issues? “Everything else will be addressed in person,” Getz promised.
* For some reason, this development reminds me of an interview I saw with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington back in 1983 or so. Maybe it’s because Washington died thirty years ago this month and I’ve been thinking about him lately.
Walter Jacobson asked Washington after his first election something along the lines of “Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you’d be mayor?” Harold’s reply has stuck with me ever since: “In my wildest dreams, I thought I’d be president!”
* The Question: What is your political dream job? Make sure to explain.
Today the State of Illinois priced $750 million in new money General Obligation bonds for 2018 capital expenditures. Bond proceeds will be used to fund major capital construction projects and finance information technology projects.
The General Obligation bonds were priced competitively in two separate bids:
The $655,000,000 Series of December 2017A fixed-rate bonds with a final maturity in 2042 will be used to fund major capital construction projects. The 2017A bonds received eight bids and the bonds were awarded to Bank of America Merrill Lynch with a true interest cost of 4.33 percent.
The $95,000,000 Series of December 2017B fixed rate bonds with a final maturity in 2027 will be used to finance information technology projects. The 2017B bonds received 10 bids and the bonds were awarded to Bank of America Merrill Lynch with a true interest cost of 3.71 percent.
Today’s bond issue has an all-in borrowing cost for the combined series of 4.29 percent. The bonds are being issued as fully tax-exempt from federal taxation and are rated “BBB” by Fitch Ratings, “Baa3” by Moody’s Investors Service and “BBB-” by S&P Global.
“We are very pleased with the strong response that the State received on today’s competitive bids,” said Scott Harry, director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. “These transactions will allow the State to move forward with funding to address essential capital and infrastructure needs at an attractive interest rate.”
Chapman and Cutler LLP and Hardwick Law Firm LLC are acting as co-bond counsel for the State. Chapman and Cutler LLP is the State’s disclosure counsel. The State’s financial adviser for the transaction is Sycamore Advisors LLC.
Um, those “attractive” interest rates were a direct result of the tax hike the governor vetoed, but who’s counting…
Illinois consumers are snapping up Obamacare health insurance plans much faster than they did last year, despite lingering uncertainty over the law’s future.
More than 95,000 Illinois residents selected Obamacare exchange plans during the first four weeks of open enrollment this year, compared with about 68,000 at about the same time last year, according to data released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Enrollment is also up nationally. Across the country, nearly 2.8 million people signed up for insurance coverage on the exchange between Nov. 1 and Nov. 25 this year, compared with about 2.1 million between Nov. 1 and Nov. 26 last year.
It’s unclear, however, whether this year’s sign-ups in Illinois and nationwide will ultimately match last year’s by the time open enrollment ends. The open enrollment window this year is half as long as last year’s. Consumers only have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage this year. Last year they had until Jan. 31. […]
The Illinois Department of Insurance bulked up its Obamacare website this year, www.getcovered.illinois.gov, allowing consumers to purchase plans directly on that site and talk with licensed brokers. The state also expanded the hours of its help line.
* Pritzker campaign…
Following reports that Obamacare enrollment in Illinois has surged nearly 40 percent over last year, outpacing the national increase of 33 percent, JB Pritzker released the following statement:
“Illinoisans are enrolling in ObamaCare at rates well above the national average, and I’m thrilled that over 95,000 Illinoisans have signed up for healthcare coverage so far,” said JB Pritzker. “This is a declaration that Illinoisans will not be deterred by Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump in our fight for affordable healthcare. With Trump actively sabotaging healthcare enrollment nationwide and Bruce Rauner refusing speak out about Trump cutting the enrollment period in half and slashing advertising by 90 percent, we know we have to keep up the fight. Illinoisans deserve a governor who will defend this state against Trump’s attacks and help Illinoisans get covered. That’s what I’ve done in this campaign and it’s the kind of leadership you’ll see from me as governor.”
Read about JB’s advertising campaign to promote healthcare.gov HERE.
Cities across Illinois are banding together in an effort to block the state from keeping so much of their sales tax revenue.
Part of the new budget imposed by lawmakers over the governor’s veto is a two percent fee to manage local sales taxes.
The city of Springfield faces mounting pension debt that’s eating up most, if not all, of its share of property taxes. Springfield has seen little growth in sales taxes and now the state is eating up a chunk of that with a 2 percent fee it charges cities to administer sales taxes.
Springfield City Budget Director Bill McCarty said the fee means the city loses out on $800,000 in sales taxes.
“Let’s call it what it is, it’s a surcharge,” McCarty said. “And we’re balancing the state’s budget on the backs of local governments.”
McCarty joins the Illinois Municipal League in pushing for House Bill 4101 that would cut the fee in half.
The Illinois Municipal League lists the bill as key for its members, saying in a policy paper there was no real opportunity for discussion or debate of the fee before it was implemented over a gubernatorial veto. IML also said state law doesn’t allow municipalities to collect their locally imposed sales taxes themselves.
Probably not fair, but something had to give somewhere.
* Meanwhile, from the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
Other sources from taxes on sales, public utilities, cigarettes, liquor, vehicle use and insurance are either flat or down from the year before.
“I would say the sales tax being up less than 1 percent kind of signifies we’re in a low growth period, which we have been in the last few years,” [Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) Revenue Manager Jim Muschinske] said.
There’s nothing normal about the way Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez’s retirement announcement went down.
The abruptness of his decision, the suspicious timing, the immediate coronation of a successor — all of it set off a flurry of speculation Tuesday that Gutiérrez had made some kind of grand inside play, perhaps brokered with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Gutierrez said the only reason he was retiring was because Garcia was willing to run for his seat. The two share a long history and similar views on many issues. Both said there were no backroom deals preceding the announcement.
“I believe life is like a novel. And there are only so many chapters,” Gutierrez said.
So I’m waiting for the chapters about Luis going into the Puerto Rican real estate development business — using his many political contacts and making a fortune on his hurricane-ravaged ancestral home island.
He’s about to turn 64, with an energy level that’s high, but not as high as it was. His lifelong goal to pass comprehensive immigration reform is effectively dead in Washington, at least for now.
That lovely, warm island he considers his second home desperately needs his help to rebuild. And, in the wonderful way of Chicago politics, he pretty much can hand-pick his successor in Congress.
There could be something else that hasn’t come out. But at the moment, it looks like some combination of the above explains why U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago, today did what local lawmakers almost never do: Walk away from as safe a seat as exists under the Capitol dome, one that easily could have been his for another decade or two.
While word trickled out Monday night about the political shake-up, the big question heading into Tuesday was why Gutierrez was hanging it up. The nearly 64-year-old Democratic oratorical firebrand has made a national and international name for himself on issues of immigration rights and sovereignty for a hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico against the more recent backdrop of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Gutierrez, however, offered only generalities about his reasons for leaving Congress and what his future would hold. He said he planned to travel the nation with his family to create “a new fierce framework for immigrant rights across this country as we work to 2020 and the presidential election.” Gutierrez, who was born in Chicago to parents of Puerto Rican heritage, also said he wanted to assist in rebuilding the island.
Those efforts, he said, were not compatible with holding the 4th Congressional District seat — one of the most bizarrely shaped districts in the nation, which has been compared to a claw or ear muffs by using inner-ring suburbs to link Latino populations from the city’s Northwest and Southwest Sides.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez is planning to lay the groundwork for a run for president in 2020.
Gutierrez never came right out and said that Tuesday during a 53-minute press conference explaining his surprise decision to leave Congress at the end of this term and anoint Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to replace him.
But everything Gutierrez did say pointed in that direction.
I realize that will strike many of you as crazy talk. I don’t think I would have taken it seriously before Tuesday.
But what Gutierrez seemed to be mapping out was the type of campaign that could be used to hold the Democratic Party accountable for its commitments to the nation’s immigrant and Latino communities, instead of what he sees as a party that abandons them when it becomes inconvenient.
It wouldn’t be the kind of campaign where he’s trying to win the nomination so much as a campaign to collect delegates and carry the cause of the immigrant community to the convention.
After Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez abruptly announced his retirement Tuesday and endorsed a successor without revealing his future political plans, Fox News has learned the outspoken immigration advocate will be testing the waters for a potential 2020 presidential bid. […]
Fox News is told Gutierrez will set a national schedule for the first six months of 2018, visiting cities across the country to test the waters for a White House run. If he enters, he’ll likely face a crowded field of Democrats eager to take on Trump.
* Fran Spielman: Luis-Chuy move buoys Rahm — but for how long?: “Garcia would have had the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU all locked up. Without him, it opens the door for others to step up who would not otherwise have run for fear of dividing the anti-Emanuel vote. Be careful what you wish for because you might eliminate one problem and create three others.”
Today, Daniel Biss’ campaign released a new digital ad, “Auction.” Highlighting unprecedented spending in the Illinois gubernatorial election, the video features an auctioneer selling the governor’s office to the highest bidder.
“When billionaires try to turn our elections into auctions, it’s no surprise they’d try to protect the system that’s protected them,” says Daniel in the ad. “But when Democrats help them do it, that’s just flat out wrong. We can have a progressive Illinois with fair taxes and fully funded schools. But not until we take our Democracy back.”
“This election is a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party,” said Campaign Manager Abby Witt. “Will we cede power to another billionaire businessman, or will we unite around a progressive community organizer we can trust to fight for middle-class families like his own? From the White House to the Governor’s Office, we’ve seen the destruction of out-of-touch billionaires, and we’re ready to choose a new path.”
* Biss has used this “auction” line several times before…
“What do we want? A middle-class governor or a 1 percent governor who is just going to write a check and fix it for us,” Biss said. “Do we want an election or do we want an auction?”
Biss was also interviewed by Mary Ann Ahern the other day about JB Pritzker’s and Chris Kennedy’s taxes. Click here to watch it. There’s a transcript here.
…Adding… I missed this one…
Today Daniel Biss announced the endorsement of Alderman Scott Waguespack.
“While any Democratic candidate can espouse progressive policies on the campaign trail, Daniel is the only one with a proven track record of getting things done in Springfield,” said Scott Waguespack. “From fighting for progressive revenue options to supporting efforts for an elected, representative school board in Chicago, Daniel has been on the front lines every step of the way.
“I have long appreciated having him as a strong ally in Springfield to the Progressive Caucus, and I have full confidence that he will be a progressive champion as governor. Nothing is more important than beating Bruce Rauner in November, and as a community organizer and true progressive, Daniel represents our best opportunity to draw a strong contrast with the billionaire class seeking to monopolize our politics in Illinois.”
* Fundraising e-mail from Bridget Fitzgerald’s state Senate campaign…
Big news! Rich Miller, Illinois’ most followed political reporter and blogger, listed our race as the 5th ‘Race to Watch’. With over 160 offices up for re-election: it’s a really big deal! To keep us in that spot, we will need your fundraising help: Keep Team Fitzgerald in the top spot by donating here
“41st Senate - The Democrats are hoping they can pull off an upset win here in a district once represented by retired Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. Appointed Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) faces Western Springs Village Clerk Bridget Fitzgerald, who also works for Treasurer Michael Frerichs, a former Senator. On paper, at least, this is a somewhat doable race for the Democrats. Hillary Clinton won by 5 points last year.”
We will pull off an upset! In order to do that, we will need to invest in staff to deploy our campaign, print hundreds of yard signs, distribute thousands of marketing material pieces and be ready to foot the bill for radio and TV advertisements next year. Help us pull off an upset by donating to Team Fitzgerald
It is a doable race! I’m running because of the incredible example Senator Christine Radogno left behind. She was the highest ranking female legislator and the beacon of bipartisanship. We are running a different campaign than the rest: one that brings people together and leads with innovation. Donate to move us from a victory that is not only ‘doable’ but ‘done’.
Again, THE Rich Miller named us ‘Race To Watch’ : very exciting!
However, Republican US Sen. Mark Kirk won [the district] by 4 points and Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger won by 20 points. And Sen. Curran voted for the override motion on Operating Engineers Local 150’s bill to prohibit local “right to work” zones. Very smart move on his part, particularly since half his district is represented by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who is Number One on Local 150’s hit list.
Yeah. Kind of important.
* Third, I don’t look kindly on folks who re-publish parts of the subscriber edition. Hence, this rather harsh blog post. Anybody who contributes to Fitzgerald’s campaign based on today’s fundraising e-mail should get their heads examined. And anyone who thinks they can get away with doing this sort of misleading goofiness in the future is hereby on notice.
* The Chicago Defender favorably compares former Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) to Barack Obama, highlights his social worker employment, mentions he was “mentored” by Secretary of State Jesse White, and then reports that he’s running for the House again…
Today, Dunkin has focused on the impact of economic Black wealth and the lack of development in African American communities across the city. With five potential candidates running for the 5th District Illinois House seat, he is throwing his hat back into the ring to run.
“Getting back down to Springfield to me would mean coming up with the best and the brightest ideas that my community can benefit from. Because if the Black community benefits, other communities benefit as well. Right now, as you know when Whites are in a recession, Blacks are in a depression,” he says. “Politics over the long run will do nothing for the average citizen out here. They really could care less about all this name calling and finger pointing.” […]
For the past couple of weeks, Dunkin and his team have diligently worked to wrangle signatures in order to make the Dec. 4 filing deadline for the ballot. His presence is seen at the senior homes, the high-rise tenant meetings, local grocery stores and knocking on familiar doors throughout the district. His mantra is to be an “independent Democrat thinker” still running as a Democrat candidate and not an independent. […]
With much on the line and at stake, Chicago voters have very long memories. Dunkin believes he has a shot at winning back a seat he has felt at ease in for 14 years, but once again, the voters will determine his fate on March 20, 2018.
Jeff Boyd has filed to pursue his old position as Rock Island County Sheriff in next year’s election.
Mr. Boyd was elected sheriff in 2010. He resigned in September 2014 after entering an Alford plea to a misdemeanor charge of attempted official misconduct that accused him of repeatedly harassing a woman he met at a Rock Island gym. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not contest the state’s evidence and presents no evidence himself. Mr. Boyd was replaced by then-sheriff’s office Capt. Gerry Bustos, who is still sheriff.
Sheriff Bustos and Mr. Boyd submitted their petitions on Monday, the first day of the submission period for candidates of established political parties who intend to run in the March 20 primary, according to the Rock Island County Clerk’s Office website. Both men are listed as Democrats.
The sheriff of Rock Island County has resigned his post and dropped his re-election bid, after pleading no-contest to charges connected with cyberstalking.
The state attorney general’s office says Democrat Jeffrey Boyd entered what’s known as an Alford plea to attempted official misconduct charges Thursday — not admitting guilt, but acknowledging that prosecutors can likely prove the charges.
The 48-year-old Boyd was accused of using his position as sheriff to intimidate and threaten a woman he met at a Rock Island gym. The woman, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, received repeated text messages from Boyd, including, say prosecutors, an anonymous threatening message in June.
“Mr. Boyd was elected by the people of Rock Island County to serve as its top law enforcement officer, but unfortunately he attempted to use his position to intimidate and stalk his victim,'’ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a news release.
The victim of a cyber-stalking case that led to former Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd’s resignation has filed a federal suit against him, the county and its sheriff’s department. […]
A federal lawsuit filed this month in the U.S. District Court, Rock Island, identifies the woman as Andrea Favela and claims she was the victim of repeated threats, stalking and harassment by Mr. Boyd. The suit claims his conduct was “extreme and outrageous.”
The six-count suit calls the former sheriff’s actions “an arbitrary and egregious abuse of government power that shocks the conscience.”
The suit says Mr. Boyd, while sheriff, repeatedly threatened to reveal Ms. Favela’s status as a Mexican national illegally living in the United States if she didn’t return his romantic advances.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office determined that Boyd used his position as sheriff to intimidate, stalk, and threaten the woman. He sent her selfies and bought her gifts, but when she refused his advances, her attorney says, Boyd threatened to try and deport her.
You targeted an illegal immigrant, the most vulnerable, powerless victim you could find. You harassed her knowing that she risked everything if she went to the police. You refused to back off when she asked you to stop. You used your position as Rock Island County sheriff to threaten her when she rebuffed your advances.
Legally, it’s very possible that you can again seek your old job, from which you resigned after pleading guilty to official misconduct. But, by every legitimate moral standard, you forfeited any claim to office through your actions in 2014.
Please, just let it go and move on. Neither your ego nor vanity are worth the damage that your ill-fated quest for redemption would cause.
* Yesterday, Gov. Rauner completely dodged questions about whether he should give back his bigtime contributions from Richard Uihlein, who is backing Roy Moore’s US Senate race. The Illinois GOP then got a bit too cute with JB Pritzker…
In a statement, ILGOP spokesman Aaron DeGroot said, “J.B. Pritzker has given tens of thousands of dollars to organizations that support Al Franken. Pritzker even wrote a $1,000 campaign check to Franken himself. It’s time for Pritzker to weigh in. Does he believe the sexual assault allegations against Al Franken, and if so, should Al Franken resign his U.S. Senate seat?”
Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen, who occasionally jousts with current and former ILGOP communications staff on Twitter, shot back. “J.B. believes public officials should be held to the same or higher standards as everyone else and whether Democrat or Republican, public officials should be held accountable for their actions. J.B. believes Al Franken, John Conyers, and for that matter Donald Trump should resign from office.” […]
Since 2008, Uihlein has also steered at least $8,957,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute, according to tax filing documents for his family foundation. Since 2014, Uihlein chipped in an additional $800,000 to the Liberty Justice Center, IPI’s legal arm, and another $50,000 to the anti-union State Policy Network, bringing his total contributions to the conservative think tank and its affiliates to over $9.8 million. The Illinois Policy Institute did not return calls seeking comment on this story.
Uihlein has also been the top individual donor to Rep. Jeanne Ives’ (R-Wheaton) political career so far. At a ‘Make America Great Again’ rally in Rockford last week, Ives refused to comment on Moore’s conduct.
“I’m not going to answer that question because I’m not an Alabaman. I’m going to let Alabamans decide that,” she said. Pressed for an answer on whether or not Moore’s conduct was disqualifying for a seat in the Senate, she responded, “So? I comment on state issues. As far as I’m concerned, the Alabama folks know the guy better and they can make the decision. I’m not going to weigh in on that race.”
* Meanwhile, Gov. Rauner’s 2014 campaign manager Chip Englander is moving to Uihlein’s Super PAC in Wisconsin…
So Kevin Nicholson has hired Team Cruz (Axiom's Jeff Roe and WPA's Chris Wilson) for #WISen.
Chip Englander, who has been Nicholson's general consultant, is moving to super PAC Solutions for Wisconsin. https://t.co/l9hcYGFXDr
Yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner was asked twice if he would return $2.6 million in donations from mega-donor Richard Uihlein after it was revealed Uihlein was bankrolling Roy Moore’s Senate campaign. He twice refused. On the very same day, it was announced Rauner’s former campaign manager Chip Englander would run Richard Uihlein’s Super PAC in Wisconsin. Strange coincidence.
“Bruce Rauner decided that his relationship with his mega-donor ally was more important than sending a clear message about Roy Moore’s conduct,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Not only did Rauner refuse to return donations from Roy Moore’s biggest backer, he would not even call out his ally for his ill-advised support of Moore. Once again, Rauner’s failed to show leadership on an important issue.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** IDCCA…
Today, The Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association called on Illinois Republican Congressmen Mike Bost, Rodney Davis, Peter Roskam, and Randy Hultgren to return donations they have received from pro-Roy Moore megadonor Dick Uihlein. Uihlein has been revealed as the primary backer of a pro-Roy Moore Super PAC that is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect Moore to the U.S. Senate, even after at least nine women have accused Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual contact when they were teenagers.
According to Center for Responsive Politics, in the past two election cycles Peter Roskam has accepted $5,400 from Uihlein, Hultgren $10,800, Davis $2,700, and Bost $2,700.
IDCCA President Doug House released the following statement:
“Dick Uihlein is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect a likely child molester to the U.S. Senate in Alabama. If Congressmen Roskam, Hultgren, Davis, and Bost want to make it clear they don’t share Uihlein’s values or his support for Roy Moore’s candidacy, they should return his dirty money.”
* Rauner silent on $2.6M from friend supporting fund helping Roy Moore: Lake Forest business magnate Richard Uihlein — the co-founder of Uline Corp. — contributed $50,000 on Sept. 8, and another $50,000 on Nov. 22 to the Proven Conservative PAC. The second contribution came as Moore was already under fire over allegations he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl when he was in his 30s. Four other women have alleged sexual misconduct while they were underage. [Emphasis added]
Below, please find a media advisory outlining Our Revolution’s endorsement tomorrow of the Fritz Kaegi campaign for Cook County Assessor. The organization’s Executive Director Clem Balanoff will be joined by County Board Commissioner Chuy Garcia, Cook County Clerk David Orr as well as other public officials and community leaders.
Please let me know if additional information would be helpful. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Fritz Kaegi for Cook County Assessor
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Kaegi’s campaign is not getting nearly the media coverage it deserves. And he’s not doing badly with the money, either.
*** UPDATE *** Berrios campaign…
“It’s hypocritical that Senator Bernie Sanders’ organization is endorsing Fritz Kaegi, a Wall Street investment manager. During Bernie’s presidential campaign, he referred to Wall Street-types as reckless for their role in the financial collapse and profiting off the backs of working families and now they turn around and accept him as one of their own,” said Berrios’ Campaign Manager Mario Lopez.