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Question of the day

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Your own caption?…

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Rick Steves testifies for legal weed

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Press release…

Illinois could see up to $699 million in new revenue by legalizing cannabis use among adults through a measure that would spur economic development while protecting public safety. Lawmakers heard from advocates today during a combined Senate and House hearing.

Among those testifying was nationally-known travel writer and television host Rick Steves, an active proponent for ending America’s prohibition of marijuana.

“I’m not pro-drugs – I’m pro-civil liberties and anti-prohibition,” Steves said. “Marijuana is here to stay. We can either keep building more prisons or figure out a better solution. I think it’s obvious what the solution is, and it’s happening around the country as it did in my home state of Washington. We need to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults.”

“It is clear that prohibition doesn’t work and that by lifting cannabis restrictions we can encourage economic development in Illinois,” State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said. “We are carefully considering all aspects and potential impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis, including job growth.”

In addition to increased tax revenue, legalized cannabis could provide a boost for job growth in Illinois. According to a report from New Frontier Data earlier this year, the legal marijuana market could create more than 250,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2020. Legalizing adult-use marijuana creates a variety of jobs including scientists, dispensary employees, growers, among others.

“Legalizing cannabis will spur the creation of new small businesses and much-needed jobs,” State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said. “We are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity on the table by continuing the outdated status quo of prohibition.”

Tax revenue from the proposed legislation would support the State Board of Education; treatment and education programs for responsible marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use; and the state’s General Revenue Fund.

“In Washington, we have a track record and we know it works,” Steves said. “States like mine that have legalized marijuana have learned that use doesn’t go up, crime doesn’t go up, DUIs do not go up. The only thing that goes up is tax revenue, as we take the thriving illicit market and transform it into a highly regulated and highly taxed system.”

Today’s hearing was part of a series of hearings on the various aspects of legalizing cannabis use among adults. Changes to the legislation may be proposed in the new year based on these findings.

* Sun-Times

Black market marijuana has the effect of “empowering organized crime and gangs,” he said.

Steves testified before a joint House-Senate committee hearing at the Bilandic Building in the Loop, where he also warned against focusing too much on filling government coffers by taxing marijuana.

“The beauty of this, economically, is getting rid of the crime,” he said.

Over-taxation can lead marijuana users back to cheaper weed on the black market, he said.

Agreed on the over-taxation warning and about how doing nothing means we’re empowering the criminal element.

* One Republican state Senator wasn’t impressed…

* But Steves had a pretty good rebuttal

State Sen. Dan McConchie, a Republican from Hawthorn Woods, challenged Steves’ assertion that legalization has caused no problems elsewhere. McConchie cited studies suggesting increased adult use of marijuana in places that have legalized it, and called for better data on the question before acting.

“There’s been a number of broad-brush statements that you have made … but the data does not bear that out,” McConchie said. “Just because you legalize it doesn’t necessitate that all of these problems are going to go away. … I think we would be jumping the gun to legalize this in the absence of robust data.”

People will smoke pot whether it’s legal or not, Steves maintained, arguing that it’s much better to tax and regulate it rather than creating a criminal class of users. He testified that the marijuana industry is generating $300 million a year in tax revenue and 26,000 jobs in Washington, while reducing law enforcement and prison costs.

“Nothing has changed except there’s not people selling marijuana illegally on the streets. They’re selling it in the shops,” he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Rauner completely dodges questions on Uihlein

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Gov. Rauner was asked about this DGA press release today…

Yesterday, the Daily Beast reported Illinois businessman and mega-donor Richard Uihlein is the “chief financier” of a pro-Roy Moore Super PAC. Uihlein’s $100,000 donation is reportedly going to ads propping up Roy Moore, who has been accused by numerous women of sexual assault and harassment when they were underage. In light of this revelation, the Democratic Governors Association calls on Bruce Rauner to return all donations from Richard Uihlein.

“Bruce Rauner must disavow the support of Richard Uihlein and return all donations received from him,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “The accusations of child predation against Roy Moore are abhorrent, and Rauner must disavow his relationship with anyone who supports Moore, including his mega donor allies. It’s no secret that Bruce Rauner has benefited greatly from Richard Uihlein’s backing, but his bankrolling of a Roy Moore Super PAC must be unacceptable.”

In the 2014 cycle, Richard Uihlein donated $2.6 Million to Citizens for Rauner and another $350,000 to a “Rauner-allied group seeking to turn out the vote for Rauner by pushing a term-limits drive.” Uihlein has also propped up Rauner’s Illinois allies by sending millions to the Liberty Principles PAC and thousands to the Illinois Republican Party.

* So, will Gov. Rauner return those Uihlein contributions? His response

As I have stated publicly, I agree with those who have called for Roy Moore to step aside and not run for Senate. I urge him to step aside and let another candidate emerge.

* But what about the question? Will he return the Uihlein contributions?

As I’ve said, I have urged Roy Moore to step aside as the candidate for US Senate.

…Adding… It should be noted that the ILGOP has now demanded three times that Sens. Durbin and Duckworth give back their relatively small contributions from Sen. Al Franken.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Sam Salustro at the DGA…

“Today is just another example of Bruce Rauner’s failure to lead. Rauner could have sent a strong message that what Roy Moore is accused of is reprehensible. Instead, he’s decided to stick by his mega-donor ally who just happens to be Roy Moore’s biggest financial backer. When push comes to shove, Rauner always puts his own political future first.”

* Meanwhile, from Bloomberg

Bill Broydrick, a Uihlein representative in Washington, declined to comment.

Uihlein gave $2.6 million to Rauner’s first campaign for governor in the 2014 election cycle, records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections show.
Nicholson Supporter

Uihlein has also been a major donor to super PACs supporting the Republican Senate candidacy of businessman and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson, who is seeking to challenge Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

“The same out-of-state billionaire who’s funneling money into alleged serial sexual predator Roy Moore’s candidacy in Alabama is also pouring millions into buying Kevin Nicholson a U.S. Senate seat here in Wisconsin,” Brad Bainum, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said in a statement. “Wisconsinites should be concerned that Nicholson is in joint company with Roy Moore.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Gutiérrez formally endorses Chuy Garcia for Congress

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Press release…

Congressman Luis Gutiérrez announced he will give up the seat he has held since 1993 after the current term and endorsed Cook County Commissioner and Chicago’s progressive standard bearer Jesús “Chuy” Garcia to be his successor at a press conference on Tuesday.

The announcements came at a news conference where the two leaders, who both got their political starts as part of the Harold Washington administration in the 1980s, emphasized the importance of maintaining the district’s role of giving immigrants a voice on a national platform.

“My candidacy builds on the legacy of Mayor Harold Washington, the foresight and energy that brought young people together for Sen. Bernie Sanders and the work of Rep. Gutiérrez,” Garcia said. “Luis has fought tirelessly in Congress for our undocumented brothers and sisters, and for people everywhere, to keep our hearts and minds open to the free-flowing movement of ideas and democracy. We must never allow fear and oppression to guide our nation.”

Gutiérrez, who has been a champion throughout his career for immigrant rights, veterans’ access to health care, reproductive rights, civil rights of the Puerto Rican people, and workers’ rights, made it clear that he believes Garcia will pick up where he left off and be a force for progressive policies and a clear voice in Congress on behalf of immigrants.

“It has never been more important for the future of America to have an immigrant voice at the table when national policies are being made,” Gutiérrez said. “Chuy is the kind of leader our district needs to carry us into this uncertain future.”

By electing a Mexican-American immigrant to represent them, Garcia said, 4
th District voters will be sending a message to the forces who would divide the nation that they support Gutiérrez’s persistent efforts to weave unity and progressive policies inextricably into the American fabric.

“We are grateful for the congressman’s bold leadership on immigration reform,” Garcia said. “We will build on his dynamic legacy that, with his signature firebrand oratory, has kept the issues front and center - whether it’s advocating for undocumented people and other immigrants, or exposing the folly of building a multi-billion dollar boondoggle of a wall.”

Garcia said he was looking forward to joining the new wave of progressive, national Democratic Party leaders, in the spirit of Bernie Sanders, for whom he worked during the 2016 primary election.

“Luis Gutiérrez and I share a common bond, as we carry forward the work of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington,” Garcia said. “I believe in opportunity for all, including affordable health care, strong schools, protection for workers and support for our troops and veterans. I will be a relentless advocate in moving Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts forward.”


* From the event…

I hope this campaign isn’t going to be about the past. We’ll see.

* Meanwhile


I have heard the rumor that Congressman Luis Gutierrez will not seek re-election. Congressman Gutierrez is a principled progressive, who has fought tirelessly for the 4th Congressional District’s working families; and I am proud to have fought alongside him as one of his former congressional staffers.

Since the rumor began circulating Monday night, I have heard from so many supporters in the 4th District asking me to run for Congress. I’m humbled by their encouragement to seek the Democratic nomination. If Congressman Gutierrez is retiring, I will begin circulating nominating petitions tonight.

I am ready to bring bold progressive leadership to DC and take our fight for working families to President Trump’s doorstep. As your Congressman, I will vigorously oppose President Trump’s regime, and fight for the progressive policies that will uplift the 4th District’s working families, including medicare for all, free college tuition, stopping deportations, and a $15 living wage.

If I decide to seek the Democratic nomination, there will be a spirited primary campaign, no doubt involving candidates for whom I have enormous respect. I look forward to a great dialogue and the voters making a decision on March 20th.

The deadline to submit signatures is December 4. Please help me get on the ballot by clicking here to volunteer.

Warm regards,

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

…Adding… Press release…

U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement following U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez’s (D-IL-04) announcement that he will not seek re-election:

Luis Gutierrez has been my strongest partner in working for the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform. His voice will be critical in the remainder of his term and sorely missed thereafter.

…Adding… Another one…


“Luis Gutierrez represented Chicagoans in the Chicago City Council and US Congress for more than three decades, serving his constituents, his city and his country with honor. One thing I know is Luis Gutierrez will not stop fighting for what he believes in until the last vote is cast, and even then will continue working for the causes he has championed throughout his life because he believes in them with his heart. Luis Gutierrez’s journey from a taxi driver to a US Congressman is a testament to the power of the American Dream. I have been proud to call him a dear friend and trusted colleague, and stand with Chicagoans and Americans everywhere in expressing my appreciation for his service and wishing him well in his next chapter.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Davis whacked over tax vote impact on Illinois higher education

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* News-Gazette

[US Rep. Rodney Davis], whose congressional district includes the University of Illinois, three other public universities, four private universities or colleges and several community college districts, said he was “cautiously optimistic” the tax break would be retained.

I think the total number of universities and colleges in Davis’ district is 13.


Rep. Rodney Davis knew that the GOP tax scam was going to hammer students in his district and increase the cost of college, but he voted for it anyway to deliver a tax break to millionaires and big corporations.

Here are just a few ways the GOP tax scam is going to hurt students, graduates, and their families:

These cuts to education assistance will cost students and families more than $71 billion over the next decade according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

And it’s not like Davis didn’t know how harmful this bill was – students made their voices heard loud and clear, a local editorial spelled it out, and Davis himself wrote a last-minute letter acknowledging that eliminating tuition waivers would hurt grad students. Then when Washington Republicans ignored his letter, he voted for the GOP tax scam anyway.

“Rep. Rodney Davis’ many promises to help students ring hollow with his vote to raise their taxes and make it harder for them to pay off their loans,” said DCCC spokesperson Jacob Peters. “By voting for this GOP tax scam, Rodney Davis has made it clear he cares more about giving tax cuts to millionaires and big corporations than he does about reducing the cost of college and easing the burden of student loan debt on students and their families.”

* Meanwhile

State and local government pension plans would be confronted with new costs and complications under the Republican tax bill the U.S. House approved last week.

Some, but not all, public pension investments would become subject to what’s known as the Unrelated Business Income Tax, or UBIT, if the current version of the House bill were to be enacted. The proposed change to how the tax is applied would make it so state and local government pension plans are treated in a way that is similar to private sector pensions, or nonprofit organizations.

Hank Kim, executive director of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, said that if the House proposal were to go into effect, it would be the first time that state and local pension systems would have to pay federal tax on their investments.

“It’s a huge burden,” Kim added by phone this week.

Retired police, firefighters and teachers are a few examples of people covered by the state and local government pension plans that could be affected by the House proposal. Legislation the U.S. Senate Finance Committee has passed does not include similar UBIT provisions.

* Related…

* GOP tax plan rattles higher education: Congressional Republicans’ plans to slap unprecedented new taxes on higher education have left college leaders shocked and scrambling — the latest salvo in what some observers say is a growing culture war on a higher education system seen as elitist and out of touch.

* Tax bill reflects rift between many Republicans and higher education: In July, the Pew Research ­Center found that 58 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the way things are going in the country. That was up from 37 percent two years earlier. By contrast, a large majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents — 72 percent — said this year that colleges have a positive effect.

* Republican Tax Plan for Colleges Is a Self-Inflicted Wound: The U.S. university system is one of the country’s most important remaining economic advantages. Even as manufacturing industries have moved to China, the U.S. has retained its dominance in higher education. The research and technology output of American universities, and the skilled postgraduate workers they produce, are an important anchor keeping knowledge industries — Silicon Valley, the pharmaceutical industry and the oil services industry, to name just three — clustered in the country, instead of fleeing to places with lower labor costs. Degrade higher education, and the U.S. will become a much less attractive place for cutting-edge industries, and less important to the global economy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Erika Harold campaign claims Pat Quinn is a “Madigan ally”

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Fundraising pitch…

You might remember when we emailed you a little over two months ago to share the news that Lisa Madigan dropped out of the race against Erika Harold for Attorney General.

Well…the Madigan Machine is at it again.

No – Lisa is not running for office. But yesterday career politician and Madigan ally, former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, officially filed his petition signatures to get his name on the ballot against Erika.

We wanted to make sure you knew this because the last thing Illinois needs is a Madigan ally running for Attorney General.

Erika joined this race because she knows that Illinois deserves better. Challenge the Madigan Way by chipping in $5, $10, $20, or whatever you can afford to Erika’s campaign here.

JOIN US TODAY to challenge business as usual and get rid of career politicians.

* Meanwhile, from a press release…

Today, Daniel Biss announced that he has received the endorsement of renowned legal expert, campaign finance reform activist, and former presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig.

“Is it about money or people?” Lessig asked. “That’s the question that Illinois gets to answer. We must end big money politics. And Daniel’s fight here is the same fight everywhere — a fight by the people for a government that represents more than the billionaires.”

“Daniel is the only candidate we can trust to take on this broken system once in office. Backed by a statewide coalition of voters and experienced in organizing the legislature around his progressive vision, Daniel has the background necessary to implement long-term reforms to change the way campaigns are funded. I am honored to stand with a reformer, and I would urge every American committed to achieving democracy in America again to stand with him too.”

“I am honored to receive Lawrence’s endorsement,” said Daniel. “In the wake of Citizens United and amidst the chaos of the Trump presidency, our nation is at a crossroads: we can continue to sell our country, piece by piece and state by state, to out-of-touch billionaires, or we can take back our democracy for middle-and working class families. On Team Biss, we know where we stand — and we’re proud to have Lawrence Lessig alongside us.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Petition filers discover they’re running against each other while waiting together in line

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Brian Mackey had a fun little story about the hardy folks who waited in line with their petitions

Rena Bever is from Mt. Carmel. It’s now about 10:30. She got in line at — well, let’s say it was closer to the Burlington Coat Factory.

BEVER: “Yes, it was down that far. We were here before 8; we’re just now getting in the building.”

Next to Bever is Tonya Loker, from Wayne City.

You wouldn’t know this from they way they’re getting on, but it turns out that Loker and Bever are running against each other — for the same seat.

LOKER: “We just met each other.”

BEVER: “Just chance.”

MACKEY: “You just met each other?”

LOKER: “Yes.”

BEVER: “Yes.”

MACKEY: (pauses) “How’s that been?”

LOKER: “It’s been great.”

BEVER: “It has, it really has.”

LOKER: “And you what, if I’m not the lucky one, I hope she is, because she’s great.”

BEVER: “And I’m the same. Absolutely.”

The two are among three candidates running for the open 15th Democratic State Central Committeewoman slot.

* Tribune

Standing near the front door, Democratic Rep. Theresa Mah of Chicago marveled at the difference a few years make, noting that she was at the back of the line when she first ran for office in 2015. Back then she didn’t have the backing of the Democratic Party, which is run by longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“I am taking advantage of the benefits of incumbency. I was way in the back of the line two years ago, I didn’t have the party support, and now I do,” Mah said. “I get to hop to the front of the line.

Mah is currently unopposed. Francisco Rodriguez has, however, filed a D-1.

* Bernie

A Republican lawmaker also near the front of the line Monday, Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington, said he arrived just before 5 a.m., but like the Democrats, Republicans had staffers keeping a place. Jeff Clarke, a member of the GOP staff and village president of Pawnee, said the GOP team had been in line since 7 a.m. Sunday.

Brady, who’s been in the House since 2001, said he also checked on the line Sunday night.

“I think it’s important to make sure that everything goes through, and if there is a problem, I’m the one responsible … to make sure it gets resolved,” Brady said of his practice of filing his own petitions each election cycle, even though candidates can have others file for them.

Rep. Brady picked up a primary opponent yesterday. More info on David Paul Blumenshine is here.

* Related…

* Pop tax, deaths lead to wave of Cook County Board contests

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Should animal abusers lose their FOID cards?

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Jaclyn Driscoll with Illinois Public Radio

Under federal and state law, anyone convicted of domestic violence loses their right to legally own a gun, but there’s a push to also see that penalty extended to anyone convicted of animal abuse.

The Illinois State Crime Commission is behind the proposal. They say it would be an irrevocable, lifetime penalty for all offenders who would lose their ability to receive a Firearm Owner Identification card, eliminating their ability to purchase or own a gun in Illinois.

Jerry Elsner, executive director for the commission, is urging lawmakers to go along. He says people who injure animals, regardless of age, don’t deserve a second chance. “An animal abuser is similar to a pedophile. There really is not cure for it. It just gets worse. They pose a risk to our society.”

Some studies suggest that cruelty to animals is a precursor to other violent crime, specifically involving people. Elsner cited the Sutherland Springs Texas shooter who claimed to buy animals online to use as “target practice” before his shooting rampage that killed 26 churchgoers.


- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Schneider slammed over Conyers remarks

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Press release…

IL 10 Republican candidate Jeremy Wynes today strongly condemned comments made by Brad Schneider yesterday giving cover to serial sexual harasser John Conyers.

“Brad Schneider ought to be ashamed of himself. Sexual harassment should be condemned regardless of party affiliation,” Wynes said. “John Conyers has no business being in Congress. It’s disgusting to see Brad Schneider playing politics with this issue.”

* Wynes points to this Crain’s article

In other news, Schneider—who held his seat for one term, lost it in 2014 and regained it in 2016—says Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., may eventually have to give up his seat. But not yet.

Conyers did the right thing in stepping aside as the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee after allegations of sexual harassment, but further action should await completion of an Ethics Committee probe, he said.

The investigation should be “expeditious,” lasting no longer than 30 to 60 days, Schneider said. “If the allegations are true . . . he should step down.” Asked how that’s different than the situation involving Alabama GOP Senate hopeful Roy Moore, who some want to end his race, Schneider said Moore faces “a number of allegations” over some years, often involving teenagers. “I’m aware of one” with Conyers, though “it is serious,” Schneider said.

In fact, Conyers faces allegations from at least two women. There are also multiple accusations against Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, who has admitted misconduct and whose case is being considered by the Senate Ethics Committee.

* And then Wynes linked to this story

THIRD CONYERS ACCUSER COMES FORWARD — Another former staffer of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment, making the woman the third former aide to levy such accusations against the lawmaker. “Deanna Maher, Conyers’ former deputy chief of staff who ran his downriver office from 1997 to 2005, told The Detroit News that the Detroit Democrat made unwanted advances toward her three times,” George Hunter reports. “Conyers’ status as a leading Democrat deterred her from going public at the time, Maher said, adding she doesn’t have anything to lose now. ‘I didn’t report the harassment because it was clear nobody wanted to take it seriously,’ she said.” Maher had previously discussed the allegations with Detroit reporters years ago but didn’t want to go on the record.


*** UPDATE *** I think this is the third ILGOP press release on this topic…

It’s been nearly two weeks since Democrats “scrambled to contain the fallout” from the sexual assault allegations against Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken. The Minnesota Democrat was accused of groping and kissing a reporter without her consent.

In response, some Democratic lawmakers quickly distanced themselves by donating campaign contributions from Al Franken to charity. Senator Claire McCaskill donated her $30,000 in Franken cash to Missouri food banks while Senator Tammy Baldwin donated $20,000 to a group benefiting women veterans in Wisconsin.

But what are Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth doing with their campaign contributions from Al Franken? They’re keeping his dirty money. Both have received $5,000 and $21,000, respectively, but they’ve been silent on whether or not they will return the money or give it away to Illinois charities.

Durbin and Duckworth didn’t hesitate to call Franken’s actions “wrong” and “unacceptable,’ but they stopped short of putting their money where their mouth is. Dick Durbin even dodged questions on whether Al Franken should resign and hasn’t said a word about what he will do with his campaign cash from Franken.

For Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, it’s all about the money, regardless of who gets hurt.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

Today is #GivingTuesday, so please keep it local with #ILGive

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* From the #ILGive website

#ILGive is Illinois’ official Giving Tuesday campaign. We’re connecting Illinois residents with causes they care about.

#ILGive (pronounced ‘I’ll Give’) is an initiative of Forefront, Illinois’ statewide membership association for nonprofits, grantmakers, public agencies, advisors, and sector allies. Forefront works to build a vibrant social impact sector for all Illinois. Through #ILGive, Forefront mobilizes Illinois nonprofits and foundations to increase individual giving across the state. Last year, #ILGive for Giving Tuesday raised $11.3 million for Illinois social good organizations, and our most recent campaign, #ILGiveCommunity, raised $127,795.33 across the state.

#ILGive is a 24-hour digital fundraising event that connects individuals with the causes that matter to them, and empowers donors to give to the local nonprofits that tackle our communities’ most critical issues. #ILGive raises money for our communities, brings new donors, and increases awareness about local nonprofits while leveraging the national marketing of #GivingTuesday.

Click here to browse through or search for organizations that are part of the “Giving Tuesday” push, which started early this morning and lasts through midnight tonight. You can see the “underdogs” (groups that haven’t raised much money yet) by clicking here. A list of groups which have the most donors and/or have raised the most money is here.

* You can also check out their Twitter feed for updates and giving ideas

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

*** UPDATED x 2 - Pritzker responds - Rauner refuses to answer questions about topic *** Bost is fourth Republican congressman to pass on endorsing Rauner

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Bernie

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, says he hasn’t decided who to back for governor in the March 20 primary.

“I’m watching it,” he said.

Bost said he doesn’t always agree with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s positions.

“But he and I have a good working relationship,” Bost said. “It’s a rough time right now in the state of Illinois, and there’s some rough situations to be straightened out.”

“I try to advise where I can,” Bost added, “and other than that, I’ve got a whole lot of other problems I’m dealing with.” […]

“I was in leadership when Jeanne Ives came in, and so, I wish her well,” Bost said. “I think that she’s got some very strong ideas and she is real passionate about those ideas.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** Gov. Rauner was asked about the four Republican congressmen at a press conference today

Amanda Vinicky: What are you doing to smooth over relations there? Is that concerning?…

Gov. Rauner: I work for everyone in Illinois. Every day.

Vinicky: Are you smoothing over relations with them?

Rauner: Any other questions? Thanks, everybody.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Pritzker campaign…

“Bruce Rauner is so toxic that a majority of his own party’s Congressional delegation refuses to support him,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “After lying to people right, left, and center and causing irreparable harm to the state, this failed governor is all on his own.”

* Related…

* Roskam rethinks supporting Rauner: U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., is rethinking his support for Gov. Bruce Rauner given the governor’s recent signature on a bill that expands the public funding of abortion… Roskam, the Ways & Means Tax Policy chairman who is taking a lead role in an effort to overhaul the U.S. tax code, is the highest-ranking elected official in Illinois to potentially pull back from Rauner after the governor signed HB40. The new abortion law — which Rauner had promised to veto — has so infuriated conservatives, they are now talking about drafting a potential primary opponent to challenge Rauner. Roskam said Rauner’s move to sign the bill was “fundamentally out of step” with his congressional district. “I’ve got to reevaluate that and I’ll reevaluate that in the right time,” Roskam said Thursday when asked if he still supported Rauner. “Signing HB40 was a huge mistake on the policy and it was a huge mistake on the politics. The policy, this is the home of Henry Hyde, the author of the Hyde Amendment and I am his successor.”

* Illinois Congressman Shimkus on taxes, Trump and Rauner’s re-election: Shimkus said he is staying out of next year’s Republican gubernatorial primary, and has no plans to endorse any of the likely contenders. Incumbent GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to face more conservative Republican challengers. Many social conservatives were upset that Rauner signed a bill allowing Medicaid and state-based insurance to cover abortions in some cases. “We thought that he would stay out of some of the socially-divisive issues,” Shimkus said. “He did not.” But the congressman added that he will support the GOP victor in the 2018 general election.

* U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood unsure who he’ll support for governor: “I was and continue to be very disappointed that Governor (Bruce) Rauner signed HB40 allowing taxpayer funded abortions throughout the state of Illinois,” LaHood said in a written response to a question from The State Journal-Register. “I am currently focused on my own re-election to the 18th Congressional District. I plan to wait and see who ends up filing to run for governor before making any decision on an endorsement.” LaHood added in an interview that Rauner has not asked for an endorsement. “I would be happy to meet with him and give him every consideration,” LaHood said. “I believe it was a mistake to sign HB40, and I want assurances moving forward that he’s not going to make this kind of mistake again … because I think that’s going to hurt him.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

First take the log out of your own eye

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* AP

Uber Technologies is being sued by the city of Chicago and Cook County on claims the ride-hailing company’s 2016 data breach harmed “tens, if not hundreds, of thousands” of area residents.

Last week, Uber revealed hackers were able to steal data for 57 million riders and drivers. With the announcement, San Francisco-based Uber said it concealed the breach for a year after paying $100,000 in ransom for the stolen information to be destroyed.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court contends Uber’s failure to protect consumers’ personal information violated city and state laws.

The city and county are seeking a $10,000 fine “for each violation involving a Chicago resident.”

* From August 17th

A voting machine company exposed 1.8 million Chicago voter records after misconfiguring a security setting on the server that stored them.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the Nebraska-based voting software and election management company, confirmed the leak on Thursday.

In a blog post, the company said the voter data leak contained names, addresses, birthdates, partial social security numbers and some driver’s license and state ID numbers stored in backup files on a server. Authorities alerted ES&S to the leak on Aug. 12, and the data was secured. […]

Amazon buckets — where data is stored — are private by default. This means someone at ES&S misconfigured a security setting and exposed the data online.

“This data would be an identity thief’s dream to find,” Vickery told CNN Tech. He also said the leaked files contained some voting system administration credentials.

* October 23rd

“It’s like hitting a hole in one on the first time you play golf,” [John Hendren, a marketing representative for IT security firm UpGuard] says.

Chris Vickery at the same company says the breach rates at 10 on a severity scale of 1 to 10.

“Anyone with a web browser and an internet connection, anywhere in the entire world, could have downloaded these files,” he says.

Chicago’s vendor is ES&S, out of Omaha, Nebraska. The company has been paid more than $5 million since 2014 by the Chicago Board of Elections.

Headlined explained here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

Rotheimer: “I understand now more clearly than before why I am the only one who named a name”

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Background is here. From an e-mail sent to me late yesterday afternoon…

Dear Rich,

I appreciate you posting my letters today. I did speak with the Ethics officer of the House Republican caucus (who mentioned my letter to Ms. Porter on Capitol Fax) to ask if Leader Durkin would be able to provide leadership on a legislative effort to implement reforms that establish a fair and balanced process for complainants. I told the EO that had I known the process would exclude me from having a voice or not being provided with information about the [Legislative Inspector General’s] report on what I said and the information I provided to her that I would never have filed a complaint.

I said that it is a reasonable request of mine to at least be informed of what the LIG has to say about me in her report and how I am being presented to the [Legislative Ethics Commission]. I also said that it is a reasonable request that I am heard by the LEC. I told the EO that I want to walk away from this process and say I felt heard and that I was treated fairly–regardless of the outcome. I understand now more clearly than before why I am the only one who named a name and if these reforms are made I don’t know why anyone else would come forward and find themselves in the situation that I am in–a situation where you don’t even get to read any portion of the report that is solely written about you, I don’t care about what Silverstein has to say or anyone else, I just want to know what is being said about me. I should at least be entitled to that. According to the rules I do not see anything that mentions me as a named party or as having any standing in this process. Below are some excerpts from the rules I copied with the link pasted below for your full review.

(as amended and effective 4-16-08)
(i) A statement that the Legislative Inspector General’s investigatory files and reports are confidential and exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (see 5 ILCS 430/25-90(b) and 430/25-95(d)).

If there is a hearing then the AG represents the LIG who is named as the petitioner:
Rule 20-10. Filing requirements.
(b) The Legislative Inspector General shall be designated as “the petitioner” and the person who is alleged to have violated the Act shall be designated as “the respondent”.

The respondent is named but not me. The respondent is represented by an attorney but not me because I merely become a “witness.”

In essence if this complaint does go to a hearing then I am treated as a witness, similar to that in a criminal case because I am not named as the plaintiff, the LIG is named as the plaintiff and is represented by the AG.

As a witness there is nothing in these Rules that provides for any rights or remedies that I have throughout this entire process, including the hearing. Therefore these procedures are not fair or balanced and only favor the respondent. Why else would the accuser or complainant be completely excluded from having any entitlements (rights, due process, remedies or relief) throughout this entire process.

I do not see anything in the rules that provides me as the complainant with a voice–the right to be heard or the right to information, notification or participation in this process. The LIG becomes my voice and is named as the petitioner if a violation is found and a hearing is initiated.

Rule 20-55. Hearings.
(b) All hearings shall be closed to the public.

At this point I have no choice than to go through this process, but I at least hope that our leaders in Springfield will address some of my concerns and enact reforms that makes this process more fair and balanced for complainants because as of now we are completely excluded from the Operational Rules as having any standing or being a named party and we are not given any rights whatsoever. This will have to change.

All my best, Denise Rotheimer

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Brown: “Pritzker and Kennedy fell far short of the ethical standards we should be demanding of an Illinois governor”

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* Mark Brown

J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy proved Monday that rich Illinois Democrats are no more inclined to be forthcoming about their personal finances than rich Illinois Republicans.

I know better than to be surprised, but I’m still extremely disappointed.

By making public only the front two pages of their income tax returns, Pritzker and Kennedy fell far short of the ethical standards we should be demanding of an Illinois governor.

They both chose to keep secret the accompanying schedules and statements from their returns that explain where they made their money, as well as the deductions used to lower their tax bills.

Their only real defense for this approach is that’s the way Gov. Bruce Rauner does it.

Sorry, Republican Rauner should not be the standard of good government for Democrats, even for the rich ones.

For some reason, rich people think their taxes are just too complicated for the rest of us to understand.


* The Tribune fills in some blanks

Pritzker’s income grew prominently the past three years largely through money from partnerships and trusts, which totaled $13.2 million last year compared with $5.9 million the year before. In 2014 the Pritzkers reported $2.7 million in business income as their primary source of money.

Pritzker spokeswoman Galia Slayen said the rise was based on investments and disbursements from trusts. “Some trusts are required to give distributions every year and in some years they did better, some years they did worse,” she said.

The returns also showed that in 2014, the couple paid no state income taxes after taking nearly $150,000 in tax credits for research and development, as well as for property taxes and educational expenses. Last year, the Pritzkers reported paying more than $456,000 in Illinois income taxes and in 2015 paid $180,000 to the state treasury, the documents show.

Asked why Pritzker paid no Illinois income tax in 2014, Slayen said the candidate “made personal venture capital investments in Illinois companies, which qualified him for angel investment tax credits.” […]

Kennedy, an heir of the iconic Massachusetts political family, and wife Sheila paid $174,000 in federal income taxes and $43,127 in state income taxes last year. The campaign did not make available tax records from previous years or schedules showing deductions. Records for last year show the couple had $810,000 in itemized deductions to reduce their federal taxable income to $433,644. A campaign spokeswoman said the large deduction figure was the result of a donation to Top Box, the nonprofit food company Kennedy and his wife run.


A Chicago tax attorney warns that it’s hard to extrapolate much information from just the tax cover sheets released by Pritkzer and Kennedy.

“You’re short on detail and long on conjecture,” said the attorney, who works for a top Chicago firm and asked for his name to be withheld for lack of specifics on the candidates’ financial situations. “There’s nothing about an income tax return really that tells about (an individuals’) net worth.” […]

Cook County Clerk David Orr, who is not running for re-election, says the vast amount of money spent on campaigning is the single most important issue in politics today.

Orr says that while Illinois has done a commendable job of passing laws that make it easier for citizens to vote, including automatic voter registration, Election Day voter registration and extended early voting windows, “we’re losing people because of the money in politics.”

“If our speech is really determined by the amount of money you have, which it is now unfortunately, and then the campaigns get longer, and the harder the campaigns air distrustful, negative ads, that is having an enormous impact on think on the democracy.” […]

“The billionaires, no offense to either one of them, can start campaigning 15 months ahead, 18 months ahead and that is very undemocratic. It also ties people to big funders, discourages good candidates, turns off the public,” Orr said, as he warned that the feel-good, “fuzzy” ads will undoubtedly turn negative after the start of the new year. He says it’s hard for the public to discern the truth of those ads, and that wreaks havoc on democracy.

I get some of what he’s saying, but, c’mon. It ain’t just super-rich people running misleading ads.

* Sen. Biss went off on Twitter last night

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

Illinois “Bicentennial Reflections” event tonight in DC

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* From Facebook

The event is tonight at the National Press Club in DC and starts at 6 o’clock Eastern.

Your own bicentennial reflections?

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Luis Gutierrez won’t run for reelection

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

[Bumped up for visibility.]

* This will change some things in a hurry

NBC 5 has learned Congressman Luis Gutierrez will announce Tuesday he is not running for re-election after 24 years on Capitol Hill, sources say. Gutierrez telephoned key democratic leaders late this afternoon to let them know of his plans. Calls to Gutierrez tonight have not been returned.

Already printing petitions Monday night– to begin the process of getting signatures before next Monday’s deadline — is Cook County Commissioner Jesus Chuy Garcia. Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa is considering a congressional race. This will also leave an opening on the county board should Garcia opt for Gutierrez’s seat.

…Adding… This is confirmed, as is the Chuy angle.

…Adding… More…

…Adding More… Tribune

But sources said that Gutierrez was planning to endorse Garcia, who in 2015 forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff election. Garcia lost, but in recent weeks told the Tribune he was contemplating a mayoral bid in 2019.

Winning a spot in Congress likely would remove him as a potential opponent to Emanuel. Two years ago, Gutierrez backed Emanuel for mayor over Garcia and others in the field.

Gutierrez informed Emanuel of his decision Monday afternoon when the two recorded a joint radio interview in the mayor’s office, said a source with knowledge of their meeting. Emanuel also joined Gutierrez for a tour of the Humboldt Park Welcome Center for Puerto Rican evacuees who departed the U.S. territory in the wake of Hurricane Maria.


Gutierrez and Garcia are scheduled to appear at a campaign kickoff event for Garcia at Mi Tierra restaurant in Little Village — Garcia’s neighborhood — at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Biss: Pritzker and Kennedy “hiding” info from the people *** Pritzker releases three years of tax return “summaries,” Kennedy releases one year

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Pritzker campaign…

Reporters – Attached are the state and federal tax return summaries for JB Pritzker from 2014 to 2016.

In 2014, JB Pritzker paid federal taxes at a rate of 37.3%, in 2015 he paid federal taxes at a rate of 24.3% and in 2016 he paid federal taxes at a rate of 27.7%.

Between 2014 and 2016, trusts benefitting JB Pritzker paid an additional $24.95 million in Illinois taxes and $128.97 million in federal taxes.

JB Pritzker has made $15.3 million in personal charitable donations and his Foundation has made charitable donations of $53.8 million over the same period of time.

The disclosed returns are here.

Pritzker reported an adjusted gross income last year of $14.95 million. He spent that on his campaign in just a few months this year. You’ll recall that Sen. Daniel Biss had demanded that Pritzker release his full returns. That obviously didn’t happen today and he didn’t disclose much of anything related to his trust income. Considering that Pritzker’s income was so low compared to his alleged net worth of $3.4 billion, you can probably expect an uproar in 3… 2…

* Meanwhile, from the Chris Kennedy campaign…

After filing his petitions and statement of financial disclosure today, Chris Kennedy, Democratic candidate for Governor, took the additional step of public disclosure by releasing federal and state tax return information.

His spokeswoman, Rebecca O’Halloran Evans, released the following statement:

“As promised, Chris Kennedy has gone above and beyond the disclosure requirements in this race for governor by providing his state and federal tax return information for review. The people of Illinois deserve openness and integrity in their government.”

Click here and here. Kennedy also just released the top pages and, unlike Pritzker, he only disclosed his 2016 return. Kennedy reported an adjusted gross income of $1.2 million. He paid $174K in federal taxes on that, giving him an effective federal tax rate of 15 percent because Kennedy took $809K in itemized deductions. He didn’t disclose what those deductions were, however.

*** UPDATE ***  Biss campaign…

Today, Daniel Biss released the following statement in response to JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy’s failure to fulfill their pledge to fully release their tax returns:

“Nearly eight months ago, JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy pledged to release their tax returns, acknowledging that voters have a right to know how candidates make their money, what financial entanglements they may have, and how much they pay in taxes. After months of hiding their releases, using the same excuses we hear from Donald Trump, today both failed to live up to their promise. A short summary from only a year or two doesn’t give a full picture - it only raises more questions. Voters deserve an explanation of why it took so long to release so little, and what Pritzker and Kennedy are hiding from the people whose trust they are asking for.”

…Adding… One other thing to note is Kennedy’s family has a trust fund, but Kennedy’s disclosures don’t say if he received any money from them or paid any taxes on that cash.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

This and that from candidate filing day

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* The House Democrats get a big kick out of being first in line every two years. It’s seen as a rite of passage for young staffers to wait for days outside the State Board of Elections office. It’s also meant as a message to everyone else about how tough their organization is. But this is a bit much…

Thanksgiving Day? C’mon, man. People have families.

* A photo op turned on its head…

* The governor’s lone campaign tweet today…

Notice he’s not in the photo.

* A strong symbolic gesture…

* I had dinner with Sen. Biss and a couple of his staffers last night and we talked about how nerve-wracking it must be to shepherd that big stack of petitions to Springfield. A car accident, a theft, a fire in the hotel (I suggested they might want to check the locations of the room’s fire sprinklers) could absolutely ruin weeks of work with just one week for a do-over. Hoo, man, they hated me for saying that stuff. I didn’t mean to jinx them, and I’m glad they made it to the Board today…

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Uihlein listed as top contributor to pro-Roy Moore super PAC

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Interesting…

* From the story…

The chief financier of a leading pro-Roy Moore super PAC is a deep-pocketed Republican businessman who dropped eight figures on 2016 races alone and is looking to continue propping up the party’s most conservative candidates.

Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein provided $100,000 to the group, Proven Conservatives PAC, since September, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission, making him by far the group’s top donor. That money, which hadn’t been previously disclosed, has financed a host of ads boosting Moore’s candidacy in the face of widespread sexual assault and harassment allegations. The group has also run ads attacking Moore’s primary opponent, Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), and his Democratic general election rival Doug Jones. […]

Uihlein is a far bigger name in GOP politics. The shipping and office supply mogul and his wife donated a combined $26.4 million to federal campaigns, party organs, super PACs, and interest groups during the 2016 election cycle, according to FEC data.

That spending has kept up this year. Uihlein is single-handedly bankrolling a pair of super PACs supporting the Wisconsin Senate campaign of businessman and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson. That spending has led Democrats in the state to accuse Uihlein of trying to buy the Senate seat for his preferred candidate.

- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      

A quick look at the first day of petition filing

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Republican Erika Harold and these five Democrats filed petitions for attorney general today

Scott Drury, Renato Mariotti, Pat Quinn, Kwame Raoul and Nancy Rotering

That doesn’t mean all those candidates have enough valid signatures, it just means that they filed their petitions this morning.

Democrats Jesse Ruiz, Sharon Fairley and Aaron Goldstein did not file today. Not a good reflection on them, but they have until December 4th to get their signatures to the Board of Elections.

Info on gubernatorial filings is here.

* Nobody in either party filed to run for comptroller or treasurer today. Officials with the two incumbent Democrats, Susana Mendoza and Michael Frerichs, say they have enough signatures on hand now, but will wait to file until the last day to give Team Rauner less time to examine their sheets. However, they insist their petitions are “pristine.”

The two Republican candidates, Darlene Senger (comptroller) and Jim Dodge (treasurer), were still gathering signatures as of yesterday, according to Erika Harold.

Democrat Jesse White was the only candidate in either party to file for secretary of state today.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin filed his petitions today, but his primary opponent did not.

* Meanwhile

Preckwinkle is trying for a third term despite a public backlash against her pop tax, which the County Board has voted to repeal. Seeking to capitalize on Preckwinkle’s weakened political standing are Stroger and Bob Fioretti, a former Chicago alderman.

Fioretti told the Tribune he’s still collecting the 8,236 signatures needed to run for countywide office and “will be submitting soon,” while Stroger could not be reached for comment on when he’s planning to file to get on the ballot.

Preckwinkle said she is planning to challenge the validity of her opponents’ signatures, a tactic that sometimes results in candidates being removed from the ballot because they didn’t get enough legitimate names.

More Cook County filings are here.

* US Rep. Dan Lipinksi’s Democratic challenger Marie Newman did not file petitions today.

Five Democrats filed petitions to run against Republican US Rep. Peter Roskam (click here).

Democratic US Rep. Cheri Bustos did not file her petitions this morning, but two Republicans did.

Five Democrats filed to run in the uphill battle against GOP Congressman Randy Hultgren (click here).

Three Democrats filed to run against Republican incumbent Rodney Davis (click here).

And three Republicans filed to run against Democratic incumbent Brad Schneider (click here).

* There are a couple of interesting matchups in Democratic state central committeeperson races. For instance, Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin is up against US Rep. Robin Kelly. Sen. Don Harmon is running against US Rep. Danny Davis. More here.

* Related…

* Does ballot position matter?

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* The Kankakee Daily Journal has a couple of campaign finance reform ideas

Here’s proposed rule 1: If you give money to Smith, Smith cannot, in turn, give the money to Jones. This happens all the time. Our feeling is that if you donate to Smith, it does not and should not imply that you support everyone else Smith likes. You can donate, or not donate, to Jones on your own.

Rule 2: Campaign funds donated in 2018 must be spent solely on that election. You are supporting Smith now. Smith cannot “bank” money and build up a war chest so deep that no one ever thinks of challenging him or her. Money not spent must be donated to a registered 501(c)(3) charity.

* The Question: Your thoughts on these two ideas? Make sure to explain your answer, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Rotheimer has unanswered questions

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* From an e-mail…

Dear Reporters:

I have mentioned that I want to publicize the process that I am going through on my [sexual harassment] complaint against [Sen. Ira Silverstein]. Therefore, I have forwarded you the email I sent the legislative inspector general, Julie Porter addressing my concerns about the process as she explained it to me during our 2-1/2 hour meeting on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. I am requesting a meeting with the 4 leaders who appointed her and the 8 members on the legislative ethics commission to meet my request for full participation and transparency in this process.

I hope that you can expose the process in order to achieve the necessary reforms that will give others some sense of confidence to file their complaints. As you know, not one of the 300 has yet to come forward with a name even after the legislators filled the vacancy, established a hotline, created a task force and prohibited sexual harassment. My letter to Ms. Porter addresses the real issues that I believe are keeping the others silent and continues to silence me in this process.

All my best, Denise Rotheimer

* Rotheimer’s letter to the interim Legislative Inspector General…

Dear Ms. Porter,

I want to make a few observations about my experience with the process that entails my complaint that I filed one year ago and how it compares to my experience in other situations including the criminal legal system and the EEOC.

After my daughter reported the rape to law enforcement which was one year after the incident occurred the detective who interviewed her separate from me, met with me afterward and said, Michael could get at least 15 years then he explained the definition of legal penetration concerning minors under 13 years old. The detective also told me that the reason why he thought the rapist could get a longer sentence than the other sentences that are handed down for this offense is because of how well my daughter articulated the details of the incident. She had no other “evidence” than her testimony and no “witnesses” to offer the detective during her interview. And she was not faulted for reporting a year later.

When we met with the prosecutor she informed me of the sentence she felt the rapist should get and asked me if I believed in second chances that’s when she said he could get 3 years no jail time so he could get therapy. I refused and said the detective said he could get 15 years and asked if I could hire a lawyer for Jasmine. The prosecutor failed to inform me of our rights as crime victims and mislead me about hiring an attorney and said I could only hire a lawyer if I wanted to sue the rapist for money. So I never hired a lawyer but later learned I could hire a lawyer to represent my daughter in the criminal case as though she was a named party which had nothing to do with suing the rapist for money. I was mislead! That is why I made a law to provide crime victims with information on their rights and compensation at the onset of the criminal legal process within 48 hours of notifying law enforcement of a crime. So they would not be uniformed and misled.

The point I am making about this process and the comparison I want to make with the ethics violation process is that:

    1) I knew what the charges were and what the penalties were regarding those violations.
    2) I also knew when the court date was and was prepared to hear what the rapist had to say in front of the judge as well as hear what my daughter would have to say. Both would have a voice–so I believed.

The judge ended up sentencing the rapist to 7-1/2 years even though my daughter was not present in court and I did have the opportunity to speak and object to the 6 year plea deal that the prosecutor offered but the judge agreed with me and gave him a year and one half longer sentence in prison.

With the EEOC I received a Right to Sue letter after I filed my complaint about the manager at MetLife who mocked a rape victim on a rape date drug. I offered to hold off on pursuing litigation if the managing director who was over the offending manager was removed because he did not take the sexual harassment seriously by setting the example for the other employees in the office who continued to make sex jokes and treat the training as nuisance. When the managing director was removed I held my end of the agreement and never acted on litigation. I was fired shortly thereafter because I did not make my quota within the six months I was required and even though I was unable to focus on my sales due to the emotional strain of dealing with the sexual harassment culture in the office I maintained my end of the agreement by not suing MetLife. After my experience with MetLife I didn’t care about the job, my goal was to rid the culture that I had experience within the short time I was there as an insurance agent. And because corporate removed the head manager I felt I had accomplished my goal and moved on.

With this ethics process I am not satisfied that I will not know what specific violations will be looked at or that I have no expectation of having a voice beyond my interview with you. In other words, the legislative ethics commission only hears from you, not me–and I won’t know anything beyond what I tell you which is not how it works in any other process that I am aware of when someone files a complaint. This process completely shuts out the complainant and silences the complainant and does not inform or notify the complainant of what violations are considered, potential punishment or consequences of said violations or a process to have a hearing on the accusation in front of the deciding body–the decision makers. I don’t get to hear “his” side, what is presented in an open forum such as a court about his defenses and I don’t get to rebut his defenses.

My understanding of how this process works is that A) I file a complaint and B) if by chance the office is not vacant the legislative inspector general investigates. Then C) I may or may never hear from the LIG, there are no procedures in place that provides complainants notification or information on the status of the complaint. D) If I do meet the LIG which I have done, then the LIG explains to me that I will not be informed of which witnesses of mine will be contacted, if any, what was said and how the conversations with the witnesses including my self is aiding the investigation to move forward and on what terms. E) what is the LIG looking for? F) What ethics violations are being questioned for an investigation? These questions are not going to be answered for me. Instead they will become part of the report and recommendations of the LIG that is presented to the LEC at which time I am completely absent. I never get to speak with the commissioners, or get to answer any of the questions that they might have, I never get to hear the report or recommendations that will be presented to the commissioners–so I am completely forgotten and excluded in this process and shut out from knowing anything or from having an ability to state facts as I did with the judge when I objected to the plea deal in the rapist’s case because the prosecutor offered a plea deal that was not appropriate which the judge agreed with me.

Why does this process completely deny me a voice? This is my complaint and I should have an ability to know which of my witnesses are contacted and the outcome of those conversations. I should also know the position of the accused when presented with the “charges” and evidence and how he pleads. If we were in open court I would hear how his attorney defends him against the evidence that is presented and any allegations he makes against me, if any. But most importantly I would have a voice in front of the judge–the determining body, decision maker and hear her reasons for the outcome after becoming informed of both sides and knowing that all the evidence was presented and witnesses were interviewed. What reason do I have to believe or trust that the four democrats and four republicans who sit on the LEC will base their decision on the merits of my complaint when I don’t even know what information you are going to summarize and extract from our conversations and the documents I provide you will be? Why don’t I get to know any of this? And why am I not privy to participate in the full process?

I would like this letter sent to the four leaders of both houses who appointed you and the eight commissioners to set a meeting with me so I can get the answers to these questions.

All my best, Denise Rotheimer

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s radio network

Employment lawyer Paula Brantner, senior adviser with the nonprofit Workplace Fairness, wouldn’t suggest a victim of harassment use the process lawmakers put in place to report misconduct, even in light of Madigan’s new law.

“This is not a process that I would recommend going through unless they had no other choice,” Brantner said. “I don’t think anyone could look at this system and feel like this was a system that would protect them if they made a complaint.”

Both Brantner and Rotheimer point to the involvement of the Legislative Ethics Commission, a committee of four Republican and four Democrat lawmakers, as the biggest reason for skepticism of the General Assembly’s changes.

The commission has the final say on whether a complaint investigated by the inspector general should be made public. A four-four split on party lines means the complaint never sees the light of day.

“It puts the fox in charge of the henhouse,” Brantner said. “What incentive would any legislator have for these complaints to move forward when they could be on the chopping block next?”

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Rick Steves to back legalizing marijuana in Illinois

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* I love his books and his show, so this is interesting to me…

Travel guru Rick Steves will visit Illinois on Tuesday to advocate for legislation to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Steves will join Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and House Committee on Public Safety and Appropriations Chairwoman Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) for a news conference on Tuesday morning to discuss why Illinois lawmakers should support regulating and taxing marijuana. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CT in the James R. Thompson Center Blue Room on the 15th floor.

Directly following the news conference, Steves will testify across the street at a joint hearing of several committees of the Illinois General Assembly regarding economic opportunities following cannabis legalization. This hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in the Michael A. Bilandic Building on the 6th floor in Room C600. […]

SB 316 and HB 2353, introduced by Chairwomen Steans and Cassidy, would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, grow, and purchase limited amounts of marijuana. The state would license and regulate businesses to cultivate, process, test, and sell marijuana to adults, and it would create and enforce strict health and safety regulations, such as testing and labeling requirements and restrictions on marketing.


- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Caption contest!

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Have at it…

…Adding… I like this one better…

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Proft group runs new cable TV ad for Durkin opponent

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Mickey Straub is House GOP Leader Jim Durkin’s GOP primary opponent. The ad is paid for by Liberty Principles PAC


- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Pritzker campaign responds *** ILGOP claims Pritzker and Madigan “continue to push for higher taxes on Illinois families”

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Press release…

Today, the Illinois Republican Party released a new digital ad, Tax Hike. The ad highlights the undeniable link between J.B. Pritzker and Mike Madigan and their support for even more tax hikes in Illinois.

In a recent interview, Pritzker made his view on taxes clear: “Illinois may need another tax hike to balance the books and pay for needed public investments, even if the progressive income tax eventually comes about. That was the fiscal bottom line from Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker…”

Pritzker and Madigan have long been advocates for increased taxes. When asked by a reporter if his plan is “just for tax increases,” Madigan laughs and dodges the question, while J.B. Pritzker refuses to admit that people are leaving Illinois because of Madigan’s track record of tax hikes.

Despite a 32% tax hike earlier this year with no reforms to state government, Pritzker and Madigan continue to push for higher taxes on Illinois families. Our state cannot afford more taxes on our citizens.

Now is the time to stop Pritzker and Madigan. No more tax hikes.

* Rate it

…Adding… RGA…

Illinoisans are already reeling from a 32% across-the-board tax hike forced on them by the Democratic majority. Now, one of their leading candidates for governor – billionaire J.B. Pritzker – is reportedly preparing another damaging tax hike if elected.

Over the weekend, The News-Gazette broke down Pritzker’s confusing, contradictory statements at a Crain’s Chicago Business editorial board interview in which he “raised the possibility” of hiking Illinois’ flat income tax yet again.

The News-Gazette writes that Pritzker is “leaving the door open” for the tax hike, and that Pritzker’s big-spending campaign promises mean that Illinoisans will have to pay higher taxes.

“So if a Pritzker administration wants more revenue to spend in 2019 and thereafter, it’s almost a political necessity to use a one-two punch — flat tax hike immediately and progressive income tax constitutional amendment later.”

The News-Gazette is even warning that Illinois Democrats are waiting for a Democrat Governor to sign the tax hike they hope to pass.

“Gov. Rauner certainly isn’t going to suppose an income tax increase. So the Democratic legislature won’t raise the state income tax until a Democratic governor assumes office in January 2019.”

J.B. Pritzker is offering Illinois more of the broken policies that caused it’s fiscal mess – reckless spending and tax hikes that drive families and businesses out of the state.

*** UPDATE ***  Galia Slayen at the Pritzker campaign…

The RGA and the ILGOP are going to need to do a little better than recycled lies to save the most vulnerable governor in the country. As we made clear last week, JB does not want to raise taxes on middle class families. What remains unclear is where Bruce Rauner stands on Donald Trump’s devastating tax plan. Does Rauner support Donald Trump’s attack on middle class families?

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      

Medicaid managed care contract cost skyrockets more than 50 percent

Monday, Nov 27, 2017


Mere days after the state paid down roughly forty percent of its backlog of overdue bills, the Rauner administration finalized the largest vendor contract in state history.

The $63 billion contract is significantly larger than preliminary estimates, and is roughly fifty percent greater than the estimates the Rauner administration gave out earlier this week.

“These numbers are far, far higher than any previous number I have heard,” Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) told WCIA on Wednesday. “This adds more questions to this unaccountable process done with no independent oversight.”

House Republican David McSweeney chimed in too. “I’m very concerned that the Rauner administration’s cost estimates keep increasing,” he said, adding, “There should be an immediate full review of the MCO contracts, including with public hearings, by the House Human Services Appropriations Committee.”

A public hearing is already scheduled for next Thursday, November 30th, in Chicago.

In May, Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood testified before the House Human Services Committee that the restructuring deal would cost between $30 billion and $40 billion dollars.

* The comptroller wants an investigation..

* Pritzker campaign…

“Bruce Rauner closed this historically massive deal under a shroud of secrecy and has now sent costs skyrocketing overnight,” said Pritzker communications director Galia Slayen. “This is money that will come from the same hardworking taxpayers that had no input on this deal. Bruce Rauner is either purposefully deceiving Illinois families or once again forcing this state to pay billions to cover the cost of his incompetence. Either way, Illinoisans deserve immediate answers from this failed governor.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

Pritzker, others file petitions

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* This post will be updated as new press releases are received. Pritzker campaign…

Today, after collecting almost 35,000 signatures from voters in 90 counties across the state, JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton formally filed petitions to run for governor and lieutenant governor of Illinois.

The campaign enters its next phase with a grassroots, statewide operation that includes opening 15 field offices and counting, endorsements from the statewide AFL-CIO, over 20 individual unions, and statewide leaders like Secretary of State Jesse White, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, and Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs.

“I am proud to file my petitions to be the next governor of Illinois and humbled that we collected nearly 35,000 signatures from every region across the state,” said JB Pritzker. “Since announcing in April, our campaign has built a grassroots movement, earned support from leaders and working families across the state, and released detailed policy plans to get this state back on track. After three years of Bruce Rauner creating crisis after crisis, it’s clear that his damage is done. Working families are ready for a governor who listens and fights every day to put Springfield back on their side. That’s exactly the type of leader I will be and I’m excited as we take this next step together.”

“I am honored to join JB Pritzker in filing petitions to be the next lieutenant governor of Illinois,” said State Representative Juliana Stratton. “Since joining the campaign in August, I’ve been humbled by the outpouring of support from working families throughout the state as we build our grassroots movement. Together, I’m confident JB and I can beat Bruce Rauner and put this state back on track by expanding healthcare, investing in quality education, and creating jobs. I am thrilled to take the next step as we work to put Springfield back on the side of working families.”

* Excerpt…

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering officially filed in Springfield, IL as a candidate for Attorney General with 10,000 petition signatures circulated by nearly 200 volunteers from across the state. Candidates for this office may file a minimum of 5,000 and a maximum of 10,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot for the March 2018 primary election. Today is the first day to file petitions.

* Erika Harold excerpt…

Erika Harold filed the maximum 10,000 petition signatures to qualify for the Republican nomination for Attorney General. However, volunteers from across the state gathered more than 16,000 signatures for her candidacy. Candidates need to submit a minimum of 5,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

* Hmm…

Progressive Democrat Fritz Kaegi, an Oak Park resident challenging incumbent Assessor Joe Berrios, delivered more than 22,000 petition signatures on the first day of submissions, far surpassing the nearly 8,000 needed to secure a spot on the ballot for the March 2018 primary. The number of petitions submitted, a strong showing for a first time candidate, comes on the heels of a steady increase in public support for Kaegi and his quest to unseat Berrios, who has held the Assessor’s role since 2010.

Flanked by his family, well wishers and campaign staffers, Kaegi stood proud of the progress made in his campaign since tossing his hat in the ring back in May.

“Today is a tremendous day for truth, honesty and transparency for the residents of Cook County,” remarked Kaegi as he greeted supporters after submitting the petition documentation for verification. “We have made great strides since starting our campaign in the spring. We have a great team and we’ve worked hard to get to this point, but we have a long road ahead of us. We need to make sure that the residents of Cook County know that there is someone fighting for them, someone who is not beholden to deep pockets and conflicts of interest.”

* Kennedy…

Democrats Chris Kennedy and Ra Joy took a big step today in the race for governor today by filing nominating petitions to get on the ballot for the March 20, 2018 primary.

About 200 volunteers collected more than 10,000 signatures from all 102 counties in Illinois to secure a spot on the ballot for Kennedy-Joy.

“Today, we take a big step forward in our campaign to change the status quo in Illinois,” Kennedy said. “Ra Joy and I are running to restore opportunity and fairness in our state.”

Joy, Kennedy’s lieutenant governor running mate, traveled to Springfield today to help file the petitions.

“Our state government is rigged for political insiders at the expense of everyone else,” Joy said. “This election is about change or more of the same. We’re the ticket for change.”

* Biss…

Today, Daniel Biss’ campaign submitted the maximum number of verified signatures allowed to the State Board of Elections.

“I’m grateful for the hundreds of volunteers across our state who made today possible,” said Daniel Biss. “Every day for the last three months, our volunteers have inspired me with their dedication to organizing their communities, rain or shine, to get Litesa and me, two middle-class candidates with strong progressive records in government on the ballot.”

* Raoul…

Over 10 thousand signatures were filed in support of IL Sen. Kwame Raoul’s candidacy for attorney general at the IL State Board of Elections today.

Despite a narrow window, Raoul’s campaign collected the petitions from areas across the state in support of his candidacy.

“The petition process allowed our campaign to directly engage voters about their vision for the attorney general’s office. I’m proud to have the support of so many voters who want an attorney general to not just advocate to improve their lives but fight for them against Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump. We’ve been able to build this movement because of my history of getting things done, and I’ll be telling that record to more and more Illinoisans in the months ahead.”

* More…

Does that Paterakis dude even have a running mate?

* Sen. Ira Silverstein’s primary…

Alison Leipsiger, Democratic candidate for the 8th State Senate district, announces today that she will not file her petitions to run in the 2018 primary election. Leipsiger, a social worker and the executive director of a new nonprofit, Reimagine Illinois, decided to run for the legislature in early November. Leipsiger endorses Caroline McAteer-Fournier, a progressive health care advocate.

“Today I am proud to step aside and unite behind another strong woman,” Leipsiger said. “If we want to change the culture in Springfield, we need to put more smart women in office. Caroline has been a tireless, progressive advocate for women and families, fighting for affordable health care, access to social services and high-quality schools. I know she will work to create a culture that supports and empowers all women in Springfield.”

* We now have a complete list…

* Another one…

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today filed for re-election to represent Illinois’ 13th Congressional District and his campaign launched its first web ad for the 2018 election cycle.

The ad titled “Solutions” focuses on Davis’ work to cut through the political rhetoric and noise in Washington and instead, fight for solutions to the issues working families in Central and Southwest Illinois care about. The ad highlights Davis’ work to deliver solutions on tax reform, government overreach, health care, VA reform, and more.

The ad is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Rutherford harassment suit dismissed

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Tribune

A sexual harassment lawsuit that tanked the political career of former state Treasurer Dan Rutherford was dismissed Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.

Court records show both sides agreed to end the 3½-year-old action. U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow dismissed the case “without prejudice” — meaning the plaintiff, former Rutherford employee Edmund Michalowski, can return to court with a fresh complaint.

Filed just weeks before the 2014 Republican primary for governor, the lawsuit sent Rutherford spiraling from leading contender against the independently wealthy Bruce Rauner — now governor — to an also-ran in a field of four. […]

In May 2016, Rutherford’s successor, Democrat Michael Frerichs, released to The Associated Press a previously confidential investigation into the allegations. The report by Ron Braver & Associates, hired by Rutherford when he was made aware of Michalowski’s allegations, found no evidence of harassment or retaliation.

The Braver report contended that “rumors that Mr. Michalowski may be let go from the treasurer’s office after the primary elections play a role in coming forward with these serious allegations and the allegations appear to be released to influence his current election.”

* Sun-Times

Michalowski’s attorney, Dana Kurtz, condemned the review, saying it “leaves out substantial information.” She said her client sued because he and other young men were being harassed by Rutherford, and he wanted it to stop.

Three other former Rutherford employees sued him in 2015 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging they were fired because they backed up Michalowski’s story. That suit was dismissed in Rutherford’s favor last August.

The Chicago Sun-Times previously reported that the two lawsuits against Rutherford had cost Illinois taxpayers more than $500,000.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Ives says she won’t file petitions today

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

* Today is the first day candidates can file nominating petitions. Rep. Jeanne Ives will wait, however…

* Related…

* Ives calls Southern Poverty Law Center a ‘hate group’: “The Illinois Family Institute is a remarkable institute and they serve families well in the state of Illinois,” Ives said. “But if you think I’m going to stand here and come up with a defense against something that the Southern Poverty Law Center put out, which themselves should be deemed a hate group, is just nonsense. I thought we came here to talk about economics, because that’s what we should be talking about.”

* Ives wouldn’t commit more to higher education in Illinois: “No, I’m not willing to devote more money to higher education at this time,” Ives said. “There’s been administrative bloat from the get-go. … Not even teachers so much, but administrative bloat. … We have a lot of work to do in higher ed, but it’s not any more money there.”

* Kent Redfield: “Will Bruce Rauner get a credible challenger?”

- Posted by Rich Miller   76 Comments      

* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Budget and BIMP stuff (Updated with this week's password)
* Pritzker unveils business guidance; takes questions on budget, legislature, EO
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Senate President Don Harmon talks to reporters
* Madigan's closing statement
* Sunday programming note
* *** UPDATED x1 - Gaming bill passes Senate 42-14 *** Sen. Martwick is in town to vote for the Chicago casino bill
* *** UPDATED x5 *** Amendment introduced to allow remote legislating
* 2,352 new cases, 75 additional deaths
* House approves gaming bill 77-32
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Sen. Dale Righter cleans up Eastern Bloc member's mess
* *** UPDATED x1 *** IDPH stops reporting historical nursing home COVID-19 outbreak data
* End of session cheat sheet
* Social media isn't real life
* New approp, BIMP amendments surface, casino push continues, cannabis bill hits a snag with Pritzker thumbs down
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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