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Rauner brings Japanese Consul General to southern Illinois

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

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.”


*** UPDATED x1 - Mendoza responds *** Rauner on Mendoza: “She is such a puppet for Madigan”

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Gov. Rauner’s appearance on WJPF Radio today

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.

* Anyway, on to the governor’s retort

Gov. Rauner: Yeah, it’s such a bunch of horse manure. I mean, this, she is, she is such a puppet for Madigan. And, she, all she does is put out there baloney that he tells her to put out.

You know, in today’s environment, saying stuff like that about a statewide elected official who has a mind of her own is treading a very dangerous line. Just sayin…

*** UPDATE *** Comptroller Mendoza…

Sorry for the delay in paying attention to this. I was busy trying to manage through the backlog of unpaid bills that Gov. Rauner more than tripled since taking office.

On behalf of the 12 million+ people that I was elected to serve and to whom I am accountable, I am still waiting for Gov. Rauner to answer my question:

Why did you spend $2.8 billion in unauthorized spending and how much will your Rauner Tax cost the people of Illinois in order to pay for your deficit spending?

Focus. Governor. Focus.

In case you missed it a while back, the “focus” comment is explained here.

…Adding… Words have consequences…

…Adding More… GOP Rep. Dave McSweeney…

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.

* More Rauner

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.


Janus files first brief in US Supreme Court case against AFSCME

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

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.”

The brief is here.


*** UPDATED x3 - ILGOP, Biss, Pritzker respond *** Rauner says he’s “applauding Congress” on tax bill

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.

* So, this was a bit surprising today…

* Tina Sfondeles took notice

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…

Hi Rich,

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.



Aaron P. DeGroot
Illinois Republican Party


Question of the day

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


$750 million in new state bonds sold at “attractive interest rate”

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

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…


Obamacare enrollment up in Illinois, but enrollment period is much shorter

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

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,, 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 HERE.

Pritzker is spending about $1 million on the Obamacare ad campaign.


Sales tax growth flattens, but cities want their share partially restored

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

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.

The bill, by the way, has just one sponsor.

* 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.


Why did Gutiérrez decide to retire?

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Politico

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.

* ABC 7

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.

* John Kass

“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.

* Greg Hinz

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.

* Tribune

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.

“This is my time to move on,” Gutierrez said.

* AP

He said he had no immediate plans to run for office in either Puerto Rico or Illinois, but didn’t exclude it in the future.

“I’m not going to rule that out,” he told AP. “I think there might be a possibility for me to run for public office.”

* Mark Brown

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.

* Fox News

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.

* Related…

* Gutierrez federal pension estimated at $62,000 a year

* 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.”


Biss launches new online video called “Auction”

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

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.

Watch the video: “Auction

“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.”

* The video

* 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.”


Hey, Bridget Fitzgerald, I wrote no such thing

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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

Miller stated:

“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!

* First of all, I put all of the contests in numerical order by district. Nothing was ranked by importance or likelihood of flipping or anything else. I started giving subscribers lots of very quick updates yesterday about who has filed petitions so far and what it might mean. So, even if the district was ranked in order of importance (which it wasn’t), that Senate race would still be behind the eleven legislative races I profiled on Tuesday.

* Second, here is the rest of what I wrote

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.

But, hey, thanks for the kind words. :)


Ken Dunkin says he’ll file petitions to run again

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.

The other candidates are here.


Some people just don’t know when to quit

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Dispatch-Argus

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.

* From 2014

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.

* From 2015

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.

* From this past September

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.

* From a recent Quad City Times editorial

You abused your office and your power, Mr. Boyd.

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.

And yet people still wonder why we needed the Illinois Trust Act.



*** UPDATED x2 - IDCCA, DGA respond *** Never ask a question if you don’t know the answer

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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…


* More from Maxwell’s story

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…

This ain’t going away.

*** UPDATE 1 *** DGA…

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.”

* Related…

* 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]

* Uihlein’s support for Roy Moore causes headache for Rauner


Who does this?

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I gotta agree with the Pop-Tarts folks here…


…Adding… Heh…

Pop-Tarts we still have a cold case on the disappearance of Pop-Tarts Crunch Cereal! We suspect a cereal killer.

Posted by Illinois State Police Command Officers Association on Wednesday, November 29, 2017


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Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

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*** UPDATED x1 - Berrios responds *** Bernie Sanders campaign offshoot “Our Revolution” to endorse Berrios opponent

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Bumped up for visibility.]

* Press release…

Good evening,

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.


DeRondal Bevly
Communications Director
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.


* Not as great as it sounds, but whatevs
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