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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 “We are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity on the table by continuing the outdated status quo of prohibition.”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

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- 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      

* More on the step increases
* It's time to end this free ride
* Barickman's path forward
* Why didn't Pritzker specifically mention pensions Monday?
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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