* The Chicago Reader has been suffering serious turmoil since its new executive editor Mark Konkol took over. Konkol fired the paper’s editor by phone just after the editor got off a plane returning from his honeymoon, killed the transportation writer’s respected column, nixed a couple of columns by longtime Reader columnist Ben Joravsky and lost another columnist after publishing a racist front page cartoon featuring JB Pritzker sitting on a black lawn jockey ornament. Word from inside was that the paper itself could be in peril.
I am announcing today the departure of Mark Konkol from the Reader. Mark came to the publication bringing great hope for a new direction and a new life to a storied brand. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. A tumultuous ten days culminated in the publication of a Reader cover that we believe was not in line with either our vision for the Reader or that storied history. We wish Mark well.
While controversy is sometimes seen as part and parcel of the alternative weekly world, we believe it’s necessary in this instance to apologize to anyone who was offended by this week’s cover. The published cover in my view distracted from the publication as a whole.
The reporters at the Reader work hard to be great journalists. They can and will take on the toughest stories — including issues of race, injustice and people struggling to be heard.
We will put in place interim leadership and plan for the future.
Dear Members of the Democratic State Central Committee:
I am writing to address the recent situation and call your attention to the issue of harassment and gender equality in the workplace. […]
As a first step, I have asked Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Comptroller Suzanna Mendoza, and State Representative Carol Ammons to take the lead on facilitating a statewide discussion about the role of women in the Democratic Party of Illinois, both as elected officials and campaign personnel (including contractors, employees, interns, and volunteers), and how we can work to change the culture of politics. Their mission is to develop a plan for elevating the status of women in the party and a strategy for making the party and campaigns more inclusive. This requires changing the culture and recognizing we can no longer employ the “business as usual” mentality with our campaigns or our political offices. Persons within our party should be rewarded for their value and contribution, regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. It’s time to move beyond our current way of thinking. I recognize this change must start at the top, which means it starts with me and with each of you.
I am committed to working to find ways to change the culture and move the Party forward. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or need further information.
With kindest personal regards, I remain
MICHAEL J. MADIGAN
Chair, Democratic Party of Illinois
* Rep. Ammons is an independent progressive Democrat who earlier this week called on the state party to come up with anti-sexual harassment procedures and “have a conversation about this issue.” She also said this, which likely got Madigan’s attention…
Ammons said all accusers need to come forward.
“Wherever they are, they need to come forward,” Ammons said, “so that we can clean the complete house of this issue of sexual harassment.”
“Yeah, the state central committee should look into that,” Mendoza said, “but so should every single elected officer, whether they’re a statewide constitutional [officer], or just someone at home running for state [representative] to make sure there’s a policy in place for any of your employees, male or female, to be able to seek a thoughtful ear and know that there’s going to be a path to a resolution, one way or the other. I think that’s the biggest issue that’s failing right now.”
* US Rep. Bustos helped introduce the “Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act.”
* Meanwhile, a couple of big hauls were reported Friday after business hours…
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss reported $759k in contributions, including $250k donations from Charles Ashby and Stephen Schuler, and a $100k donation from Steve Silberstein. https://t.co/AqbJoSq9ad
I confirmed the “blackface” idea, by the way. Reader columnist Adeshina Emmanuel claims he has written his second “and last” column for the publication because of the cover and other issues. He explained on Facebook…
If I had known my first articles in the Chicago Reader were going into an issue with a black lawn jockey on the front, I would have bailed. Quick, fast, and in a hurry, as my mom says. But I was not consulted about this cover. I would have said I don’t like it. I would have said more than that.
I would have said reducing black people to an inhuman object, a racist trope, propping up a white man could easily be interpreted as racist, aside from being a bit too on the nose. I would have said this isn’t effective satire. I would have said this was a great opportunity to give an artist of color, not a white man, the opportunity to visualize what my articles addressed — the indignities African-Americans suffer in an unequal partnership with the Democratic establishment, and the coded racial language that reflects that racist power dynamic.
* Estranged Wife of Ex-Madigan Aide Says She Warned of Alleged Abuse: In it, she wrote that she was contacting Mapes because she believed she was “out of options” when it came to their divorce proceedings that began roughly three months earlier. “I don’t think anyone knows the severity of the current situation within our family,” McKay wrote. “There have been 3 domestic situations at my home since February, the last on July 5, 2017, resulting in Kevin’s arrest.” … “The speaker did not receive letter,” Madigan’s spokesman’s Steve Brown said in an emailed statement late Friday night. “A review of possible locations where letter might be sent did not locate it.”
* But the House Speaker sent this letter to his members today…
Earlier this week you received a briefing about the situation involving a member of my political organization. The purpose of this letter is to advise you of the next steps.
Today each staff member of the Office of the Speaker, as well as my political committees, received the names of individuals they can contact to report any incidents or allegations or get additional information.
* State Staff: Staff should contact Justin Cox or Margaret Livingston at xxxxxx. They
will be available to provide confidential guidance and information or direct staff to an outside resource to address their specific situation. Staff may also contact Special Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter to report any incident or allegation.
* Political Staff: Staff may contact Emily Wurth (xxxx), Michael Kasper (xxxx), or Heather Wier Vaught (xxxx). We have also retained an independent counsel who is available to receive and investigate harassment allegations. Kelly Smith-Haley of Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll, LLP will provide independent review of allegations, conduct investigations, and provide recommendations for updating policies and procedures, including clear rules for conduct and penalties for violations.
It is clear from the number and nature of the conversations taking place that we need to do better when it comes to the issue of equality in the workplace, and that we must work harder to provide a safe and constructive environment for every individual regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. We must rethink the culture of politics if we are to move forward as an institution and as Democrats. In order to change this culture and ensure equality in the workplace, we must provide a positive work environment free from any type of harassment, including sexual harassment and bullying. I recognize this at starts at the top, which means it starts with me and with each of you.
We cannot tolerate harassment or abuse of any kind. Every member, employee, contractor, and intern is valued and necessary for the operation of the General Assembly, this caucus, and for the successful election of Democratic candidates in Illinois. No one should be made to feel otherwise. Everyone has a right to work without fear of harassment, abuse, or retaliation.
We haven’t done enough. I take responsibility for that. I would never condone, sweep under the rug or refuse to take any step to ensure we did not eradicate any behavior of this kind. I understand the “knock it off” mentality is not enough, and we must, and will, do better moving forward. I commit to do more, and I welcome any and all suggestions you may want to bring forward. Our culture must change and I want to work together to make the necessary changes. We must do better. We will do better.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions or need further information.
With kindest personal regards, I remain
MICHAEL J. MADIGAN
Speaker of the House
The “knock if off” stuff makes me think he read this morning’s Capitol Fax.
Engineers told Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration 18 months ago that replacing problematic plumbing at a veterans’ home beset by Legionnaires’ disease would cost $8 million and “should be carefully considered,” according to a report obtained by The Associated Press.
That estimate is far below the estimate — up to $30 million — that Illinois Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries has repeatedly told lawmakers it would cost to replace aged and corroded pipes at the Quincy veterans home. Legionnaires’ there has led to the deaths of 13 residents since 2015 and has sickened dozens more, including three new cases this week.
The Veterans’ Affairs Department took no action on the August 2016 report by Belleville-based BRiC Partnership. Then, on Jan. 8 — facing questions from lawmakers reviewing the administration’s response to the outbreak — the agency requested the plumbing replacement as an “emergency” project, according to emails the AP obtained with the report under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Sen. Tom Cullteron, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the report shows the administration “has been misleading us on facts and figures.”
* Pritzker campaign responds…
While the Rauner administration has said replacing the water system at the Quincy Veterans’ Home could cost up to $30 million, an August 2016 estimate revealed today shows the fix would actually cost $8 million.
This follows another new report today confirming that Air Force Veteran Ivan Jackson, who Rauner invited to his State of the State address, is one of the three Quincy residents that tested positive for Legionnaires. As this crisis continues to spiral, Rauner’s decision to delay replacement of the water system and lie about the cost becomes even more glaring.
“Bruce Rauner lied about the cost of a potentially lifesaving fix to the Quincy Legionnaires crisis and failed to take action to protect our nation’s heroes,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “This is gross mismanagement and unacceptable dishonesty from a governor who continues to fail to take charge of this state.”
From a distance, Chris Kennedy doesn’t seem to look much like his charismatic father. But up close, looking at him from the side, you recognize it in his profile: the unmistakable reflection of Robert F. Kennedy.
At first blush, Kennedy seems surprisingly ill-suited to politics, an introvert in an extrovert’s profession. He doesn’t work the room the way politicians do. And he doesn’t duck questions the way they do either. That penchant for candor occasionally adds bite to an answer that more calculating candidates might work to avoid.
But Kennedy is so much more than those superficial first impressions.
Up close, he carries forth his family’s legacy with strength and eloquence. He aspires to be a servant leader in the finest tradition of the phrase. His underlying philosophy is rooted in a belief that the highest service is owed to those who are the least privileged.
Quite the love letter. I mean, candidates dream about endorsements like that. I’d bet it’s almost exactly how Kennedy would write it.
The question facing voters in the Republican primary election for governor on March 20 is who will be the standard-bearer of the party. Will it be a sincere, stalwart but flawed incumbent who has been frustrated in his efforts to bring reforms in business and state government? Or, a three-term state representative with a limited record of accomplishment, a demonstrated, indeed proud, history of ridiculing Illinois citizens who do not share her uncompromising conservative values and all but no chance of winning in November?
“J.B. Pritzker’s words are as empty as his ‘uninhabitable’ mansion. Given another opportunity to call out Mike Madigan for mishandling Alaina Hampton’s sexual harassment complaint, Pritzker chose to cast doubt on the ‘facts’ of the case and again peddle tired talking points intended to defend his political ally, Mike Madigan. Despite being asked point-blank to comment on whether Madigan bears responsibility and should remain in his leadership roles, Pritzker dodged.
“If J.B. Pritzker truly believes Mike Madigan did nothing wrong, he should say it.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot
“You know I don’t know all the facts …”
“Again, I’m not sure what all the facts are …”
“We’ve got to find out exactly what the facts are …”
“We need to make sure that all the facts come out …”
“Well I, again, I don’t know all the facts about what happened around the — Alaina.”
“It’s unclear what all the facts are…”
In a Springfield press conference and an interview on WMAY, J.B. Pritzker continued to lay the groundwork to absolve House Speaker Mike Madigan of any responsibility in his mishandling of sexual harassment allegations within his political office by questioning aloud the facts in the Alaina Hampton case.
What, exactly, is unclear, J.B. Pritzker? Text messages published by the Chicago Tribune prove Hampton’s claims against Quinn. Even Mike Madigan doesn’t dispute those facts. That’s why he fired Quinn, albeit after sitting on this information for over three months.
Just last night, NBC5 Chicago Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern broke news that “an associate of Madigan’s” with “close ties to the supervisor who harassed [Alaina Hampton]” has been attempting to dig up dirt on Hampton in a cowardly attempt to discredit the sexual harassment claims made against one of Madigan’s top political staffers.
All this while Pritzker runs a campaign ad where he says he will tell women “we believe you,” presumably as it relates to sexual harassment claims.
The truth is J.B. Pritzker’s words are hollow. He says “we believe you” up until the point it directly affects the man behind his campaign for governor, House Speaker Mike Madigan.
* Fitch Ratings’ bullet points on the governor’s budget proposal and the Statehouse situation…
–Budget proposal in current form is unlikely to garner legislative support;
–Pension cost shifting would pressure Chicago School District budgets;
–Continued political stalemate over time could trigger a rating downgrade.
Illinois is at BBB right now. The next notch below is BBB- and then after that we’re in junk territory.
* A few highlights from the report with emphasis added by me…
Governor Rauner’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal for Illinois - which utilizes measures including a pension cost shift to school districts and changes to state employee health insurance to generate a modest surplus - is likely to face significant legislative opposition and Illinois will remain challenged in achieving fiscal balance, Fitch Ratings says. A re-emergence of political stalemate that negatively affects fiscal operations, including a material increase in accounts payable, could trigger a downgrade. […]
By the end of fiscal year 2019, the governor’s budget office estimates unpaid bills will be $7.4 billion, slightly higher than the $7.1 billion average between December 2010 and June 2015, but more than double what the administration considers a long-term target of 30 days. This is down considerably from a peak of $16.2 billion in October 2017, reflecting a $6 billion November 2017 bond sale, receipt of significant federal Medicaid matching funds following the enactment of a state budget after a two-year delay, and interfund borrowing. But the still extraordinary overhang of budgetary liabilities, nearly nine years into the national economic expansion, reflects the depth of fiscal and policymaking challenges Illinois faces.
Material progress in reducing accounts payable appears unlikely over the next several years, absent unexpectedly robust economic and revenue growth. The governor’s budget includes the first year of a proposed four year plan to shift pension costs to school districts and public colleges and universities, with $1.4 billion in annual budgetary savings estimated upon full implementation in fiscal year 2022. The administration anticipates dedicating these savings, along with future operating surpluses, to reducing accounts payable over time. At that rate, it could still be many years before accounts payable approaches a level the state considers normal.
Much of the rest of the report talks about the unlikelihood that the GA is going to approve many of the governor’s ideas.
For the governor’s planned surplus to materialize, agreement from the legislature on several major policy changes is necessary. Considering that the strategy hinges on transferring to other stakeholders a significant portion of the funding burden related to large long-term liabilities, we believe it could encounter resistance, and thus entails political risk. At its current rating level, which reflects Illinois’ weakened fiscal position, we believe the state has minimal capacity to withstand another protracted budget negotiation standoff. […]
Accounts payable and unpaid bills, projected by GOMB to total $7.7 billion at the end of fiscal 2018, would decline only incrementally, to $7.3 billion to $7.4 billion by the end of fiscal 2019. The state’s large backlog of unpaid bills, distressed pension systems, and strained fiscal operations at a time of economic growth and declining Medicaid enrollments are cautionary harbingers of the potential for renewed downward pressure if economic conditions were to weaken. In view of its recently increased tax rates, high fixed costs, and the ongoing absence of a budget reserve, we view Illinois as having diminished fiscal flexibility, undermining its resilience to unanticipated stressors.
Announcer: Mike Madigan. He loves taxes and he absolutely hates Bruce Rauner. Rauner vetoed the Madigan income tax increase. And now, Rauner’s leading the charge to reverse it. The Rauner Plan: More take-home pay for working families; lower taxes for job creators; and one billion dollars in tax relief for Illinois.
Gov. Rauner: I’ve fought Mike Madigan at every turn because giving him total control means disaster for Illinois.
Announcer: Reverse the Madigan tax hike. Vote Rauner.
* Meanwhile, on to the AG’s race…
Democratic Illinois Attorney General candidate Jesse Ruiz is releasing his first Primary election ad set to hit the airwaves next week.
The 30-second ad features Jesse Ruiz in Washington Park and Little Village, as well as downtown Chicago, talking about his background and the importance of fighting corruption and protecting educational opportunities.
“I am running for Attorney General to protect the American Dream, which is under attack. We need to level the playing field in order to protect working families of Illinois,” said Ruiz. “I want to be the people’s lawyer and their champion. This is what I’ll do as their Attorney General.”
“When you’re the son of Mexican immigrants from Chicago’s south side, you fight hard for your opportunities, and for many, like it did for me, opportunities start with a good education. So when I ran Chicago’s public schools and corruption was threatening our kids, I fought back and stopped it. I’m Jesse Ruiz and as your Attorney General, I’ll fight corruption and abuse no matter where it comes from, even from Donald Trump.”
* Press release…
Highland Park - Attorney General Candidate Nancy Rotering releases video urging legislators to take action to prevent mass shootings.
“It is no longer enough to say ‘enough.’ As recently as last week, I asked again for the help of every legislator in the State of Illinois to fix an arbitrary time constraint that was thrust upon municipalities in 2013. As a Mayor, I led the charge to ban assault weapons and stood up to the NRA in an effort to reduce the risk of a mass shooting. By passing legislation, the members of the General Assembly can provide Illinois municipalities the opportunity to protect their communities as permitted under the US Constitution.
The number of lives lost and affected keeps growing and still no action from those we elected to protect us. The families in Newtown, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, and now Parkland, FL didn’t believe they had “assault weapon” problems. Even if we save just one life, it is worth it to allow every town, village, and city to decide whether or not to limit these weapons that enable mass murder. We need an advocate speaking for all of us. That’s why I am running for Illinois Attorney General. I already am that advocate.”
* The bad news never seems to end for Gov. Rauner when it comes to the Quincy veterans’ home…
An Air Force veteran who was a guest of Gov. Bruce Rauner at his State of the State speech is among the three new cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy Veterans Home.
Ivan Jackson, 79, was first hospitalized Saturday, according to daughter Marianne Jackson. She said he initially was admitted for pneumonia, but tests confirmed days later that he has Legionnaires’.
Ivan Jackson was one of two residents Rauner invited to his Jan. 31 speech at the Capitol. Jackson and the governor met when Rauner spent a week at the state-run veterans home to meet with staff, learn about operations and spend time with residents. […]
Rauner was asked about the new cases at a stop in Peoria on Thursday.
“Oh, so frustrating. So we have done everything that the national experts have said we should do. We have, it’s extraordinary what the team has done. We’ve acted quickly and decisively…and still we got a couple cases,” he said. “We may look at completely ripping out every type of plumbing, we may look at building a completely new building, and looking at completely different water source.”
*** UPDATE *** Downward spiral…
The daughter of Gov. Rauner’s Legionnaires’-stricken State of the State guest from the Quincy veterans’ home: “If something is not done, I feel that I need to move him.” https://t.co/nOpnZC9mUA
Jeanne Ives, a conservative reform Republican for Governor, has released new :30 second ad ‘Fighting for Jeannie Brady.’
On January 1, 2017, Jeannie Brady was struck by a drunk driver on Interstate 74 in Champaign. Both Jeannie and the man who hit her, were taken to a hospital in Urbana, IL, where she died. The man who killed her was in the country illegally. Because Urbana has claimed sanctuary status, the man was not held. He has since managed to evade authorities.
In the ad, Eric Brady’s voice trembles and cracks as he recounts the night his wife was killed, and his family’s struggle to come to grips with both the loss of a woman they loved dearly and the fact that there has been no justice for Jeannie.
Eric also recounts Governor Rauner’s promise to meet with him and other families before signing the ‘Trust Act’ to make Illinois a sanctuary state. Rauner betrayed that promise, confirming to Brady that the leadership of this state does not share his grief and is not concerned with protecting families like his.
Eric Brady sees no place for Governor Rauner in the leadership of Illinois.
Today the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced its endorsement of Jeanne Ives for governor of Illinois, challenging incumbent Republican governor Bruce Rauner, who signed into law a bill that mandates taxpayer funding of abortion through the state’s Medicaid program months after stating he would oppose it.
“We are proud to endorse Jeanne Ives, an utterly fearless champion of unborn children and their mothers,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Jeanne is passionately dedicated to fighting for taxpayers and standing up to the extreme abortion lobby. She will lead with courage and integrity.”
“Governor Rauner’s outrageous betrayal of his pro-life constituents will have political consequences,” said SBA List’s National Campaign Chair Jill Stanek, an Illinois resident and an international pro-life activist, speaker, and writer. “When Rauner flip-flopped on forcing taxpayers to fund abortion on demand, he condemned as many as 3,800 innocent unborn children with the stroke of a pen. The choice before the voters is stark. Illinois families can’t afford another disastrous four years of Bruce Rauner.”
Jeanne Ives accepted the endorsement saying:
“I am honored to be endorsed by Susan B. Anthony List. Illinoisans’ trust in the Governor’s office to protect vulnerable lives has been shattered. I look forward to restoring principled pro-life leadership in Springfield.”
Ives has served in the Illinois legislature since 2012. She is a West Point graduate and served in the United States Army. She and her husband, Paul, have five children and reside in Wheaton, IL.
Susan B. Anthony List and its partner super PAC, Women Speak Out spent more than $18 million in the 2016 election cycle, knocking on more than 1.1 million doors in battleground states to defeat Hillary Clinton and maintain a pro-life Senate. SBA List is dedicated to pursuing policies and electing candidates who will reduce and ultimately end abortion. To that end, the SBA List emphasizes the education, promotion, mobilization, and election of pro-life women. The SBA List is a network of more than 630,000 pro-life Americans nationwide.
“I knew there was no chance the Tribune would endorse me,” said Ives. “They sometimes talk a conservative reform game, but ultimately stick with the same big government, combine Republicans and Democrats who are indistinguishable from one another. The Chicago press corps is part of the entrenched power structure that has destroyed Illinois’ economy.”
Ives noted that the only joint appearance Rauner agreed to was before the Tribune editorial board.
“Rauner appeared with me there because he knew he had their endorsement in the bag,” said Ives. “I knew that too, but my purpose wasn’t to get the endorsement. It was to expose Rauner on camera for interested voters to see and judge for themselves—and even the lefties who despise me because of my conservative views, like Eric Zorn, conceded that is precisely what I did.”
Watch for yourself:
Ives also noted her endorsement from the national, pro-life Susan B. Anthony List this morning adding, “I’ll take the endorsements of my legislative colleagues like State Representatives Tom Morrison, John Cabello, Peter Breen, Margo McDermed, Allen Skillicorn, Barb Wheeler, and David McSweeney and State Senators Tim Bivins and Kyle McCarter, as well as that of the Susan B. Anthony List, and Tax Accountability over that of the Chicago Tribune every day and twice on Sunday.”
* And the DGA tried to hype it all up…
This morning, Governor Bruce Rauner saw his primary opponent pick up another influential endorsement. The Susan B. Anthony List announced it was endorsing State Rep. Jeanne Ives and pledged financial backing for her campaign.
Today’s news illustrates a real problem Rauner has within his own party. He’s already been criticized by the National Review and Fox News, which both concluded Rauner was simply a failure. Mega donor Dick Uihlein gave millions to Ives to run ads. And its only getting worse: the powerful right-wing website Breitbart posts daily articles cheering on Ives and the site Town Hall published a glowing column praising her.
Rauner can’t event count on the help of his ally Vice President Mike Pence, who gave money to just about everyone not named Bruce Rauner.
Is Rauner hearing footsteps?
“Bruce Rauner seems to have a real problem on his hands,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner already suffers from disastrously low approval ratings from Illinois voters, and now he’s losing needed support among influential members of his own party. But Rauner only has himself to blame – his failed leadership is all too evident to Republicans and Democrats alike.”
Defendant, Scott Drury, is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the office of Illinois Attorney General in the general primary election to be held on March 20, 2018. Plaintiff, Thomas J. Rottman, Jr., objected to Drury’s nomination petition. The State Officers Electoral Board (Board) overruled Rottman’s objection. Rottman sought review of the Board’s decision in the circuit court, which reversed the Board’s decision and ordered that Drury’s name not appear on the ballot. Drury appeals, contending that the Board correctly found that he satisfied the requirements of section 7-12(8) of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/7-12(8) (West 2016)) when he submitted a receipt with his nomination petition that showed that within the preceding year, he filed his statement of economic interests with the Secretary of State in connection with his position as state representative. We reverse the circuit court’s decision and conclude that Drury’s name should appear on the ballot.
Drury has been a state representative in the General Assembly. On November 27, 2017, Drury filed a nomination petition with the Illinois State Board of Elections for nomination as the Democratic candidate for the office of Illinois Attorney General. The nomination petition included a statement of candidacy and a receipt from the Office of the Secretary of State dated November 17, 2017, which stated:
“Please accept this receipt as acknowledgment that our office has received and filed your Statement of Economic Interests pursuant to the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. Your statement was filed on April 10, 2017 for the following agencies:
REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.”
On December 11, 2017, Rottman filed an objection with the Illinois State Board of Elections, contending that under section 7-10 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/7-10 (West 2016)), Drury should have filed a statement of economic interests “ ‘in relation to his candidacy,’ to-wit, his candidacy for Illinois Attorney General, not later than December 4, 2017.” Rottman continued that the Election Code only excused this requirement where, within the last year, a candidate filed a statement of economic interests in relation to the same governmental unit for which the candidate now sought office. However, state representative and attorney general are not in the same governmental unit because the positions are in two distinct and separate branches of government. According to Rottman, Drury should have filed a new statement of economic interests and receipt, and by not doing so, Drury failed to comply with the Election Code and should be removed from the ballot. […]
Our supreme court has stated that “access to a place on the ballot is a substantial right not lightly to be denied.” Jackson-Hicks v. East St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners, 2015 IL 118929, ¶ 32; Welch v. Johnson, 147 Ill. 2d 40, 56 (1992). Further, we must tread cautiously when construing statutory language that restricts the people’s right to endorse and nominate the candidate of their choice. Lucas v. Lakin, 175 Ill. 2d 166, 176 (1997). We believe that our interpretation of the relevant enactments comports with those principles. Drury complied with section 7-12(8) of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/7-12(8) (West 2016)) when he relied on his previously-filed statement of economic interests for his position as state representative.
No word about an appeal.
*** UPDATE ***
Earlier today, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District, in a unanimous decision, declared that Scott Drury’s name should appear on the ballot for the March 20, 2018 primary election. In the opinion, the appellate court makes clear that Drury fully complied with the requirements of the Illinois Election Code and properly filed all necessary paperwork. In reaching its decision, the court noted that the legislature did not intend “absurdity, inconvenience, or injustice” in drafting the Election Code. According to the court, the objection at issue merely wanted Drury to fill out a form he already completed – “we do not believe that the legislature intended that result.”
“I am obviously delighted with the decision,” said Casey Westover, Drury’s attorney. “I have known all along that Scott fully complied with the Illinois Election Code. The court’s opinion is complete vindication for him, and I’m glad he can now turn his focus to winning this election.”
Drury said he is extremely pleased with the court’s opinion and hopes the havoc machine insiders have caused to the primary election based on their fear of Drury being the attorney general has finally come to an end. According to reports, several counties delayed the start of early voting because of the pending objection to Drury’s candidacy.
“Mike Madigan and the political machine have come at me with everything they’ve got – and lost,” said Drury. “It’s time for Madigan to act graciously in defeat, focus on real issues like the sexual harassment scandal roiling his political organization and threatening the Democratic Party’s success in November, and get comfortable with the fact that Illinois is going to have an Attorney General who works for people, attacks corruption, and is not scared of him.”
Kennedy also plans to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour if elected. While that would be an extra cost for businesses to pay in addition to regulations such as workers’ compensation, Kennedy said workers’ comp only affects a “small segment of the (business) population,” such as small manufacturers and other companies with workers who could sustain injuries on the job.
“I dealt with more than 5,000 companies … when all those companies moved to Illinois when I talked about coming here, not one of them ever asked me about workers’ comp, Right to Work, tort reform, how we draw our maps or term limits,” Kennedy said. “Those are important issues, but not to everybody all the time. What drives success and great economic development from a government is stability and predictability. They want to know what the taxes are going to be; they want to know what the regulations are going to be. Uncertainty and chaos is the enemy of economic development.”
Agreed on the uncertainty angle, but, dude, small manufacturing is suffering mightily in this state after keeping countless Downstate communities alive for decades. Just because a bunch of interior design vendors at the Merchandise Mart don’t care all that much about workers’ comp doesn’t mean it isn’t hugely important to places like… I don’t know… maybe… Galesburg?
* As for the rest of what Kennedy said, I asked Mark Denzler at the IMA to respond. Here’s most of it…
Chris Kennedy clearly does not have a fundamental understanding of the issues faced by job creators every single day in Illinois including workers’ compensation.
Let’s take a look. Illinois has the 8th most expensive system in the nation with costs nearly 20 percent higher than the average state. I’m not sure if he is aware but every employer in Illinois, regardless of size, is required to provide coverage for their employees. Perhaps Mr. Kennedy can explain why a doctor who performs two identical surgeries is paid 200-300 percent more for the operation covered by workers compensation rather than private insurance. Or why the average maximum compensation for an arm injury in Illinois is $439,858 when the national average is $169,878 according to the Pro Publica study. And by the way, when he proposes to nearly double the minimum wage, he is also increasing costs for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance where benefits are calculated on a wage-based formula.
He mentions that workers’ compensation only impacts a “small segment” of the business community. Perhaps he’d be interested in learning that Illinois manufacturers employ nearly 570,000 people in good, high-paying jobs that average more than $84,000 in wages and benefits. Ninety-two percent of manufacturers provide health insurance benefits and manufacturing has the highest jobs multiplier for any industry. The industrial sector contributes the single largest share of the Gross State Product and more than ninety percent of Illinois exports are manufactured products. Total manufacturing output in 2016 was $100.4 billion and if the Illinois manufacturing economy was its own country, it would be the 62nd largest economy in the world. This is hardly a “small segment” of the economy.
Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy has a new digital ad criticizing primary rival J.B. Pritzker over comments made in a November 2008 phone call with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich about potential African-American appointees to the U.S. Senate.
The half-minute ad features various broadcast reporters and anchors giving their interpretations of a Chicago Tribune report on the government-recorded conversation, which was part of the federal corruption investigation into the now-imprisoned Blagojevich.
* Earlier today, I mentioned how much I liked Daniel Biss’ “middle-class governor” schtick. It comes off as genuine. The Pritzker folks may be thinking the same thing with this new ad featuring a Naperville teacher named Lisa Yost…
Lisa Yost: In his TV ads Dan Biss says he’d be a middle-class governor, but why should I believe that? For 35 years I was a public school teacher, and during that time I earned a pension that would be there for me when I retired.
[ON SCREEN: DAN BISS “cut retirement benefits for teachers, nurses and other retired and current state workers”]
Lisa Voiceover: But in Springfield, Dan Biss wrote the law to cut pension benefits owed to over 450,000 workers, including teachers like me.
Lisa Yost: Dan Biss wasn’t looking out for me then, and I don’t trust him to look out for me as governor.
The end of that ad kinda reached out and grabbed me, but we’ll have to wait and see if this “trust” angle works.
Juliana Stratton, Candidate for Lt. Governor: I’m a mom, a runner, and a fighter from the South Side. And when I ran for State Representative I beat Bruce Rauner’s candidate - and JB and I will beat Bruce Rauner again.
[ON SCREEN: JB PRITZKER AND JULIANA STRATTON]
Juliana Voiceover: I spend every day with JB, I know JB’s heart and I know JB’s values -
Juliana Stratton: - and if you look at the work JB’s done throughout his life - work for children, work to expand healthcare and work around criminal justice reform; that’s who JB is, and I know what we’ll get done for Illinois.
* AP: Can Middle-Class Candidate Defeat Millionaires in Illinois?: Rabia Amin, a 19-year-old political science major at Elmhurst College, said she plans to vote for Biss. It was his ads set in a home that looked much like her own that sealed her decision. “I thought, ‘Oh my god. He’s a normal human being,’” she said. “That’s the thing I’ve been getting from him. He understands our problems, because I feel like he’s gone through them, and I really like that.”
Because Chicago Public Schools have traditionally paid their own pensions, the new law incorporates normal pension costs into the calculation of each district’s financial needs, called the “adequacy target.” A cost shift would require recalculating funding targets for all 850 districts, and could drastically change the amounts each district would get.
Although there’s no published models of how such a change would affect each district, Manar predicts that it would end up sending more state aid to wealthy districts, and less state aid to poor districts. That’s because wealthy districts tend to pay higher salaries to their teachers and administrators, and therefore have higher pension costs. Lower-income districts, on the other hand, tend to have lower salaries and higher teacher turnover rates, resulting in lower pension costs.
If those numbers are rolled into the formula, wealthy districts will “appear needier” and thus get more state aid, while poor districts will “appear wealthier,” and get less state aid.
* I asked around yesterday afternoon to see if this was a real possibility. From the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability…
We haven’t actually run any numbers to see for sure, but it would certainly make sense based on how the model works, for exactly the reasons laid out in the article.
* Illinois Federation of Teachers…
We agree. All districts would show up as farther from adequacy (“needier”), but particularly the wealthier districts with higher salaries.
* Jessica Handy at Stand for Children Illinois…
The introduced budget is a net cut to education, violates the carefully-negotiated funding formula fix, and singles out Chicago to absorb the cost shift immediately while other districts have a 25% shift this year. So that’s not the way to accomplish it. But, we are very open a gradual cost shift if – and only if – the entire amount of savings in the TRS contribution is invested in the formula on top of the required $350 million increase. That’s because we know that the state picking up teacher pension costs across the board is an inequitable way to deliver state funds to schools.
The new funding formula accounts for the cost shift in the definition of adequacy by adding the exact cost that TRS certifies to each district’s adequacy target calculation. As a result, every district will look (and, indeed – be) less adequately funded. Some districts – the richest ones – will have that added into their adequacy target and still have enough local capacity to cover it and still be fully funded. But generally yes – as Manar told NPR – districts with higher payrolls will have a higher amount added to their adequacy target calculation, and districts with lower payrolls will have a lower amount added. We know that the state paying TRS is incredibly inequitable. It is better to put that money through EBM, even while recognizing it will make every district look less adequately funded with wealthier districts having a bigger gap. The formula covers that gap by a combination of state and local resources, so those with more local wealth will be expected to cover a greater proportion of the costs locally – which is better than the state paying the whole thing for everyone.
In retrospect, it would have perhaps been more true to the principles of the Evidence-Based Model to accomplish this normal cost adjustment to the adequacy calculation by including normal cost as a percentage of the payroll assumed for each district through the EBM inputs, rather than using actual costs, because EBM uses average/best-practice salaries, class size ratios, numbers of positions, etc. and leaves the actual expenditure to the locals. Thus, if a richer district has higher salaries and more experienced teachers and a higher payroll, its benefit costs would stay in line with EBM’s adequacy levels, rather than rising up to match whatever the district actually spends.
* Advance Illinois…
The pension cost shift in the Governor’s proposed budget doesn’t bring districts closer to adequacy and equity and perpetuates a system that overly relies on local sources for funding of education. Under the proposed cost shift in the Governor’s budget, all district adequacy targets will increase, and wealthier districts will likely see their targets increase more. Even with new dollars going into the formula almost all districts will be less adequately funded, but that doesn’t necessarily cause them to get additional funding through the formula.
Districts will also be expected to contribute more to the formula from local property taxes. However, districts with less property wealth and greater student need will see less of an increase in their local contributions than wealthier districts.
Whether a district will get more or less new state money is dependent on both how much their adequacy target goes up and how much their local contribution goes up. We believe that the Governor’s proposal will mean that poor districts could get somewhat more money out of the formula, but this will be offset by the money districts lose from having to pay their own pensions.
Schools argue that picking up the tab would have devastating effects and exacerbate inequity, which last year’s funding change aimed to end. Educators said it would undo many of the effects of that evidence-based funding model, which gives needier districts extra money for educational services.
“The governor just poured water on our campfire,” said Tony Sanders, CEO of Elgin School District U-46. He said that if his district — the state’s largest outside Chicago — doesn’t raise property taxes, it would have to cut programs just to “make ends meet.”
Today, Biss for Illinois launched its latest television ad, “More.” The ad shares home videos of Daniel and his family and explains why Illinois families need a middle-class governor they can trust to put their needs first.
I’m Daniel Biss, and when I say I’ll be the middle class governor, it’s about more than where we live, or that we send our kids to public schools, it’s about my commitment to level the playing field for the rest of us.
While my wealthy opponents profit from our rigged system, I’ll make billionaires pay their fair share in taxes, to invest in good schools and healthcare for all.
Announcer: Democrat Daniel Biss. The middle-class governor.
That middle-class governor line is a really good hook.
* Meanwhile, from the Pritzker campaign…
Today, the Pritzker campaign is continuing a new series, highlighting where Dan Biss’ campaign rhetoric is at odds with his record. Dan Biss says he’s a proven progressive, but he voted to increase funding for charter schools at the expense of neighborhood public schools. Let’s check the record.
Despite praising public education on the campaign trail, Dan Biss undermined public education by voting to shift tax dollars from neighborhood public schools to charter schools in 2012. CPS alone would have lost $126 million a year if the bill passed, but thanks to strong opposition from teachers unions and progressive groups, the bill was defeated. Biss’ support comes as no surprise given his unequivocal statement in 2010: “I support the charter school movement.”
“Were it not for teachers unions and progressive organizations standing up to him, Dan Biss would’ve stripped money from neighborhood public schools to fill the coffers of charters,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Public school children in Illinois deserve better than politicians like Bruce Rauner and Dan Biss siphoning critical dollars away from their education.”
In fairness, for campaign staffers often working 18 or more hours a day, life is nothing short of a living hell. Men and women who once were quasi-normal human beings become alien life forms surviving on adrenaline, coffee, junk food and booze.
Reality loses out to the bubble in which they live. It becomes easy to lose sight — trust me on this — that today’s debacle does not necessarily mean a campaign is doomed. […]
It’s hard to do, but campaign staff would be well served to remember that not every negative news story or tough moment is the end of the world.
Come March 20, the voters in the Republican and Democratic primaries will do their part. And on the very next day, March 21, a lucky few candidates will begin the fight for the big prize.
Meanwhile, in the real world, it’ll be what most folks refer to simply as Wednesday.
* Today’s Sun-Times about how Congressman Dan Lipinski wants the Internal Revenue Service to investigate “a series of financial deals improperly [which] benefited the leaders of the Illinois Policy Institute” includes the best explanation I’ve seen so far about what’s being alleged…
“Federal law provides tax benefits that help nonprofits pursue their agendas, including ideological agendas,” Lipinski wrote to David Kautter, the acting commissioner of the IRS. “What it does not allow, however, is for an individual to use a non-profit organization to inure excessive benefits to himself. I fear that is exactly what Mr. Tillman has done.” […]
But experts in nonprofit tax laws told ProPublica Illinois and the Sun-Times that some of the transactions raised ethical and legal concerns. Among the list of potential red flags: a zero-interest, $49,400 loan from Think Freely Media, a nonprofit Tillman founded and served as board president, to Crowdskout, a for-profit data and marketing firm owned by a company he controlled.
That loan was essentially a gift, experts said.
“No loans are made on zero interest because you lose the inflation value. That means it’s a financial benefit to a for-profit business,” said Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. “Under federal tax law it’s called an excess-benefit transaction.”
Think Freely Media also made another $60,000 in loans to Crowdskout on which it collected interest. On other occasions, Think Freely Media gave grants to nonprofit organizations that hired Crowdskout or other companies in which Tillman had a stake.
Two things to remember: The conservative Lipinksi is in a primary battle against a liberal Democrat and Tillman denies all wrongdoing. Click here for his response.
This morning, the Chicago Tribune announced that it is endorsing Governor Rauner. The Governor’s steadfast opposition to Speaker Mike Madigan’s unbalanced budgets and tax-and-spend agenda makes Governor Rauner the best choice in their view.
Had Democrats been serious about rescuing Illinois’ jobs climate and public finances, they could have cut plenty of deals with Rauner. The rookie governor with a mandate to shake up Springfield was willing to talk tax hikes in return for a reasonable wish list.
What Rauner wouldn’t do was sign another phony budget.
But Democrats dug in. They did not negotiate in good faith. They did not meaningfully debate his proposals. Their goal was gridlock. Illinois would lurch for two years without a full-year spending plan.
As Rauner’s agenda languished in Democrat-chaired committees, Illinois slid further. And fed-up residents accelerated their exodus. For four years running, this state has bled population. In 2017, Illinois lost a net 33,703 residents, dropping the state to sixth-largest in the U.S. That is flat-out alarming.
His wish list was reasonable, eh? Some of it was, sure. But lots of his must-haves were no-ways.
And this talk about negotiating in good faith from the same editorial board which opined in October of 2015 months after the start of the impasse: “No, Gov. Edgar, ‘doable’ is the problem.” They wanted a war all along.