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But his e-mails…

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A release of internal e-mails by the Special Projects Desk at Gizmodo Media Group shows why Todd Ricketts might have a bit of a tough time if he decides to run for Illinois governor in 2022

From: [Republican strategist] Fred Davis

To: Joe Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Todd Ricketts

Date: May 17, 2012

Subject: URGENT. Suggest not taking calls right now.

We just got a call that the NY Times has a HARD copy of our proposal on Reverend Wright.

Putting aside the terrible disappointment that this was leaked, we’re waiting for Brian to get off his TV appearance so we can work out a strategy on how to respond. The story is for tomorrow, and needless to say they think it’s a big deal.

The writers are Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg. They say they will soon be, “calling around,” and I wanted to get you this news immediately to be sure none of the three of you take their calls and get caught off guard.

As soon as we have Brian, we’ll be back in touch with a response plan.

Just when things yesterday were going so well…


* From that NY Times story

A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from. […]

The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

* Back to the e-mails

From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: January 25, 2012

Subject: The Greece Nextdoor

This why every other day I contemplate moving out of Illinois. If Scott Walker wins maybe I will move north. If not, I may have to move to Texas. Government unions self-dealing themselves outrageous benefits and pensions through the Democratic party have gutted not only Illinois but the entire nation.

Daley bankrupted the city over the last 20 years and when push came shove he conveniently decided to leave office when he realized to was getting around the situation.

Walker won, but Todd never moved, of course.

From the link he forwarded

In other words, higher taxes led to fiscal deterioration in Illinois, just as tax increases in Europe have been followed by bad outcomes.

That actually didn’t happen until the tax hike was allowed to roll back.

* More

From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Laura Ricketts, and others

Date: July 4, 2009

Subject: new religion

One of the reasons I am so skeptical of global warming alarmism is for exactly what this article points out. Global warming is a religion and anyone who doesn’t believe is a heretic.

Todd […]

From: Todd Ricketts

To: Tom Ricketts, Joe Ricketts, L.B.

Date: February 3, 2010

Subject: canadian health care

So if we adopt a Canadian style healthcare, as much of the Obama plan would be, where would we go when we actually want to get good care?

Not everything in these e-mails is a killer issue, but some of it is enough to paint a not-so-pretty picture.

* By the way, Bruce Rauner makes an appearance in the e-mails in this exchange with Todd’s father

From: Bruce Rauner

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: May 20, 2012

Subject: (no subject)

Hi joe – hope you’re doing well despite all the recent baloney in the media – I’ll be riding the harley from livingston down to jackson for nfwf board meeting aug 13-15 and the freedomworks/tea party conference aug 16-17th – will be free afternoon of 15th and morning of 16th and was wondering if you’d like to go for a ride or have a cigar

From: Joe Ricketts

To: Bruce Rauner

Date: June 3, 2012

Subject: RE: (no subject)

Hi Bruce,

I’m co-hosting a cocktail party for AEI in Jackson on the 15th but these things usually don’t last long. I don’t have the details as yet so let me get back to you after I get them.

I’m not a taking my motorcycle out of storage this summer as I will not have time to ride it; got a very full summer lined up. I enjoy being busy but not really this busy but things will slow down after the elections. If the mandate of Obama Care is not knocked down and if Obama gets reelected I may have to give up my citizenship and go to New Zealand.

A cigar sounds good.

Rauner was at a tea party event in 2012?


Permanent Legislative Inspector General finally named

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Only like three years late, but who’s counting?…

* Got tired of waiting on a text version in lieu of the 20th Century pdf file they sent, so here’s the release…


Rockford airport still waiting on its money

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* September of 2015

[Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos] are urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to release [$16.3 million] they say the state pledged for improvements at Chicago Rockford International Airport.

Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature have been unable to agree on a fiscal year 2016 budget which was supposed to take effect July 1.

The airport project is under way and Congress is considering adding $2.5 million in federal money. Durbin and Bustos say if the state reneges it could jeopardize the project and hundreds of jobs.

They say they believe Illinois state lawmakers appropriated the money in 2014.

* Also from September of 2015

Rauner’s spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said Sunday that proper documentation allowing the money to be released wasn’t submitted.

* November of 2015

A line of credit between about a half-dozen local banks and the Greater Rockford Airport Authority will free up funds to complete an airplane-repair hangar on schedule next fall.

The $41 million project at Chicago Rockford International Airport will bring hundreds of jobs to the area and provide new educational opportunities for Rock Valley College.

* May 31, 2018

The Greater Rockford Airport Authority could accelerate payoff of a $16.3 million debt if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the state budget bill lawmakers approved this week.

The $38.5 billion spending plan, approved by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday and the Illinois House on Thursday, includes a $14.7 million grant for the airport’s maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, where jets are repaired and maintained.

The money represents the state’s contribution to the $40 million jet repair hub, which opened in 2016. Former governor Pat Quinn promised the money to the airport in 2014. But Rauner’s administration froze the money amid a budget stalemate in late 2015.

* June 21, 2018

Chicago Rockford International Airport is going to have to wait until at least next month for $14.7 million from the state to help pay for AAR Corp.’s maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.

The money, included in the fiscal 2019 state budget signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, cannot be released until the new fiscal year starts July 1, said Jamey Dunn, a spokeswoman for the Illinois comptroller’s office.

The timing is important. Airport director Mike Dunn said the airport spends about $100,000 a month in interest payments to five banks that teamed up to extend a $17 million line of credit to the airport to ensure that the jet repair hub would be completed on schedule.

Rauner says he’s keeping tabs on when the money will be delivered.

“I hope that to be very soon,” he said Thursday during a stop in Rockford. “I’m a big advocate for the Chicago Rockford Airport.”

* Chuck Sweeny yesterday

Wish Four: That the new governor will release the $14.7 million the state owes Chicago Rockford International Airport for its promised share of the $40 million AAR maintenance, repair and overhaul facility. The money is in the budget but the soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Bruce Rauner refused to release it. Until the money is released the airport board must pay $80,000 a month in interest to five banks that lent it money to keep the AAR project flying.

I checked with the comptroller’s office today. They claim the funds have been released by the governor’s office, but they say they have not yet received a payment voucher from the relevant state agency.


Fight for change, but don’t succumb to cynicism in the meantime

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is a common belief in Illinois

Last month, there were 39 Senate seats up for election, but only 18 had more than one candidate running. In the House, all 118 seats are up for election every two years, but only 64 were competitive.

One reason people don’t run is because they know the fix is in. The maps are rigged. The Illinois politicians are picking their voters.

I have long been on record as favoring independently drawn district maps. But if everyone listened to the pundits and just threw up their hands in disgust and walked away, a bunch of Republicans wouldn’t have won two years ago and lots of Democrats and a couple of Republicans wouldn’t have won this year.

Start with the Republicans this year. Rodney Davis’ 13th Congressional District and Mike Bost’s 12th CD were both drawn to favor Democrats. But they’re both still with us despite a national Democratic landslide.

Now, to some of the Democrats. Gov. Bruce Rauner won the 21st Senate District by 32 points four years ago. He won the 24th Senate District by 29 points. And he won the 29th by 13 points. Those three districts are all Republican suburban areas that the Democrats barely bothered with before now. This year Democratic candidates won all three districts.

Maps can be overcome with waves and with strong candidates running good campaigns, as happened with Downstate GOP candidates two years ago. This year, Democrat Mary Edly-Allen defeated GOP Rep. Helene Miller Walsh in the 51st House District by less than a point. But Rauner won it four years ago by 40 points and he won it this year by 12.

Strong waves can also obliterate maps. Democratic Rep.-elect Anne Stava-Murray reported raising just $3,000 in the third quarter, but she defeated GOP Rep. David Olsen by almost 2 points, just a point behind Pritzker’s margin. Rauner won that district by 23 points four years ago.

* So, again, while I truly do want to see an independent map-making process in this state, one never knows when lightning might strike and that’s why my hat is always off to the people who fully engage in the process rather than just glumly choose to sit on the sidelines because they “know” they can’t win.


Open thread

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I wrote myself into a wall on three straight blog posts, so I got nothing right now. Hopefully, I can finish one or two of them soon. In the meantime, please be kind to each other and keep it Illinois-centric.


Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Illinois US Representative goes to Cheri Bustos

It’s one thing to cling on as a Democrat in what is solidly Trump country, but to win by a 20% margin in 2016 and 2018? you are doing something right and I’m not the only one who thinks that. She just got elected chair of the DCCC and many people (including me) think her of doing things could help us retake seats outside the burbs and city area. Definitely the brightest shining star out of all the US Reps.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best elected statewide official goes to Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti

Although her office doesn’t have any specific duties outside of being 2nd in line and doing what the governor wants, Sanguinetti and her staff have done a lot on the issue of local government consolidation, reducing LLC fees (she took the lead on that before Rauner), rural education and healthcare, and aggressively working to fight against and recommend the best policies that help those suffering from opioids. She may not get most attention due to the position or administration, but the Lt. Gov has done good work she can be proud of during her 4 years of service.

Sanguinetti only received one nomination, but it was so strong that it convinced me.

Congrats to our winners.

* On to today’s categories…

* Best Contract Lobbyist

* Best In-House Lobbyist

As always, make sure to explain your nominations or they won’t count. And do your best to nominate in both categories, please.


Quick mayoral roundup

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

…Adding… Corrected…

* Oh, for crying out loud

* Good move…

* Onward…

* Press release…

This morning, Susana Mendoza addressed the City Club of Chicago, laying out her bold vision to shape Chicago for the next generation and put the city’s neighborhoods first. During the speech, Mendoza unveiled her 50NEW Initiative to rebuild public schools as strong academic centers and hubs of community activity that will also help address violence in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

50NEW is a comprehensive plan that would use extra space in existing neighborhood schools to offer daycare, supper for students, family services, job training, and more. Instead of closing schools, 50NEW would help transform them into community hubs where Chicago families can access a quality public education alongside the support services they need to thrive.

50 represents the community schools that will be created within existing, underutilized school buildings over the next eight years. NEW stands for Neighborhood Education Works reflecting the program’s steadfast commitment to building a strong public education system for the next generation.

“We have to think boldly and transformationally,” said Susana Mendoza. “Instead of asking which 50 schools we should close next, I’ll be focused on which 50 underutilized schools we should be doubling down on, turning them into true community hubs and stronger academic centers. I’m ready to get to work on our schools at every level, from the neighborhood school my son attends, to implementing my 50NEW Initiative to transform the most under-resourced neighborhoods in our city. I’m excited to work with all Chicagoans to shape our future together – a future based on a vision for the next generation, not just the next four years.”

* And I totally agree with Laura Washington

“Ja’Mal Green needs to fix his pacifier,” replied former state Sen. Rickey “Hollywood” Hendon, Wilson’s political consultant and a lifelong Machine pol.

I agree with Hollywood on this one. If you want to play with the big boys and girls, you’ve got to be one.

Yes, the system is unfair. Yes, it was set up to favor those who know how to play the game. But those are the rules. If you aren’t tough enough to surmount a pile of paperwork, you aren’t ready for City Hall.

In 2019, Chicago will need a mayor with the muscle and moxie to take on the bullies and blowhards.

Weak, whiny politicians seem to be in vogue these days, although Illinois just rid itself of one of the prime local examples of these self-made victims.

* Related…

* What Does the Next Chicago Mayor Have in Mind for Affordable Housing?

* Preckwinkle vows to dump Police Supt. Eddie Johnson for denying code of silence: “It’s very important that police be accountable for their conduct. And if you won’t even acknowledge that there’s a code of silence in the Police Department, how can you possibly do that? . . . If you start out by saying . . . we have never condoned or covered up bad police behaviors, I don’t think that’s a characteristic of an effective leader.”

* Emanuel, Johnson fire back at Preckwinkle for targeting superintendent: Without mentioning Preckwinkle by name, Johnson accused the county board president, now running for mayor, of misconstruing or misinterpreting what he had to say about the code of silence in a deposition.

* Mendoza Calls Preckwinkle a ‘Bully’ Over Petition Challenges

* Lightfoot: Give Preckwinkle a ‘bag of coal’ for bad-faith petition challenges

* Susana Mendoza on Her Battle to Become Chicago’s Next Mayor


Ives backs Krupa even after allegations emerge

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Rep. Jeanne Ives

Meet David Krupa and help him take out Mike Madigan’s General!

I am sending this to my entire statewide email list and beyond. And I am asking all of you to send this guy $10 to keep his fight going against the Madigan Machine. See how to contribute below.

Here is the headline of the recent John Kass column in the Chicago Tribune:

College kid beats back the Chicago machine and Boss Madigan blinks

Kass summed it up in his opening line, “DePaul University freshman David Krupa scored an impressive victory in Chicago politics on Saturday: Boss Madigan — the most powerful Democrat in Illinois — backed out of a challenge to Krupa’s candidacy for alderman in the Southwest Side’s 13th Ward.

“I am truly humbled to be the first candidate on the ballot to challenge the 13th Ward since 1991,” Krupa, 19, told me at the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners offices on Saturday. “This is a huge defeat for (Michael) Madigan’s organization, and the beginning of the end of boss politics.”

* But there’s another issue about something that happened just last year. CBS 2

Aldermanic candidate for Chicago’s 13th Ward, David Krupa, is talking about a 2017 order of protection obtained by CBS 2.

The court documents were filed by the father of a girl Krupa dated on and off for about 2.5 years.

He described it as “just a teenage relationship.”

Her father decided that she wouldn’t be able to handle a relationship at that time–he filled it out for her,” he said.

Interestingly enough, the station didn’t disclose what the claims were.

* Politico did

In 2017, he was accused of abuse by his former high school girlfriend. An emergency order of protection was granted in June 2017 and extended for nine months after Juliet Schmidt filed her complaint, according to court documents sent to POLITICO. The filing in the Circuit Court of Cook County Domestic Violence division describes Krupa as a “controlling” boyfriend who “isolated” Schmidt from her friends, whom he referred to as “liberal faggots.” The document details incessant text messages and an incident in which he chased Schmidt in his car while she was walking.

“It was emotionally abusive,” Schmidt told POLITICO in an interview Sunday. “It wasn’t healthy for me to continue the relationship. He had a lot of issues of control. I could see him taking advantage of that in political office.”

In seeking the order of protection, Schmidt wrote, “I am afraid that David Krupa will continue to physically abuse me, harass me, interfere with my personal liberty and stalk me. Therefore, I fear for the safety of myself.” The order of protection ran nine months and ended when neither Schmidt nor Krupa could agree on a hearing date, Schmidt said. The judge didn’t rule on the case and Schmidt left Chicago to attend college out of state.

There’s also an allegation that Krupa removed his condom during intercourse without her knowledge or consent and a claim that the young woman attempted to commit suicide because of his behavior.

* Press release…

Based on recently-reported details of 13th Ward Aldermanic candidate David Krupa’s unacceptable personal conduct towards a young woman and his extreme Trump agenda, a group of leaders and activists are calling for the opportunity for a full public vetting of Krupa so voters can reject his candidacy.

The following statement can be attributed to Personal PAC President and CEO Terry Cosgrove, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 President-Business Manager James Sweeney, and the Chicago Teachers’ Union:

    “David Krupa has sold out to the extreme Trump agenda that would deny health care to millions, harass and intimidate families in our community, and allow deadly, military-style assault weapons on our streets. Even more troubling is the existence of an order of protection against Mr. Krupa citing malicious and outrageous behavior against a woman. Mr. Krupa has put himself forward as a candidate for public office, and we believe he should now have to face voters and explain himself.

    “Voters deserve to see everything Mr. Krupa is hiding from them, and they deserve the opportunity to reject him. No one whose personal conduct and whose extreme agenda so offend the people of Chicago should have the opportunity to hide behind false claims of victimhood, but that is no doubt what a politician like Mr. Krupa would attempt to do should he be removed from the ballot. Given his past conduct, we hope voters have the chance to reject his outrageous candidacy.”


Did Dahleen Glanton nail it? We’ll know soon enough

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sunday afternoon…

* Phil Rogers

Blagojevich is roughly halfway through a 14-year corruption sentence at the federal prison in suburban Denver. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump dispatched a tweet that seemed to equate his case with Blagojevich’s own legal troubles.

But whether that means a Christmas commutation is in the works, isn’t clear.

The latest drama began Friday night, when Patti Blagojevich made an appearance on Fox News Channel, equating her husband’s case to special counsel Robert Mueller’s most recent probes into fundraising for the Trump inaugural.

* Some of what she said

“They were successful at going after my husband and locking him up and throwing away the key. And because no one stopped them for doing that to my husband, they are going after a bigger target. They’ve been emboldened because they got away with it with my husband. They undid an election, going after someone they didn’t like for some reason and used every means within power to do it.

“Once they set their sights on you, they will keep on until they have you sitting in jail for 14 years. They keep putting pressure on people who are close to you, your friends and other associates, people who have committed wrongdoing unrelated to you and put pressure on them.”

* Pearson

As she has in previous appearances on Fox News, the former first lady once again sought to portray that portions of her husband’s conviction on charges of attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Obama’s 2008 election to the presidency had been thrown out.

In reality, her husband was still convicted of wire fraud involving discussions to personally profit from selling the Senate appointment. The charges that were dropped were due to a technicality involving jury instructions.

The former first lady, seeking to appeal to Trump during a holiday time when pardons and commutations are often granted, used her Friday Fox News interview to call her husband’s prosecutors the “same political assassins” who are doing the same thing “to President Trump right now.”

Federal prosecutors, she said, “are trying taking legal fundraising contributions and legal requests for fundraising and turning them into something that is a, you know, they’re crimes and they’re nonexisting crimes,” she said on Fox News.

But neither the former first lady, nor Fox News, mentioned her husband’s convictions for attempting to shake down an executive of a children’s hospital and a racetrack owner for campaign cash in exchange for official acts.

* To the headline: Dahleen Glanton

Bingo! Two days later, the president calls you “wonderful” in a tweet.

“Required television watching is last weeks @marthamaccallum interview with the wonderful wife of Rod Blagojevich … If that doesn’t tell you something about what has been going on in our Country, nothing will. Very sad!”

The only problem is that he doesn’t mention the word clemency. Then you realize your performance as the compassionate, Trump-supporting Patti Blagojevich must have been too good. The president actually thought you were genuinely concerned about him.


An army of one

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Rep. Scott Drury (D-Former Federal Prosecutor) confirms that he went to Springfield to teach everyone how to behave

A former federal prosecutor, Drury arrived at the Statehouse in 2013 as an idealist out to fix a culture in which lawmakers, he says, too often made legislative decisions based on “How does this benefit me?”

“I saw being a state representative as an opportunity to show people in Illinois that government is something you can trust,” said Drury, reflecting on his six years in office.

“I viewed my job as trying to change a culture, a perception. Sometimes it caused me to rub elbows with people, and not be the most liked person on a given day,” he conceded. “But that was the only way to make change in a state that is so resistant to change.” […]

“Just think back to the last gubernatorial campaign in the primary,” Drury said, of the often-heard calls for leadership term limits among candidates on the campaign trail.

“That never would have happened if I wasn’t continually injecting that into the conversation,” Drury said.

It takes all kinds to make a General Assembly. Come one, come all. But while change can start with the actions of one person, it almost never actually happens with just one person. Drury was essentially a legislative coalition of one throughout his brief tenure.



Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Many thanks to everyone who attended my City Club speech yesterday and to those who asked questions. You can click here if you missed it. Good crowd. Laughed at all my jokes.

Also, thanks to the folks who bought tickets through our charity auction benefiting Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and to those who donated online. And thanks to those who brought toys to and/or donated at the event. I didn’t get a count on the number of toys, but there were tons of them.

The online auction combined with yesterday’s direct giving raised more than $6,000 for LSSI’s programs. Amazing. Click here to learn more about that invaluable organization.


…Adding… I just noticed that Dave Dahl did a story about the speech

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax says outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner will not be missed.

“There will be no Rauner nostalgia in Illinois,” Miller said, “and Rauner is reinforcing this ever since the election with some of the bizarre things that he has said and done.” Then, referring to former State Sen. Karen McConnaughey as “Gov. Karen McConnaughay,” said, “You might have seen her in the news in recent days.” […]

“It’s hard to explain this, but [JB Pritzker] can just talk like a normal person. I’ve never seen a normal person elected governor in my life. It’s very odd.”

Miller praised Pritzker for surrounding himself with women and minorities in his campaign, transition team, and – presumably – his administration.

Miller predicts Pritzker and House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) will get along well — at least until it’s time to redraw the political maps after the 2020 Census. Pritzker has favored a “fair map” concept, while, Miller says, Madigan traditionally wants one which is fair to Democrats.


SB 1226 Endangers Safe Drinking Water & Public Health

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Advertising Department

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Illinois continues to reel from the fatal outbreak of legionella at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. School and park districts are scrambling to address troubling levels of lead in water lines and drinking fountains. Now the House is considering a radical measure that would eliminate longstanding protections that ensure the proper installation of drinking water systems and would, in so doing, endanger safe drinking water in Illinois.

SB 1226 would put the health of all Illinoisans, especially seniors and children, at risk by effectively deregulating the practice of plumbing for public works projects, commercial construction, and residential buildings over four stories. In addition, it:

    * Would be a regulatory nightmare. Representatives of the Illinois Department of Public Health and Capital Development Board strongly oppose the bill and believe it conflicts with multiple statutes.

    * Would compromise existing energy efficiency standards. The Illinois Environmental Council opposed the bill in committee.

    * Is also opposed by: the Illinois Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association; Illinois Mechanical & Specialty Contractors Association; South Suburban Building Officials Association; Central Illinois Chapter of the Illinois Plumbing Education Association; and organizations representing licensed plumbers, registered plumbing contractors, and plumbing inspectors across our state.

At a time of heightened awareness about threats to safe drinking water, the last thing Illinois needs is the creation of a legislative loophole that enables unqualified individuals to work on water supply systems.

Learn more here.

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I just don’t see it happening

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

We’ve seen a big push over the past few weeks for an Arizona-style pension “fix” here. That state’s voters have twice approved constitutional amendments to limit future benefits for public employees – once in 2016 and then again last month.

If Arizona can do it, the logic goes, so can Illinois. The Illinois Policy Institute, the Chicago Tribune editorial board and a host of politicians and others on the right have been pushing this idea of late. Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was once close pals with Gov. Bruce Rauner, now says he wants Illinois to amend its Constitution as Arizona did.

The state constitutions of Illinois and Arizona have very similar language prohibiting reductions to pension benefits and welding pensions to contract law.

But the two are very different states. In 2016, when Arizona’s legislature approved a pension reform bill to limit first responders’ pension benefits and then voters approved amending their constitution to match that legislation by a 70-30 margin, the Republican Party held the Arizona governor’s mansion and had super-majorities in both legislative chambers. The opposite will be true here starting in January.

This year, the Arizona legislature passed a bill to limit pension benefit increases for corrections employees and elected officials. You’d think the addition of politicians to the pension reform list would attract even more public backing, but you’d be wrong. Voters did approve the change, but with just 51.72 percent of the vote, signaling weakening popular support for the idea.

Arizona’s threshold for voter-approval of constitutional amendments is considerably lower than Illinois’. In that state, a simple majority of those voting on the amendment suffices. But Illinois requires approval from either three-fifths of those voting on the amendment or a simple majority of all those voting in the election. The “Yes” votes in Arizona amounted to just 47 percent of all ballots cast in the election. That wouldn’t have been enough to succeed in Illinois.

Arizona’s politicians brokered an agreement with unions before passing enabling legislation and sending the question to voters. Illinois unions, emerging victorious from a bitter four-year war with a doggedly anti-union Republican governor, are clearly in no mood for such talks.

The Illinois AFL-CIO and the Chicago Federation of Labor issued a joint statement after Mayor Emanuel backed an Arizona-style reform which began: “Too many politicians, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel himself, have wasted years pushing extreme, immoral and illegal schemes to slash pension benefits instead of working together to craft fair, sustainable and constitutional funding solutions.” Whew.

Gov. Rauner was asked earlier this year about amending the state’s Constitution to delete our strict pension language, but even he said he had doubts about its legality and didn’t believe Illinois voters would ever approve it.

Back in 2012, a proposed constitutional amendment to require three-fifths votes in the General Assembly to increase pension benefits received 56 percent of the popular vote and therefore failed.

The Arizona pension changes have yet to be challenged in court. So, even if you could somehow convince the Democratic supermajorities and a Democratic governor who ran on the slogan “Pensions are a promise” to flip on the unions and place the question on the ballot and then even if Illinois’ Democratic-leaning voters approved it, you’d undoubtedly see an immediate legal challenge here.

And despite all the recent hot talk, it does not appear that a pension payment “doomsday” is soon upon us which could force reluctant Democrats to take drastic action.

The General Assembly’s Commission on Governmental Forecasting and Accountability released a report last week projecting that annual state pension payments will increase an average of $300 million a year over the next 10 years. That’s a lot of money, but it’s still fiscally manageable.

And in just a few months, Illinois will make its last billion-dollar annual installment payment on bonds sold by then-Gov. Pat Quinn to make two yearly pension contributions, giving Illinois some fiscal breathing room.

The bond rating agencies might be a different story, however. If they threaten to push Illinois into junk bond status over the state’s huge unfunded pension liability, that might prod the Democrats into taking some action.

And a deep recession combined with more rounds of large and unfavorable actuarial readjustments by the state’s pension funds could combine to make the state’s annual payments impossible.

Pressure from local officials will also likely mount because lots of municipalities under-funded their public safety pension funds and are now in a world of hurt.

Even so, while I could be wrong, I just don’t see it happening yet.



Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My annual City Club speech is Monday at noonish. You can click here to watch it live. The event has been sold out for months, but you can click here to bid on tickets through Friday night at 10 o’clock. Proceeds benefit Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.

Your nominations won’t be public until I get back, but you can continue nominating people for today’s Golden Horseshoe Award categories all weekend.

* Trombone Shorty and Dave Grohl will play us out

But he don’t know what it means
Don’t know what it means

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*** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

Over four years, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown reported $72,000 in income from a side business as a motivational and religious speaker. Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot made nearly $1 million last year as a law firm partner and gave $52,000 to charity. And former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas recorded no taxable income in the year before Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed him to an administrative post at Chicago State University. […]

On Nov. 1, the Tribune requested four years of tax returns complete with all schedules and attachments for 16 declared candidates for mayor.

Lightfoot, Brown, Vallas, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza and state Rep. LaShawn Ford all provided full tax returns for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Law firm partner Gery Chico provided only the top sheets of his Form 1040 for those years without the attached schedules and statements, leaving unanswered what investments he might hold and what tax exemptions he claimed, among other things. […]

Joining Daley in not releasing their tax returns: McCarthy, Enyia, wealthy businessman Willie Wilson, tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin, activist Ja’Mal Green, Southwest Side attorney Jerry Joyce and attorney John Kozlar. The Tribune also requested tax returns from former Ald. Bob Fioretti, a late entrant to the race who so far has not complied. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has released his complete tax returns dating back to 2005.

* Meanwhile

Chicago Election Board hearing officer Barbara Goodman on Friday ruled three facets of Preckwinkle’s challenge to Mendoza’s nominating petitions can proceed, while agreeing with the Mendoza campaign to dismiss a fourth. […]

Goodman said the Preckwinkle campaign hadn’t established a pattern of fraud by some of those who collected Mendoza’s signatures, and so struck that argument from the challenge.

But she said evidence must be presented before she can rule on Preckwinkle’s allegations that more than 13,000 signatures the Mendoza campaign submitted do not match people registered at those addresses, as well as claims of duplicate signatures and other problems with the names. […]

[Mendoza campaign lawyer Tony Jacob] said Mendoza has been prevailing on the vast majority of the line-by-line signature arguments the campaigns are waging behind the scenes.

* This is small potatoes money-wise, but they need to pay more attention to this stuff over there…

He gave her the contribution in 2016.

* SEIU Local 1 has a long-running grudge against Simon, and the union is backing Toni Preckwinkle, so keep that in mind…

The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 spokesman Nick Desideri in response to reports Susana Mendoza intends to return a campaign contribution from alleged mob associate and anti-worker United Maintenance head Richard Simon. Both Bill Daley and Gery Chico returned donations from Simon in 2013 and 2010 respectively:

“It speaks volumes about Susana Mendoza that she only returned alleged mob associate Richard Simon’s 2016 donation amid her mayoral run and serious federal scrutiny of her mentor Ed Burke.

“What is Mendoza’s relationship to Simon and Burke that it took her years and the pressure of a federal investigation to return this troubling donation from an alleged mob associate?”

*** UPDATE *** Ouch…

* Related…

* After latest allegations, Preckwinkle says she would strip Ald. Burke of powers

* Skepticism greets Chicago’s $10 billion pension bond plan

* The mayoral housing forum that almost wasn’t


A rough idea of what they’re looking at

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller


Data from the Illinois Department of Revenue show that the wealthiest taxpayers, those earning more than $500,000, submitted about 58,000 returns and paid $3.2 billion in income taxes in 2015. Those earning between $100,000 and $500,000 totaled one million returns and paid $5.4 billion in taxes — the largest segment — while middle-income taxpayers turned in 1.3 million returns and paid $2.7 billion.

The task at hand, of course, is to figure out how to give the lower tiers a significant tax break, while still producing enough new revenue to un-hollow-out the government and do things like spend more money on education, lower property taxes, etc.

The negotiators will have far more detailed numbers than these, but I thought you might like to see them anyway.


Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Democratic Illinois State Senator goes to Sen. Melinda Bush

(H)er work on changing the sexual harassment culture in Springfield and work on gender equality doesn’t get enough credit. She is not afraid to vote for what’s right even after everyone else tells her some issues are too liberal for her district. She was also fearless and successful this past campaign cycle getting women elected to office up and down the ballot in Lake County. She is also one of the funniest people under the dome.

Andy Manar got a bunch of votes, so my hat’s off to him as well.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Republican Illinois State Senator goes to Sen. Jason Barickman

He is relatively young (at least for a Republican,) smart, thoughtful, and absolutely willing to buck his party for the right policy. He’s handling the legalized marijuana with a pragmatic and open-minded approach to help get a seat at the table and stop any outrageous parts of an eventual bill. He did it with gay marriage, and I suspect he’ll do it again. He represents two of the most conservative counties in the state (Ford & Iroquois) and hasn’t gotten as much of a hint of a primary challenger. He’s doing things right, and he’s the future of the GOP in our state.

Congratulations to both honorees.

* Let’s move along to today’s categories…

* Best Illinois US Representative

* Best elected statewide official

Remember to explain your nominations or they won’t count. And do your utmost to nominate in both categories. The statewide electeds category includes US Senate, by the way.


Rauner was wrong about “record levels” of unionization

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From January of 2013

A bill restricting which state employees can join unions is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is expected to sign it. […]

State workers in middle management positions flooded to join labor unions after ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration froze their salaries, among other things. More than 96 percent of the state workforce is now unionized, the most of any state. Quinn and others said that cripples his ability to properly manage.

The bill removes about 1,900 people from unions, and another 1,600 job titles would be prohibited from joining unions in the future. [Emphasis added.]

This effort really got going when legislative liaisons were allowed to join a union.

* From April of 2013

[Gov. Pat Quinn] approved a measure that allows the governor to deny collective bargaining rights for up to 3,580 managers and supervisors. […]

The law applies to “managerial or supervisory” positions under the governor and other statewide offices — such as the secretary of state and attorney general — that are not currently represented by a union or those who have gained representation since December 2008.

Supporters of the measure argue that state executives can’t effectively run the government with so few managers loyal only to them. They say that 97 percent of the state work force is backed by a union.

An Associated Press analysis in 2011 showed 10,000 state workers had joined unions from 2003 to 2011 — four times the number of the previous eight years. Including petitions pending at the time, it showed there were only 1,700 managers left among a payroll of 50,000. [Emphasis added.]

* Wednesday…

So, he wasn’t right about how unionization is at “record” levels.

* Hannah Meisel’s report

[After he signed the bill into law] Quinn’s administration then filed unit clarification petitions with the Illinois Labor Relations Board to reclassify employees as excluded from the ability to collectively bargain. Though the law allowed him to do so for 3,580 employees, Quinn through the board only ended up reclassifying 1,700. […]

The outgoing governor touted his efforts to remove mid-level managers and other state workers from unionization eligibility. This past summer Rauner’s administration filed dozens of bargaining unit clarification petitions with the labor relations board, totaling 2,500 individual positions the administration has gone after since 2016.

The administration claims that its investigation discovered that key positions like inspector general investigators and supervisory security personnel at state prisons and mental health facilities were filled by union officials, even though those positions are specifically barred from collective bargaining under the Illinois Labor Relations Act, and were clarified as being excluded in the 2011 tweak to the law.

But AFSCME claims the Rauner administration is going after employees in jobs that have every right to be unionized, and alleged the governor is seeking to strip more than 1,000 people of their rights to collectively bargain.

* The administration claims that its agencies have identified 5,000 employees who should be stripped of collective bargaining rights, including…

* Supervisors responsible for disciplining employees that refuse to do so adequately.
* OIG Investigators responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, abuse, financial exploitation or other malfeasance by union employees.
* Supervisors that run state prisons at night, and chiefs of security at mental health facilities.
* Administrative law judges and other attorneys who make binding decisions for management that impact important policy matters.
* Other staff that has access to the State’s confidential bargaining strategies.


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Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Pritzker’s inauguration ball tix will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today, the Pritzker-Stratton Inaugural Committee announced the two anchor events of inauguration weekend in Springfield. They will both take place on Inauguration Day, Monday, January 14, 2019.

The ceremony to swear in Governor-elect JB Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton and the other statewide elected officials will begin at 11 a.m. at the Bank of Springfield Center. Doors open at 9 a.m. Those interested in attending the swearing-in ceremony can request up to two complimentary tickets on the inauguration website beginning December 28.

The governor and lieutenant governor will host their inauguration celebration at 7 p.m. at the Exposition Building of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Pre-sale tickets are on sale by invitation only with general sale tickets to be announced pending availability. Ticket sales will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation.


CGLA was established in 1973 to serve legal needs arising from the lack of opportunity, criminalization of poverty, and racial inequity experienced within the Cabrini Green community. Since then, CGLA has grown beyond a single neighborhood to become a citywide, countywide, and now recognized statewide leader in supporting low-income individuals negatively impacted by the criminal justice system. Our mission is to seek justice and mercy for those living in poverty by providing legal services that strengthen individual lives, families, and communities. We aim to proactively fill the void of legal representation, wraparound services, and advocacy for those affected by the criminal justice system.


Leaders in the agricultural community established the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that seeks to promote, support, assist, and sustain the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation’s activities will emphasize capital improvements at these sites, with an emphasis on restoration of buildings and capital enhancement.


The JB Inauguration Committee is collecting and voluntarily reporting the name, address, employer, and occupation of donors that contribute more than $1,000. We will not accept anonymous contributions or contributions in cash. JB Inauguration Committee is a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit organization.

All donations made to and ticket purchases made from the JB Inauguration Committee will be donated to Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Inc. and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Inc. and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation are 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations registered in the State of Illinois.

Contributions or gifts to the JB Inauguration Committee are not tax deductible.

Click here to access the inauguration website.

The Expo Building, where the ball will be held, is the largest building on the state fairgrounds.

And, man, the mad scramble to beg for invites to that ball is gonna be something to behold.


Rauner claims he’s been too busy to reflect on his term

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* More from Craig Wall’s Rauner exit interview

“I will miss a lot of the people I have had the privilege to work with,” Rauner said. “I will not miss the stress. This has been the hardest job I’ve ever done by far.”

“What I’m gonna do is actually give time to reflect. Frankly, I’ve been so focused on governing and messaging in the moment I haven’t done as much reflecting and analysis of the last six years,” he added.

Rauner also spoke about what he learned about his political nemesis Mike Madigan.

“I learned that working with him directly won’t get the result, he responds through his caucus. Pressure through his caucus is the way to get the Speaker to move,” he said.

One way you can pressure the House Speaker is to line up all three legislative leaders against him via a “grand bargain” to break a two-year impasse and… oh, nevermind.

Remember how Larry David described the Seinfeld show’s credo? “No hugging. No learning.”

Inauguration Day is one month from today, people.


Pritzker’s day in DC

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* AP

Illinois Governor-Elect JB Pritzker met with President Trump Thursday at the White House.

Trump welcomed governors-elect from both parties to the White House. Among the other governors were Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, Georgia Republican Brian Kemp, Wisconsin Democrat Tony Evers and newly inaugurated Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican.

White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Doug Hoelscher had said they’d be discussing “shared priorities,” including workforce investment, prison reform and combating the opioid epidemic.

The visitors also met with Cabinet members as part of a broader White House outreach effort to local officials.

* Transcript of public quotes

PRITZKER: Mr. President, I’m JB Pritzker, the governor-elect of Illinois, and I founded 1871, which is the- well named this year the world’s best business incubator, and as I’ve been speaking with your daughter, I’ve also been a national advocate for early childhood education.

TRUMP: Very good, great to see you.

* NBC 5

“He seemed to be in a good mood and was welcoming to all of the governors,” Pritzker said. “We had a good conversation about the issues that were important to us.” […]

Since the election, Pritzker has said that he will work with members of both parties, Democrat and Republican, to bring more federal dollars to the state of Illinois, and that includes President Trump.

“I was glad to go to Washington to advocate for the people of Illinois,” he said. “We need to bring more federal dollars to Illinois, and I had the opportunity to advocate for infrastructure, and he expressed his desire to get a bill passed as well.”

* Lynn Sweet

Afterward, I caught up with Pritzker as he was leaving the White House and one of my first questions to him as we stood on a chilly Pennsylvania Avenue is why after all his Trump bashing he bothered to make the day trip.

The answer is that Pritzker, switching from campaigning to governing, has the luxury and necessity now to be practical and see how he can use his perch to get more federal dollars to Illinois. […]

“Well, I had an opportunity to express to both of them and to the president and the vice president how important it is that we pass an infrastructure bill for the states, and they agreed. And then I especially focused on the formula, which is very important to get an infrastructure bill that works for the states. We need to go back to an 80/20 formula,” Pritzker said, a reference to the state having to come up with a 20 percent match in order to collect the federal funds.

“…The other topic that we talked about and that I advocated for was help with the Asian Carp problem in the Great Lakes. As you can imagine, we have the governor of Michigan there, the governor of Wisconsin was there, the governor of Ohio was there. We’re all affected by this crisis.

“The president didn’t seem to know anything about it. But he was very interested in helping and said that he would speak with the Army Corps of Engineers and work with our states to make sure that we’re addressing the problem.”


*** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Craig Wall

Bruce Rauner, in his final month as governor, revealed in an exclusive interview that he tried to convince two men and two women to run in his place this election cycle.

“And I said I’ll step aside, I’ll give you huge financial resources, you run for governor, I’ll support you. You have as good or better chance to get elected than me. All four of them said no, too tough, too unlikely, too difficult,” said Governor Bruce Rauner.

Sources say former state senator Karen McConnaughey was one of them, when reached by phone she declined to comment. Sources also say Cubs part-owner Todd Ricketts was unsuccessfully recruited by Rauner. […]

“When President Trump won the White House, but lost Illinois by 16 points, I think 16 to 17 points, that changed the dynamic from good chance for reelection to very, very difficult chance for reelection,” Rauner said.

* Rick Pearson

Sources said Rauner’s recruitment effort also included Todd Ricketts, a member of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs who is now finance chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Erika Harold, an Urbana attorney who at the time was the GOP nominee for attorney general. She ultimately lost to Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul. A source close to Harold said Rauner contacted her about replacing him on the ticket in August, mere months before the general election. […]

McConnaughay, who retired from the legislature in September, said Rauner’s effort to remove himself from the ticket was “indicative of how he governed” and how he repeatedly sought to avoid blame for failures.

“He tried to take himself out the same way he came in. He never learned the job,” McConnaughay said.

“He really came into office with this belief that he had some sort of mandate to strong-arm his agenda through. But he never understood the process. He didn’t try to understand the process. He didn’t think he needed to understand the process,” she said. “As a result, he demonstrated a lack of respect for the process.”

* Greg Bishop

[Rep. Jeanne Ives] said she was not one of the four asked.

“It was obvious from the beginning that he was not serious about winning the race so he destroyed Republicans up and down the ticket by not bowing out politely and letting someone else take the lead,” Ives said.

She said there’s no doubt in her mind GOP leadership in Illinois knew about this and “let this go on.” She demanded top leadership step down.

“It’s really unfortunate for everybody involved in politics who now completely understand that [Rauner] essentially bought his race and then lied down to the Democrats and was never going to be the watchdog that we need in the face of Pritzker’s tax increase and increased spending that will drive Illinois to the brink of disaster,” Ives said. […]

“Politics is a very tough game,” Ives said. “If you’re heart’s not in it, it will show through and voters will know you’re not authentic and Rauner was not authentic and voters knew it.”

“I hope it’s a wake up call for all these other elected officials who sat on the sidelines while Rauner lied about who I am and what I stand for and they let him get away with it,” Ives said.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider

Neither myself nor the staff at the Illinois Republican Party had any knowledge of the discussions Governor Rauner had regarding his candidacy.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Daily Herald

Karen McConnaughay said Rauner approached her in April about taking his place, but she quickly rebuffed his proposal.

“I was concerned in my conversations that he didn’t really understand that if he really did want to take his name off the ballot, that he couldn’t just pick a replacement,” she said. “He hadn’t sought any counsel about the process, so he couldn’t understand it.” […]

In the end, McConnaughay said the conversation mostly focused on the protocols of replacing him on the ballot and her trying to explain to him that it’s not something he gets to do in a vacuum.

“It was not the kind of conversation you could take seriously, because he had not contemplated the process of how any of that would work,” she said. “To replace a sitting person on the ballot is the work of the party, not a hand-picked choice. I was flattered that he thought of me, but there’s a whole process to this, and I told him to do careful consideration to all of that before you have conversations with people about replacing him on the ballot.”

…Adding… INN

“They knew that Rauner was not in for the fight,” said Ives, R-Wheaton. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they knew he asked others to run. [Schneider] can say what he wants to all day long, I do not believe him.”

McConnaughay said she didn’t know if GOP officials were aware Rauner wanted someone else to take over in the race against Pritzker.

“I only know what I know and I’m not interested in engaging in conspiracy theories, I’ll leave that to Representative Ives,” McConnaughay said.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Cook County Republican Chairman…

Sean Morrison condemns Bruce Rauner;
calls for emergency Illinois GOP Meeting

Chicago, IL – To learn yesterday that Bruce Rauner secretly tried to abdicate his candidacy - on several occasions - is an affront to everyone in the Illinois Republican Party and the entire State of Illinois. It is an egregious betrayal of trust that countless members of the Republican Party placed in him, and that 1.7 Million residents of Illinois had when they cast their vote for him in November.

I personally asked the Governor on two separate occasions before the Primary if he was committed to his re-election. Both times, to my face, he made clear that he was all in – not only for himself but for all Statewide candidates. We now know, by his own admission, that he deceived me and others.

Evidently, the deception didn’t end there. After the primary, Bruce explicitly promised a statewide absentee ballot and early voting program to boost Republican turnout. Was the program ever implemented? No. And his answer to questions about this program’s failure was nothing more than continued excuses.

It is abundantly clear now that Rauner’s lack of commitment to his own campaign for re-election brought about complete failure. But he didn’t just fail himself, he failed each and every Republican candidate across the state, and as a result, we lost in record numbers; many races we might have otherwise won had his commitments been kept.

It saddens me to have to say this, but this private surrender by Bruce Rauner shows a lack of loyalty, integrity, and character. Many good people across our state, including myself, stood with and supported Bruce Rauner over the last four years even in the midst of many horrible policy decisions made by the governor. But we remained loyal, steadfast and committed to the Governor and all Republican Party candidates – from the top to the bottom of the ticket.

Every person that committed their time, effort and money to re-elect the Governor, from the 75 year old retiree making phone calls to the 18 year old high schooler who walked door to door in the rain for the Governor and the entire Republican ticket is owed an apology.

As a Republican elected official and a member of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee, this kind of betrayal and deception is totally unacceptable and has no place within our party. For this reason, I will call for an emergency meeting of the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee to address this deeply troubling matter and to immediately forge a plan forward to rebuild our party as one that will fight for the working families of Illinois and will challenge Illinois Democratic Party policies that have forced our state into economic peril.


Feds re-raid Ald. Burke’s office

Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Carol Marin

This time there was no brown paper covering the entrance to the third floor finance committee office at Chicago’s City Hall, but federal agents returned to the office of Alderman Ed Burke on Thursday, sources tell NBC 5.

According to two sources, six to eight federal agents arrived at the alderman’s City Hall office at approximately 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon with a search and seizure warrant.

Just two weeks ago on Nov. 29, agents executed search warrants on both Burke’s 14th Ward office and his finance committee suite.

Like the previous search, there is still no official word on what agents were looking for when they searched the offices.

…Adding… Sun-Times

Former Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans is laying out a bill of particulars against Ald. Edward Burke (14th), alleging that he worked repeatedly behind the scenes to inappropriately pressure her and her staff on airport business. […]

• Burke personally intervened to make sure that the clout-heavy United Maintenance, which held janitorial contracts at O’Hare Airport, got paid promptly.

• Burke pushed to renew or extend a contract with Go Airport, which operates a shuttle service at O’Hare.

• Burke worked to help Clear Channel, the company that controls indoor advertising at O’Hare, when it was upset over a competitor’s actions at the airport.

• When dozens of leases for hangars and aviation support facilities were coming up for renewal, the City was obligated to offer them the same business terms. Those terms required City Council approval. However, Burke insisted that each lease be separately submitted to Council – which delayed and complicated the approvals.

Click here for some background on United Maintenance.



Friday, Dec 14, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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