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Press release about undrafted bill designed to attract attention attracts attention

Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019

* Press release…

In response to the surprising decision by prosecutors to drop the case against Chicago actor Jussie Smollett, State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) plans to file legislation to prohibit any production using the actor from receiving Illinois Film Tax Credits. […]

Rep. McAuliffe will be filing the bill this week.

*Sigh*

McAuliffe and I go way back, and if he runs again next year (very doubtful, I think) he may not have an easy time of it. To his credit, he always thinks like a target. And many (not all) targets love them some publicity.

And it’s not like Michael is all that unique. Every time something big happens, some legislator tries to jump on the publicity hound bandwagon with some bill tailor-made to attract attention. The practice is as old as legislatures themselves. Some members are probably kicking themselves today for not thinking of this tax credit angle first.

* And, of course, it worked like a charm…

* Tribune: State legislator says productions employing Jussie Smollett should not get state tax credits

* Sun-Times: A ‘Jussie’ restriction? Lawmaker would nix tax credits for Smollett shows, films

* Daily Line: Chicago’s only GOP lawmaker calls for ‘Empire’ to lose tax credits after charges dropped against Smollett

* CBS 2: IL State Representative Wants To Prohibit TV Companies From Receiving Tax Credits If They Employ Jussie Smollett

All of those stories are basically just re-writes of his press release. Mission accomplished.

* I asked the HGOPs how Rep. McAuliffe could possibly draft a constitutional bill to deprive an otherwise eligible company from receiving state tax credits if they employed this goofball and was told only that a bill would be filed by the end of the week.

So, I guess we gotta wait. But how are they gonna draft this thing? “Any production company that employs any person who was arrested for (fill in the blank) between (fill in date range) and then all charges were mysteriously and suddenly dropped is ineligible to receive the state film tax credit”?

*Deep sigh*

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Shelby Weems - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:18 am:

    Wow, what an awful waste of time. I’m as baffled as anyone on why Jussie got let go but it is 100000% not the responsibility of the State Legislature to play Judge and Jury like this.

    He does realize that all this does is make Jussie seem like an actual victim…. right?


  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    Of course any production company would win in court if push came to shove but is there a chance that Jussie could sue McAuliffe personally?


  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:24 am:

    === is there a chance that Jussie could sue McAuliffe personally?===

    Sure. There’s also a chance he could sue the us govt because the moon isn’t made out of cheese.

    Got the filing fee? You can sue anyone for anything.

    Now, ask if he can sue him successfully.

    Because that answer would be no.


  4. - illini - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    It does appear that many in the GA will file bills designed only to appeal to their base constituencies or to get press coverage when a “hot issue” hits the headlines. Red meat for the base or free publicity for the legislator - take your pick.


  5. - Northsider - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many otherwise smart people let themselves get played like a cheap fiddle.


  6. - Actual Red - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:26 am:

    Surely there are other entertainment industry figures equally worthy of being blackballed by the Illinois legislature? No special legislation for movies bankrolled by Harvey Weinstein, TV series produced by Louis CK, or stores selling albums featuring R. Kelly?


  7. - Perrid - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    @anonymous, how? This is never going to be a law, so there will never be any actual damage to Jussie. Unless you’re trying to say McAuliffe is defaming Jussie?

    Even if it did become a law (which would mean dozens of other legislatos went along with McAullife), the State would get sued, not McAuliffe, as long as he/they was acting in their role as legislators


  8. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    Useless bill.

    It might be possible to give the State Attorney General the right to review all cases where charges are dropped and records sealed. The AG could look for corrupt agreements.

    It might be possible to reopen the case. There would be no double jeopardy because charges were dropped before trial.


  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    McAluiffe’s press release is an easy, lazy hook for unquestioning media. There are many, many questions they should be chasing down on this story that have nothing to do with McAuliffe’s sideshow.


  10. - Sue - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    Any such legislation would be unconstitutional- better to ask for ARDC investigation of Fox. The statute on recusal seems to have mandated the case be transferred to another County prosecutor appointed by the trial court. Something truly awful seems to have occurred with this


  11. - Amalia - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    McAuliffe or Martwick. Northwest side, what a choice…..


  12. - funfaxfan - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Tantamount to deprivation of 14th amend. privileges & immunities i.e. right to earn an income for a private citizen w/ no legal basis for doing so i.e. felony. So silly. Sometimes I really wonder what staffers are for in these instances. PS former staffer.


  13. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Is there any piece of statute that specifically cites an individual at all? I know Jon Burge used to be listed in police torture things until they expanded the jurisdiction.


  14. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    Smollett’s already destroyed his own career. I don’t think he needs any help from some pol looking for a headline.


  15. - Father Ted - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    Like it or not, Smollett was offered a deal and he took it.
    If McAuliffe is upset about the situation, he should draft legislation targeting Kim Foxx, not Smollett. Obviously, this is an attention grab for an easy media bump and not an attempt to fix anything.


  16. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    –The statute on recusal seems to have mandated the case be transferred to another County prosecutor appointed by the trial court.–

    She didn’t actually recuse.

    –Cook County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Kiera Ellis said in a statement that Fox “did not formally recuse herself or the [State’s Attorney] Office based on any actual conflict of interest. As a result, she did not have to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor.”

    When Fox publicly announced that she had recused herself “it was a colloquial use of the term rather than in its legal sense,” Ellis said.–

    Right. “A colloquial use of the term.”

    This whole things stinks to the moon. I can’t figure why Foxx would risk everything for some D-List actor, no matter who his friends are. But she sure has.


  17. - Roman - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    Forget phony bills, the legislature has an actual roll to play here. They should hold a hearing to ask the State’s Atty’s Office a few questions.

    Foxx and the deputy SA she appointed to handle the case can’t be allowed to just issue a two sentence press release and run away. They are the state’s attorney (emphasis on state.) The state should hold them accountable.


  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    Roman is correct- the real question is accountability on the part of the State’s Attorney office. Have they now set a precedent where anyone who files a false police report should expect to have charges dropped without question? Is filing a false police report no longer a problem?


  19. - Amalia - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    I like Roman’s idea. cause the County Board sure will not ask the pertinent questions. this case is not like the 5000 some other ones that the CCSAO has, apparently, let go. but that list of cases should also be scrutinized.


  20. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:37 am:

    This is all so shady. The court file has been sealed, and the prosecutors didn’t object.


  21. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    ==Smollett’s already destroyed his own career. ==

    And Kim Foxx has just destroyed hers.


  22. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    CWB Chicago claims to have the full police investigative files via FOIA

    http://www.cwbchicago.com/


  23. - Fixer - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    Republicans want to pick winners and losers through legislation? Wasn’t that railed against pretty hard previously by these same folks?


  24. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    Illinois tax laws can’t be used to punish individuals.


  25. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    I’n from Chicago, and I completely agree with McAuliffe. Let his bill actually use Jussie Smollett’s name in the text. Let the film company take the state to court to prove it is special legislation and is therefore unconstitutional.


  26. - BraidwoodBilly - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    Sounds a little bit like a bill of attainder to me…


  27. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    –Have they now set a precedent where anyone who files a false police report should expect to have charges dropped without question? –

    Sixteen felony charges, mind you, from a grand jury, on the recommendation of the State’s Attorney. Hundreds of hours of police work chasing down the hoax.


  28. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:48 pm:

    ==And Kim Foxx has just destroyed hers==

    Hard to believe she’d make this choice knowing the political ramifications. So if you believe that, the next question is, “Who gave the order?” I don’t want to simply toss out names, but the list can’t be too long. Kudos to the journalist who gets the real story.

    To the post, the proposed legislation is dumb. What I’d like to see, as long as you have “hate crime” legislation to begin with, is to make hate crime hoaxes carry the same penalties as the purported hate crimes themselves. After all, wasn’t Jesse’s intent that of a “hate crime”, looking to cause damage to an individual or a group based on race as a partial motive?


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