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Republicans go on the attack against Pritzker over probe

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Let’s start with a relatively mild critique via the Illinois News Network

Despite paying back the $331,000 he got in property tax breaks, Gov. J.B. Pritzker insisted his family did nothing wrong when it had toilets removed from a spare mansion to have it deemed uninhabitable.

When WBEZ radio broke the story last week that Pritzker and his wife were under federal criminal investigation for removing toilets from the Gold Coast mansion to get a tax break, the governor was asked whether he thought it was political, or if it would derail his push for a progressive income. He explained Tuesday in Springfield why he paid the money back last year even though he followed the rules.

“We simply wanted to avoid distraction during the course of the campaign,” Pritzker said in his office. “As I say, any review of this will show the rules were followed. During the campaign, it was clear that people were trying to make this a political issue, so we just wanted to get it out of the way.”

State Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, said the explanation didn’t make sense.

“I don’t know many people, even billionaires, that would write three-hundred-plus-thousand dollar checks if they felt like they didn’t do anything wrong,” Plummer said. […]

“You’re going to have people talking about ‘other folks need to pay their fair share, other folks need to carry and even heavier tax burden,’ but then there’s these various schemes to avoid taxes and I find that somewhat hypocritical and very concerning,” Plummer said.

* Here’s Plummer in the Metro East Sun, a Proft paper

“I find the hypocrisy to be stunning,” he said. “I mean you have the governor, a multi-billionaire, under federal investigation in a case the inspector general has characterized as a scheme to skip out on tax payments at the same time he wants to preach about paying more taxes to everyone else.”

To the question of whether or not the ongoing scandal will impact Pritzker’s ability to govern, Plummer thinks it’s too early to know.

“I think everyone needs to wait and let the investigation play itself out, but I think the governor really needs to rethink his habit of preaching on taxes,” he said. “The hard-working people of Illinois are already paying more than their fair share. It’s people like him that are scheming to get out of paying at all.”

* From the same outlet

Illinois State Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) sees the list of potential victims in the property tax scandal now dogging Gov. J.B. Pritzker as being endless.

“Everyone and their budgets, including our fire and policemen, are impacted by this because it’s our tax revenue that pays for everything,” Meier, the longtime representative for the 108th District, told Metro East Sun. “If it turns out that he’s been trying not to pay taxes of his own while trying to raise them on everyone else, it would really be sad.”

* Same network, different paper

State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland) fails to see how Gov. J.B. Pritzker can continue to have the nerve to ask Illinois voters for a blank check under the present circumstances.

“You would think his being under federal investigation would significantly reduce the trust of an already skeptical electorate,” Miller told the East Central Reporter. “Anytime you have criminal liability hanging over your head, it can’t be seen as a good thing, even among the people that are your strongest supporters.” […]

“It just seems like justice doesn’t get meted out very often when it comes to people with money, power and prestige like the governor,” said Miller, elected last November to represent the 110th District. “Truthfully, I would be shocked if anything comes of this on a legal front. That’s why it’s so important that voters step up and be the checks and balances we need to protect the system.”

* Ramping it up a notch in the same publishing network

“We knew about this a year ago and Democrats wanted to ignore it,” [Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur] said. “It speaks to the governor’s character that he would knowingly participate in something like that. I think it’s a very unseemly thing to do and further makes Illinois the laughingstock of the country.”

* A bit more fire from another Eastern Bloc member

Newly elected Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) has a hard time believing some of the things that pass for normalcy in Springfield.

“This news should absolutely impact the way Gov. Pritzker governs,” Bailey told the SE Illinois News of reports that Gov. J.B. Pritzker and several family members including his wife remain under federal probe stemming from alleged acts taken in an attempt to lower their property tax bill. “Instead, you’ve got the whole Democratic party still supporting him as if nothing’s happened and this corruption is all part of the lifestyle they live.”

Hey, at least he said “Democratic” party, although I figure he was probably misquoted /s

* They even talked to former Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)

“The Cook County inspector general concluded this was a scheme to defraud,” Ives said. “You read the whole report, and it’s obvious that they falsified documents. People need to know when Gov. Pritzker cheated on his property taxes he didn’t just impact his neighbor. He cheated on everybody.”

Ives said she finds it ironic that news of Pritzker’s alleged transgressions comes at a time when he is pushing a tax hike in the form of a graduated income tax on some of the state’s most affluent residents.

“It definitely calls into question his wanting to raise taxes on everyone else when he cheats on his own tax bill,” she said. “I think this hurts his ability to get his graduated tax across and if he is prosecuted it will affect his ability to run the state.”

* But the pièce de résistance is from Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-McHenry)

“I hope Gov. Pritzker and his wife get a pair of shiny, new handcuffs when this is done,” he said.

* Related…

* Rep. Ugaste wants Springfield to focus on state’s most immediate problems, despite distractions

* Rep. Grant weighs in on Pritzker probe


  1. - Morningstar - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    I find the quotes from the Eastern Bloc representatives stunning for their unusual ability to articulate their thoughts in complex sentences.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    The mystery of who got the Clown Car after Ringling Bros. shut down has been solved.

    Expect regular appearances in the Proftaganda Press.

  3. - Mike - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    - Hey, at least he said “Democratic” party, although I figure he was probably misquoted /s -

    Worth the subscription price right there!

  4. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    Stunning? Hypocritical? Perhaps yes. Illegal? Not if you have enough money to buy your way out of it.

  5. - Just Observing - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    === “You’re going to have people talking about ‘other folks need to pay their fair share, other folks need to carry and even heavier tax burden,’ but then there’s these various schemes to avoid taxes and I find that somewhat hypocritical and very concerning,” Plummer said. ===

    Very fair attack.

    === “I hope Gov. Pritzker and his wife get a pair of shiny, new handcuffs when this is done,” he said. ===

    Absolutely ridiculous.

  6. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    I feel badly for J.B.’s press staff having to explain and spin this. It’s such a Republican thing to do.

  7. - LTSW - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    Has there even been one of those “ we can neither confirm or deny there is an on going investigation “ statement from the feds?

  8. - Jocko - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    Other than a ‘law enforcement source’, do we know for certain that Pritzker is under investigation? Plummer and company appear to be getting WAY ahead of themselves.

  9. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    Remember when Rep. Joe Lyons calling Blago a “madman” was considered pushing the boundaries?

  10. - Practical Politics - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    Stunning? Hypocritical? Perhaps yes. Illegal? Not if you have enough money to buy your way out of it.

    @generic drone:

    This is the thing that boggles the mind: Why did the Pritzkers do such a thing? They had the financial wherewithal to pay the real estate taxes based upon the assessments without batting an eye.

    Lower assessments do not just happen without submitting paperwork such as complaint forms and supporting affidavits. Then there was also the instructions to the plumbers to pull the toilets in advance of an inspection.

    It is simply too weird.

  11. - RetiredStateEmployee - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:08 am:

    The only hypocrisy here is Republicans calling out someone who tried to avoid taxes when their leader said it was the smart thing to do. Where’s their outrage about one of their own?

  12. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    @GenericDrone - If Pritzker never directed the false representations made on the tax appeal form, he probably doesn’t have to worry. The thing that bothers me is that the uber-rich in America hire people (just look at Trump and Michael Cohen) that regularly seem to commit either unethical or even illegal acts for their benefit. Same thing happens in politics. Once you get to a certain level, there is no need to get your hands dirty because for a price, there is always someone willing to do it for you.

  13. - Annonin' - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    Checkin to see which of the clowncarers rapped GovJunk for his dead vets accomplishments or the PoisonPlant debacle. So far we see zip. Good job mopes

  14. - Hard D - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    Was out for dinner this past weekend with two criminal defense lawyers one a former Asst U.S. attorney. When this topic came up both agreed that when JB paid back the money he made a mistake. Would have been better off sticking to his story that he felt that everything was done properly. By writing the check for 330,000 it’s a admission of sorts. Both agreed that this problem not going away soon.

  15. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    From ABC Chicago7 May 15/17 Sarah Schultz: The empty home has been declared uninhabitable, which allows Pritzker to take advantage of a tax break called the Vacancy Relief Provision. “The vacancy provision is done to encourage development and rehabilitation,” said Tom Shaer, Cook County Assessor spokesman.

    From Chicago SunTimes May 12/17 Tim Novak: Berrios … didn’t know Pritzker owned the Gold Coast mansions when his staff cut the assessments and, as a result, Pritzker’s taxes, according to his spokesman Tom Shaer.

    So here’s the problem. There shouldn’t be a Vacancy Relief Provision. I get it that taxpayers want to encourage development and rehabilitation but this is for everyone, rich as well as poor. Even Trump got 14.1 million relief for Trump Towers at 401 N. Wabash. Trump and Pritzker and everyone who can afford to can rehab on their own dime. Meanwhile there can be a need based grant for those building owners who can’t. It shouldn’t be automatic.

  16. - anon2 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    No other press outlet has confirmed the purported federal investigation, as far as I know. WBEZ has one anonymous source. With all respect to WBEZ, is it possible there is no active investigation?

  17. - Annonin' - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    Clowncarers now leakin’ in the Blue answers just gripes

  18. - My New Handle - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 12:07 pm:

    Maybe Rep. Skillicorn and the Eastern Bloc-heads can follow the yellow brick road and get shiny new brains. My heart sinks whenever I think about what thoughtless people the Repubs have become.

  19. - DuPage Moderate - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 12:09 pm:

    Plummer is not wrong.

    The “Fair Tax” message would be a lot more palatable if it were not being peddled by individual(s) who have taken continual and overt steps to make it as unfair as possible. If we’re talking fairness, why is all of our Governor’s money overseas?

  20. - Fairness for everyone - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 12:41 pm:

    “If we’re talking fairness, why is all of our Governor’s money overseas?”
    Money overseas isn’t inherently unfair. And if it moves to the US it is taxed. The only way to avoid US taxes is to spend it overseas.

  21. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    The wealthy have resources to fight any legal issues. Most of us get fines or jail time because of no money up front.

  22. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    The question is, Would Republicans support a graduated income tax if there was no toilet scandal? I’m confident we know the answer.

  23. - Whatever - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    DuPage Modeerate ==If we’re talking fairness, why is all of our Governor’s money overseas?==

    The fact that we know about it means it’s being taxed, so what is your issue?

  24. - Pick a Name - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    So Grandson, Rauner didn’t pay enough in state income taxes(roughly $16 million over 3 years) but it’s ok if Jay Robert played the system to try and save $331,000??

    Interesting take

  25. - consmom - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    @whatever The fact that we know about it does not mean it’s being taxed. There generally are reporting requirements, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the funds are being taxed. People create all kinds of offshore accounts and foreign corporations to avoid tax in their country of domicile. That said, I’ve read that these overseas funds are in trusts, so the governor probably doesn’t have any control over them.

  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:44 pm:

    –If we’re talking fairness, why is all of our Governor’s money overseas?–

    Is it? Could you provide a citation for that?

  27. - Abby normal - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==So Grandson, Rauner didn’t pay enough in state income taxes(roughly $16 million over 3 years) but it’s ok if Jay Robert played the system to try and save $331,000?? Interesting take==
    They both took legal property tax reductions over the years.

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