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Cullerton wants legislator lobbying addressed, wants two-chamber solution, talks about expulsion, addresses Link questions

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019

* In the wake of Rep. Luis Arroyo’s arrest, Senate President John Cullerton told reporters today that he wants to work with the House on rules and statutory changes. He said the two chambers worked together after Rod Blagojevich was impeached to put together an ethics package

We are definitely going to deal with responses to the other incidences of ethics violations that have been alleged by working with the House and working with ethics changes.

I went back and looked at what we did when Blagojevich was impeached. We had a joint committee with the House and the Senate. So I’m going to talk to the speaker about urging us to do that again, have hearings to find responsible changes to our rules and our statutes to address it.

There are clearly some issues we’re dealing with, that were not addressed ten years ago with regard to lobbying, which is something we should look at for sure.

* A reporter pointed out to Cullerton today that the House will likely soon begin an investigative process into Rep. Arroyo. So what will he do about Sen. Tom Cullerton, who’s been indicted?

That’s what we’re gonna talk about with regard to the House. It doesn’t do any good just to have one chamber dealing something. I think it’s important that we look and see if we have to have any statutes changed. So, we’re gonna talk to them and I’m gonna talk to the speaker today.

* Cullerton was then asked what it would take to possibly expel Tom Cullerton

There’s a whole bunch of different issues with regard to that. There’s issues dealing with whether or not the activity alleged directly relates to the legislature, like taking a bribe to pass a bill, something like that. As opposed to something that’s not related. That’s an issue.

There’s issues dealing with due process for the people that are charged with a crime, allowing them to defend themselves while they’re also defending themselves in a different forum. It’s very complicated. So I think the best thing to do is set up a joint committee with the House and have testimony on the various ways in which we can change the rules to address them.

He said later than Sen. Tom Cullerton’s indicment doesn’t appear to involve the legislature and noted that Sen. Sandoval hasn’t yet been charged with anything.

* Cullerton also said he’s talked with Sen. Terry Link in the past 24 hours about a gaming bill for the city of Chicago. Cullerton said that Link is still his point person on gaming and since Link denies that he is the cooperating witness, “I don’t know what else you can say about that.”

Cullerton said he hadn’t talked to Link about the Arroyo case. He was asked how he deals with a caucus which includes someone who may be wearing a wire

I just learned about it yesterday, I haven’t had a chance, we didn’t even talk about it in our own caucus yesterday. So I don’t know what people want to do. That’s why I want to see what the members want to do in response to it. That’s all I can say. We don’t even know who it is, you see.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - DIstant watcher - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    The US Attorney has done a solid job in the past, but they’ve lost cases before. We should be cautious about declaring a general rule that when they bring a criminal charge, the official must resign.


  2. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    === He was asked how he deals with a caucus which includes someone who may be wearing a wire…===

    “Don’t do anything illegal or that you don’t want your mother reading about on the front page.”


  3. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    As I stated yesterday, I don’t necessarily agree that the T. Cullerton business doesn’t involve the legislature. A union boss was allegedly paying him, the Chair of the Senate Labor Committee, all that money and benefits for nothing in return?


  4. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    ===There’s a whole bunch of different issues with regard to that. There’s issues dealing with whether or not the activity alleged directly relates to the legislature, like taking a bribe to pass a bill, something like that. As opposed to something that’s not related.===

    “You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you’s. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Luckily I’m adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, limber.”


  5. - Perrid - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    Thomas Paine, while I’m inclined to agree with you, it is disturbing to know a friend has been recording you without your knowledge. Even if you’re not doing anything unethical, there are things you would tell friends you don’t want everyone to know.

    I don’t know if there’s anything to be done about it, but I don’t think you can just dismiss it as a non-issue.


  6. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    === it is disturbing to know a friend has been recording you without your knowledge. ===

    You and I have different definitions of “friend.”


  7. - Sonny - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 1:04 pm:

    Talk to Link about Arroyo. How hard is this. Did Cullerton get a brain transplant recently.


  8. - Former Candidate on the Ballot - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    Ethics are different than laws. If you are federally indicted, an Ethics committee should immediately investigate. There is no dispute that Tom Cullerton took the money and did not disclose it on his campaign disclosure form while he was chairman of the Senate Labor Committee - Trigger point - Federal indictment; Ethical violation found = forced resignation. Gives him the necessary time to defend himself in court.

    Sandavol, on the other hand had a search warrant but no charges yet. Does not meet the automatic trigger point of a federal indictment. Caucus leader’s judgment to initiate an Ethical committee review and next steps.


  9. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    I said this in an earlier post, but the Illinois Democratic party needs to do a better job of vetting candidates and recruiting honest candidates. Considering that the majority of the elected officials have been “hand-picked”, perhaps some better scrutiny over those doing the picking would avoid some of this embarrassment. I know he is no longer in office, but someone should get a comment from Luis Gutierrez on both Arroyo and Maldonado.


  10. - Just Me - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    Ron, nobody is arguing Tom Cullerton is a Boy Scout, but unless you have proof that his union salary was directly related to his votes, then you’re not comparing apples to apples.

    With Arroyo we have him on tape talking about bribes. That is proof enough for a quick removal from office.


  11. - Sue - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    LOL- does President Cullerton believe for a second that the Teamsters would have had Tom Cullerton on its payroll absent his being a State Senator. Don’t insult our intelligence


  12. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 5:02 pm:

    Isn’t or wasn’t President Cullerton registered as a lobbyist to the city of Chicago?


  13. - Charlie Brown - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 6:45 pm:

    Sue -

    More to the point, I believe the Teamsters went out of their way to ensure Cullerton was eligible for benefits because of some goofy campaign promise made to the Chicago Tribune and it’s followers to refuse a state pension if elected. It was crazy, crazy, crazy…and he should have walked that right back the day he was sworn in.


  14. - Honest John? - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 7:40 pm:

    John Cullerton has lobbied the MWRD about constructing a road across a golf course to benefit a property that he has a stake in.


  15. - Just Me - Tuesday, Oct 29, 19 @ 8:01 pm:

    Gee, if only we had known about this problem of legislators also lobbying other government agencies before? Who knew this was a problem that we needed to fix?


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