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Afternoon roundup

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* What a weirdly misleading story that was…

Full exchange

Q: And then also, there is a report today in Politico that quote, overheard Illinois Governor JB Pritzker talking at high volume in the central lounge of the Congress Center about his political future political career, including a possible White House bid. Is that an accurate report that you were overheard making comments in the Congress Center, whatever that is?

A: No. I was interviewed by one of your colleagues in another news organization. And, you know, they asked me all about Illinois. And eventually, they got around to asking the question that you all have asked me about being mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. And I was simply responding as I have to you that I have every intention to serve out the four years that I just won as governor, and that we have a lot of challenges in Illinois that we’re going to continue to work on overcoming, and lots of success already. And so to the, to the extent anybody overheard something, it was literally the answer that I was giving to that question that you all have asked me before.

* I think this conversation is over…

Full press conference is here.

* Uhleins in disarray

The race for chair of the Republican National Committee is dividing prominent households — pitting husband against wife.

Dick and Elizabeth Uihlein, billionaire GOP donors, have lined up on different sides of the battle over who is best equipped to lead the Republican National Committee.

Mrs. Uihlein has thrown her political muscle behind Ronna McDaniel‘s quest for a fourth term as RNC chair, while Mr. Uihlein is backing Harmeet Dhillon’s bid.

* Fresh numbers, traditional methodology. Politico

Sophia King’s campaign says its internal polling has the mayoral candidate moving up 5 percentage points from a month ago. The campaign says it’s because King is getting her message out.


Garcia 21%
Lightfoot 15%
Vallas 10%
King 8%
Johnson 8%
Wilson 5%
Green 5%
Undecided 27%

* End Citizens United sent a letter to US Rep. Mary Miller (R-No Relation)…

End Citizens United today issued an open letter to Republican members of Congress who took money from disgraced Congressman George Santos. The letter calls on the members to donate the money to charity.

Below is the text of the letter:

In recent weeks, the truth about Congressman George Santos has come to light. Americans have learned that he lied and fabricated every detail of his life in order to deceive voters of New York’s 3rd Congressional District.

Santos is facing several investigations, at the local, federal, and international level, and is the subject of multiple legal and ethics complaints, including three from End Citizens United. In particular, Santos is accused of using a shell company to hide the true sources of the $700,000 loan he made to his campaign. He also failed to follow the law by filing his financial disclosures inaccurately and with concerning omissions. It is an unacceptable level of dishonesty, unethical behavior, and corruption.

You are among a handful of Republicans who have taken tainted campaign contributions from George Santos.

Given the long list of lies, likely criminality, and blatant disregard for ethics, transparency, or the truth, we are calling on you to donate George Santos’ tainted money to charity. Keeping the money or returning it to Santos would be an endorsement of his deception and corruption.

Tiffany Muller
President, End Citizens United

According to the release, Rep. Miller received $5,000 from Kitara Ravache…. er… Rep. Santos.

* Press release…

ActBlue announced today that Regina Wallace-Jones will serve as its next CEO and President. Wallace-Jones, a technology executive, former elected official, and Democratic organizer succeeds Erin Hill, who led the organization for 14 years. Hill announced in July her intention to step down at the end of 2022.

* AG Raoul…

Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced his office obtained a seven-year prison sentence in its prosecution of a Winnebago County man who embezzled more than $100,000 from LTC Support Services, a Galesburg, Illinois-based company that operates Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) homes for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Steven A. Bennett, 53, of Roscoe, Illinois was sentenced Tuesday by Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Joseph G. McGraw after pleading guilty in September 2022 to one Class 1 felony count of theft.

* The Chief Justice is not happy with CDB and CMS…

Dear Director Underwood and Director Pascente:

As you surely know, the three Illinois Supreme Court Justices from Cook County, the 24 Justices of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, as well as their personal staff and other state court employees – well over 150 individuals in all – currently office on Floors 14 through 20 of the Michael A. Bilandic Building (MABB). I write to express my extreme dissatisfaction with the Capital Development Board and Central Management Services with respect to your management of the ongoing renovation of the MABB elevators.

The situation reached a crisis level yesterday morning when the Justices and staff arrived to work and were unable to ride the elevators up to their offices. Every elevator in the high rise bank was out of service, and the only operating elevator – the freight elevator – could not be utilized because it requires an operator with card access and no one from CDB or CMS was available. Neither CDB nor CMS communicated or provided adequate assistance as the day unfolded, thereby putting the safety of our judges and staff at risk should anyone on the court floors need to quickly descend to the lobby in the event of an emergency.

I am appalled at the egregious errors in CDB and CMS management of the elevator renovations. The lack of resolution on the part of your offices prompted the Supreme Court’s entry of an order yesterday suspending operations from the MABB until the safety of our judges and staff can be assured. Most disturbing is the lack of respect for the Judicial Branch of government, as well as the litigants whose access to justice has been compromised.

On behalf of my colleagues on the Illinois Supreme Court, I demand that you rectify the situation immediately. I will expect a response from you at your first opportunity.


Mary Jane Theis
Chief Justice, Illinois Supreme Court

* Press release…

For the first time in the history of the Illinois House of Representatives, Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch hosted a retreat for the leadership team of the House Democratic Caucus.

“I was thrilled to host my first leadership retreat for this dynamic group of legislators,” said Speaker Welch. “It’s important that I continue to foster a collaborative environment and find ways for our members to focus on what’s most important to their communities. I have the privilege of serving with a talented group of lawmakers and this retreat was a great opportunity for us to learn from one another and discuss emerging priorities for our Democratic Caucus.”

Welch’s retreat, which was held on Wednesday, focused on individual roles in fostering a culture of collaborative leadership, and featured presentations from the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization providing training and development for lawmakers across the country.

“This leadership retreat was an excellent chance to center our focus as Democrats and collaborate on priorities for the upcoming legislative session,” said Majority Leader Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston). “We’ve had a very successful two years – balanced budgets, protected reproductive rights, passed an equity-centered clean energy jobs package, approved the nation’s strongest assault weapons ban, and much more. It’s a great honor to serve alongside this leadership team as we work to build on that success and deliver lasting results for hardworking Illinoisans.”

“I’m grateful for Speaker Welch’s ongoing effort to find ways for our caucus to collaborate and grow as leaders,” said Assistant Majority Leader Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora). “This leadership retreat was an excellent learning opportunity and facilitated productive conversations about our priorities as Democrats for the next two years. We are united in our goal to uplift all of Illinois and to find effective solutions to the challenges we face.”

* I love this question from Ben during an aldermanic candidate forum…


The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) today issued 33 [cannabis] Transporter licenses, successfully closing the 2022 application pool. These licenses are in addition to the 88 Craft Grow licenses and 54 Infuser licenses already issued to date and brings the total of licensed transporters in the state to 222. 85% of all new licenses under the CRTA are equity by ownership.

“My administration remains committed to building the most equitable and economically prosperous cannabis industry in the nation,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Since I signed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act into law in 2019, we’ve issued hundreds of licenses for craft growers, transporters, and dispensaries—a majority of which are social equity applicants. And today, I couldn’t be happier to announce that the IDOA has issued an additional 33 transporter licenses—creating more good-paying jobs and setting the stage for a flourishing cannabis industry.”

“The Department is pleased to see this industry continue to grow” said Department of Agriculture Director, Jerry Costello. “They join the hundreds of Department licensees from the last two years in building the foundation of the legal cannabis industry in Illinois, and together have generated nearly 5,000 good-paying jobs. Our team remains highly focused on its core mission of developing a well-regulated and equitable industry.”

Transporter licensees transport cannabis and cannabis-infused products on behalf of other Illinois cannabis business establishments, but not directly to consumers. For example, a craft grower would utilize a transport licensee to deliver product to a dispensary.

The current list of licensees is available on the department’s website.

* And, finally, a group of former political movers and shakers got together in Naples, FL this week for the “Illinois Has-Been Reunion.” Click here for photos.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * WTTW | Illinois Utilities Seek to Increase Rates Across the State: What’s behind the increases depends on whom you ask. The companies have their reasons, while consumer advocates like Scarr see profit motives. Scarf said the timing has to do with changing state regulations, including the expiration of laws that largely removed authority from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Now, though, the ICC once again has more control over how much utilities can charge.

    * WICA | SNAP benefits in Illinois to decrease in March: The Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been giving out additional emergency monthly allotments since April 2020. The program’s funding of the extra pandemic benefits from the federal government is scheduled to end after February, and Illinois officials are warning people ahead of time they will need to adjust.

    * WICS | Pritzker relaunches ‘opening door’ homebuyer assistance program with additional $8 million: This latest round of assistance is funded through $8 million in state Rebuild Illinois capital funds and is expected to assist more than 1,300 potential homebuyers.

    * IBA | Gray TV Statehouse Reporter No Longer Working For Illinois Stations After Remarks In Gun Story: Mike Miletich, State Capitol Bureau Chief for Gray TV’s Illinois TV stations says he is no longer employed by WGEM or other Gray Stations. Ben Van Ness of WGEM Vice-President and General Manager says says the stations don’t comment on personnel matters.

    * WICA | Danville denies permit for third marijuana dispensary: The Lynch Road area of Danville will not be getting a third marijuana dispensary, the Danville City Council decided on Tuesday. One of the items on the council’s agenda was whether to amend a zoning ordinance that allowed for two dispensaries near Lynch Road. One dispensary – Sunnyside – is already open and a second – Seven Point – will break ground in March or April with construction being completed before the end of the year.

    * David Greising | Pritzker’s appearance at Davos could mark a turning point: Consider Pritzker’s main stage turn on the topic of “America (Un) Bound” — a panel meant to instruct the world about America’s policy aspirations and its fractious politics, circa 2023. It was typical Davos stuff: bromides and platitudes, mixed with healthy doses of partisan pugilism.

    * Politico | How an incumbent mayor became an underdog in Chicago: While there isn’t much public polling, surveys in recent months suggest she’s trailing Democratic Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the Feb. 28 election. And in a crowded field of candidates, Lightfoot might even be in danger of not making the April runoff that will take place if no candidate receives a majority of the votes.

    * WBEZ | City wants to use cameras to nail motorists who block bus or bike lanes, loading zones: Chicago motorists who block bus lanes, bike lanes, crosswalks or loading zones might soon get nailed by surveillance cameras installed on CTA buses, “city vehicles,” light poles and other property pinpointed by City Hall. Nearly 20 years after a CTA experiment with bus surveillance cameras failed miserably, Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to try it again and then some in a designated downtown area that has the “highest concentration of serious crashes, traffic congestion, public transit service, pedestrian and commercial activity in Chicago,” according to the proposed ordinance.

    * WBEZ | Crime is on Chicagoans’ minds. Here’s how nine mayoral hopefuls say they would address it.: “How do we deal with this? I mean, the reality for me is that there is something systemically wrong with how we’re managing this, how we’re talking about it,” she said. “It’s a cycle that is happening. And I’m not sure who is having the conversations to break the cycle.”

    * WILL | How did women access abortions in Illinois before Roe v. Wade?: Before Roe v. Wade recognized a constitutional right to abortion across America, women still found ways to end their pregnancies. In Illinois, that meant seeking help from an underground, feminist abortion service operating under the code name “Jane.”

    * Chicago Reader | Police district candidate’s social media full of racist and misogynist posts: In tweets and group chat messages obtained by the Reader, Abbasi variously shared a racist trope, asked whether it’s misogynist to “absolutely despise the idea of women in groups and wickedness that comes from them talking to each other,” and wrote that a bar owner he’d helped with liquor licensing had provided him with “Polish girls” who may have been “trafficked.” In an interview with the Reader, Abbasi admitted he wrote them but said they were humorous trolling.

    * Tribune | Chicago Bears Q&A: What could a trade down to No. 2 net? Should a 2024 1st-round pick be a must?: There will be no shortage of questions regarding the infinite possibilities Ryan Poles potentially will have with the No. 1 pick in the draft until he uses the selection or auctions it off. If the Bears were to move down one spot with the Houston Texans, who are in need of a quarterback, it would result in the smallest of all potential returns. I’m skeptical the Bears would get two first-round picks in this situation — it simply would be too high of a price for the Texans to pay unless they are positively head over heels for one of the prospects and suspect/fear another team is lurking to trade for the pick.

    * Tribune | Chicago’s love affair with popcorn goes back 150 years, from Cracker Jack to Garrett Mix: Since at least the 1870s, Chicago has been a hotbed of popcorn innovation. Part of that has to do with Chicago’s role as a transportation hub for grain in the Midwest. But the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens certainly helped.


  1. - Loyal Virus - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 2:43 pm:

    Hotbed of popcorn innovation and proud of it.

  2. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 2:45 pm:

    –The letter calls on the members to donate the money to charity.–

    It would probably be better for Mary Miller to keep the money. I don’t want any ‘charity’ she would donate to, to get any more money.

  3. - Hot Taeks - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 2:51 pm:

    After watching the clip of the interview the homeless veteran that Rep. Santos ripped off on CNN today, I really want Mr. Santos to resign, disappear, and never be heard from again. The lies and lunacy of him actually taking his seat were amusing at first. But hearing that guy saying he considered suicide when he lost his service dog was heart wrenching. This is beyond politics. George Santos is a wretched, evil man.

  4. - jim - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 2:57 pm:

    someone should tell our chief justice that the word “office” is not a verb.

  5. - Red Ketcher - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:07 pm:

    Photos - Illinois Has Been Reunion

    Appears to be a lot of IL Pension Money stimulating the economy of Florida.

  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===stimulating the economy of Florida.===

    Yep. lol

    And there are some others I know down there who didn’t make it to the event.

    Funny related story: Buddy of mine was golfing in Naples the other day. Was in the grill room with people we know. Spotted Dan Proft sitting at the bar.

  7. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:25 pm:

    popcorn. Illinois popcorn. small grain white popcorn cooked in lard. salted butter. having a jumbo bowl now. beats the heck out of Oreos(banned word).

  8. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:28 pm:

    The Illinois Has Been Reunion pictures—-resembles the Villages in Florida. Beverages and banter.

  9. - JoanP - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:29 pm:

    = someone should tell our chief justice that the word “office” is not a verb. =

    Yes, it is. At least, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, and I’ll take their word for it: “intransitive. North American. To have or work in an office; to share an office with someone.”

  10. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:42 pm:

    Seems like someone has a problem with a female Chief Justice, taking nonsensical cheap shots.

  11. - DougChicago - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:43 pm:

    Nice to see Convicted Felon Link looking so contrite.

    Not sure if he has been sentenced yet. Hopefully not. And hopefully him mugging for the camera will make its way into the US Attorney’s briefs concerning his sentencing.

  12. - Steve - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:43 pm:

    -I’m focused on this session.”-

    JB might want other issues on the 2024 ballot besides this. But, with his numbers in the House and the Senate: a progressive income tax is doable. Most true Blue states have a progressive income tax. How long can Illinois hold out?

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:51 pm:

    ===Nice to see Convicted Felon Link looking so contrite. ===

    What do you want him to do? Stay home and pull down his shades?

    Also, perhaps a Google search is in order for you: Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stetler said Wednesday that prosecutors intend to recommend a term of probation if he cooperates fully with the government.

    People are just so downright mean and nasty sometimes.

  14. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:51 pm:

    IL can hold out because it’s in our Constitution which means the people vote on it. Plenty of people who vote Dem (because of crazy and/or lackluster GOP candidates) are against what they perceive (and is marketted to them) as paying more taxes.

  15. - Politix - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==Santos is facing several investigations, at the local, federal, and international level, and is the subject of multiple legal and ethics complaints, including three from End Citizens United. In particular, Santos is accused of using a shell company to hide the true sources of the $700,000 loan he made to his campaign. He also failed to follow the law by filing his financial disclosures inaccurately and with concerning omissions. It is an unacceptable level of dishonesty, unethical behavior, and corruption.==

    The bar is low. None of that will be disqualifying.

  16. - DougChicago - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:58 pm:

    I suppose then it is up to the judge to decide Link’s fate.

    And, yes, I do think it is unseemly for someone like him to be frolicking about on a sun-filled afternoon with a bunch of the sort of people that got him — and that he got — in trouble.

  17. - Steve - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 3:59 pm:

    -are against what they perceive (and is marketted to them) as paying more taxes.-

    I think the majority of Illinois voters are for high sales taxes, property taxes, and tolls. I don’t see what’s holding back a progressive income tax: those public pensions aren’t going to be cut. Many Americans who make over 80k (in other states) are paying higher than 4.95%.

  18. - Politix - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 4:02 pm:

    ==An FOP election attorney’s social and police district candidate’s media full of racist and misogynist posts==

    A racist FOP candidate? That’s a feature, not a bug.

  19. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 4:03 pm:

    yes Steve, I too think illinois likes high taxes and fees.

  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 4:12 pm:

    ===with a bunch of the sort of people that got him===

    He got into personal tax trouble. He got out of it by working as a mole against a bad guy. Take a breath already.

  21. - H-W - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 4:14 pm:

    Regarding the Illinois Has-Been Reunion.

    I thought Illinois had people of color.

  22. - Annonin' - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 4:24 pm:

    WGEM decision to sack Mike seems very harsh. He did a great job. Hope the decision is reversed.

  23. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 4:31 pm:

    ===I thought Illinois had people of color.===

    Pink is a color.

  24. - H-W - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 4:58 pm:

    @ Annonin’

    I live in the WGEM market, and am shocked. Quincy is generally a rather “Tea-Party-esque” place, and KHQA definitely panders to the far-right (e.g., see their Facebook page). KHQA is also owned by Sinclair, so there is that.

    But WGEM is at least relatively, much more moderate in its presentation of news events. They even required staff to be vaccinated.

    Miletich was one of the better parts of their news coverage, and had in the long run, been very professional and very balanced in his presentation of Springfield matters.

    I hope both sides can come to an understanding that humans say things, that humans sometimes say controversial things, but that Miletich is far superior to most newscasters. He has never offended this viewer. Indeed, he brings me back to WGEM for the news.

  25. - ANON - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 5:12 pm:

    The Chief Justice is correct. Those elevators haven’t worked properly in decades. Good thing the former Speaker isn’t around to zero out CDB’s budget!

  26. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Jan 19, 23 @ 6:17 pm:

    Ben Joravsky’s question is Michelin-restaurant quality and should be the final thing on every nominating petition for every elected office (local, township, county, state, federal) in Illinois.

  27. - MG85 - Friday, Jan 20, 23 @ 7:46 am:

    The Chief Justice is experiencing what every agency and state employees face everyday. I am often not one to agree with Thomas Payne, but we must “make our world anew” when it comes to state government.

    My personal take: we should dissolve CMS and return most of its duplication…er…function back to the agencies.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Pritzker says state has settled labor dispute at migrant tent city
* *** UPDATED x4 - Coverage roundup - Reporters received report before governor - Report finds high levels of mercury in soil - Report released to reporters *** After stonewalling governor’s office, city finally shares pollution report on migrant tent city
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Afternoon roundup
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Some campaign updates
* Citing 'delays' in Chicago's procurement process, Pritzker announces $2 million to feed asylum seekers
* Union says Pritzker office intervention at least temporarily prevented likely construction shutdown at migrant camp
* Today's quotable
* Not-for-profits at risk as state funding nears end
* Illinois Supreme Court again cites the plain language of a law to overturn lower court's ruling
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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