* The gubernatorial debate begins tonight at 6 and the station is promising “a Q&A session” with the candidates after the forum officially ends. So the fun won’t stop after an hour. The debate is being moderated tonight by the inestimable Carol Marin. My fave Mary Ann Ahern will take questions from the audience with Karla Leal.
* I’ve had a lot of stuff about the Big John & Ramblin’ Ray show on the ol’ blog lately. They had the governor, Mrs. Rauner and Jeanne Ives on their show (separately, of course) and the hosts continually mentioned that Rep. Ives was scheduled to be a special guest at their “Politics And A Pint” event in Naperville last night.
Some tracker footage came in over the transom of Ives’ talk today. Here’s one bit…
RAMBLIN’ RAY: “We talk about the polls, and I think John said Rauner’s down 16 points, we don’t know about the polls rights? We learned about that in 2016 when Donald Trump became President, right? So, there’s a thinking in the state that Rauner might have a little more of a chance than we’re hearing about, because why replace one billionaire with another billionaire, isn’t it just better keeping the guy that we have in and maybe staying the course? Do you think there’s any truth to that? I mean is there – “
REP. IVES: “There’s no – no, you know I don’t think that there’s any way for him to come back. I’m just being truthful, I mean I’m not being wishful here I’m being truthful. And that’s because his unfavorables are so high. So, I think they’re at over 54 percent and I think when you hit that threshold of unfavorables, unfavorables, that’s what’s difficult to overcome.
RAMBLIN’ RAY: “Would you go for the governorship again?” [APPLAUSE]
REP. IVES: “You know what’s exciting about being the governor is you can really affect change if you’re paying attention to the right things. You have so much power as the governor of the state of Illinois. You can get in there and you can really dig into those agencies and find out where there’s mismanagement. And you have the ability to hire and fire the right people, and make the changes happen. You have a bully pulpit, you have a bully pulpit where the media’s going to pay attention to you, where you can go out and be that champion for folks, where you can connect dots for them and you’re going to be heard. Right? Very few people get that opportunity, to actually be heard and listened to. That’s the power of the governorship. You can really affect change regardless of what the legislature looks like. You can do it, and you can bring people along to common sense, and you can stop people with that veto, which is really a big deal.”
Something she could do in the meantime is speak out on Rep. Jerry Long. If she wants to be a leader then she should, you know, lead.
Regarding the “absolutely false” claim that she believes in workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, in 2014, Erika stated that she opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
In 2014, Harold supported prohibiting the U.S. Department of Justice from undermining the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Supreme Court had already found unconstitutional.
People can change their minds. But Harold will only say today that she supports the law of the land. Laws can always be changed, however, and a constitutional amendment (which she supported) would obviously overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.
* As I told subscribers this morning, Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) has once again changed his story…
Long initially claimed he was a “demanding boss,” then he claimed he was railroaded for not agreeing with the script of a robo-call, he also claimed he pounded on the desk and possibly frightened the complainant.
Yesterday he said on television that his complainant had a headache and he massaged her neck.
“No, that is not the story that was received from the complainant,” said Eleni Demertzis, spokesperson for House Republican Organization Leader Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Burr Ridge). “The facts brought forward by the complainant were corroborated by a witness and ultimately deemed truthful and founded by the independent investigators. Leader Durkin and his leadership team stand by the independent investigator’s report and subsequent actions rendered to Rep. Long.”
That’s the first time the HGOPs have said on record that they have a corroborating witness. This is not gonna end well.
The only “good” thing about this saga is I’ve had a chance to interact with a couple of very good local reporters. Tamara Abbey wrote the above story. She’s really insightful and top notch.
* Meanwhile, McGlasson’s comments to a Proft paper make him sound like he’s living in an alternate universe…
John McGlasson, central committeeman for Illinois’ 16th Congressional District believes the Republican Party is attempting to torpedo the re-election of Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) in a campaign to rid the party of anyone not in lockstep with Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“[The Illinois GOP] targeted me and three others in our run for Central Committee (last spring),” McGlasson told the Illinois Valley Times. “I saw what dirty tricks they can play. Bob Winchester knows this too.” […]
Long doesn’t talk the “same line” as Rauner, who trails Democrat J.B. Pritzker by double digits in the polls, McGlasson said.
“It’s my opinion that Rauner believes the only way he can win this thing is to have everyone talking the same line and get only those targeted votes to come out,” he said.
That’s some weird logic there, campers. Rauner wanted to dump Long so he could… what again? I read it like ten times and I can’t make any sense of it at all. Maybe you can help.
And Rep. Long may say he doesn’t talk the same line as Rauner, but the unions are all going after him for siding with the governor against them.
McGlasson said Long told the group that the anonymous allegations made against him are “not valid.”
He said HRO is trying to force its conservative members, like Long, into taking “centrist positions” as part of strategy of “uniformity across all state house districts.”
And there he goes changing his story yet again.
Plus, you gotta be more than just a Kool-Aid drinker to believe that kookiness about candidate “uniformity.” I mean, you probably gotta be living in a Kool-Aid ocean to buy into that insane nonsense.
*** UPDATE *** The Ottawa Times (home to another good local reporter named Derek Barichello) has its story up…
“She was at the computer. I’m standing right behind, and I’m looking at it,” Long told The Times Wednesday. “She leans back. She goes, ‘Ah man I’m tense, I’m getting a migraine headache.’ And I grabbed her neck. Not grab. I touched her neck. And I said: ‘You do feel tense.’ And then I said I’m going to grab my stuff and go.” […]
Long didn’t speak to the staff member all weekend and the co-worker didn’t answer her text messages Monday or Tuesday. Long received a call later that Tuesday indicating a complaint had been made to the House Republican Organization and he was being investigated for harassment. Long said initially investigators told him they were looking into “sexual harassment.”
“Once they realized the touch wasn’t sexual harassment, they said it’s a hostile work environment,” Long said.
That last statement was flatly denied by the House Republicans this afternoon.
* The Tribune published an op-ed by House Speaker Michael Madigan late yesterday and I asked the Madigan folks to send me a copy so I could post it all here…
Over the past year, women across our country have bravely come forward to shed light on the culture that permits and facilitates harassment in the workplace. Because the sheer number of stories has revealed just how prevalent these problems are - from Hollywood to Wall Street and throughout politics, the media, and academia - some have attempted to use this disturbing prevalence to shield themselves from accountability for actions under their control. That is nonsense and I reject that, which is why I’ve reviewed both my State and political operations, identified wrongdoers, and removed six individuals. As a leader in this state, I know we all have a responsibility to create a better Illinois for everyone.
I have made it a personal mission to take this issue head-on and correct past mistakes. I wish I would have done so sooner. Since the beginning of this year, I have met with more than 100 women working in the Capitol, both within my office and outside my office. I asked questions that I should have asked before and made changes to create a better environment.
One of the first meetings I attended was with a group of women in their 20s and 30s. I heard stories of inappropriate behavior, both inside and outside of the Capitol. What’s worse, these young women did not feel there was anyone willing to listen or take action to alleviate their concerns.
What became clear is that I didn’t do enough, and that we, collectively, have failed in the Capitol to ensure everyone can reliably, confidentially and safely report harassment. I thought the pathways were there, but they weren’t.
Throughout the course of these meetings, when I learned of activities that did not reflect an appropriate workplace environment, I acted by terminating or demoting those responsible. In one meeting I learned of a supervisor who was not taking staff concerns seriously, and subsequently learned that supervisor had failed to report allegations of abuse and harassment. That supervisor was removed. In another case, I learned of an individual making inappropriate comments to several female staffers. That individual no longer works in my Office.
I also heard stories where the prior process for reporting and handling these issues did work. I learned of a legislative secretary who was being harassed by a male lobbyist, and despite this lobbyist’s attempts to suppress her, this woman summoned the courage to report his abuses. We immediately investigated and contacted the lobbyist’s employer. He is no longer a lobbyist.
I am committed to enacting change. At my initiative, we retained Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor and Inspector General. She is conducting an independent investigation of all allegations of discrimination and harassment. Ms. Hickey will bring to light any additional problems. When she does, I am committed to acting immediately.
While this independent investigation takes place, my new Chief of Staff Jessica Basham is leading a review of our policies and practices. Our office is taking immediate steps to improve. We have established a new process to bring complaints so that Jessica knows of any future allegations and reports them to me. We will enforce in-person sexual harassment training. Directors and supervisors will receive continuing training on how to better handle workplace behavior. I am accountable for my office and will ensure that any issues are dealt with quickly and appropriately.
I have the responsibility to make sure our workplace is safer, equitable and non-discriminatory. Harassment of any kind and workplace bullying will simply not be tolerated - period. There will be a zero tolerance policy for any kind of harassment. Leaders cannot leave these issues to others. Now is the opportunity to ask ourselves what we are doing to make Illinois a better workplace for everyone.
* The Question: Do you believe he’s heading far enough in the right direction on this topic to date? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
Planned Parenthood on Thursday plans to announce a six-figure ad buy to help bolster Democrat Sean Casten’s campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., in an effort to help Democrats win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives this fall.
Planned Parenthood Votes, the organization’s federal PAC will spend about $400,000 to reach out to more than 110,000 voters on behalf of Casten, a political newcomer and former clean energy businessman.
The plan, they say, is to educate voters about Roskam’s record on women’s health. “It’s more important than ever to flip the House to a pro-reproductive health majority,” Planned Parenthood Votes said. […]
The buy will include digital ads and mailers to begin Thursday through Election Day, which will be focused on “educating these voters about Roskam’s votes to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood, repeal the Affordable Care Act and his desire to ban abortion.”
The Congressional Leadership Fund said Thursday it will spend nearly $3 million on behalf of three incumbents representing traditionally Republican-heavy districts who are facing aggressive challenges this year.
In downstate Illinois, CLF is planning to spend $1 million to reelect Rep. Rodney Davis and defeat Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. […]
(I)n several races where CLF has spent big, recent polls have shown Democrats maintaining leads or keeping races too close for GOP comfort.
CLF is also adding additional reservations on behalf of incumbents Mike Bost of Illinois ($600,000)
So, they’re worried about Londrigan now?
You’ll know things are totally getting out of hand if CLF starts spending big in Randy Hultgren’s district.
* Glowing press release with the not great news highlighted by me…
Illinois Unemployment Rate Matches Lowest on Record
August Payrolls Drop first time since January
CHICAGO–The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in August and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -5,200 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The July job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show no growth. (+0 jobs versus +3,700 jobs).
Job growth moderated in the June to August period posting average monthly gains of +4,000 jobs over this three-month period, less than the prior 3-month average monthly gain of +8,300 jobs between May and July 2018.
“Illinois’ unemployment rate stood at 4.1% in August, matching the lowest rate on record,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Even with the over-the-month drop, nonfarm payrolls have surpassed the prior business cycle peak of September 2000. Jobs are still up more than 47,000 over the year, led by manufacturing.”
“The positive job growth over the last year indicates that efforts to improve the Illinois economy and actively recruit new investment are paying off,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “Illinois is seeing the best employment environment since 1999, demonstrating that companies can see the potential to grow in our state.”
In August, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+900); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+400); and Financial Activities (+400). The industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Leisure and Hospitality (-3,600); Education and Health Services (-1,300); and Construction (-1,200).
Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +47,500 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in August: Manufacturing (+11,300); Government (+10,500); and Financial Activities (+8,200). The industry sectors with over-the-year declines were: Information Services (-3,200) and Other Services (-600). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.8 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.6 percent over-the-year gain in August.
The state’s unemployment rate is +0.2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for August 2018, which held at 3.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.9 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.0 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.1 percent in February 1999. The difference between the Illinois unemployment rate and the U.S. rate represents the smallest gap since December 2010.
The number of unemployed workers decreased -1.3 percent from the prior month to 268,700, down -16.9 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force decreased -0.1 percent over-the-month and declined -0.2 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment.
An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.
My favorite line was how job growth was revised down “slightly,” when it actually went from +3,700 jobs to zero jobs. Also the part where job growth “moderated,” when growth was actually cut in half. That was a good one right there.
Today, ahead of the first televised gubernatorial debate, the Pritzker campaign is releasing two new TV ads that show how Bruce Rauner drove state finances into the ground.
The ads highlight another central failure of Rauner’s tenure: gross fiscal mismanagement at the expense of Illinois taxpayers. “Credit” focuses on Rauner dragging the state’s credit through eight downgrades to the lowest of any state in U.S. history while “Interest” focuses on Rauner wasting over $1 billion of taxpayer money on late fees for unpaid bills.
“Bruce Rauner wrecked Illinois’ finances at the expense of taxpayers across the state,” said Pritzker campaign communications director Galia Slayen. “This failed governor is responsible for wasting $1 billion and eight credit downgrades, leaving Illinois with the worst credit rating of any state. While it will take years to recover from this damage, one thing is abundantly clear: four years of failure is enough.”
Want to see what failure looks like? Under Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ credit rating has been downgraded eight times to the lowest of any state in American history. Bruce Rauner, four years of failure is enough.
Want to see what failure looks like? Bruce Rauner has wasted over a billion taxpayer dollars on interest penalties for the state’s unpaid bills. Over a billion dollars. Bruce Rauner, four years of failure is enough.
By the looks of things, that “Four years of failure is enough” tagline will be driven so deep into everyone’s heads by November that people will be mumbling it in their sleep.
* These are for personal committees, so the House Republican Organization’s $6 million from Gov. Rauner’s campaign fund isn’t included. Also, the results are misleading, because they’re totaling cash raised since the candidates’ last elections. Cullerton last ran four years ago, while Madigan ran two years ago, as did Brady…
* After that list was posted yesterday afternoon, Speaker Madigan’s uncapped campaign fund reported over $2 million in contributions, including $1.5 million last night from the Laborers Union and $250,000 today from Fred Eychaner. So, he’s catching up to Cullerton fast, even on this uneven playing field of an two extra years for the Senate President.
And, remember, House GOP Leader Jim Durkin’s fund is also now uncapped, so he should be high on that list pretty soon.
Edgar, an increasing critic of Governor Bruce Rauner during and after the state’s unprecedented budget impasse, has been coaching Democrat J.B. Pritzker in private discussions about how to woo voters and dodge controversy all while leaving himself enough room to maneuver in office. […]
From Edgar’s vantage point, the more promises a politician makes on the campaign trail, the more hobbled they can become in office.
“I don’t think anybody should explain a blueprint right now on all these issues,” Edgar said Monday.
The former governor, who was widely seen as a popular, moderate state executive, argued that Pritzker should focus on winning election now, and splitting hairs in the statehouse later.
“I would be very cautious on too many specifics before the election because they don’t have all the information, and they won’t have the information until they’re in the office,” he said. “And they won’t really know what might work and not work until they sit down with the legislative leaders in a non-election environment and try to get things done.”
On the campaign trail, Pritzker appears to be heeding Edgar’s advice.
Serious candidates for governor often ask former candidates for advice. That’s nothing really new. I’ll bet he’s talked to other candidates and incumbents as well. That’s just practical. Even Rauner talked to Edgar a bit during the 2014 race.
But this story running so near to the first gubernatorial debate has got to irk Rauner a bit.
One issue dominated this campaign statewide: taxes. Hartigan took a very strong antitax position. He advocated (1) allowing the temporary two-year income tax surcharge to expire on June 30, 1991, (2) “cutting” 2 percent, or $573 million, from the state budget and (3) allocating 25 percent of new state revenue to education his first year and 50 percent thereafter to make up for the $383 million annual loss to education by discontinuing the surcharge. Edgar supported continuation of the income tax surcharge, and he was as firm in advocating state control over rising local property taxes by placing a cap on them equal to either the annual cost of living or 5 percent, whichever was less. Edgar rejected Hartigan’s projections for new state revenue as a hollow promise to education because the current economic slowdown and a possible recession would strangle state revenue growth.
Edgar won in a Democratic-leaning year. He was also one of the first statewide candidates here to realize that suburban women were a major key to victory and so he played up his pro-choice philosophy.
* Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Illinois has put together a new video featuring Edgar and Jeanne Ives talking about Rauner…
* State contracting with non-profits declined due to the lack of state budgets. Grant contracts with non-profits decreased from 6,333 in fiscal year 2015 to 3,916 in fiscal year 2016—a drop of just over 38 percent. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the number of social service providers that closed as a direct result of the impasse, this drop in contracts shows the negative effect on the state’s provider network.
* During the impasse, public universities and community colleges enrolled 72,196 fewer students, cut 7,490 jobs, and the state lost roughly $948.7 million in generated economic output—$461.7 million of which was felt outside the Chicagoland area.
* The Monetary Award Program (MAP), which is a college tuition grant program designed to benefit low-income students, experienced a decrease in funding from $364.1 million to $169.8 million, a 53.36 percent cut. The number of MAP grants awarded continues to lag pre-impasse levels to this day.
* The bill backlog hit a record peak of $16.7 billion. By the end of calendar year 2017, the amount of late payment interest penalties linked to the budget impasse period totaled $1.139 billion—more than the combined late payment interest penalties over the previous 18 years.
* The fiscal year 2018 budget included $6 billion in general obligation bonding authority to pay down a portion of the backlogged debt. The Office of the Comptroller stopped the clock on most interest accruing bills and used federal matching funds to pay nearly $8.8 billion in backlogged bills. Even with the large paydown, Illinois’ bill backlog remains above pre-impasse levels.
* In interest alone, Illinois will pay $1.936 billion on this new general obligation debt. However, that is much less than the projected cost if the state had failed to refinance a portion of the backlog—between $6.02 billion and $8.02 billion.
* You’ll recall that Gov. Bruce Rauner launched an ad over the weekend that included a bunch of hot-button issues targeted at Downstate voters. Pritzker’s campaign never lets anything go unanswered, so earlier this week they started running their own Downstate ad. It’s quite something…
Bruce Rauner lies.
He lied to the Cardinal of the Catholic Church about signing an abortion coverage bill. He lied about Jeanne Ives. And now he’s lying about JB Pritzker.
Tribune: So, we’re gonna jump right in with a burning question right now, um, Mayor Emanuel’s decision to not run for re-election next year has thrown a different factor into the November races. So, Comptroller Mendoza, do you plan to run for mayor?
Mendoza: Way to start off with a softball, right? So, hello! Uh, I am running for comptroller, that’s why I’m here and I’m very excited to talk about the record of accomplishments that I’ve done over the last almost now two years and uh the reason I’m here is I love my job and I’m very focused on being comptroller, so there’s still 48 more days to go, and I have a message to share across the state of Illinois and that is what my commitment is. I know that there’s a lot of speculation going on but I don’t think that anybody here can know exactly what the future holds for any of us, what I know is what I can do today and that is stay focused on this race and and ask people to give me an opportunity to continue to represent them.
Tribune: Can you give us an idea of where your thought process is, because obviously voters don’t want to elect someone for comptroller and then you spend the next six months running for mayor.
Mendoza: Right, well, you know, my thought process is that I love this job and I think that it’s super flattering and it’s, you know, the greatest honor to have people say and suggest that I am capable and experienced to lead a higher office, but you know, the mayor just dropped a bombshell on the city of Chicago and the dust is still settling and I can’t get distracted from what my job is which is to manage the state during this fiscal crisis and I’m committed and continue to do that. So, again, I don’t know what the future holds for any of us but what I know is that every single day that I’ve served in this position and every single day that I continue to serve is with the people of Illinois’ best interests in mind and that is what I’m focused on.
Tribune: So, will you pledge that if elected you will fill your full term as comptroller?
Mendoza: Again, you know, I don’t rule anything in or out, I think that there’s been lots of people before me, and even people that are right now currently running for mayor, who are in a similar position as I am in, where I think a lot of people have gotten out front on this issue and are focused on the mayor’s race, my focus continues to be the comptroller’s race and again I don’t know where I’ll be in three years, I hope I’m healthy, first and foremost, and everybody else that’s sitting at this table, but I think that my commitment continues to be to run for comptroller, I haven’t made any noise in terms of running for mayor. Um, and that is something that needs to continue to be the case, it’s one election at a time, and I’m very focused on this election right now.
Tribune: Do either of her opponents, do either of you want to weigh in on this mayoral issue?
Senger: You know um, I could just tell you one thing right now is when elected and if elected comptroller, I will serve four years as comptroller, and unless something, like merging the comptroller’s office and the treasurer’s office happens, so that’s an issue there, but, [to Mendoza] I would like to see a commitment that on November 7th, if you’re elected, you’re gonna be there for four years, and you’re kind of hedging it.
Mendoza: I’m not hedging anything, I’m very committed to be the comptroller, that’s what I’m running for, that’s why we’re here, and I do think it’s ironic though, all kidding aside, that the person who is saying she doesn’t want to even serve as comptroller because she wants to eliminate the office is questioning my commitment to this office. I think I’ve shown my commitment over the last two years, I have lead this state through the worst fiscal crisis, it’s been my greatest honor, and it’s nice that people think that I am capable of doing something else. But right now I am here to talk about my record and why I believe that the people of Illinois should be happy to continue to hope that they have a, you know, a fiscal watchdog that is looking out on their behalf. So, that is my focus, um, again, as someone who doesn’t even want to serve a whole term as comptroller, when the comptroller’s office is very important in the state of Illinois, I would say that that’s a little bit disingenuous, as well.
Senger: And again, the function’s not going away, the cost of having two offices are…
Mendoza: -I’ll be happy to engage in that debate in a little bit.
Senger: But again, you haven’t answered the question, on November 7th are you…
Mendoza: I think I’ve answered the question and I would be happy to talk about my record as comptroller and why I deserve to be re-elected as comptroller, thank you.
Tribune: If you are thinking about running for mayor, you’d have to turn around almost immediately after election day and prepare for that.
Mendoza: So, here’s the great part, like the media and everyone else gets to speculate and have fun with that…
Tribune: I’m not asking you to speculate. I’m saying that you would have to turn around immediately to prepare, get petitions,
Tribune: …to run for office, so it’s hard to me that you wouldn’t be making a decision on this before election day.
Mendoza: All those points are true, all those points are true. But again, I am very focused on the next 48 days and everyone who has called me to ask that I consider running for mayor I have given the exact same answer that I’m giving you, which is that I am very focused on this election, I have been working hard across the entire state of Illinois. Not a single thing has changed on my schedule as to am I in Chicago more versus Downstate more. I am here today with this Tribune editorial board because I think that it’s important that your readers know what I’ve done for the state and why I’m asking them to give me another opportunity to continue to represent them. And again, what the future holds, I can’t tell you at this moment whether I’m going to comptroller for four years or forty more years. I certainly hope not, right? But I would say that uh, you know, I’m committed to this job, and that’s why I’m here. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here, and I think that uh, that that’s very clear.
Tribune: Do you have any members of your team that are looking into it is as you’re maintaining focus?
Mendoza: No, every single person that works for me is focused on leading this state through the worst fiscal crisis, which still continues to be a very intense crisis. There are people who have been trying to draft me to run for mayor, I can’t control what they do, again it’s again, you know, very flattering, it’s a high honor. But I keep telling every exactly which is what I’ve told you, including those who have called me to urge me to run for mayor, and that’s that my focus is the next 48 days. I mean, at the time that they called it was a different number, right, but I’m very focused on that election and you know, it’s nice that people think that but again, one race at a time. And the race that I’m running for right now is comptroller of the state of Illinois.
Senger: Would you endorse someone else to run for mayor? Rather than yourself because you’re running for comptroller?
Mendoza: We don’t even know who’s running for mayor yet, Darlene. There’s like 20 thousand people, maybe some people in this room besides the names that have been mentioned might throw their hat in the ring for mayor. It seems like it’s a free for all right now, but my focus is on this job. I’m not even going to entertain or worry about the mayor’s office from now until election day and this is the only job that I care about.
A hat that purportedly but not provably belonged to Abraham Lincoln is off the display list at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum pending review of the artifact’s provenance that has been in question for years.
The announcement by the museum that the hat, which is not on regular exhibition, won’t be taken out for public viewing until provenance is reviewed comes in the wake of a Wednesday report by WBEZ radio in Chicago, which revealed that the private foundation that owns the hat engaged in secret efforts to prove that the hat is authentic. The efforts, which involved DNA analysis by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and top historians from the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago History Museum, failed to verify that the hat is real. […]
According to the WBEZ report, the private foundation’s verification efforts began in 2013 and were kept secret from the public institution, although ALPLM curator James Cornelius was in the know. When federal agents visited the museum to collect DNA samples from the hat and other Lincoln artifacts in 2015, Cornelius encouraged them to present themselves as a “news crew” upon arrival, according to the station’s reporting. […]
Cornelius was terminated on [Tuesday]. Wills declined comment when asked why. Cornelius could not be reached for comment. The curator had been on administrative leave since last spring. The museum has refused to release records showing why he was put on leave and why he was suspended last year for insubordination. Illinois Times, which had previously been granted Cornelius’ disciplinary records, sued the ALPLM in July under the state Freedom of Information Act to obtain the records. The lawsuit remains pending.