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Rauner’s appointees kept Illinois in Crosscheck

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017

* Back in 2015, Gov. Rauner made some GOP appointments to the Illinois State Board of Elections: Madison County Republican Party Chairman Andy Carruthers and New Trier Republican Party supporter William Cadigan. In March of 2017, Rauner appointed former Illinois Republican Party staffer Ian Linnabary and Winnetka resident Kate O’Brien to the board.

Now, check out the roll call on the ISBE motion yesterday to leave the highly controversial Crosscheck program…



* Tribune

William McGuffage, a Democrat from Chicago who has served on the board for 18 years, called Crosscheck “suspect for a lot of reasons.” He contended there was a “symbiotic relationship” between Kobach’s role in Kansas overseeing the multistate database and his role on “what I called the bogus Trump commission.”

Republican Board Chairman William Cadigan of Winnetka called it “a shame that this whole issue of voting list maintenance has gotten entangled” with Washington politics. But he said Illinois is required by federal law to have accurate voter registration lists and noted the state has received notice expressing concerns from the U.S. Department of Justice that could lead to litigation.

Republican board member Ian Linnabary of Rockford told board members he had spoken with Kansas election officials and had “good news” that a meeting of all member Crosscheck states about security concerns would be held within the next two weeks.

While Linnabary said that no board members feel “voter fraud is rampant,” he urged the panel to “take a step back” and not withdraw from Crosscheck while efforts are made to secure the system.

* Pritzker campaign…

Bruce Rauner’s handpicked members of the State Board of Elections voted yesterday to keep Illinois in the Crosscheck program, a key priority of Donald Trump in the “GOP’s stealth war against voters.”

While there’s no evidence of voter fraud in Illinois, the Trump administration is still pushing states to opt into the program that needlessly exposes personal information and could disenfranchise voters. Instead of standing up to protect Illinoisans, Rauner’s appointees sided with Donald Trump.

“All four members that Bruce Rauner appointed to the State Board of Elections chose fear over facts and stood firmly by Donald Trump’s side,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Illinois needs a governor who will protect voting rights and stand up to Trump’s relentless attacks on this state.”

…Adding… Press release…

In response to the Illinois State Board of Elections’ decision to continue to participate in the discriminatory, deeply flawed Interstate Voter Registration Data Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck), U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement:

“No American voter should ever be improperly disenfranchised because of inaccurate information, which makes the decision by the Illinois State Board of Elections to continue its use of Kris Kobach’s secretive Crosscheck system so disheartening,” said Senators Duckworth and Durbin. “This system could purge as many as 300 legitimate voter registrations for each registration it eliminates—it has no place in our state or our nation’s electoral system. Illinois can and must withdraw from Crosscheck to restore the integrity of our state’s elections and ensure all eligible voters are able to exercise their fundamental Constitutional rights at the ballot box.”

Duckworth and Durbin wrote to IL SBE last month asking the board to stop using the program to help maintain the accuracy of its voter registration system and to instead participate in a far more precise alternative, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) multistate partnership, which has resulted in higher voter registration rates and increased voter turnout.

…Adding More… Press release…

State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) and State Senator Bill Cunningham plan to introduce legislation ending Illinois’ participation in the controversial Interstate Crosscheck system.

Despite calls from state and national legislators to withdraw from the program, the State Board of Elections voted Monday to remain in the national voter registration database.

“If the Board of Elections will not act to protect Illinois voters, then it is our duty as legislators to do so,” Raoul said. “The right to vote is sacred, and citizens in our state should know that their information is secure when they cast their ballot.”

At a joint hearing of the House Elections Committee and the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee last week, legislators heard testimony on security concerns with the system.

Shawn Davis, a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education testified that the Crosscheck system uses an unsecured network system. Most websites handling sensitive information use secure file transmission networks called SFTPs.

“The risk of exposing the personal information of millions of Illinois voters to an Equifax-style data breach is not worth the small benefit of remaining in the Crosscheck system,” Cunningham said. “This should not be a partisan issue — it is a data protection issue and it must be addressed immediately.”

Additionally, many voting rights activists say that Crosscheck is a vehicle for discrimination at the voting booth. This is because Crosscheck compares first and last names of state voter databases, ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. This is viewed as problematic by experts because communities of color are more likely to share last names, making them easy targets for voter suppression.

The Illinois Board of Elections currently subscribes to two national voter database systems designed to help election authorities identify voters who may be registered in more than one state: Crosscheck and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). This legislation will remove Illinois from the Crosscheck system but allow the state to remain in ERIC, widely viewed as the better system.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Illinois Policy Institute’s lobbying arm got $2.5 million last year from group that bankrolled Merrick Garland fight

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017

* McClatchy

When a small nonprofit called the Judicial Crisis Network poured millions into a campaign to stop the Senate from confirming Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick last year, and then spent millions more supporting President Donald Trump’s choice for the same seat, political observers assumed conservatives from around the country were showering the group with donations.

Not so.

Newly obtained tax documents show that JCN’s money came almost entirely from yet another secretive nonprofit, the Wellspring Committee, which flooded JCN with nearly $23.5 million in 2016.

Most of Wellspring’s funds, in turn, came from a single mysterious donor who gave the organization almost $28.5 million — nearly 90 percent of its $32.2 million in revenues.

Like JCN, Wellspring — at one time tied to the donor network spearheaded by conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch — is a nonprofit that is supposed to be dedicated to social welfare functions and doesn’t have to disclose the names of its benefactors. Since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision loosened certain constraints on political spending, these and other 501(c)(4) groups have become increasingly politically active while providing anonymity to their donors. Often one group, like Wellspring, will act as a conduit, giving most of its funds to other, similar groups with political agendas.

“It sounds like Wellspring Committee acted as a dark money conduit to provide an extra layer of secrecy to whomever was bankrolling the Judicial Crisis Network ads,” Brendan Fischer of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington said in an email interview. “This has the effect of layering secrecy on top of secrecy, and almost entirely insulating donors from any form of public accountability.” […]

Illinois Policy Action was another organization that benefited from Wellspring’s grants in 2016, receiving $2.5 million; it’s the lobbying arm of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative Chicago think tank in Chicago that has ties to the state’s billionaire governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, according to the Chicago Tribune. In 2016, the institute released a documentary critical of Rauner’s political opponent, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, a Democrat.

The group is listed on page 18.

…Adding… Keep Garland out, put Gorsuch in while funding a group pushing the Janus case? Food for thought…



- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Mendoza responds *** Rauner admin: “There can be no assurance that a budget will be enacted in future fiscal years”

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017

* All emphasis added. From the Rauner administration’s presentation to potential buyers of its $750 million bond offering

INVESTMENT CONSIDERATIONS RELATING TO THE FINANCIAL CONDITION OF THE STATE

Budget Passage

The State operated without fully enacted General Funds Budgets for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. The Fiscal Year 2018 General Funds Budget was vetoed by the Governor, and was enacted by the General Assembly after overriding the Governor’s vetoes of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget package. There can be no assurance that a budget will be enacted in future fiscal years.

Great. But, hey, they’re just being honest.

* More

Budget Deficit

The Fiscal Year 2018 General Funds Budget was balanced after the inclusion of several items including the budgetary impact of the issuance of the Section 7.6 Bonds and authorized fund reallocations and interfund borrowing. The Fiscal Year 2018 General Funds budget has an estimated underlying structural deficit of $1.5 billion… To avoid future structural deficits, the Governor and the General Assembly would, among other potential solutions, need to reduce expenditures, adjust revenue collections or approve a combination of revenue adjustments and reductions in expenditures. The State can provide no assurances as to how, when or in what form this might be addressed.

*Sigh*

* Remember the governor’s 2013 campaign vow: “They won’t stop me if I want to dramatically spend less. You need the legislature if you want to spend more. If you want to spend less, they can’t stop me”? Well

The State estimates that the General Funds financial commitment in Fiscal Year 2017, beyond the amounts sent to the Comptroller in Fiscal Year 2017 described under “Fiscal Year 2017 Spending in the Absence of a Budget,” totaled $1.6 billion for State employee health insurance providers and $1.2 billion for other State operational costs and grants. […]

Total General Funds expenditures with the revised definition of funds for Fiscal Year 2018 are estimated to be $37.4 billion, an increase of $1.7 billion or 4.8 percent from estimated Fiscal Year 2017 results for the revised definition of General Funds. This reflects approximately $150 million in deficit reduction actions directed by the Governor.

So, instead of “dramatically” spending less, the governor spent $1.2 billion without an appropriation last fiscal year and has identified just $150 million in cuts this fiscal year.

*** UPDATE *** Comptroller Mendoza…

The Governor has now signaled that he plans to head into yet another budget cycle without talking, negotiating or compromising with legislators – leaving the state once again without a budget. That demonstrates the height of irresponsibility and the failed leadership that has come to define Governor Rauner. The good news is that legislators of both parties proved this year they are up to the task of working around an obstructionist, out-of-touch, and frankly, irrelevant governor to pass a budget for the good of Illinois.

The message that I continue to send investors, because it is true, is that Illinois is a sound investment and will continue to meet its debt service obligations under my watch. I implore the Governor to learn from his past mistakes and to follow through on his Constitutional responsibility to submit a balanced and responsible budget. He should do his job and begin good-faith negotiations with legislators.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


*** UPDATED x5 - Pritzker, ILGOP, Pritzker, Rauner, ILGOP respond *** Pritzker clarifies tax stance after Crain’s interview

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017

* Greg Hinz interviewed JB Pritzker yesterday

Illinois may need another tax hike to balance the books and pay for needed public investments, even if the progressive income tax eventually comes about. […]

“If you want to add revenue, the first focus is on accelerating growth and not raising taxes,” he said. […]

However, even if waste is cut, some new money will be needed to pay bills and meet tomorrow’s needs, Pritzker said.

Some will come from amending the Illinois Constitution to allow a progressive income tax, something that would require a referendum vote, likely in 2020. Pritzker said he could not estimate how much that would pull in, but he projected the state would net another $300 million to $700 million by legalizing and taxing marijuana.

Would that be enough to meet all the needs while growth accelerates?

“No. But it depends on how you prioritize,” Pritzker replied.

Would boosted income from a progressive income tax suffice?

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I haven’t proposed a budget. . . .(But) it’s clear that we are underfunding schools.”

Pritzker later suggested that some spending cuts would be on the table, but did not get specific.

* The Republican Governors Association pounced

Illinois Democrat gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker openly admitted in an editorial board interview with Crain’s Chicago Business yesterday that he would seek massive tax hikes if elected Governor – even more than previously disclosed by his campaign.

Pritzker’s openness about raising taxes if elected poses challenges for his nascent campaign, since Illinois voters already face some of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Pritzker’s position in favor of tax increases is in stark contrast to that of Governor Bruce Rauner, who has consistently advocated for structural reforms and lower taxes as the solution to Illinois’ fiscal challenges.

This is not the first time Pritzker has detailed his openness to tax hikes. He began his campaign amidst audio recordings documenting that he favored a large increase in the state income tax, and has opposed a property tax freeze.

Pritzker has also come under fire for not paying his fair share of taxes on his second gold-coast Chicago mansion, getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in politically connected tax breaks. Now, he’s running on raising taxes for others.

* Greg updated his piece with this statement from the Pritzker campaign

“J.B. does not believe we should raise taxes on middle class families, period. As J.B. has said since he entered the race, passing a progressive income tax will be his top priority as governor and he is committed to finding budget solutions, like legalizing and taxing marijuana, to help address the damage Bruce Rauner has done.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** ILGOP…

“Illinois may need another tax hike to balance the books and pay for needed public investments, even if the progressive income tax eventually comes about.

“That was the fiscal bottom line from Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker today as the Chicago entrepreneur and investor, who’s moved ahead in some recent polls, met with Crain’s Editorial Board for a wide-ranging interview.”

That is how Greg Hinz’s Monday column on J.B. Pritzker column begins. Pritzker continues to mirror his patron Mike Madigan when it comes to taxes, promoting even higher taxes despite Madigan’s 32% tax hike on Illinois families earlier this year.

Madigan muscled through the increase this summer, and if he has his way, will continue to raise taxes.

This comes as no surprise, as Madigan has stated a tax increase to 5% is a “good place to begin.”

This all while Pritzker continues to dodge releasing his own tax returns. It has been 221 days since Pritzker pledged to release his taxes, but he continues to hide behind empty promises of ’soon.’

When it comes to raising taxes, Pritzker is lock step with Madigan: more taxes, no reform.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Rauner campaign…

Yesterday, JB Pritzker stated his support for yet another tax increase on working families all across Illinois. This would mean even more tax hikes after Pritzker’s ally, Speaker Mike Madigan, rammed through a 32% tax hike earlier this year. Governor Bruce Rauner knows that more tax hikes will only force more jobs to leave the state. That’s why he’s fighting to reform Madigan’s corrupt system in Springfield.

From Greg Hinz’s Monday column: “Illinois may need another tax hike to balance the books and pay for needed public investments, even if the progressive income tax eventually comes about. That was the fiscal bottom line from Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker today as the Chicago entrepreneur and investor, who’s moved ahead in some recent polls, met with Crain’s Editorial Board for a wide-ranging interview.”

Following Pritzker’s comments, Rauner spokesman Justin Giorgio issued the following statement:

“The contrast is clear in Illinois. Governor Rauner is fighting for every single Illinoisian by working to fix a broken and corrupt system. He wants everyone to be able to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. But JB Pritzker doesn’t want to do the difficult work of making real reforms. JB Pritzker just wants to raise taxes to avoid showing any leadership and staying in the good graces of Mike Madigan.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** Pritzker campaign…

“The idea that Bruce Rauner is fighting for every Illinoisan is as laughable as his team’s spelling and tired talking points. Bruce Rauner decimated schools, social services, and working families across this state and refuses to take a stand on Donald Trump’s tax plan that will raise taxes on many middle-class families. The truth is, the best thing Rauner can do for every Illinoisan is hop back on his motorcycle and ride off before destroying anything else in this state.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** ILGOP…

So J.B. Pritzker does not deny his plan to raise income taxes on every Illinoisan. Our suspicions have been confirmed. Illinois, hold onto your wallets. Pritzker and Madigan are coming.

Um, didn’t he say he didn’t want to raise taxes on the middle class at all?

*** UPDATE 5 *** Pritzker campaign…

A. Please refer to previous statement: “J.B. does not believe we should raise taxes on middle class families, period.”

B. Does Rauner support Donald Trump’s destructive tax plan? Yes or no?

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Reader comments closed for Thanksgiving
* Campaign miscellaneous
* Question of the day
* Rauner's appointees kept Illinois in Crosscheck
* Illinois Policy Institute's lobbying arm got $2.5 million last year from group that bankrolled Merrick Garland fight
* There's more to Springfield than horseshoes
* Pritzker unveils opioid plan
* *** UPDATED x1 - Mendoza responds *** Rauner admin: "There can be no assurance that a budget will be enacted in future fiscal years"
* New Proft TV ad claims Durkin and Madigan "like Illinois state government just as it is"
* Rauner: "Illinois is at the edge of disaster"
* Shimkus won't endorse in gubernatorial primary
* Pritzker is taking a page from Rauner's 2014 campaign (in a good way)
* Biss wants more tax return details
* *** UPDATED x5 - Pritzker, ILGOP, Pritzker, Rauner, ILGOP respond *** Pritzker clarifies tax stance after Crain's interview
* Sen. Murphy endorses Silverstein challenger
* State GOP again demands that Durbin and Duckworth give away their Franken money
* Yesterday's stories

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