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*** UPDATED x1 *** Open thread

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019

* I have to take a family member to the airport, so I’ll be gone for a while. Keep your conversation Illinois-centric and please be nice to each other. Also, you might use some of this time to donate to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Just sayin…

*** UPDATE *** Ever heard that old saying about how adventures don’t begin until something goes wrong? Yeah, that’s been my entire afternoon. Talk with you tomorrow.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Tillman files appeal on bond case

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019

* Background is here if you need it. Public finance/muni bonds reporter for Debtwire Municipals…

*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…

“Illinois taxpayers are so tired of Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman and his named or unnamed partners who seek to profit from trying to tank Illinois’ finances,” said Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. “This appeal should be laughed out of court the same way the original case was. Remember, that 2017 refinancing I championed saved taxpayers $4-$6 billion and helped businesses across Illinois. It hurt the profit margins of Tillman’s partners.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** The appeal is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Three different ways of looking at the same situation

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019

* Letter to the editor from Alaina Hampton’s former spokesperson Lorna Brett

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan could stand in the middle of Michigan Avenue and shoot someone, and the Democrats of Illinois would still support him. Like President Donald Trump, his vengefulness against anyone who dares cross him is legendary. I am most disappointed in the female leadership of the party. With the entire country’s support for the #MeToo movement behind them, they still cross their legs. Profiles in courage, they are not. When Alaina Hampton needed an advocate, “they” had to bring in someone from out of state — me — to help her because of fear of retribution. Hats off to Chicago Tribune for continuing to cover this story and stand up for women and clean government.

* Letter to the editor from Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago)

In its Nov. 22 editorial, the Tribune called on lawmakers to challenge House Speaker Michael Madigan for his response to the #MeToo scandal in the statehouse. It’s true that most politicians won’t call out the speaker for publicly promising to end sexual harassment in politics while his friends apparently arranged a payout of $30,000 for the harasser he formerly employed.

Madigan’s spokesman says the speaker knew nothing about the payoffs. This denial strains credulity. The Tribune shouldn’t scold legislators for failing to ask the speaker what he knew and when he knew it. Questions are challenges, and politicians who challenge the speaker face retribution. Political contributions might dry up, worthy legislation might not advance, and challengers might be put up to run for your seat.

The #MeToo movement has given a voice to women who may be justifiably afraid to speak up. Our legislators and leaders need encouragement, support and, most important, protection from Mike Madigan.

* And this is something I already posted from Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Elmurst)

This is just unbelievable coming from McQueary. She criticizes the women’s caucus every chance she gets when in reality we have spent our time doing the difficult work to change a culture and not chasing headlines.


*** UPDATE *** From Rep. Conroy…

Rich, I have lived through my own issue, faced it head on and tried to move forward in private. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to do so. I have been trusted by many victims who have also wanted to keep their stories confidential. I have honored their wishes by working behind the scenes to find a resolution to their satisfaction. My respect for any victim of bullying or sexual abuse of any kind will always be my guide. Each victim deserves all of our respect in how they chose to handle their story, either in public or in private. So many people, including myself, have not only had to face the fear of our own story but on top of that have been shamed and bullied by others who believe that they have the right to judge us. We must support and respect each other. Every individual’s story public or private has moved us to where we are today. Changing a culture is hard although there is more work to be done we are making progress.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Plummer says he was offered ethics commission slot in exchange for his silence

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019

* Background is here if you need it. Mark Maxwell followed up with Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville)…

* Transcript

Plummer: Certain legislators are making a lot of money from industries where they have a tremendous amount of influence. And I think that the more the average voter in Illinois paid attention, the more shocked they’d be about what’s going on in Springfield. […]

This bill eliminates the opportunity for elected officials and employees of the General Assembly to be owners of privately held gaming enterprises or receive consulting… payments from those entities. […]

A lot of people were surprised by the news that broke at the end of May [about Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady receiving commissions from a video gaming company]. And everyone that I have talked to has been extremely supportive of the general concept. […]

Bill’s inclination was to work more closely with the other leaders to maybe take a slower approach and maybe go after, I think in your article you said ‘low hanging fruit,’ and I would say that, I believe those were the exact terms he used. […]

I agree that the words ‘video gaming’ never came up [in conversations with Brady], that’s not really how things work in Springfield. What was crystal clear was his intention. And his intention was this legislation couldn’t be filed. And his intention was that I couldn’t speak publicly about this legislation. And those conditions and those terms weren’t placed on the other people who were being appointed to the commission. Those terms and conditions weren’t placed on other ethics-related legislation. It was just my ethics-related legislation.

Maxwell: You’re saying he basically offered you a position in exchange for your silence.

Plummer: Yes. […]

Maxwell: Do you still want to serve on the commission?

I very much want to serve on the commission. There’s a significant difference between resigning from the commission [as Brady has claimed he did] and declining an appointment that was very inappropriate. I’d love to serve on the commission.

Other Republican Senators have confirmed to me that Brady originally supported the Democrats’ idea to create a new legislative ethics commission, but had to bow to the will of caucus members who were furious that a “low hanging fruit” ethics bill was the only thing they’d get out of the veto session. Brady and Plummer reportedly got into a heated argument in caucus about this.

Plummer is not the lying type. He may be interpreting things in a different way, but he seems genuine in his belief that he was effectively being silenced in exchange for a little campaign sweetener, when he actually wanted to make some real changes in the way the Statehouse functions. That’s not an unusual thing for a legislative leader to do, by the way. Co-opting members is part of the game.

Brady also does have some issues with his caucus, and while there’s nothing illegal with him profiting from video gaming, some of his members tell me they were most concerned with the fact that he never actually reported he was making money off the industry

The senator lists Brady Ventures but not [Midwest Electronics Gaming] on his legislative statements of economic interests, which are filed with the Illinois secretary of state under the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. That’s because payments to Brady from Midwest go through Brady Ventures and are not made to him directly.

And with the recent revelations that the Illinois Gaming Board has given licenses to people with connections to organized crime, the entire industry is now under a cloud.

*** UPDATE *** From Leader Brady’s spokesperson…

· The leader originally supported the ethics commission task force because it was evenly split and not partisan.

· If you’ll recall during Senate Executive Committee, it was changed to become a partisan commission and the leader strongly voiced his concerns.

· The leader then shared those concerns and his opposition to the changes with caucus and that is when they all decided to oppose it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

* Just something to think about
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* *** UPDATED x1 *** CPD: Your home is not your castle
* "Illegal, unconstitutional, outrageous and stupid"
* Tom Cullerton's trial set for July
* What the critics are missing, intentionally or otherwise
* Reform roundup
* Senate Democratic leadership roundup
* Fundraising, better loan terms help Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation stave off disaster
* Drea, Devaney new IL AFL-CIO leaders
* *** UPDATED x2 - Radogno appointed to replace Andersson *** Oops!
* *** UPDATED x1 - Women and indies now needed *** If you're a Republican or an independent, please help this kid with her school project
* "These were the people they were most focused on"
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