* Block Club Chicago…
A Russian company that’s sought to influence American events, including the 2016 presidential election, posed as a beloved, but long-shuttered Chicago newspaper on social media for years, according to NPR.
Another example: The Internet Research Agency created an account that looks like it is the Chicago Daily News. That newspaper shuttered in 1978.
The Internet Research Agency-linked account was created in May 2014, and for years, it just posted local headlines, accumulating some 19,000 followers by July 2016.
Another twist: These accounts apparently never spread misinformation. In fact, they posted real local news, serving as sleeper accounts building trust and readership for some future, unforeseen effort.
“They set them up for a reason. And if at any given moment, they wanted to operationalize this network of what seemed to be local American news handles, they can significantly influence the narrative on a breaking news story,” Schafer told NPR. “But now instead of just showing up online and flooding it with news sites, they have these accounts with two years of credible history.”
Twitter caught these Internet Research Agency accounts in the act and suspended them.
I remember seeing that Twitter account and wondering what the heck was going on. It looked totally benign to me, though, so I didn’t think much more of it.
* Other stuff…
* ADDED: Rep. Peter Roskam: Russia’s interference with our democratic process is appalling and undeniable. The President has a responsibility to not only confront Vladimir Putin for attacking our democracy, but to use all tools available to prevent future acts of aggression that could undermine the cornerstone of our republic – free and fair elections. Vladimir Putin is not our ally – he is a brutal dictator who has undermined our democratic institutions; invaded and continues to illegally occupy the territory of our allies Ukraine and Georgia; and continues to support the massacre of hundreds of thousands in Syria. We must maintain a united front with our partners around the world to confront Russian aggression. Today’s press conference was an affront to American democracy and the Intelligence Community and a victory for Russian propaganda. The President has a duty to hold Vladimir Putin to account.
* @IllinoisWorking: Today, Donald Trump cast doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Friday, @TheJusticeDept said Russia hacked the Illinois State Board of Elections website and stole the personal information of 500,000 Illinoisans. Who does Bruce Rauner believe?
* Illinois Dems Blast Trump On Twitter After Summit With Putin: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-16th District) was one of the only Illinois Republican congressional members to criticize Trump, but did not mention him directly in this Tweet: The American people deserve the truth, & to disregard the legitimacy of our intelligence officials is a disservice to the men & women who serve this country. It’s time to wake up & face reality. #Putin is not our friend; he’s an enemy to our freedom.
* The Moscow Midterms - How Russia could steal our next election: What happened in Illinois had him anxious. It was like the hackers wanted someone to notice they were in the system — they had practically alerted IT themselves with the amount of noise they were making, bombarding the servers. Why? And why hadn’t John’s cyberforensics guys found any back door to the attack? Were the Russians still there, lying quietly hidden until the right moment?
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Today is the filing deadline for quarterly campaign finance reports. The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has put together a congressional campaign report. They found that the Democrats are keeping pace with Republicans, but have less cash on hand. Click here to see it. [Fixed link.]
Follow the state and local report filings with ScribbleLive, including related press releases….
- Posted by Rich Miller
* If we learned anything from the Travis Reinking Waffle House shooting earlier this year, it’s that local police forces aren’t doing enough to take guns away from the mentally ill, even with clear evidence that gun owners are suffering from mental illnexx.
So, signing this bill today was a concrete step toward preventing further Travis Reinking-type shootings…
Creates the Firearms Restraining Order Act. Provides that a petitioner may request an emergency firearms restraining order by filing an affidavit or verified pleading alleging that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.
Gov. Rauner, however, told supporters today that he will veto the revamped gun shop regulatory bill when it’s sent to his desk. He vetoed an earlier version. Rauner said he didn’t think it would help stop gun violence.
* The governor also said he signed this bill today…
I’ll have a coverage roundup later today.
…Adding… Raw audio of the bill-signing event is here.
* Press Release: Willis-sponsored bill creating Firearms Restraining Order is signed into law: If the court finds that the person poses a significant danger, the person can be restrained from purchasing or possessing guns for up to one year. The court is authorized to issue a warrant for any firearms in the person’s possession, and the person must immediately surrender any firearms or other deadly weapons to law enforcement.
* Press Release: Gabrielle Giffords Applauds Illinois Governor for Signing Legislation to Remove Guns From People In Crisis: The Firearms Restraining Order (FRO), also known as the Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO), is a civil court order issued by a judge upon consideration of evidence provided by a family member or law enforcement officer that temporarily prohibits a person in crisis from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition. A common thread in many shootings is that family members of the shooters had noticed their loved ones engaging in dangerous behaviors and were concerned about their risk of harming themselves or others – even before any violence occurred.
* ADDED: Gov. Rauner signs two gun control bills: The bill was one of several debated in the General Assembly this year in the wake of mass shootings at schools and last year in Las Vegas. Rauner said lawmakers still haven’t finished addressing the issue. He said a ban on bump stocks – which allow weapons to be fired much faster – should be passed. He also said lawmakers should approve money for schools to hire resource officers and mental health professionals to deal with potential gun violence in schools.
* ADDED: Guns can be removed from those deemed dangerous under law signed by Rauner: The person whose guns are taken may petition to give them to a friend with a firearm owner’s ID card. That person must swear not to give the firearms back without authorization.
* ADDED: Illinois governor signs law allowing police, family members to ask judge to seize guns: “There has to be a judge, there has to be proof of the issue,” the governor said. “It can’t just be some accusation. There has to be real proof of danger.”
* ADDED: Rauner signs “red flag”, 72-hour waiting period gun control bills: It was opposed by the National Rifle Association, in part because of concerns about curtailing the due-process rights of gun owners. Republican Rep. Peter Breen commended the bi-partisan effort behind the legislation, negotiating through the concerns of law enforcement and gun owners.
* ADDED: Press Release: Gov. Rauner signs emergency “red flag” gun law, enacts 72-hour waiting period for all gun purchases - Vows to veto gun dealer licensing bill again; urges action on broad public safety plan
- Posted by Rich Miller
* All of us who knew John were in shock on Friday when we got the sad news about his unexpected passing. Tribune…
In dealing with the travails of serving as a spokesman and strategist for myriad Illinois Republican candidates, John McGovern stayed true to his beliefs in policy and civility even as public moods about ideology and partisanship shifted.
McGovern, whose work with candidates for state, congressional and U.S. Senate offices spanned decades, died Friday, apparently of heart failure, his family said. He was 48.
Over the years, McGovern’s work included time as the state Republican Party’s spokesman and executive director. He worked on former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald’s initial 1998 bid for the office and Judy Baar Topinka’s 2006 governor run. He advised former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. And McGovern coordinated congressional campaigns for Mark Kirk and Bob Dold on the North Shore, as well as Kirk’s 2010 Senate victory.
Through it all, McGovern represented a largely departed form of political civility, supporting moderate beliefs in an already rough-and-tumble business that has evolved as more candidates play to the extremes of each party’s base, further polarizing the electorate.
Longtime friend and colleague Brad Hahn called him the “gold standard on the Republican side” in terms of his ability to craft messages, speeches and strategy that not only appealed to Republicans but also broader audiences.
But he wasn’t just good at his job. Hahn said McGovern “was always an amazing friend” and a “great person.”
“He had an amazing wit, sharpness and humor that is unmatched by anyone I’ve ever worked with, and beyond that he was a great friend, colleague and mentor,” Hahn said. “In politics and government there’s a lot of fakeness, but John was genuine and always there as a friend.” […]
Admiration also came from across the aisle. Democratic strategist Kitty Kurth, now president of political consulting firm Kurth Lampe, said McGovern was “always professional.”
“We would disagree on candidates and issues, but he was never disagreeable,” Kurth said. “He was an honorable man in politics, which, in this day and age, is hard to come by.” […]
His family has asked that donations in memoriam be made to Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, The Art Institute of Chicago, or Elawa Farm in Lake Forest.
* Scott Fornek…
“John McGovern, ‘gold standard’ of GOP political strategy in Illinois, dies at 48.”
I didn’t write that headline, but I could have. Illinois lost a good man and a brilliant political mind. And Illinois politics just got a bit less fun.
* llinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider…
John McGovern was an incredibly talented strategist whose instinct and skill led to many successful Republican campaigns. He was widely respected by those active in Illinois politics, regardless of their political affiliation. His straight talk and balanced approach to campaigns and politics will be greatly missed. Please keep John’s family in your thoughts and prayers.
A service of thanksgiving for the life of John E. McGovern, III will be held on Wednesday, July 18 4:30 p.m. The Church of the Holy Spirit 400 East Westminster Road Lake Forest, IL 60045
He was such a fun, sweet man. You could strongly disagree with the guy without ever coming away feeling any less respect for him. He was brilliant and did his job well, but without ever taking himself seriously. There just aren’t many like him in this business.
…Adding… Missed this one…
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Media advisory…
Champions of a measure to prohibit Illinois’ use of Kris Kobach’s flawed Crosscheck program are calling on Governor Rauner to sign Senate Bill 2273. Crosscheck is a flawed system that encourages voter suppression and fails to protect voter data.
The presser comes days after Illinois State Board of Elections officials requested confirmation of their suspicions that Illinois is the state named in special counsel Robert Mueller’s latest indictment regarding hacks by Russian intelligence officers which exposed the personal data of 500,000 Illinois voters.
The last day the Governor can act on the bill is Tuesday, July 17th.
· Legislative sponsors including Rep. Ann Williams, Sen. Kwame Raoul and Sen. Bill Cunningham
· Legislative advocates including the ACLU and Indivisible Chicago
* I asked for an advance copy of the release…
At a press conference this morning, state senator and Democratic candidate for attorney general Kwame Raoul urged Governor Bruce Rauner to sign legislation removing Illinois from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. Tomorrow is the governor’s deadline to take action. Raoul gave the following statement:
“Amid growing concern over the integrity of our election process, Crosscheck is simply too great a risk for Illinois. With President Trump unwilling to safeguard voter privacy and members of his inner circle under investigation, we are duty-bound to protect our own voters and their data. The right to vote freely and privately is the bedrock of our democracy, and I call on Governor Rauner to sign this bill and get us out of Crosscheck.
Especially in light of new indictments indicating Illinois voters’ privacy was compromised by foreign adversaries, as attorney general, I pledge to aggressively investigate all threats to our state’s election system. The confidence our voters have in the fairness of our elections is one of the most valuable resources democracy has – and clearly one of the most vulnerable. I will not stand idly by while our elections fall under attack again.”
The Illinois State Board of Elections has stated that it is “very likely” the victim of a hack described in Friday’s indictments of 12 Russian officers suspected of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. The indictments allege that the Russians stole names, addresses and drivers’ license numbers of affected voters. More than 500,000 Illinois voters’ data may have been exposed.
Tomorrow is the governor’s last day to take action on Senate Bill 2273, which Raoul sponsored along with State Representative Ann Williams. If it becomes law, the measure will end Illinois’ participation in the multistate Crosscheck voter registration database, which suspended its operations last month while under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security due to its vulnerability to breaches. The system has also been shown to enable vote suppression by returning false positives for duplicate registrations. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who oversees Crosscheck, over the release of nearly 1,000 Kansan voters’ personal information, transmitted over unencrypted email. Kobach is a former co-chair of President Trump’s panel on voter fraud. Last fall, the State Board of Elections voted along party lines to stay in the Crosscheck system, despite security concerns.
Under SB 2273, Illinois would remain part of the Electronic Registration Information System (ERIC) database, which is used by 20 states and offers an efficient means of maintaining voter rolls with better procedural safeguards against disenfranchisement and without Crosscheck’s vulnerabilities.
The press conference with Rep. Williams, state Sen. Bill Cunningham (Chair of Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee), Renato Marroti, ACLU Illinois and Indivisible Illinois [will be] streamed on Facebook Live, and a recording can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/ACLUofIllinois/.
*** UPDATE *** Gov. Rauner was asked about this bill at an unrelated press conference today. His response..
That has really nothing to do with cyber attacks or safety or security, that’s a separate issue and I don’t see any reason that we should go out of that as a state.
* Durbin not confident Illinois election systems are secure
* Durbin: More work needed to make sure Russian hack of voter database ‘never happens again’
* Illinois election officials: ‘Very likely’ state was target of Russian hackers
* News of Russian hackers targeting Illinois adds urgency to signing of SB 2273
- Posted by Rich Miller
Visit our advertisers...