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Chris Kennedy’s 4th quarter burn rate topped 150 percent, had just $737K in the bank

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

* This is not the D-2 you want to file just before the final sprint to primary day

And $250,000 of that million dollars he raised came from his own pocket.

…Adding… To put this into a bit of perspective, Sen. Daniel Biss ended the 4th quarter with $3.1 million in the bank. That’s well over four times what Kennedy had on hand. Ridiculous.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Rauner campaign responds *** David Duke tries to use Rauner quote to his own advantage

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

* Background is here. As noted at that link, the governor’s campaign eventually said Rauner “believes that David Duke is a racist,” but Duke either didn’t get the memo or ignored it…

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke is thanking Bruce Rauner for not calling him a racist. Duke posted audio and the following image on his website:

Around the 19-minute mark, Duke says: “I think that’s what happened to the Governor of Illinois. Probably at some point, he’s heard about David Duke a million times, he’s in politics, he goes to DavidDuke.com, he’s read some of the things I say, and deep down in his soul, deep down something’s happened inside of him, and he knows that I’m not really a racist.”

“While Bruce Rauner doesn’t have too many people in his corner as of late, he just picked up a new supporter: Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke,” said Pritzker campaign communications director Galia Slayen. “With one of the most avowed white supremacists by his side, perhaps Rauner would like to try out a different talking point on whether or not Duke is a racist.”

* I was actually listening to the Duke broadcast when the press release came through (a GOP buddy of mine sent me a link). Duke also said this

But it’s very interesting that the governor wouldn’t do it. And I think in the course of discussions, in the course of a conversation, sometimes the truth is kinda blurted out, or the truth is stated sometimes in absentia because he wouldn’t call Trump a racist and he wouldn’t call me a racist specifically. The quotation is pretty amazing about what happened here. So he had a black guy interviewing him and a white guy interviewing him and said, ‘well is Trump or not racist? You won’t call Trump a racist? Will you call David Duke a racist?’ And he didn’t answer it. He answered in general terms: ‘Well, we have racism in this country.’

Governor, the next time Charles Thomas pitches you a softball, please, just swing at it.

…Adding… I stopped listening after just a few minutes, but someone else I know kept at it. Duke did address the campaign statement about him being a racist…

And of course the governor, after this happened, of course all of his probably Jewish advisors, they said quote ‘The governor believes that David Duke is a racist.’ He just didn’t say so in the interview because it wasn’t scripted then.

Ugh.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner campaign spokesman Will Allison…

Governor Rauner believes that David Duke is a racist and it’s shameful that Duke is blatantly making things up for his website. JB Pritzker should be ashamed that he is providing David Duke a platform by promoting his lies.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


The unintended consequences of Rauner’s AV

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

* Let’s go back to the governor’s amendatory veto of SB444

As written, the Act requires non-public schools to be “recognized” by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) [in order to qualify to receive Invest in Kids scholarships]. This language creates an eligibility mandate from what is otherwise a voluntary distinction for which schools may apply. Eligibility should be expanded to also include schools that are registered with ISBE, a necessary precursor to becoming “recognized.” While it is prudent to require compliance with ISBE measures that protect the health, safety and well-being of students, the current timelines to become recognized will exclude at least 36 schools that are still in the process of registering for and moving toward recognition; the ramifications of this initial exclusion could potentially last for two years. The students attending or looking to attend these schools deserve the same access to Invest in Kids scholarships as those in already recognized schools. Their educational opportunities cannot wait for years.

By including those who have registered with ISBE as well as those already recognized, the law will better maximize the number of schools and therefore the number of children who can benefit from this promising new program.

The problem that’s being overlooked is that there are far more than 36 schools which could benefit from the governor’s proposed changed. Right now, in order to qualify for the scholarship program, schools have to be “recognized” by the ISBE. And that means several hoops must first be cleared

That term — “recognized” — sounds bland. But it’s kind of a big deal. It’s the stamp of approval the State Board of Education gives to schools that meet a 17-page list of standards for curriculum, health and safety. For example, a school has to prove students are immunized, and that staff members have passed criminal background checks. Then all that information is verified by investigators who visit the facility.

* Under the governor’s amendatory veto, non-public schools would merely have to file some registration paperwork with the State Board of Education by February 15th and they would qualify for the new scholarship program

Registration requires a simple 5-page form pledging “assurances,” and it’s on the honor system. No site visit required.

* With that in mind…

…Adding… From Patty Schuh…

From the ISBE website: “Please note that for purposes of registration, a nonpublic school is any nonprofit, non-home-based, and nonpublic elementary or secondary school (Section 2-3.25o(e)) of the Illinois School Code) that is in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and attendance at which satisfies the requirements of Section 26-1 of the Illinois School Code. Only such schools can register and re-register.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Blagojevich roundup: Pritzker’s response, Patti’s response, US Attorney reveals new probe into leak

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

When a dramatic new element is introduced into a political campaign, it’s always instructive to watch how the targeted candidate responds. Did the candidate appear ready for the new turn of events, or was s/he caught flat-footed?

The JB Pritzker campaign appeared to pass that test last week when Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign unexpectedly (for some of us) launched a new TV attack ad against it.

It turns out, the Pritzker campaign already had a response ad in the can, just waiting for whatever might come. So, when the Rauner campaign’s new TV ad featuring an FBI-wiretapped conversation between Pritzker and Rod Blagojevich was leaked online last week, the Pritzker folks unveiled their counter-assault within minutes.

“It’s no surprise Bruce Rauner is already on TV attacking me,” Pritzker says to the camera in his 30-second response ad. “He’d rather play politics in the Democratic primary than defend his own record.”

Another 60-second ad — which looks like it may have initially been intended only for online use because the quality wasn’t as high — featured TV news clips designed to whack Rauner over the ongoing problems at the Quincy veterans’ home, where 13 residents have died since 2015 after contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Rauner last week finally formed a task force in an attempt to prevent more deaths.

This is the first time in memory that a sitting Illinois governor has openly played in a rival’s opposing party primary campaign. We’ve seen this sort of thing in other states, but not here. Several Illinois unions did dump a bunch of money into the 2014 Republican primary to prevent Rauner’s nomination, so the governor can be forgiven for wanting a bit of payback against the unions’ candidate (Pritzker) this time around.

The Rauner folks have gone back and forth for months about which candidate they’d rather not face. Pritzker has unlimited money, but he has some opposition research issues (like Blagojevich, his ties to Speaker Madigan and his now-infamous decision to rip the toilets out of a vacant mansion to lower his property taxes). Chris Kennedy has had trouble raising money, but he does have a famous name, not many opposition research issues and is successfully positioning himself as an independent.

More likely, I think, somebody upstairs may have just decided that it was time to put the wood to Pritzker, who has been having a lot of fun attacking Rauner for months. And since other Democratic candidates don’t have the cash to do it, Rauner will.

The Pritzker campaign’s current ad buy is substantially larger than Rauner’s, I’m told, and they’re willing to increase that amount if need be. They’re also reportedly readying some more response ads.

* But there’s more to this angle. Sun-Times

Patti Blagojevich hit the local television news circuit Friday to slam Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign for using her husband’s FBI-wiretapped phone conversation in a political attack ad against Democratic primary frontrunner J.B. Pritzker.

“There is a federal court order not allowing these tapes to see the light of day,” Patti Blagojevich said in a sit-down interview with WFLD-Fox 32, one of at least four interviews she gave on Friday. “We fought so hard in court to try to get tapes just like this.” […]

“Somebody from the US Attorney’s Office (or one of their former employees) and Rauner’s Campaign should be criminally charged for breaking the still standing court order sealing the tapes,” Patti Blagojevich wrote in a Facebook post. “This is clearly a case of someone from the US Attorney’s office playing partisan politics, while they did everything they could to make sure we could not play the tapes that vindicated Rod.”

Rauner campaign spokesman Will Allison said they used the recordings that were included in the Tribune story. A representative for the U.S. attorney’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

“This is a perfectly legal conversation between my husband and J.B. talking about different things that he wanted to accomplish with regards to President Obama’s Senate seat . . . These are all things we wanted heard at trial,” Patti Blagojevich told Fox 32.

* WGN TV

“We’ve been fighting for five years to get those tapes heard. And now somebody leaks them and now they’re in a political attack ad.”

She says while she feels bad for Pritzker, the audio proves her husband isn’t guilty.

“One thing my husband loves to do is he loves to talk. And he loves to talk with his advisors, his lawyers. And all these people and do this war gaming. What if we do this? What if we do that? How about if we do this? How about if we do that? And unfortunately, what you saw in the trial was just one side of all those conversations.”

* NBC 5

A sub-current of the Rauner ad controversy involves questions over how the un-played tapes were leaked. The portion used in the commercial was part of an 11 minute montage featured by the Tribune last year.

How the Tribune got those tapes, is not entirely clear.

“That particular tape was never played at trial,” Joe Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed. “We are working on it also—we want to know who gave it out.”

Fitzpatrick said it did not come from anyone in the U.S. Attorney’s office, and noted that copies had been distributed to all legal teams involved in the two Blagojevich trials.

“And that includes paralegals, their investigators, a lot of people get their hands on these,” he said.

Yikes.

* Mary Ann Ahern

The new ads feature taped conversations between Pritzker and Blagojevich, recorded during the time that the FBI was investigating the then-governor. In an exclusive interview with NBC 5, the candidate himself commented on the interview conducted by the FBI about the conversation.

“They just wanted to know more about the conversation, if there was more that I could tell them about the conversation,” he said.

Pritzker says that he was telling Blagojevich on the tapes that he would be interested in being the state’s treasurer, not that he would be interested in the Senate seat vacated by former President Barack Obama.

“It’s not surprising that looking to do more public service is something I was interested in,” he said. “Who knew that he was doing things that were against the interests of the people?”

Who knew? Lots of people. C’mon, man.

…Adding… I never noticed it in the original Tribune story last May, but Pritzker’s campaign has already admitted he talked to the FBI back in the day

Pritzker did not directly ask for the Senate appointment on the calls the Tribune obtained. The Pritzker campaign acknowledged late Wednesday that “J.B. had one short interview with” the FBI as part of the Blagojevich investigation. Federal authorities did not call Pritzker as a witness at either of Blagojevich’s two trials, nor did they accuse him of any wrongdoing.

…Adding… Rauner campaign…

JB Pritzker Lies to Cover Up Ties to Blagojevich

JB Pritzker answered questions on Friday surrounding Citizens for Rauner’s new Pritzker-Blagojevich TV ad. Pritzker claims that he didn’t know Blagojevich was facing FBI investigations at the time of the wiretaps, which occurred just one month before the former governor was arrested.

Pritzker specifically says that “nobody knew that the FBI was investigating the man.” He goes on to say, “Who knew, you know, that it was, that he was actually doing things that were against the interests of the people.” Watch HERE.

As NBC Chicago reporter Mary Ann Ahern explains, it was “widely believed” at the time that the FBI was investigating Blagojevich.

Not only is Pritzker making a patently false claim – his own words on the FBI tapes show that he knew, at the time, that Blagojevich was being investigated and was facing legal trouble. In a conversation between Pritzker and Blagojevich towards the end of the tapes released by the Chicago Tribune, Pritzker specifically cites Blagojevich’s “legal problems” and says “we gotta get the legal thing behind you.”

This conversation, combined with years of well-publicized media reports, makes crystal clear that JB Pritzker knew Rod Blagojevich was under federal investigation, contrary to what he is now claiming.

TRANSCRIPT:
BLAGOJEVICH: If you can do for me what you did for [Lisa Madigan] before the end of the year, can you think about that?

PRITZKER: Well I can’t, uh, not while everything’s up in the air. But I hear ya. Yeah I, I hear ya.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah. But anyways, if we go in that direction though, if that does happen, I mean there’s some other people who can help us that you know.

PRITZKER: Sure.

BLAGOJEVICH: If you feel skittish about that, which I believe you shouldn’t. But go ahead.

PRITZKER: Yeah, I don’t think we should even talk about it, but I understand what you’re saying. Assuming no legal problems, that you, you know, your pitch is going to be, with all the other crap that you could say here, I’ve done real things.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

PRITZKER: And so, I think you’ve got a lot to run on. It’s just, we gotta get the legal thing behind you.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

PRITZKER: That’s for sure.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah but there’s statutes of limitations and things, and those dates are running. And those things will come and go long before there’s a re-election.

PRITZKER: Is that right? Soon?

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah, and then.

PRITZKER: Okay.

BLAGOJEVICH: It’ll just fade away.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Rauner sticks tightly to talking points when asked about Trump and even David Duke

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

* CBS 2

Gov. Rauner said there was “no place in our political conversation” for vulgar language reportedly used by President Trump in a meeting on immigration, but would not call the president racist.

The governor, who was appearing on WVON radio on Monday, was asked about Trump’s description of places like Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “sh*tholes.” The president made those comments in a meeting to discuss a bipartisan agreement on immigration, according to Sen. Dick Durbin. Trump denies he used that language.

Rauner was asked directly by WVON’s morning show host Maze Jackson if Trump was a racist and Rauner wouldn’t answer, saying again that such language as no place in politics.

Co-host Charles Thomas pressed the governor again, saying “you won’t call him a racist?”

“You know what? We have racists in our society,” Rauner said. “We have got to come together to change the system in Illinois. Illinois is broken. Our system is broken. African-American families are suffering in Illinois. It’s worse than anywhere with unemployment. We have got to change our system.”

That’s not all Charles asked.

* From the transcript

MAZE JACKSON: “The President of the United States used language that we’ve never heard before, we call – we said he said ‘shitolee’ on this show. You heard his comments. Is Donald Trump racist? Is he a racist?”

RAUNER: “I’ll say this. That language has no place in our political conversation.”

JACKSON: “But is he a racist?”

RAUNER: “That language has no place in our political conversation.”

JACKSON: “But we’ve got it. We heard it. He said it. So it’s in the universe. So, to a – to the Haitians that live in this city, in the state – what’s up with Donald Trump? How do you respond to that?”

RAUNER: “That language has no place in our political conversation.”

CHARLES THOMAS: “But you won’t call him a racist?”

RAUNER: “No place.”

THOMAS: “Is David Duke a racist? I mean, is… what about Donald Trump?

RAUNER: “You know what? We have racists in our society. We have got to come together to change the system in Illinois. Illinois is broken. Our system is broken. African American families are suffering in Illinois. It’s worse than anywhere with unemployment. We have got to change our system.”

* Video

* Pritzker campaign…

“Donald Trump built his political career on pitting our communities against each other and now spews vile, hateful language from the White House on a daily basis,” said JB Pritzker. “From casual private conversation to tweets seen around the world, Trump’s racist views and words sadly represent our country. Strong state leaders have pushed back and defended the communities that are under attack by this president, but Bruce Rauner is sitting on the sidelines. To have the governor of this state remain silent and refuse to call Trump what he clearly is — a racist — is an embarrassing insult to communities across Illinois. Bruce Rauner’s corrupt pact with Trump, ratified by his silence, must end.”

…Adding… Sun-Times

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner refused in a morning interview on WVON 1690 AM to apply the “racist” label not only to Trump, but to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. The campaign of J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat running to challenge Rauner, quickly pounced.

“The governor believes that David Duke is a racist,” Justin Giorgio, a spokesman for
Rauner’s campaign, said later in an email. “As he stated in his interview this morning, the governor is working to bring all Illinoisans together to overcome the racism that exists in our society.”

…Adding… Pritzker campaign…

During a WVON interview yesterday, Bruce Rauner refused to call former KKK leader David Duke a racist.

Rauner fell back on his favorite talking point, “our system is broken,” to avoid criticizing the notorious white supremacist. While a spokesman later attempted to clean up Rauner’s dodge, Rauner failed to answer a simple question about one of the country’s foremost bigots.

“It is abundantly clear that former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke is racist and it is inexcusable that Bruce Rauner would rather mince words than answer a simple question,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Instead of having a spine and standing up for what’s right, Rauner dodges even the most basic of questions to avoid giving Illinoisans the answers they deserve.”

* Sen. Kwame Raoul…

Gov. Rauner’s refusal to call former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke a racist on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is flat out Trumpian.

Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter and Bruce Rauner’s inability to clearly state that David Duke is a racist is pretty damning.

In the spirit of MLK, I’m asking that we all speak out against the injustices that are taking place in our communities and across the state. We must speak a little bit louder against hate. We must speak a little bit louder against fear. And we must unabashedly speak louder against those who try to divide us!

…Adding… DGA…

Like clockwork, Governor Bruce Rauner was in the news again for failing to take a strong moral stand on an easy-to-call situation. Yesterday, during an interview with WVON, Governor Bruce Rauner was pressed on President Donald Trump’s most recent and outrageous comments on immigrants. Rauner fell back on talking points, refused to address the substance on Trump’s comments, and would not condemn David Duke as “racist.”

Rauner’s campaign later clarified that, of course, he believed David Duke was racist. But the WVON interview is another example, just in the past six months, of Rauner’s reluctance to show real leadership on moral issues:

    Charlottesville and Terrorism: Rauner initially refused to use the term “terrorism” to describe the Neo-Nazi attacks in Charlottesville. Rauner had to be shamed into clarifying his language later that day.

    Charlottesville and Trump: Rauner waited days to addressed President Trump’s “both sides” comments on Charlottesville, and only after Trump repeated his comments. Rauner was questioned by reporters why he initially didn’t use Trump’s name in his condemnation of his language.

    Illinois Policy Institute Cartoon: Rauner infamously refused to look at a cartoon denounced by the Illinois legislature, but drawn by his close allies at the IPI. A week-long saga would eventually result in Rauner’s office issuing a statement that said, “as a white male”, he had nothing to add. Multiple communications staffers were fired.

    Anthem Protests: Despite his tepidity to address pretty much any issue spurred by Trump, Rauner jumped into the debate on protests at football games, siding with the President.

The pattern is getting hard to ignore.

“Bruce Rauner’s wait-and-see approach to leadership really clarifies who he’s looking out for, and it’s not Illinois residents,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Time after time, Rauner has had to be shamed into taking a moral stand on issues offensive or upsetting to Illinoisans. Rauner’s reluctance to take on President Trump is only hurting Illinois families.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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* Question of the day
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* *** UPDATED x2 - Pritzker "Did Chris Kennedy Just Endorse Bruce Rauner?" - Kennedy campaign tries to explain *** Kennedy says Rauner "should be applauded" for "trying to do what he thinks is best for the state of Illinois"
* Sen. Donne Trotter retires
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* *** UPDATED x1 *** Judge clears courtroom in Rauner lawsuit hearing
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