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Question of the day

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* Gov. Bruce Rauner…

The 72-hour waiting period in SB 3256 is a bipartisan measure extending the wait to all guns purchased in the state. It, too, has the potential to prevent tragedies. In suicide cases, for example, health professionals say if the impulse to commit suicide is not acted upon immediately, it often does not arise again. The short delay prior to possession could be the difference between life and death.

“No such need with respect to firearm possession is answered by the amended dealer licensing bill passed by the General Assembly (SB 337),” the governor said. “I intend to veto it again because it has no appreciable potential to reduce criminal access to guns.”

According to Loyola University studies on gun violence in Chicago, criminals rarely buy their guns directly from federally licensed and regulated gun dealers. Criminals obtain their guns further down the supply chain, usually from street sources and most often from sources out of state. No amount of duplicative state regulation of gun dealers, who are already federally licensed, will change that reality.

In addition, Rauner said that SB 337 creates another unnecessary regulatory burden for 2,700 small businesses whose livelihoods would be threatened.

* Press release…

The Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after Gov. Bruce Rauner said he will veto SB 337, the bipartisan Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act.


“Gun trafficking is a deadly problem in Illinois, and the governor has again accepted the status quo instead of working to address it. Given another chance to be a part of the solution, Gov. Rauner again made himself a roadblock, and our lawmakers can and should push to enact this important legislation over his veto.”


The governor’s comments today follow his veto in March of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, similar legislation widely supported by the public, according to polling at the time. Following the governor’s veto of that bill, lawmakers worked to address the governor’s concerns in the drafting of the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act, new legislation to reduce gun trafficking. The bill passed through the General Assembly in May with wide margins and bipartisan support

The Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act would help reduce illegal gun trafficking and hold corrupt gun dealers accountable through common-sense measures, including requiring background checks for gun store employees and requiring gun dealers to keep their business premises open for inspection by law enforcement during business hours.

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel…

Governor Rauner’s unwillingness to license gun dealers is bizarre, inexcusable and downright dangerous to the public and police officers. Illinois needs stronger, smarter state gun laws to keep guns off our streets and out of the wrong hands. It is the height of hypocrisy when the same Governor who signed a bill to regulate catfish sales will not stand up and take common sense steps to regulate gun sales. Given that the Governor has not yet received the revised bill, I urge him to reconsider and sign this important and bipartisan public safety measure.

* The Question: Do you agree or disagree with Gov. Rauner’s logic on this bill? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey tool

- Posted by Rich Miller   68 Comments      

Russians revived the Chicago Daily News before Twitter shut it down

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* 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   22 Comments      

Harith Augustus coverage roundup

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* Coming a bit late to this, so here you go…

* Autopsy: Chicago man dies of multiple gunshots: An autopsy shows a black man killed by a Chicago police officer died of multiple gunshot wounds.

* Another black man is killed by police, and the distrust grows deeper: Many African-American men in violent neighborhoods carry guns illegally. Let’s just be honest. The law-abiding people who live in these dangerous neighborhoods know this. And the police know it, too. Some black men carry guns because their lives, and even the lives of their loved ones, depend on it. Some of them do it because it’s the norm in places besieged with crime. And some black men carry guns simply because they are up to no good. … Perhaps he did have something to hide. But perhaps he also had a bona fide fear of police. And perhaps his death confirms that his instinct to flee was justified.

* After the Harith Augustus shooting, Chicago’s policing problems are back in the spotlight: In both videos, Augustus is seen speaking with an officer shortly before three more officers arrive. None of the videos contain audio, the department said, because body cameras do not record sound for a brief period after being switched on.

* Chicago police release body cam video of South Shore police shooting: CPD released two videos, one in real time and another slowed down. The body cam video that was released does not have audio as there is a 30-second delay when the officer turns the device on.

* Chicago activist demands all footage from police shooting: William Calloway said a brief video released by police showing the view from one officer’s body camera does not answer crucial questions, starting with the reasons the officers approached 37-year-old Harith Augustus on Saturday afternoon just before he was shot. Calloway also said that a police spokesman’s explanation that the Augustus was “exhibiting characteristics of an armed person” does justify stopping someone in a city and state where it is legal to carry a concealed weapon. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Sunday that detectives have found no documentation that Augustus had a concealed carry permit, but Calloway said there is no way officers at the scene could have known that when they approached him.

* More protests expected Monday after body cam video released of South Shore police shooting: “We have a right to protest,” said Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Oppression. “The police do not have a right to come out and brutalize us because we’re protesting. And that’s been their history, that’s what they’ve been doing.”

* Chicago police say bodycam footage shows key difference in latest shooting: “Decision to use lethal force is made in a split second. It is based on the safety of the officer and the surrounding community,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said.

* Chicago police release video to ease tensions after killing Harith Augustus: The body camera video shows Augustus reaching for his wallet as the officers approach. In the struggle, a card protrudes from his wallet. It appears to be a Firearm Owners Identification Card, which allows qualified people to buy weapons and ammunition, according to the Illinois State Police.

* Misdemeanor charges filed against protester after Harith Augustus shooting: CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said four officers were injured during the protests. People taunted officers with chants of “murderers” and “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?” One officer was hit with the bottle of urine, and people also threw rocks. Police eventually tried to push protesters back, hitting at least a dozen people with batons.

* Neighborhood recalls ‘quiet’ South Shore barber who died in police shooting: Augustus had no recent arrest history, according to a Chicago police spokesman. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession in three separate incidents over a decade ago, according to Cook County court records. He wasn’t convicted in any of the cases.

* Chicago FOP: Politicians now know that the only way to succeed in obtaining their coveted positions is to cater to the media’s anti-police narratives. The Chicago media, therefore, contributes heavily to the body count every month in Chicago and to an appallingly low clearance rates in homicides.

* Lori Lightfoot…

“The loss of Mr. Harith Augustus’ life is a tragedy, and my condolences and prayers go out to his family, particularly his young child and other loved ones as they mourn his death.

“It is critically important that the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) move forward swiftly, independently, and thoroughly in its investigation. The public has the absolute right to understand all of the circumstances that led to the use of deadly force against Mr. Augustus.

“Superintendent Johnson made a wise decision in releasing a body camera video expeditiously. Consistent with policies recommended by the Police Accountability Task Force and adopted by the city in February of 2016, all relevant videotapes, audio, and initial police reports must be released as soon as possible, balancing the importance of the integrity of the COPA investigation.

“In addition, COPA must address the subsequent circumstances in which members of the police engaged with observers and protesters who gathered in the wake of the shooting. With the caveat that video can only provide a snapshot in time from a particular vantage point, there are several images of police interactions with members of the public that are very troubling. The images I saw from a variety of sources raise serious questions about supervision, use of force and equipment, as well as tactics deployed.

“The public has a right to understand the circumstances that led to injuries of the public and police at the Jeffrey Plaza and adjacent parking lots. It is imperative that both the CPD and COPA address these issues as swiftly as possible in the coming days.”

* Garry McCarthy…

These kinds of shooting incidents are a tragedy. As a city, we all lose when ​ ​they occur. I offer my condolence to the victim’s family. At first blush, this shooting appears to be justified, based on what we see in that video ​ ​and I’m pleased with its quick release. We are hoping that a thorough investigation​ ​gives us the truth as to what happened. But let us also be clear, that the shooting victim refused to comply with the officers. He ​ ​appears to reach for a gun. At that point, he leaves the officers with little to no choice​ ​but to shoot in defense of their own lives. But incidents like this underscore the need for a new mayor who can bring us together, ​ ​promote understanding and open dialogue.

* Troy LaRaviere…

In regard to the police shooting of Harith Augustus, there are three questions that must be answered:

The first question is, “Was the shooting–by itself–justified. Mr. Augustus’ actions after the stop–running and grabbing his gun from his holster–speak clearly to whether or not the shooting–by itself–was justified.

However, the shooting didn’t happen “by itself.” It happened after a decision by police to stop and surround Mr. Augustus, which begs the second question: “In a city where carrying a firearm is legal, what justifies stopping people who appear to be armed? “Appearing to be armed,” literally means “Appearing to be exercising one’s constitutional rights.” Augustus posted in 2014, “My kids aren’t just my children; they are my everything.” Although he did not have the necessary permits, Mr. Augustus’ life as a father, his 9-to-5 job as a barber, and decade-long clean police record paint a picture of a man who likely carried a weapon for the reason most Americans carry weapons: to protect himself. Our system of policing has been found to unjustly target African American communities for everything from issuing parking tickets, to setting up DUI checkpoints, to the unconstitutional use of force. It is of great concern to know this same disparate system is being used to stop African American men who–like many white Chicagoans–arm themselves for protection.

Mr. Augustus did not approach the police, the police approached him, and it was his reaction to their use of force that led to his death. That leads to the last question: Where is the audio from the body camera footage? What did police say to Mr. Augustus that may or may not have led to his ill-advised fight-or-flight reaction to being stopped and surrounded by police officers? Like millions of Americans, I’ve seen footage of officers threatening law-abiding citizens at gunpoint such as the incident before Alton Sterling’s murder in which an officer escalated a situation and then yelled at Sterling, “… I’ll shoot your [expletive deleted], [expletive deleted]! I’m going to shoot you in your [expletive deleted] head!” With escalating police officer behaviors like this in the public consciousness, any reasonable person would understand why the absence of the audio in the body camera footage is of grave concern to those of us who want to ensure this kind of escalation was not a factor in this tragic death. I call on City Hall to instruct the Police Department to release the audio immediately.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Transitions: Baise, Denzler, Demmer, DeWitte, Mazzochi

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* The end of an era

The influential longtime leader of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is announcing Monday that he will retire from the post, but he isn’t giving up his more than four decades of involvement in politics and government.

Gregory Baise will be succeeded Jan. 1 by Mark Denzler, the current vice president and chief operating officer.

“I’ve been a witness to great changes, economic challenges and global shifts that have been met by the men and women who belong to the IMA. Their ability to adapt and overcome in very challenging times must be commended,” Baise, 66, said in a statement.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been an active participant in public policies that affect job creation and the economy. I look forward to the next chapter where I can remain active in that arena,” he said.

* More

Baise will continue to run Xpress Professional Services, a for-profit subsidiary of IMA that performs direct mail, TV ad production and other chores for political candidates, and which operates the well-known We Ask America polling operation.

Baise, 66, will be succeeded by IMA Vice President and COO Mark Denzler, who will run the organization day to day, take over its lobbying operation and lead the group’s political action committee, which in some cycles contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to state candidates. […]

Along with a few other figures such as Ron Gidwitz (now the U.S. ambassador to Belgium) and former Illinois Retail Merchants Association chief Dave Vite, Baise was a holdover from the days when fiscally conservative but socially moderate Republicans in the Thompson mold ran the Illinois GOP.

Greg has been a friend of mine for many, many years. I use We Ask America’s polls, so I’m a bit conflicted with my opinions, but I have nothing but respect for the man. We’ve had our arguments, but the guy is a true gentleman. Denzler has some big shoes to fill, but he’s been gradually taking over Baise’s responsibilities for several years. He’ll do fine.

* On to the next one. From a press release…

State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) has been appointed to the post of Deputy House Minority Leader today, earning him a #2 spot in the House Republican Caucus. This recognition follows a Spring Session that saw Demmer lead the charge on enacting both a new Hospital Assessment Program on behalf of his caucus as well as successfully negotiating a bipartisan, historic State Budget agreement which resulted in “No New Taxes” and provides stability to state finances.

Demmer is serving in his third two-year term in the Illinois House, where he has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful legislators in the House Republican caucus. Rep. Demmer’s appointment was announced by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin on Monday, “It is an honor to have Tom Demmer serve as our next Deputy Minority Leader in the House Republican caucus,” Leader Durkin said. “In his time as a legislator, Tom has become a leading voice for our caucus and a fighter for our Republican principles in Illinois. He was instrumental in passing our state’s first balanced budget in decades earlier this year and I look forward to working with him in getting more important reforms passed for Illinois.”

Demmer is the Director of Innovation & Strategy at KSB Hospital in Dixon. Prior to his election to the General Assembly, he served on the Lee County Board. Demmer graduated from the University of Dayton, after having served as a White House intern in the Office of the Vice President of the United States in 2006. Demmer is a 2016 Henry W. Toll Fellow with the Council of State Governments. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation. He is a co-founder of the Future Caucus of millennial legislators in Illinois and has balanced a work-load of serving on 14 committees in the Illinois House this Spring Session.

“I thank Leader Durkin for his confidence and support,” Demmer said. “I am proud of the work our caucus has done to fight for a better future for Illinois, and I look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to bring new opportunities for Illinois families.”

Demmer has become Durkin’s most trusted lieutenant, so this was not unexpected. Keep an eye on this guy. He may look young enough to be a page, but he’s smart, has mad skills and obviously has enormous stamina. I mean, 14 committees? Who else could do that?

* Next

Former St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte has been selected to fill the 33rd District State Senate seat soon to be vacated by Republican Karen McConnaughay, a party official said Saturday.

Kane County Republican Party Chairman Ken Shepro said DeWitte was selected from among seven candidates.

Retiring Rep. Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) had wanted that slot. Andersson voted to override the governor’s tax and budget vetoes last year, so there was a lot of behind the scenes push-back against him. I’m told DeWitte is a moderate like McConnaughay.

But DeWitte’s appointment means there will be one fewer woman in the Senate Republican caucus next year.

* And, finally, from a press release…

The Republican 47th House District Selection Committee is pleased to announce today the appointment of College of DuPage (COD) Board of Trustees Chairman Deanne Mazzochi to the Office of State Representative for the 47th House District of Illinois.

“I am grateful for this appointment to serve the people of the 47th District,” said Mazzochi. “Our communities are accustomed to the excellent services that Representative Bellock provided, and we are committed to maintaining them. Residents already have reached out to me on issues ranging from O’Hare and Tollway expansion, redistricting, property taxes, budget, and social services. I’m excited to get started and direct my energy and experience learning and listening to find creative ways to help this district, and to advocate for good policy during the November legislative veto session.”

The vacancy was created when retiring Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) was recently appointed director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Mazzochi ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Caption contest!

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* From Saturday…

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Campaign finance reports

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* 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   Comment      

Rauner denies tacking to the right with Pence praise

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* From last Friday’s Tribune story entitled “Rauner embraces Trump White House in Rosemont, calls Pence among the ‘greatest leaders in American history’”

Gov. Bruce Rauner firmly embraced President Donald Trump’s administration Friday, using an introduction of Vice President Mike Pence at a Rosemont campaign event to hail a White House for creating a domestic economy that is “roaring again.” […]

In his introduction, Rauner called Pence one of the “greatest leaders in American history” and said the vice president, a former governor of neighboring Indiana, and GOP governors there had turned the state into a “role model” for what Illinois needs to do.

“Mike Pence did it for the Hoosiers, and now Mike Pence along with President Trump are doing it for every American right now,” Rauner said of Indiana’s pro-business policies.

“The American economy is roaring today. Rising family incomes, higher wages, lower jobs, higher equality of life. Why? Because Vice President Pence, President Trump, working with Republican leaders, have cut the tax burden of the people of America. That’s why,” Rauner said. “Cut the tax burden, reduce the regulatory burden, fight for fair trade, and we have American jobs and higher family incomes.”

* The governor was asked about this today (click here for audio). I was starting to work on a transcript, but Jake beat me to it, so he saved me some work…

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Rauner signs Firearms Restraining Order Act, 72-hour gun purchase waiting period, will veto gun shop regulation bill

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* 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.

* Related…

* 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   18 Comments      

John McGovern: “An honorable man in politics”

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* 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.

* Sun-Times

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.

Godspeed, John.

* 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.

* Services

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   11 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Rauner to veto *** Raoul to Rauner: “Get us out of Crosscheck”

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* 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

*** 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.

* Related…

* 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   18 Comments      

Unclear on the concept

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* So, um, what would be a good “time and place” for a protest, governor?

* Related…

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- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

Mitchell is “a foot in the door for the next generation”

Monday, Jul 16, 2018

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Right up front, let’s just stipulate that the recent appointment of state Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) as the Democratic Party of Illinois’ interim executive director will not usher in an immediate sea-change.

First, this is a temporary, part-time gig. Rep. Mitchell told me he has no interest in staying on after the election and will continue with his part-time law schooling through the fall campaign.

Second, House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is also the state party’s chairman, has already installed Mary Morrissey as the state party’s chief operating officer. Among other things, Morrissey ran Madigan’s Chicago political operation before moving over to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s campaign and government staffs. She is smart, capable, knows just about everybody in the business and is a nuts-and-bolts person who, Mitchell said, will handle the day-to-day functioning of the party. She’ll likely keep an eye on Mitchell for Madigan.

Third, Madigan promoted Emily Wurth, the party’s former operations manager, to chief financial officer. Wurth is a highly capable former House Issues (campaign) staffer who moved up to DPI five years ago. She’ll be one more set of eyes on Mitchell.

Fourth, Madigan has installed his most trusted attorney, Mike Kasper, as treasurer of the state party.

And, finally, as the duly elected state party chairman, Madigan can likely veto anything Mitchell wants to do.

All that having been said, this Mitchell appointment is an important move by the all-female committee tasked with naming Tim Mapes’ replacement. Mapes had to resign as Madigan’s chief of staff and state party executive director after being accused of sexual harassment.

Think of this move as a foot in the door for the next generation.

For the first time, the state party will have a young African-American standing right out front. A calcified, overly white, constantly under fire and very unpopular state party leadership has simply become a drag on every Democrat. Mitchell is a normally pleasant fellow, but he’s an amateur boxer who isn’t afraid to verbally punch you hard in the nose. So, an attack on Democrats by the Republicans can be met with a quick and stinging response from its new and fresh public face. Even though Mitchell wasn’t Madigan’s choice, the House Speaker is smart enough to know this can be an advantage he’s never had before.

An early supporter of J.B. Pritzker, Mitchell has unofficially advised the campaign for months. He reportedly helped the candidate deal with the uproar after the Chicago Tribune published a story about those now-infamous FBI surveillance tapes on which Pritzker said some highly unkind things about various African-American politicians to Rod Blagojevich, in an effort to convince the governor to appoint Jesse White to the U.S. Senate. The Pritzker folks have always been impressed by Mitchell and that’s a big reason why they actively engineered his appointment. Madigan simply could not stand in the way of his party’s nominee, who, as of this writing, has poured $5.7 million into Democratic coffers since late May with more to come. Mitchell is basically Pritzker’s guy at DPI.

Rep. Mitchell is also a close political ally and personal friend of Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), who has fought several public and private battles with Speaker Madigan over the past several months on #MeToo issues. And according to numerous sources, Mitchell has privately advised Alaina Hampton, who is suing Madigan’s political operation after making her own sexual harassment allegations. Both women heartily endorsed Mitchell’s ascension. That might give Madigan some heartburn, but the party most definitely needs a bridge to the other side after the recent debacles. Mitchell has a lot of allies in the state’s #MeToo movement, and all seemed quite pleased last week.

Mitchell hasn’t spoken publicly against Madigan. That could be seen as a sign of weakness or even obsequiousness by outsiders, but others know better. Attack Madigan and his members and allies will always rush to his defense. Blagojevich found that out the hard way, so did Pat Quinn and, of course, so did Bruce Rauner. Mitchell, on the other hand, is one of the smoothest guys I know and he’s a person of his word, which are big reasons why he’s been able to work with so many different Statehouse types, including Madigan.

The Mitchell appointment isn’t the beginning of the end for Madigan by any means. The big guy holds too many cards. It might, however, be the end of the beginning.

After endless months of wrenching turmoil, the Pritzker campaign is finally exerting its will on the party chairman. Expect that to continue if Pritzker is elected this November.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Monday, Jul 16, 2018

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- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

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