Good Monday morning, Illinois. Welcome back to Playbook. Did I miss anything? … Read about my Covid vaca under “Tales from the Homefront.”

Mike McClain has no plans on giving up his friend, House Speaker Michael Madigan, to the feds, and House Democrats are standing by their party leader, too.

Playbook hears McClain, a former ComEd lobbyist and confidante of Madigan’s, “respectfully declined to cooperate” with the feds when they came knocking last year, and he’s sticking with that decision today.

If that holds, it’s an interesting wrinkle in the investigation that’s embroiled Madigan, McClain and other unnamed characters in the federal case against ComEd.

The state’s largest electric utility has admitted that it tried to “influence and reward” Public Official A, who’s been identified as Madigan. According to court filings, ComEd arranged jobs for associates connected to the House speaker to advance legislation and McClain is seen as holding the key to proving whether the speaker used the company to give jobs to friends. Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown went so far as to say if McClain “flips, then the speaker’s reign is over.”

Well, McClain ain’t flipping.

That’s not to say Madigan isn’t worried about how the ComEd case will affect his standing among House Democrats. During the past week, he’s put out calls to caucus members assuring them that he never recommended anyone for a job that he didn’t expect them to work.

So far, top House Democrats are sticking by him — at least publicly. There’s chatter about who might be in line for the speaker position. Names that pop up: Reps. Greg Harris, Kelly Burke, Jehan Gordon-Booth, Kelly Cassidy, Will Davis, Jay Hoffman, and Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

And there’s an effort to drum up an opponent against Madigan in November. Good luck. The election is Nov. 3 but the first round of mail-in ballots land in voters’ homes Sept. 24.


It’s Madigan v. Lausch, according to the Center for Illinois Politics.

Anne Pramaggiore resigns from Motorola board, by Crain’s Steve Daniels.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working with Kim Foxx’s Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to target gun cases in wake of violence that’s torn apart the city in recent weeks.

Gun-possession cases will be sent immediately to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the process. Until now, those cases were studied by Foxx’s team for weeks before being sent to the feds — who in turn could hold on to cases for months.

Now, those cases are being rewired to accelerate prosecutions and to get guns off the city’s streets.

The procedural change comes after violent crime drew scrutiny from the White House. President Donald Trump had threatened to send federal agents to the city, prompting fear that Chicago would become another Portland, Ore. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot then talked with Trump by phone and they agreed to have agents bolster existing law-enforcement efforts.

“No federal troops coming to Chicago. Period,” Lightfoot said in a statement released Friday night on Twitter. “We do not need or want troops… I am confident that I made that point crystal clear” with the White House, she said.

Instead, additional agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago. Foxx’s office will send the paperwork on every felony gun case that comes into Bond Court to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Only cases approved for state felony charges will be sent to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to be considered under the federal weapons possession statute. There is no stopping or delay of the state’s prosecution of the gun case. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to handle the case unless the feds decide to indict.


The possibility of federal agents swooping in prompts competing rally, protest in the Loop, via Tribune

Open letter demands Lightfoot, Dart not cooperate with federal agents coming to Chicago, by WTTW’s Quinn Myers

Gotta a comment? Or News tip? Email [email protected]

At City Hall at 1 p.m. to announce housing assistance grants for residents impacted by Covid-19.

At Adams County Health Department in Quincy at 10:30 a.m. to discuss Covid-19 response. Then in Rock Island at the health department there at 1:30 p.m. to talk more about Covid.

No official public events.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported one confirmed death Sunday and 1,541 new confirmed cases. That’s 7,398 total deaths in Illinois and 171,424 total cases, many of which have recovered. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 19 through July 25 is 3.7 percent. NEW number: Chicago’s positivity rate is 4.9 percent.

‘Shut it down now:’ U.S. health experts call for 2nd coronavirus shutdown: “There’s nothing that’s ever been less political than the coronavirus,” one doctor who signed an open letter to lawmakers, via ABC/7.

Professors slam reopening plans at Illinois colleges amid, prompting some schools to reverse course: “With the fall term rapidly approaching, faculty members at Illinois colleges are escalating their complaints and have emerged as a leading force against the resumption of in-person instruction. Their concerns, aired in petitions and debates in academic senates, are taking on renewed urgency after reports that students returning to some college towns are spreading the coronavirus at parties and other gatherings,” by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney and Claire Hao.

Without a vaccine, researchers say, herd immunity may never be achieved, by NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel.

To fight coronavirus, Chicago moved homeless residents into a hotel. Now what?: “Advocates hunt to find permanent housing after a temporary solution; ‘I’m no closer to finding a place than I was four months ago,’ says one resident of Hotel 166,” by WSJ’s Joe Barrett.

SIU Medicine to relaunch Covid-19 testing site: “The Springfield-based clinical practice fills the gap that was left when the Illinois Department of Public Health, which had been administering the drive-thru site since June 30, pulled up stakes last week,” by State Journal-Register’s Brenden Moore.

My 14-year-old and I vacationed in Louisville last week. It was our first trip outside of grocery shopping and a Little League baseball game that we’ve made in four months. I can’t say it was totally relaxing, but we did have a memorable time, masks et al. We picked Louisville because it’s an easy one-day drive — five hours. The governor of Kentucky has mandated masks in public, which eased our fears (to some extent), but I won’t lie: Vacationing in a Covid world is stressful. As soon as we arrived in our hotel room, we sterilized everything — knobs and light switches, the phone and remote control. Our hotel canceled day-to-day housekeeping so the virus couldn’t be introduced into our room. We ate at one restaurant but brought barbecue and pizza back to our hotel on the other nights. Our excursions included the Louisville Slugger factory tour, the Churchill Downs track at 7:30 a.m. to see horses and jockeys practice, and the Muhammad Ali Center — all of which were hyper-aware about guests wearing masks and practicing social distancing. With all the precautions in check, we enjoyed the visits, the highlight being the Ali museum. Ali’s story is featured in artifacts, videos and a replica boxing ring. It’s as much a story about his life as a boxer as it is of social activism, which brought home all the events of the time we’re living in. We’ve been home five days now, Covid free, and I’m finally relaxing about taking a Covid vaca. Pix at the track

— Baseball meets politics: A live fundraiser was held on a rooftop overlooking Wrigley Field for the Cubs’ home opener against the Brewers on Friday. The VIP event drew a crowd of 50 — the limit during these Covid-19 times. The event benefited Unite the Country (a Super PAC for Joe Biden) and other various friends and clients who work with political fundraiser Liz Nicholson. Spotted: state Sen. Tony Munoz, state Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, state Rep. LaShawn Ford, Ald. Stephanie Coleman, Ald. Tom Tunney, attorney Tammy Wendt (a Dem candidate for the Board of Review), Illinois Pipe Trades UA rep Bill Meyers, and Cure Alzheimer’s Sam Sisodia.


‘She had no remorse’: Why Kamala Harris isn’t a lock for VP: “No one disputes she’s the frontrunner to be Biden’s No. 2. But there are lingering doubts, primarily over the issue of trust,” by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki, Christopher Cadelago and Marc Caputo.

— TED CRUZ has nothing better to do: Sen. Ted Cruz singled out a tweet Sunday by Hadiya Afzal, an activist running for DuPage County Board District 4, for ire. Afzal had commented on a video that showed a federal officer in Portland being hit by an object. “ive been watching this on repeat for fifteen minutes and laughing every single time,” Afzal tweeted from her private account. Cruz retweeted, saying “Hateful & sick. Does @JoeBiden agree?”

Donald Trump’s suburban horror show: “If current numbers hold, the Republican Party will suffer its worst defeat in the suburbs in decades — with implications reaching far beyond November,” by POLITICO’s David Siders.

— Bradley Tusk, the venture capitalist and political strategist who once worked for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, talks about the presidential race. “If you mishandle a crisis, your career is on the line,” he says, referring to President Donald Trump’s handling of coronavirus. One possible factor in Trump’s favor: “If crime spirals out of control.” Full interview with PredictIt.

— Mellody Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments and wife of film mogul George Lucas, gave $307,800 to the Biden Action Fund, according to Deadline.

Commentary from Toni Preckwinkle: ‘Our monuments and symbols reveal our values’: “It’s time to rethink what we really want depicted on the back of every nickel, on the face of every $20 bill and as our public monuments. These symbols have meanings. They tell a story. They tell you, quite literally, what we value.”

Disinvestment in Black and Latino neighborhoods is rooted in policy: 4-byline Tribune story examines “how these communities continue to be negatively impacted.”

Lightfoot’s decision to take down Columbus statues splits aldermen: “While some aldermen praised Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to take down the statues of Christopher Columbus that had become a flashpoint of protests against racism and police brutality, others said Friday she should not have acted unilaterally in the middle of the night,” writes WTTW’s Heather Cherone. The words “Meigs Field” come to mind.

Longtime Cabrini-Green advocate accused of misusing funds for displaced residents: “The Chicago Housing Authority is asking a U.S. District judge to amend the 2000 consent decree following a report critical of how funds intended for displaced or current Cabrini-Green residents were being used,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.

Lakefront Trail opens at Oak Street after erosion repairs are completed: “The Chicago Park District reopened the trail between Oak and Ohio streets … There are still crumbling portions of the trail, but the latest improvements bridge the lakefront route from South Shore to Edgewater,” by Tribune’s Morgan Greene.

Billionaire Ken Griffin’s new, $100M Basquiat canvas is hanging at the Art Institute: “Exuberant, elemental and about 14 feet wide by 8 feet high, the painting is now hanging on a wall in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute, where it will be on view when the museum reopens Thursday after its more than four-month Covid-19 closure. by Tribune’s Steve Johnson.

Chinatown, the city’s first neighborhood closed by Covid fears, struggles to reopen: Here’s why, and where you can eat outdoors, by Tribune’s Louisa Chu.

Mike Ditka calls kneeling during anthem ‘disrespectful’: “Get the hell out of the country,” he tells TMZ Sports.

This land is my land: “For generations, my family has owned a piece of untold Black history in Boley, Oklahoma. This year, I finally got to see it,” writes Evan F. Moore in the Reader.

Resumption of federal death penalty could affect two convicted murderers from Illinois: “Last year, the Trump administration announced it would resume executing death row inmates for the first time since 2003, after an informal moratorium. This month, the Department of Justice used lethal injections on three convicts,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.

Prominent attorney accused of assault, trying to trade sex for custody favors, by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau.

Illinois has paroled double ax-murderer, other heinous killers, offering Gangster Disciples boss hope:If Larry Hoover’s federal sentence is cut short under First Step Act, he could seek state parole from an Illinois Prisoner Review Board that’s freed dozens of other murder convicts in a decade,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.

Suicides among Blacks in Cook County are sharply up this year: “Midway through the year, the figure already has matched all of 2018, and 2020 is on pace to see more suicides among Black residents than in any year in a decade,” writes Lakeidra Chavis for The Trace.

Educators discuss schools reopening: “I’m scared. I want to do my job, but I don’t want to die,” via Tribune.

Neil Bluhm’s Rush Street Interactive to go public as part of a $1.8B deal: “Online sports-and-casino betting company to merge with blank-check vehicle dMY Technology,” via WSJ.

DraftKings could be next to go live for Illinois sports betting:Casino Queen will now be known as ‘DraftKings at Casino Queen,’ as operator preps for launch,” Jill R. Dorson writes in SportsHandle.

‘We will not be betrayed again’: Trump’s SCOTUS list hits a new roadblock, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr

Trump’s summer of love is a distant memory now, by POLITICO’s Michael Kruse

Black Americans arm themselves in response to pandemic, protests, by POLITICO’s Maya King.

Commentary: Three decades after passage of Americans with Disabilities Act: “[B]arriers to full community living remain regrettably pervasive. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities is more than twice that for those without, while transportation systems are still difficult — if not flat-out impossible — for many of us to navigate. Affordable, accessible housing remains scarce, and without guaranteed health care coverage, medical treatment, particularly for cognitive and behavioral health conditions, can still be difficult to obtain,” write Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Jim Langevin in Newsweek.

Ex-Madigan aide hopes to help Illinois ‘elect more ethical’ officials with new PAC: “Alaina Hampton launched the Majority Justice Movement PAC with the goal of helping the state ‘elect more ethical and accountable elected officials,’” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.

Bankruptcy looms as Ebony struggles to be relevant to Black Lives Matter generation: “It hasn’t published a print edition in more than a year, has defaulted on $10 million in loans and CEO Willard Jackson was forced out earlier this month amid questions over whether he secured personal loans through the company without board approval. On Thursday, Ebony’s lender submitted a filing in federal court seeking to force the company into bankruptcy,” by Tribune’s Robert Channick.

Vanity Fair has a ‘first look’ at Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’: “Sorkin was seven years old when Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, Rennie Davis, and other counterculture activists spearheaded a massive protest in Chicago’s Grant Park against the Vietnam War. What started as a peaceful demonstration turned into a televised bloodbath when baton-wielding, tear-gas-spraying Chicago police and National Guard troops turned their fury on the crowd.”

Tribune colleagues blast John Kass column as ‘antithetical to our values,’ by media reporter Robert Feder

— Today: Virtual fundraiser for Sen. Dick Durbin’s Victory Fund. Hosts are Dana Gordon and Steve Sheffey. Topic of discussion: “Progressive and Pro-Israel Politics.” Details here

— Aug. 5: Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel headlines a discussion with Patti Solis Doyle, a Chicago native and partner in the Brunswick Group, and Brunswick CEO Neal Wolin. Topic: “Road to the 2020 Election.” Register here

— Chicago attorneys Ken Sullivan and Sam Royko have formed Sullivan Royko LLC. Sullivan has 30-plus years of litigation experience in the public and private sectors. And Royko most recently practiced at Robinson Curley P.C. He’s the son of the late, great journalist Mike Royko. “My father taught me that standing up for others, and being their champion are core values,” Sam Royko said in a release announcing the new firm. “At Sullivan Royko, we will carry that legacy with us as we assist and guide our clients.”

— Tina Sfondeles is joining Business Insider to cover the Biden campaign. She was most recently chief political reporter at the Sun-Times.

— Christi Parsons is joining CNN’s Washington bureau as assistant managing editor. She most recently was a senior editor and director of the Talent Lab at The Atlantic, and is an L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune alum.

MK Communications VP Brian Berg, Conlon Public Strategies VP Barbara Lumpkin, political campaigner Sean Savett, and Lime Chief Policy Adviser David Spielfogel. And belated greetings to Jeff Troupe, senior legislative liaison at American Dental Association, who celebrated Saturday.




July 27, 2020 at 07:59AM

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