Happy Tuesday, Illinois. The heat wave is supposed to be leaving, but Covid is not. Stay safe, if you plan to venture out.
Fallout from the ComEd bribery scandal is forcing political candidates to rethink how they’ll fund their campaigns going into the home stretch of the election.
Campaigns already upended by the coronavirus must consider whether to reject donations from the state’s largest public utility and from House Speaker Michael Madigan, who’s been implicated in the federal probe of the company. Do they go “on the program,” as Madigan’s political organization is referred to, or try to go it alone and avoid the optics connected to the lingering ethical questions.
The speaker has denied wrongdoing in the federal case where ComEd admits to trying to “influence and reward” Madigan for favorable legislation. This case could take months (years?) to be resolved. In the meantime, there are elections to be won and legislation to be crafted — and Madigan, with $13.6 million in his campaign fund, is steering both.
Getting “on the program” offers financial support and Madigan’s army of volunteers to help win campaigns.
Most Democrats this year have easy roads to victory in November and can handle their own campaigns. But a few campaigns, which have already been upended by the pandemic, would welcome being “on the program.”
Reps. Mary Edly-Allen (51st), Diane Pappas (45th), and Terra Costa Howard (48th) are likely among those concerned about whether to accept Madigan’s help, given their competitive races. They didn’t return a request for comment. But another state rep acknowledged: “You worry about the other shoe dropping and what that means if you’ve accepted his help.”
No one wants to talk publicly for fear of alienating Madigan, who’s known to keep score.
Republicans will surely use the ComEd/Madigan entanglement against their Democratic opponents. The irony is that after years of accusing Madigan of being corrupt, the year the GOP could benefit from a bribery scandal is the same year Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket — possibly endangering down-ballot races.
Corinne Pierog, a Democratic candidate for Kane County Board chair, may take the cake for creative fundraising. She’s holding a Zoom dance lesson and party with special guests Congressman Bill Foster and state Rep. Karina Villa. Will Foster dance? It might be worth paying just to see.
Pierog also held a drive-through fundraiser at a pizza restaurant — contributors got a slice when they dropped off their donations.
Everyone’s learning to adapt while campaigning and fundraising amid a pandemic. We’re hearing about socially distant breakfasts, rooftop viewing of the Cubs and lots of socially distant golf.
Paul Stoddard, a Democrat running for state rep in the 70th District, held a live gathering at the Campton Forest Preserve, where he served ice cream and encouraged social distancing. And Republican Rep. Andrew Chesney is planning a hog roast fundraiser Sept. 26.
Still, concerns about coronavirus weigh heavy. Democratic Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch canceled a gathering at Pier 31 and held a Zoom instead. The worries about coronavirus were too great, he said during the event. Notables who zoomed in included Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, House Majority Leader Greg Harris, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Personal PAC CEO Terry Cosgrove.
Republican Rep. Tony McCombie went ahead with her live event — a golf fundraiser. Being outdoors is safer than gathering inside, after all. But a few days after the July 18 outing, she got word that an attendee had tested positive for the coronavirus. She found herself making calls to inform all the donors who golfed.
“We’ve been working hard to meet the new demands while being respectful of guidelines and people’s boundaries,” McCombie told Playbook of campaigning during a pandemic. To attendees of live events, her message is simple: “If you’re sick, please stay home and contact a medical professional.”
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Presiding over a virtual meeting of the Cook County Forest Preserves District at 10 a.m.. Watch live
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 18 new deaths due to the coronavirus Monday and 1,231 new confirmed cases. That’s 7,416 total deaths and 172,655 total cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 20 to July 26 is 3.8 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is 5.4 percent, up from 4.9 percent the previous day.
— Wisconsin joins list of Lightfoot’s quarantine order: “Anyone entering Chicago after spending more than a day in Wisconsin will soon be required to self-quarantine for 14 days because of the number of coronavirus cases in the state, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday. Wisconsin becomes the 19th state from which travelers are being told to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt. (The photo is a flashback to that weekend in May when Wisconsin opened up while Illinois remained in lockdown.)
— Pritzker replaces officials who oversaw Covid-19 response in nursing homes: “The personnel moves come as the state’s daily Covid case numbers begin to shoot up again as the state opens up,” by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell.
— Pritzker predicts ‘normal’ won’t return until 2021: “The governor’s sobering warning came as the state announced its sixth straight day of more than 1,200 new Covid-19 cases — and a positivity rate that keeps creeping up,” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney and Neal Earley.
— Northwestern seeks 5,000 volunteers to participate in Covid-19 vaccine trials: “Researchers are asking for participants who are at high risk for being exposed to COVID-19. The first study is expected to launch in August, and it will explore a potential vaccine for COVID-19. Earlier phases of the same study showed the drug safely increased antibody responses, according to the release. Antibodies are proteins that fight viruses and bacteria in the body,” by Tribune’s Sydney Czyzon.
— VEEPSTAKES DISPATCH, via Natasha Korecki: “Joe Biden was at the Capitol Monday to pay respects to John Lewis, who was lying in state, but he turned heads when he was later spotted chatting with CBC Chair and VP short-lister Karen Bass. Biden then exited the Capitol flanked by Bass and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.). In a call shortly afterward, Richmond told me, ‘What you all think came up, I can promise you, didn’t come up at all,’ he said, referencing the vice presidential search.”
— ‘It’s absolutely serious’: Susan Rice vaults to the top of the VP heap: “Rivals for the vice presidential nod are growing nervous that the former national security adviser has a powerful edge — her relationship with Joe Biden,” by POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi.
— Hadiya Afzal, the DuPage Board Board candidate whose tweet drew attention over the weekend from Sen. Ted Cruz, has dropped out of the race. “My one tweet has led to a distraction from the core issues of my campaign. Therefore, I believe it’s in the best interest of me, my family, and others that I step aside and withdraw my candidacy,” Afzal said in a statement that was tweeted out by the DuPage Democrats. Tribune’s Robert McCoppin has more here.
— Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel on “The View” Monday. His take on the General Election: States should count ballots as soon as they come in instead of waiting until Election Day to move the process along faster. Emanuel’s concern: President Donald Trump will question the legitimacy of the election and that will cause upheaval and uncertainty among Americans.
— Lightfoot ‘deeply disturbed’ by the ComEd scandal, takes its CEO to task for ‘inadequate’ response: “In a letter, sent to ComEd CEO Joseph Dominguez and obtained by WBEZ, Lightfoot said in order to enter into another franchise agreement with ComEd, the company needs to implement a comprehensive ethics reform plan,” by Becky Vevea.
— Class-action lawsuit demands ComEd issue refunds for customers after bribery scheme: “Through rampant and widespread corruption in the form of bribery of Illinois elected officials, ComEd and its parent company, Exelon Corporation, deprived ratepayers of vast sums of money, totaling in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars,” the suit states. Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair reports.
— Mayor dismisses rumor she’s moving to Sauganash: ‘Why on earth… would I uproot my family?’ “The rumor has circulated for weeks as protesters stage demonstrations over police brutality and racial injustice near Lightfoot’s home,” by Block Club’s Mina Bloom.
— Letter to Washington: Lightfoot joins mayors to ask Congress to ban deployment of militarized federal agents in cities as Trump mulls sending in more, by the AP.
— Another Columbus statue is still standing in Chicago: “After protests that resulted in the removal of two Christopher Columbus statues in the wee hours of Friday morning — one in Little Italy, the other in Grant Park — the city’s (apparently) lone remaining statue honoring the controversial Italian explorer stands a bit over seven feet tall in the middle of a far South Side intersection,” writes Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
… Mayor defends removing Columbus statues, by Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Lightfoot showcases $33M in relief for renters and property owners: “The city issued $1,000 housing grants to 2,000 Chicagoans in April — but 83,000 applied. Those who missed out will be automatically considered for a $25 million pot of additional assistance for people affected by the pandemic,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— New CPD teams to focus on downtown gatherings, community relationships on South, West sides: “‘Let me be clear: This is not a roving strike force like what CPD has had in the past,’ CPD Supt. David Brown said Monday. ‘Working with the district commanders and with the community policing office, they are serving these neighborhoods. Serving,’” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles.
— Does Lightfoot’s air quality plan go far enough? “A new report on air quality out Monday from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration finds that certain kinds of air pollution – like ozone and particulate matter – are “fairly uniform across the city,” while others, like diesel particulate matter, are more prevalent in areas with a lot of traffic and industry — in particular, neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides,” reports WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky.
— Chicago schools have three weeks to vote on school police: “More than 70 schools will vote on the issue by August 14, per a mandate from the district. Chicago has 144 resource officers at schools, 48 mobile school officers, and 22 staff sergeants,” writes Chalkbeat’s Yana Kunichoff, who has the details.
… ‘Slap in the face’ that Chicago school where officers dragged girl down stairs voted to keep its cops, father says, by Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson and Nader Issa.
— How has Covid affected O’Hare’s finances? City Hall won’t say: “With passenger traffic down as much as 95 percent, Team Lightfoot stonewalls questions on whether revenue at the region’s key economic engine has followed suit,” writes Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— 5 businesses fined, Beverly bar shut down for violating Covid-19 restrictions, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Curtis Duffy’s new restaurant opens tomorrow, Covid be damned, by Crain’s Wendell Hutson
— Two Chicago hospitals now rank among the top 20 nationwide, by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker
— Paul McCartney, Chance the Rapper among Lollapalooza 2020 ‘fan-favorite’ official lineup: “The star-studded roster includes classic sets by Paul McCartney, Chance the Rapper, Arcade Fire, Outkast, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metallica and more,” by Sun-Times’ Miriam Di Nunzio.
— No Fall Sports: IL Elementary School Association: “There are no plans to reschedule. IHSA hasn’t yet decided the fate of high schools sports, which could also be canceled until 2021,” by Patch’s Shannon Antinori.
— ‘Pandemic pods’ and ‘micro-schools’: How families are managing schooling at home: “Equal parts traditional home schooling and Mary Poppins-style nurturing — with a Covid-19 sheltering-in-place twist — these new arrangements are beckoning parents who desperately need support as they juggle working from home with keeping tabs on their kids’ education,” by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta.
— Chicago online betting company to get major cash infusion with announcement of merger: “Rush Street Interactive, which brought online betting to residents of Illinois last month for the first time in the state’s history, is merging and going public,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
— Pritzker’s plan to roll back remote sports betting registration draw ire: “Timing questionable, operators caught off guard, and some will have to rejigger launch plans,” writes SportsHandle’s Jill Dorson.
— Trump’s biggest problem isn’t wealthy suburbanites. It’s the white working class, POLITICO’s Tim Alberta writes in “Letter to Washington."
— Trump’s absence at John Lewis services highlights struggle to honor prominent critics, by POLITICO’s Caitlin Oprysko.
— How to watch the tech CEOs’ collision with Congress, by POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima
— Drugmakers refuse to attend White House meeting after Trump issues executive orders on costs, by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle
— Kass column follow: The Illinois Jewish Legislative Caucus penned a letter complaining about a John Kass column that’s drawn criticism, including from his Chicago Tribune colleagues. The letter accuses Kass and Tribune Editorial Page Editor Kristen McQueary of “peddling anti-Semitism.”
— Oprah reveals new interview show, rethinks print for monthly magazine: “She and bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi will speak with white authors about anti-racism in the first episode, ‘How to Be Anti-Racist,’” via USA Today.
— Kayce Ataiyero has been named managing director of communications at The Joyce Foundation. She previously served as the foundation’s senior communications officer and comms director. Ataiyero also leads Joyce’s task force on supporting the recovery of Chicago communities hardest hit by Covid-19 and persistent racial inequities. Before her foundation work, Ataiyero was director of external affairs for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and did comms for Congresswoman Robin Kelly, the Illinois Governor’s Office, and the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office.
— Jessica Ortiz is now VP of Media Relations with Rise Strategy Group, working with CEO and Partner Tarrah Cooper Wright. Before landing at Rise, Ortiz led the public relations and social media department at PACO Collective, where she developed comms strategies for the White Sox, Bears, Cargill and the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation, among other organizations.
Governor’s Chief of Staff Anne Caprara (whose Twitter handle is @anacaprana), political and media consultant Delmarie Cobb, education advocate and comms expert Peter Cunningham, state Treasurer Mike Frerichs, TV personality Walter Jacobson, Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin, tech entrepreneur and former mayoral candidate Neal Sales-Griffin, and former state Senate Majority Leader Jeff Schoenberg.
July 28, 2020 at 07:39AM