BIPARTISAN SCANDAL — KINZINGER ZINGS TRUMP — CITY HALL SPEEDING TICKETS — TAKING NAMES: MATT FARMER, DAN SINKER

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BIPARTISAN SCANDAL — KINZINGER ZINGS TRUMP — CITY HALL SPEEDING TICKETS — TAKING NAMES: MATT FARMER, DAN SINKER

Happy Monday, Illinois. And welcome back from your quiet Thanksgiving feasts, online shopping expeditions and sports binges — Mike Tyson, Nate Robinson and the bad news Bears.

A pre-holiday dump of emails related to the ComEd investigation reveals Springfield is messed up beyond the office of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The emails suggest that the utility company was trying to curry favor with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

As one political insider explained, it started with the death of the patronage system in Illinois. When elected officials could no longer hand out cushy government jobs to friends and supporters, they apparently turned to ComEd to make room for the patronage army. It gave the company huge legislative influence.

And some wonder whether another shoe or two will drop. ComEd isn’t the only company to have cozy relationships with lawmakers.

The emails were released Wednesday by the special committee investigating Madigan’s role in the ComEd bribery scandal. Democratic state Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, who heads the panel, said in a statement: "It’s clear that a full, honest reading of these documents shows that associates of ComEd assisted with job recommendations for people from both parties, both chambers, and multiple branches of government.”

Emails show ComEd sought ins with Madigan, who has repeatedly denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, as well as House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and former Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat.

Crain’s Greg Hinz goes into detail about the emails. In one exchange, ComEd lobbyist Mike McClain refers to a job for a Durkin associate. “I really believe it is a wise move to respond favorably to leader Durkin’s request,” McClain wrote ComEd executive Fidel Marquez.

“Durkin has denied making any such request, and a spokeswoman for the GOP leader referred to similar denials in prior testimony from a ComEd official who testified to Welch’s panel,” Hinz writes.

Cullerton’s requests are less subtle. In one email, Cullerton directly forwards a request to Marquez from a man whose nephew “just applied for” a job at ComEd. “Any help in getting him an interview would be greatly appreciated.”

Welch said his committee plans to resume meeting in-person Dec. 14, giving members time to take necessary health and safety precautions after the Thanksgiving holiday. (The timing will allow Welch to recover from his Covid-19 diagnosis, too. He announced on Sunday via Twitter that he tested positive.)

RELATED

Commentary: My sexual harassment case against Madigan’s camp shows truth can prevail, by Alaina Hampton

Congressman Adam Kinzinger took a hard swing at Donald Trump after the president suggested Sunday that the FBI and Justice Department — led by his appointees — may be “involved” with rigging the election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

The comments were called "a firehose of falsehoods" on Brian Stelter’s "Reliable Sources" on CNN.

Kinzinger tweeted: “The @FBI did not rig the election. If you find yourself believing they did, please stop, and say it out loud, and you will realize how silly it sounds. @realDonaldTrump [is] simply flooding the zone with baseless conspiracies again.”

This isn’t the first time the Illinios Republican has acknowledged Biden beat Trump. He, fellow Congressman John Shimkus and state House Minority Leader Jim Durkin have all acknowledged that Biden is the president-elect.

And Sen. Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach Trump, was aghast recently that the president was pressuring state and local officials “to subvert” the election. “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President,” he tweeted.

But Kinzinger takes it to another level by calling out Trump by name. It’s a surprise because his 16th Congressional District is comfortably Republican. In 2016, the district voted for Trump 55 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 38 percent. The state hasn’t yet uploaded precinct data but a rough look at county clerk websites shows the district voted for Trump 61 percent to Biden’s 37 percent. (h/t Frank Calabrese for those stats.)

Kinzinger didn’t return our request for comment, so we’re only left to wonder what his motivation is for coming out so hard against the head of the party.

It’s long been known that the Illinois Republican has higher aspirations — maybe a run for U.S. Senate or governor. They are the kind of statewide positions that would require a candidate who can align with moderate voters. And in Illinois, the best way to do that is to stand up to Trump.

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No official public events.

At the Thompson Center for the 2:30 p.m. Covid-19 update. Watch live

No official public events.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 57 additional deaths and 7,178 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 12,193 fatalities and 720,114 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Nov. 22 through 28 is 10.1 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 11.7 percent.

Trump administration leaves states to grapple with how to distribute scarce vaccines: “The Trump administration is shunting to the states hard decisions about which Americans will get the limited early supplies of coronavirus vaccines — setting up a confusing patchwork of distribution plans that could create unequal access to the life-saving shots,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle, Rachel Roubein and Zachary Brennan.

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine arrives at O’Hare: Source: “Pfizer is still seeking emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” by NBC/5.

Major shift at Supreme Court on Covid-19 orders:The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to bar New York state from reimposing limits on religious gatherings,” by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein.

Chicago hospitals, testing sites brace for post-Thanksgiving surge following holiday travel weekend: "If there is going to be a spike, it will be sometime late next week through about 2-3 weeks after that," Bala Hota at Rush University Medical Center said. "Even though it is steady about 7-10 days we are going to see a real ramp up in admissions. We are prepared for that." ABC/7’s Will Jones and Jesse Kirsch report.

"We exploded the curve": How Cook County Jail slashed its Covid-19 cases: “With more than 5,000 inmates, Chicago’s Cook County jail was once one of the worst coronavirus hotspots in the country. Before the state of Illinois grappled with a new surge of hundreds of thousands of cases, Adriana Diaz found out how health measures had briefly made it one of the safest institutions in Chicago,” via CBS News.

…Ironically: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart tests positive for Covid-19: “Dart is recovering at home and has not been to the office since Nov. 19, according to a statement from his office,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.

State Rep. Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch tests positive for Covid-19: "We were able to do some tracing and it looks like it was within our circle. A couple of family members also tested positive," Welch said via ABC/7.

— SCOOP: City dismissed red-light camera tickets against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s security detail: “Since Lightfoot became mayor in May 2019, the police security detail assigned to her protection has received 13 tickets for speed and red-light camera violations, and 10 of those have been dismissed, records show,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.

City revises plans on emergency mental health responses, will fund pilot that does not include police: “The plan for the so-called mobile crisis teams of clinicians and paramedics — without police — will now be part of a $1.7 million alternate response pilot to launch next year under the newly approved city of Chicago budget, city officials told the Tribune,” by Annie Sweeney.

As Argyle businesses struggle, younger generation fights for their community: “It’s just desolate. It’s not as thriving,” said Hac Tran, who often visited Argyle while growing up. Sun-Times’ Michael Lee reports.

Blueprint for change or another blow to North Lawndale? “A call to close 3 schools and open another has split a Chicago community in need of rebuilding,” by Tribune’s Hannah Leone.

Violence soars in Minneapolis after Floyd killing, but one Chicago police district is even worse: “Chicago’s 11th District has had more fatal shootings this year than in all of Minneapolis or other big cities. Mayor Lori Lightfoot says her new budget will address the underlying causes of violence on the West Side, but some activists and aldermen want her to do more,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.

Alderman who got contributions from pet store owner flips on anti-puppy mill law: “Under a new ordinance proposed by Southwest Side Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th Ward, pet shops no longer would be restricted to only selling rescue dogs as they have been for the past five years. Instead, they could offer puppies from federally licensed breeders without critical violations on their records in the past two years,” by Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair and Christy Gutowski.

Police Superintendent Brown in rare disagreement with oversight agency on two police discipline cases: “Members of the city’s police disciplinary panel overruled Chicago police Superintendent David Brown in two 2018 officer-involved shooting cases, records show, instances where the police boss called for more lenient punishments for three cops who investigators said should be fired,” reports Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.

Pandemic provides latest snag in state’s long-simmering efforts to sell Thompson Center: “A little-noticed provision in legislation the General Assembly passed during its abbreviated, pandemic-focused special session in late May and early June pushed back the timeline for the state to find a buyer for its controversial Loop headquarters by more than a year,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Ryan Ori.

Hot seat heats up for Bears coach Matt Nagy after humiliating 41-25 loss to Packers: “The Bears have been absolutely awful on offense the last two seasons, and it’s hard to see an alleged offensive guru keeping his job when they start cleaning up this mess at the end of the season,” by Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser.

— MATT FARMER, a Chicago trial lawyer and musician, has composed a song out about President Donald Trump titled “(Who’s Gonna) Pardon Me.” The chorus is catchy: “Here’s to those emoluments who keep my family fed, and to all those confederate monuments that keep the south so red; here’s to Clorox bleach and UV-red, and a spineless GOP. It’s the end of the show and I still don’t know who’s gonna pardon me.”

… This isn’t Farmer’s first go at poking fun at politicos. Some years back he wrote “Plutocrat (The Balled of Bruce Rauner),” also a country song. The lyrics: “Springfield, get out the welcome mat. What this state needs is a plutocrat, a slashin’, burnin’, union-bustin’ guy. I’ll hammer and shake that capitol dome, like it’s a grandma stuck in a nursing home. Hey, grandma, it’s time to say goodbye.”

— DAN SINKER, a podcaster who gained fame as author of the @MayorEmanuel Twitter account, is out with an essay about bird-watching in his backyard. One bird feeder became two, then three. Months passed: “Me, my wife, our teenager and our 5-year old, we knew nothing about birds before the lockdown sent us inside in March. Our cramped home was suburban-convenient before the pandemic hit, nestled a few blocks from a school we don’t go in and a train downtown we won’t ride, and now it is just small. It was a bedroom short and had nothing a person could call work space beyond the dining room table even before it became our entire lives. But it did have windows, sunny and bright in the morning, that looked out on the worn patch of yard just outside so I bought a bird feeder and some cheap seed and mounted it just outside our dining room window. We needed a distraction. The birds came in swarms.”

Lake Zurich priest accused of sexually abusing minors while at Maryville Academy 25 years ago, by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney.

— State Sen. Iris Martinez will be sworn in as the new Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court on Tuesday, becoming the first Latina to hold the position. She ran on a platform that called for transparency and bringing state of the art technology.

‘DARK MONEY’ GROUP raises fears in Illinois energy negotiations: “The debate over proposed energy legislation promises to accelerate in the coming months as the state’s planned November veto session was canceled, and clean energy advocates and developers say it’s crucial to pass a bill that revives expiring state renewable incentives.

… Backers of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the most ambitious and comprehensive of several proposed bills, called out the Clean Energy Transition Project in a recent memo as a ‘mysterious dark money group’ that they think is ‘running interference for fossil fuel companies.’ The Clean Energy Jobs Act, or CEJA, calls for transitioning Illinois to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and cutting carbon from the power sector by 2030,” by Energy News’ Kari Lydersen.

Fed flaw sends unemployment fraud letters:Illinois informed thousands of employees the unemployment benefits they never applied for are on the way,” by Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg.

More budget woes ahead after Illinois votes down tax amendment: “John Charles, the executive director for governmental & public affairs at SIU, said he doesn’t yet know how the budget will be affected but expects we could know as early as January what steps the legislature will take.” It’s not a matter if there will be cuts but which areas will see cuts first, the Daily Egyptian’s Ryan Scott.

Teachers say Covid-19 struggles are mounting and they’re ‘acutely worried about the safety and well-being’ of students: “The escalating COVID-19 crisis is placing enormous burdens on Illinois teachers that could worsen an already critical teacher shortage in Illinois, public policy experts say. The warning was based on a recent report from a researcher with the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs, who found that teachers and administrators across the state are struggling on the job and at home because of Covid-19 stressors, which officials say could hurt teacher retention,” by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta.

For the Ammonses, political power is a family affair: “Democratic state Rep. Carol Ammons was just re-elected to the 103rd Illinois House District, while her daughter, Titianna, ran without opposition for a seat representing District 11 on the Champaign County Board. Carol’s husband and Titanna’s father is Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons, who is in the middle of his first four-year term and can be expected to run for re-election in 2022. Even post-Nov. 3, the family’s political fever continues to run high. Hot off her election to the county board, Titianna Ammons filed to run for city clerk in Urbana. But she won’t get elected without a fight in the February Democratic Party primary because, after a last-minute change of mind, veteran Clerk Phyllis Clark decided that she, too, is running,” by News-Gazette’s Jim Dey.

Angela Jackson, state’s new poet laureate, hopes to empower children: ‘I want to awaken the poets’: “She follows four previous Illinois poet laureates: Howard B. Austin, Carl Sandburg, Kevin Stein and Jackson’s role model Gwendolyn Brooks. ‘I’m just thrilled to be following in her footsteps,’ Jackson said,” by Sun-Times’ David Struett.

— Commentary: Reach across the aisle and listen: “Today, we point at one another, calling each other ‘liberal,’ ‘conservative,’ ‘socialist’ and so on at the drop of a stovepipe hat. Those ‘insults’ just suggest we’re too lazy to have a real debate with a purpose,” writes Cameron Davis of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

Facing potentially decades in prison, R. Kelly ‘hopeful’ despite jail beating, Covid-19 lockdown: “Tuesday will mark Kelly’s 500th day in federal custody — a clock that started ticking when he was arrested by federal authorities on July 11, 2019, while walking his dog outside his home in the Trump Tower in downtown Chicago,” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner.

Arrest after 7 years finally gives South Side mother hope for justice for her slain daughter: “On the day her daughter was shot to death, Nortasha Stingley says she went to the lakefront and thought about giving up and jumping in. But God had another plan, she told herself. It would be seven years of struggling with PTSD and marching for justice with other mothers of slain children before she saw it,” by Tribune’s Deanese Williams-Harris.

Legal group to help Illinoisans clear marijuana convictions: “New Leaf Illinois [a state-sponsored program] launched earlier this month as part of the state’s law legalizing recreational cannabis,” by NBC/5.

Life as a poor college student has only gotten tougher during the pandemic: “Finding a setting conducive to schoolwork is just one of the myriad challenges low-income college students face as they try to continue their education despite pandemic-related setbacks. Some students have withdrawn from school because of changing economic circumstances, problems with online learning or difficulty connecting to virtual student services,” by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney.

Emanuel continues to be floated for Transportation: “President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record,” reports Axios.

Carol Moseley Braun eyes interior secretary post: “While she would be an unconventional pick, Moseley Braun served with Joe Biden and campaigned for him this year,” from the Washington Post.

Behind Trump’s final push to limit immigration, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar

How climate change could spark the next home mortgage disaster, by POLITICO’s Zack Colman

‘They’ll freeze them out’: Democrats fear Senate Republicans will block Biden’s judges, by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine

After 38 years, Journal Star sportswriter Dave Reynolds says goodbye: “It’s been a great ride: “When I arrived in Peoria from the Des Moines Register in November of 1982, the Peoria Civic Center had just opened its doors. Bradley men’s basketball and the Peoria Prancers — the forerunners to the Rivermen — were the dual tenants. The predecessors to the Peoria Chiefs — the Suns — would launch a professional baseball franchise the next spring. The St. Louis Cardinals had just won the World Series,” Reynolds writes.

— Finke and Schoenburg bid farewell in the Under the Dome Podcast: “On their final episode of the Under the Dome Podcast the State Journal-Register’s Bernard Schoenburg and Doug Finke take a walk down memory lane to reminisce over their 70 years of combined coverage of Illinois politics for the State Journal-Register.”

Tuesday: Illinois Mental Health Task Force will hold a special screening of the new documentary, “The Definition of Insanity.” There will be a panel discussion held virtually with Judith Harris Ornstein, president of the Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation; Mindy Greiling, a former Minnesota lawmaker who’s written a book about her son’s schizophrenia; and Tonya Brown, whose son suffered from mental illness and was killed by police. Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke will offer a welcome. Details here

Covid-19 claims life of Chicago-based Polish newsman Jan Krawiec, a Nazi foe and Auschwitz survivor: “The German invasion, torture at the hands of the Gestapo, the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald — newsman Jan Krawiec survived them all and got his life’s story out way ahead of deadline. It was a silent killer called Covid-19 that did what the Nazis couldn’t do. It took Krawiec’s life last month at a nursing home in suburban Chicago. He was 101,” via NBC News.

Jeremy Massey, a recent alum of Priorities USA and the campaigns of Kirsten Gillibrand and Bob Casey, and Hayley Kaplan, events manager for National Skills Coalition, were married on Sunday in a virtual ceremony at their home in D.C. The couple met in 2015 in New York when they were setup by a mutual friend. Kaplan grew up in Deerfield and Massey in Highland Park. The groom is a veteran of Illinois politics having worked for Rahm Emanuel, Dan Seals, and other Illinois Democrats. Pic!

LAST WEEK’s GUESS: Congrats to Angela K. Waller, Advocate Aurora Health’s Community Relations director, for correctly guessing that Mayor Harold Washington referred to Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak as an “antediluvian dodohead.”

TODAY’S QUESTION: How much cash was found stashed in a certain convicted political figure’s closet? (Name the politician, too.) Email your answer to [email protected].

PR pro Nick Harkin, and Johnson & Johnson government affairs director (for Illinois, Oklahoma and Arkansas) Michael Reever.

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via POLITICO https://ift.tt/2i74uEb

November 30, 2020 at 07:34AM

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