One investigation after another- POLITICO – POLITICO

One investigation after another

Happy Wednesday, Illinois.Single-day tickets for Lollapalooza are on sale today. Are you in?

SCOOP: Deborah Witzburg is set to be confirmed today as the new Chicago inspector general, and right out of the gate she’ll have a request to investigate City Clerk Anna Valencia and her lobbyist husband’s business dealings with the city.

“We’ve been seeing headlines for more than 12 weeks on this issue. It’s a problem. It’s a black eye on the city of Chicago. No one is doing anything about it. So I want to do something,” Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd) told Playbook of her plans to nudge Witzburg.

Last month, Tabares introduced a measure that would ban spouses of city elected officials from being compensated for lobbying the city. The measure got 14 supporters but was shuffled off to the Rules Committee indefinitely.

That measure was in response to emails that showed Valencia helped clear a path to introduce her husband’s Ignite Cities business to New Orleans officials looking to ramp up internet connectivity throughout the city. Valencia’s husband, Reyahd Kazmi, and Ignite Cities have since withdrawn from the New Orleans project, but the City Council there is investigating the possibility of contract-rigging nonetheless.

In Chicago, Ignite Cities sought a contract with the Illinois Medical District, which Valencia addressed in official correspondence. And that contract has been canceled, too.

Valencia, who’s running for secretary of state, has pushed back at Tabares’ measure, saying it was a political move given Tabares has endorsed Alexi Giannoulias in the SOS race.

In a statement last night, Valencia campaign manager Cheryl Bruce said “It’s shameful that a woman elected official would engage in a political stunt to try to tear down another woman seeking to break a glass ceiling.”

But Tabares says it’s not politics but a desire to clean up City Hall, and she wants Witzburg to investigate the matter. Tabares isn’t the only one concerned about unethical muck.

Last week, mayoral ally Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) presented her own ethics legislation for consideration. Tabares says “there are a lot of good things in that package but it doesn’t focus on the conflict of interest between city elected officials and their spouses lobbying the council. Her package doesn’t go far enough.”

SPEAKING OF MUCK: A top aide to Ald. Jim Gardiner has been charged with trying to sell an antique machine gun to an undercover ATF agent while he was on the clock for his Streets and Sanitation job.

Charles Sikanich, the 45th Ward boss, also pulled the don’t-you-know-who-I-am card.

“It was the latest development in a rollercoaster year for the Northwest Side ward,” according to Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and John Byrne. “Gardiner has been under federal criminal investigation for months relating to his conduct in office. He and Sikanich are being sued for allegedly having a man harassed, intimidated and ultimately falsely arrested. And Gardiner came under heavy public fire last year for profane and misogynist texts published by an anonymous online group.”

Interestingly, prosecutors asked for $75,000 bail for Sikanich, but the judge put it at $100,000.

DIRTY LAUNDRY? A complaint was filed yesterday with the Legislative Inspector General, claiming state Sen. Melinda Bush has filed false documents, and engaged in pay-to-play and money laundering schemes with her political accounts and private business.

The complaint also claims Bush held an illegal fundraiser during the legislative session, and it accuses former state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen of laundering money from a campaign account to a personal account.

The allegations are going to shake up an already heated primary to replace Bush, who isn’t running for reelection. The Lake County Democrat is backing Edly-Allen, a former state rep, who’s facing current state Rep. Sam Yingling in the Democratic primary.

The LIG complaint was filed by good government advocate Jan Czarnik, the former executive director of the League of Women Voters in Illinois. “I believe that corruption must be called out and that those of us familiar with how Springfield operates have a responsibility to do so,” Czarnik said in a statement to Playbook.

Bush did not immediately respond to our late request for comment.

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]

At Springfield High School at 11 a.m. to sign bills addressing state-wide teacher shortage. … At the Governor’s Mansion at 12:45 p.m. to give remarks at the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Makers Madness awards luncheon. … At Federal Plaza in Chicago at 5:30 p.m. to give remarks at a transgender support rally. … And at the Palmer House Hilton at 6:30 p.m. to receive the City Year Red Jacket and give remarks at the City Year Ripples of Hope Gala.

In City Hall presiding over the City Council meeting.

At the Cook County Building at 9 a.m. to announce an additional $6.6 million in rental and utility assistance for residents facing housing instability in suburban Cook County.

Illinois Dems poised to make a bid to the DNC about early presidential vote: “Illinois, if it’s an early primary state starting in 2024, could become a power player in determining a Democratic presidential nominee,” reports Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.

New Hampshire starts with lead for first place on Dems’ 2024 voting calendar, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider and Lisa Kashinsky

PLAYING THE BURKE CARD: Indicted Chicago Ald. Ed Burke was so angry at how the Latino Caucus drew his ward in its Coalition Map that he yelled and cursed at the caucus’ attorneys.

“We took out 40 percent of his ward,” said Frank Calabrese, who’s advising the Latino Caucus. “We removed Ed Burke’s best precincts. He cursed at our attorneys and told them to ‘fuck off.’”

The intel comes as supporters of the Black Caucus’ map say their ward boundaries go even further to make it difficult for Burke to win reelection, leaving less than 1 percent of Burke’s past voters in their map.

But the Black Caucus map also moved an opponent out of Burke’s ward. Side-by-side maps show that the Black Caucus drew state Rep. Aaron Ortiz out of Burke’s 14th Ward — that’s a gift to Burke who was defeated by Ortiz in the 2020 ward committeeman race.

In a statement, Ortiz accused the Black Caucus and supporters of its Chicago United map of using him and his neighbors “as pawns” to make a case for a gerrymandered map. “If anything, the People’s Coalition Map [backed by the Latino Caucus] tears down Ed Burke’s power by removing the precincts that Burke won from the 14th Ward while still keeping communities whole,” he said.

Proposal would provide benefits to spouses of police officers, other first responders who die by suicide: “The push for the suicide benefits ordinance, which would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, included pleas from two women whose husbands took their own lives after serving a combined 30 years on the Chicago Police Department,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Chicago to restart water meter installations halted by lead concerns nearly 3 years ago: “Department of Water Commissioner Andrea Cheng said officials are confident both regular and ultrasonic water meters can be safely installed in Chicago homes without threatening the health of residents,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone and Brandis Friedman.

Lightfoot seeks early payday from casino bidders: “The mayor is asking up to $75 million in upfront cash from the three finalists for Chicago’s casino license,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

Lightfoot rips bank lending as she heads to D.C. for Black mayors’ conference, by Crain’s Greg Hinz

Former Ald. Patrick O’Connor is among 14 people nominated to police oversight board, reports Justin Laurence for Crain’s

A major museum expansion will give Pullman’s Black porters their due, by Robert Loerzel for WBEZ

Chicago Archdiocese offered settlement in sex abuse claim naming Father Clements, reports NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern

Family-owned restaurants find a secret weapon during inflationary times: Parental wisdom: “Second-generation restaurateurs have inherited more than just bricks and mortar from their moms and pops,” Sandra Guy reports for WBEZ.

Northwest Side park now honors German-Jewish poet and Holocaust victim Gertrud Kolmar, by Block Club’s Ariel Parrella-Aureli

Labor Department orders Amazon to review emergency preparedness plans after tragedy at downstate warehouse: “Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the company’s severe weather emergency procedures met “minimal federal safety guidelines for storm sheltering,” according to a statement released Tuesday,” by Sun-Times’ Sophie Sherry.

State’s attorneys say they’re concerned about ending cash bail: “It’s not like we lock people up who are innocent, awaiting trial,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said. WGEM’s Lizzie Seils reports.

Highway camera expansion covering 6,600 miles of road in 22 counties awaits Pritzker’s signature, by Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki

Parents flying blind amid Covid-19 uptick as health officials fail to track data on day care outbreaks, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone

— HE’S GOT COVID: University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday and is isolating at home in the President’s House at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

As eviction cases increase, Cook County officials say less are resulting in orders to vacate apartments: “In March, there were 2,500 evictions filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, which was the first time the court processed that many cases since January 2020, according to figures released from Cook County,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.

Longtime Lake Park District 108 administrator Michael Wojtowicz to become next superintendent, by Daily Herald’s Scott C. Morgan

Scottie Pippen to appear at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, by Daily Herald’s Scott C. Morgan

Four charged in ComEd bribery scheme will face federal jury in September: “The trial is expected to last about a month, with questionnaires mailed to prospective jurors a week ahead of time to help weed out any potential conflicts,” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Ray Long.

Feds insist on jury trial for group accused of conspiring to bribe Michael Madigan, by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel

Krishnamoorthi, Ahmed debate whether donations come with strings attached: “At the end of the first quarter of the year, Krishnamoorthi’s campaign committee had $12.3 million in cash on hand. A first-time candidate, Ahmed ended the first quarter with $271,123,” by Daily Herald’s Eric Peterson.

Mokena Republican August Deuser booted from ballot in state House race: He called the move by the Illinois State Board of Elections unfair. Now state Rep. Tim Ozgina will be the sole Republican on the ballot for the 37th state House District primary, by Herald-News’ Alex Ortiz.

— La’Mont Williams, a state Senate candidate in the 16th District, has been endorsed by state Sens. Mattie Hunter (IL-03). Emil Jones III (IL-14), and the SEIU State Council.

— Mark Carroll has been endorsed by the Batavia Township Republican Organization in his bid for the 11th Congressional District seat.

— Karin Norington-Reaves has been endorsed by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134 in her bid for the 1st Congressional District seat.

— Becky Levin, a Democrat who dropped out of the 13th District state rep race earlier this week, is a gun-violence prevention advocate. Your Playbook host fumbled describing her yesterday.

David Axelrod is back in the debate game. He’s moderating the Second Annual Debate it Forward (DiF) Kid Presidential Debate on May 5. It’s virtual and open to the public. DiF, founded by University of Chicago alums Leah Shapiro and Josh Aaronson, is focused on teaching young people to better listen, think and speak through debate-based games. (Sounds like something real candidates could benefit from, too.) Axelrod, the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and senior adviser during his presidency, is also a U. of C. alum. His stint as moderator follows last year’s headliner, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who led a spirited debate with six DiF students ages 11 through 14.

We asked for your tips on winning political endorsements: Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association chief Dan Kovats: “They have to know you and trust that you share their values.”City Club’s Edward Mazur suggests candidates “dress for and speak the language of your audience. Beware of the dress suit in politics, and avoid using ‘hey you’ or referring to women as girls.” … policy strategist Amrit Mehra: “Come with humility and honesty when seeking an endorsement. Chicagoans can be forgiving of faults if you own up to them.” … Sal Benedetto wants “full financial disclosures.” And John Straus says “Don’t be someone that someone sent.”

What issue prompted you to attend a city council meeting? Email [email protected]

This year’s House battlefield is almost locked in. The next decade is still wide open: “Operatives expect the fight over district lines to extend over the next decade as courts continue hearing challenges to new maps,” by POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro.

Clouted pot firm makes another run at Rainforest Cafe site: “PTS had sought to move its Consume dispensary from 6428 N. Milwaukee Ave. to 605 N. Clark St. Yet the plan was doomed by state law, so the firm is now partnering with a social equity firm in attempt to open at the former tourist attraction,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

Kamala Harris tests positive for Covid, by POLITICO’s Myah Ward

Providers end Covid care for uninsured in the wake of congressional inaction, by POLITICO’s Megan Messerly and Krista Mahr

Twitter’s top lawyer reassures staff, cries during meeting about Musk takeover, by POLITICO’s Emily Birnbaum and Betsy Woodruff Swan

Warren tries to ‘light the fire of urgency’ for Democrats, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett

— Commentary: Puerto Rico is a federal territory that deserves federal aid, write Illinois state Sens. Omar Aquino and Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas

Chicago Reader co-owner gives up scrap over column, agrees to nonprofit transfer: “Co-owner Leonard Goodman had accused the publication of trying to censor a piece he wrote about Covid-19 vaccinations,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

Adrian Matejka will be the first Black editor of Chicago-based Poetry magazine, by The Associated Press’ Hillel Italie.

— Today at 6 p.m.: 17th Congressional Democratic Candidate Virtual Forum. The candidates will answer questions from residents of the 17th Congressional District. Candidates on the ballot: Litesa Wallace, Eric Sorensen, Angie Normoyle, Marsha Williams, Jonathan Logemann, and Jacqueline McGowan. This event is hosted by State Central Committeeman Maurice West and the Central Committee Democratic chairs from across he state. Register here

— Today at noon ET in Washington, D.C.: The Illinois State Society of Washington, D.C., is part of a Memorial Wreath Presentation at the Holodomor Memorial, dedicated to the victims of the Stalinist Communist Starvation Genocide of Ukrainians in 1932-1933. Congressman Mike Quigley, co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, will be among attendees.

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Abdon Pallasch, comms director for the Illinois Comptroller’s Office, for being first to correctly answer that the Chicago Fire Department Academy is symbolic for being located on the site of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

TODAY’s QUESTION: What GOP Iowa Caucus winner in the last 20 years went to high school in Illinois and what school did he attend? Email [email protected]

State Rep. Will Guzzardi, Chicago Ald. Samantha Nugent, and Illinois Environmental Council executive director Jen Walling, who turns the big 4-0 (or 39 forever!)



via “Illinois Politics” – Google News

April 27, 2022 at 08:06AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s