Tag Archives: Bruce Rauner

Tea Party Congressional Candidate Gets Dem Vote Rigging Stopped In Illinois

Patrick Harlan

Patrick Harlan

Knox county Tea Party leader and Republican congressional candidate in Illinois’ 17th district Patrick Harlan and the Liberty Justice Center scored a major victory in Federal court to stop Democrat efforts to rig the vote ahead of the November 8th Presidential election.

During the 2014 lame duck session Illinois Democrat Party boss and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan ushered throw a new same day voter registration law that required counties with populations of more than 100,000 to let people register to vote at all polling places on election day. Of the 102 counties in Illinois many have populations well under that threshold, there are several Illinois counties with populations of less than 10,000. Those counties with lower populations only are required to have a central same day registration site under the law.

This obviously allows Democrats to maximize their voter turn out and vote totals in Chicago and Cook county in favor of Hillary Clinton and congresswoman Tammy Duckworth who is running for the US Senate.  As Republican statewide office seekers have known for a long time in Illinois it doesn’t matter how Illinois 101 other counties vote, everything is determined by Chicago and Cook county.

On Tuesday Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan agreed with arguments made by Harlan(whose is facing Rep. Cheri Bustos) and the Liberty Justice Center that the Madigan same day registration law was unconstitutional and disenfranchised the vote of residents of the states many rural counties.

Yehiayan wrote, “while it may be true that the polling place registration option can assist voters in certain populous counties, that option cannot be provided at the expense of lower population counties, thereby decreasing their political representation in Illinois.

Judge Yehiayan continued, “The application of this legislation favors the urban citizen and dilutes the vote of the rural citizen,” wrote Der-Yeghiayan, who added, “Illinois is made up of more than the Chicago metropolitan area and other high population areas. Equality under the law does not end at the city limits.”

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan(Speaker Madigan’s daughter) has said that she will appeal the ruling.

Jacob Huebert of the Liberty Justice Center said in a press release,

Today the court recognized the unfairness of guaranteeing a voting right to some voters but not others. The court ruled that if Illinois is going to have Election Day voter registration at polling places, it should be available statewide – and it should be fair. The government shouldn’t make it harder for people in some parts of the state to register and vote. If Illinois wants to provide Election Day voter registration at the polls, it can do so in a way that’s fair and equal. Six other states, including Illinois’ neighbors Wisconsin and Iowa, give all of their citizens the right to register and vote at their local polling places; they don’t favor voters in some counties over voters in other counties. We’re pleased the court affirmed that everyone has right to the same opportunity to vote.”

As it stands the ruling gives Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies better chances of picking up a few seats in the state legislature; any GOP gains would end Speaker Madigan’s veto-proof super-majority.  The ruling is not likely to help Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who was in the Chicagoland area Wednesday, much as Hillary Clinton is still widely expected to win the heavily blue state, although her margin of victory is probably going to be diminished due to the courts actions. This court order might also be the only thing that can save Sen. Mark Kirk’s bacon.

Congresswoman Bustos has had no comment on the court ruling, although she will probably fire off a bunch of fundraising emails about it; she has more than $2 million in the bank, Patrick Harlan’s campaign is broke(donate here).

Voters across Illinois owe Patrick Harlan and the Liberty Justice Center a huge debt of gratitude for taking a small bite out of the Madigan machine and for making it a little easier to have fair(er) elections this November.

Illinois’ Institutionalized Corruption: How Auditor General Frank Mautino Could Walk For His Misdeeds

Frank Mautino

Frank Mautino

There is corruption and then there is Illinois corruption.

The fine art of Illinois political corruption is and has been on full display the last 9 months with the ongoing campaign spending scandal of Illinois’ new Auditor General Frank Mautino and it is a sickening display that could very well end up with Mautino walking away from his troubles Scott free thanks to the indifference of the states mainstream media, the lack of interest on the part of Republican leadership, the enormous clout and power held by Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, and the handicapping of a state agency or two.

This story begins in 1991 when Frank Mautino first became a state Representative replacing his late father. Frank would go on to serve in the state legislature for the next 24 years rising to the rank of deputy majority leader, the 3rd highest ranking Democrat in the state House. Frank would only resign in late 2015 to take the position of Auditor General at the strong behest and backing of Speaker Michael Madigan.

It was in taking the Auditor General job that Frank Mautino’s problems began because Frank’s last campaign disclosure report was scrutinized by the Springfield based Illinois Times, a weekly newspaper. What the IL Times discovered was Frank taking in large amounts of campaign donations after it was widely known that he was going to get the Auditor General job.  In response to that story Mautino claimed that the donations were to payoff outstanding campaign debts.

Government watchdogs John Kraft and Kirk Allen(Edgar County Watchdogs) found that Mautino’s debt payment claim to be false as campaign disclosure records show that Mautino had paid off all of his campaign debts months prior to the donations he said he solicited for that purpose.

Then the Kraft and Allen went further into Mautino’s campaign expenditure reports and found that in addition to making payments on a loan that totaled nearly 4 times the loan amount, Mautino was also paying a quarter of a million dollars($250,000) to his hometown bank Spring Valley City Bank for such things as campaign workers, poll watchers, and travel to Chicago, things one cannot get from their local bank.

Kraft and Allen also found that Frank Mautino had paid another $250,000 to Happy’s gas station in Spring Valley for gas and car repairs, for what Mautino’s camp has claimed were 3 vehicles, one of which was a newer model car(2012?) and therefore couldn’t have been responsible for the more than $50 a day average Frank was paying out to Happy’s.  Based upon the dollar amounts and number of transactions involved any reasonable person would concluded that Frank was engaging in some type of kickback scheme or money laundering at Happy’s. Note, of the multiple gas stations in Spring Valley, and the dozens of them in his district Mautino only spent money on gas at Happy’s, which turns out is owned by one Fred West, a longtime Mautino campaign ally and currently a member of the Spring Valley city council, a city that has gotten large chunks of state spending thanks to Mautino’s long tenure as a top Lieutenant to Speaker Madigan.

Further investigation of Mautino’s campaign spending records dating back to 1999 by local reporter David Giuliani of the Ottawa Times, and myself found that Frank had used $78,000 of his campaign funds over a 10 year period on food at 4 Spring Valley restaurants, the bulk of the money spent was at the restaurant owned by the family of Frank’s wife.  Mautino also somehow managed to pay a waste management company more than the company charges for dumpster rental, a dumpster Frank doesn’t seem to have had any need for.  Mautino also used campaign funds to pay a couple of his regular campaign workers an additional $35,000(combined) to do repairs and other work on his “office” and he paid-out nearly $8,000 for US and Illinois flags from a place called Flag World in Springfield.

Whatsmore it has also been learned that after he got the Auditor Generals job Mautino asked retiring Auditor General William Holland to create a brand new chief of staff position in the Auditor’s office and the only candidate for that position would be Frank’s friend and neighbor Dean Devert, who’d move over from the Illinois Department of Transportation and take the new $121,000 a year job. This patronage deal also included getting one of Mautino’s former campaign staffers to be his new secretary at the Auditor Generals office.

All of these questions, coming in rapid succession, prompted a group of 20 or so Republican lawmakers led by Naperville Rep. Grant Wehrli and Wheaton Rep. Jeanne Ives to press Mautino for answers in February.   When Mautino, his lawyers, and PR firm continued to refuse to answer any questions from lawmakers or the press this Summer they filed a bill that would force Mautino out as Auditor General.

The impetus for that being the revelation in May that the US attorney’s office in Springfield had launched a criminal grand jury investigation into Frank Mautino for his campaign spending practices. In addition to the federal investigation the state Board of Elections is also probing Mautino’s campaign spending. However, that Board of Elections inquest comes with this tiny wrinkle; the Illinois Board of Elections hasn’t had an investigator to look into possible wrongdoing by lawmakers and campaign committees for at least 10 years.  For those 10 years Speaker Michael Madigan and the Democrats have controlled state government, including the budget process, a process Frank Mautino was a central figure in as a state Rep.

Now this is where Illinois’ synergy of corruption comes into play.

Aside from running wire service stories coinciding with the announcement of the federal probe virtually no Illinois based newspaper or TV station has covered Frank Mautino’s scandal at all, let alone in any detail. Unless you read the Illinois Times, Ottawa Times, or follow the Edgar County Watchdogs blog or mine you wouldn’t know the state of Illinois has an Auditor General, let alone one that is mired in scandal, or tied to the hip to Michael Madigan. At one point the Chicago Tribune tried to sweep this whole thing under the rug.

With no great media pressure on state lawmakers to do something about the clear impropriety of Frank Mautino continuing on as Auditor General, the states top financial watchdog, those 20 or so Republican lawmakers, half of whom were the only ones to vote against Mautino being Auditor General in the first place, haven’t gotten any support from GOP leadership including Senate minority leader Christine Radogno, House minority leader Jim Durkin, or Gov. Bruce Rauner nor have they gotten much support from Mautino’s fellow Democrats in the state legislature as most only want him to answer questions and nothing more.

The best Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner could muster was saying that the federal and state investigations should be allowed to play themselves out.

Playing itself out to Speaker Michael Madigan, who gave Frank Mautino the Auditor General job in the first place, is that Mautino will be vindicated and that he will stay on as Auditor, as he told NPR last month.  The Auditor Generals position comes with a 10 year term.

Playing itself out also means that come January 1st of next year Frank Mautino will be able to increase his state pension by about $60,000 a year as it will be based off of the $157,000 Auditor General’s salary instead of the much lower pay for state Representatives, giving him a pension of around $133,000 a year. Illinois has a pension debt of over $100 billion.

Playing itself out also means that if Frank Mautino’s lawyer, from a Madigan allied law firm, Anthony Jacob, gets his way the Board of Elections inquiry will be put on indefinite hold until the federal investigation is over because answering any Board of Elections question would violate Frank’s 5th amendment right against self-incrimination.

Playing itself out means that the Attorney General’s office under the leadership of Lisa Madigan,  will once again let a case of public corruption go uninvestigated and unprosecuted.

Playing itself out also means putting all our hopes of seeing Frank Mautino brought to justice hinge on a Justice Department that has become politicized in favor of the Democrats and Hillary Clinton specifically and wouldn’t you know Michael Madigan is the chairman of the Illinois Democrat Party and a superdelegate, his wife Shirley was a Clinton delegate at the convention in Philly, and daughter Lisa(the Attorney General) was a staunch Clinton supporter during the run up to the Illinois primary in March. Hillary Clinton you may remember was born and raised in Chicagoland, she’s running for President of the United States.

All of this adds up to the institutionalization of corruption and a very high probability that Frank Mautino will retire early next year with a huge taxpayer financed pension and face nothing but a slap on the wrist for making a mockery of campaign finance and disclosure laws and spending a year stonewalling lawmakers and the press.

There is corruption and then there is Illinois corruption.

 

We Have A Budget

2000px-Flag_of_Illinois.svgFor the first time in a year the state of Illinois has a budget; at least for the rest of the calendar year anyway.

Thursday the Illinois Senate unanimously approved a stop-gap spending measure that will fully fund K-12 education as well as social services and other state programs.

The House approved the measure 105-4 earlier in the day. The four no votes came from retiring Democrat Jack Franks, and Republicans Jeanne Ives, Tom Morrison, and David McSweeney.  They all objected over the stop-gap measure because it didn’t cover a full fiscal years spending and that they fear will mean a MASSIVE tax hike come January.

McSweeney told Illinois Review:

I voted against the stopgap funding bill because it will worsen our fiscal problems and increase the likelihood of a massive income tax increase in January. The bill is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. As Legislators, we should do our job and pass a permanent balanced budget. We should be reforming pensions and Medicaid, not setting up a massive tax increase that will kill Illinois jobs and hurt families.

The measure is nearly identical to a stop-gap spending measure backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner that Republican lawmakers introduced in May.

The stop-gap spending measure, Rauner is expected to sign by morning at the latest, does not include any bailout of the Chicago school system which had been seeking nearly $500 million from taxpayers statewide. The spending measure also does not include any tax increase.

At the last minute Democrats on the Black Caucus attempted to add millions of dollars in new spending to the extremely troubled, and highly ineffective Grow Your Own Teachers Program. This effort threatened to derail the stop-gap spending bill that had been in the works all month among members of bi-partisan working groups who’ve been attempting to agree to a state budget since the states budget impasse started last year when no spending agreement was reached after Gov. Rauner vetoed a $3 billion unbalanced budget put forward by Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois was facing the prospects of starting year 2 on Friday without a state budget.

Little to no progress will likely be made on funding for the other 6 months of the fiscal year until after the November election.

 

Mayor Morrissey: Sue Legislature And Gov. Rauner If No Budget July 1st

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey told the Rockford Register Star this week that cities like Rockford, social service agencies, schools, and others should sue the Democrat controlled Illinois legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner should the state start July without a budget.

“If there isn’t a budget passed by end of June, I don’t want to see the state go through the same dynamics of last year when everybody and their brother was bringing lawsuits forward to force the state to pay for this or pay for that,” Morrissey said. “My preference would be one lawsuit that’s brought by everybody that asks a judge to hold lawmakers and the governor accountable for their constitutional duty to pass a balanced budget.

“The state constitution says the legislative branch needs to adopt a balanced budget,” he said. “They need to do their job. I think there’s a great constitutional case that could be brought to settle this matter.”

The state is looking at going into a second year without a budget as Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Rauner remained deadlocked over the states budget. Madigan wants to massively raise taxes, while Rauner is trying to get some reforms made to the state.

I’m not as bullish on the Courts saving the day as the Mayor. Courts routinely stay out of purely political and legislative matters. For that matter what Court would have the power, and the Judge with the balls, to tell Madigan to do something let alone tell him no?

 

Sen. Durbin Blames Gov. Rauner’s Turn Around Agenda For Illinois’ Budget Woes

Sen. Dick Durbin(D-IL)

Sen. Dick Durbin(D-IL)

Speaking with National Public Radio on Sunday Illinois Democrat Sen. “Little” Dick Durbin blamed in part Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turn Around Agenda for the state going into year 2 without a budget.

Durbin said both parties are to blame for the 11-month budget impasse, but he specifically targeted Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” as the main culprit for the deadlock in Springfield. Sen. Durbin considers the pro-business plan to be “flawed and wrong.”

“He’s got to swallow his pride on this and stop this notion of bringing down middle-income families as a recipe for tomorrow’s economic future in Illinois,” Durbin said.

What part of freezing property taxes, letting localities vote on right to work zones, making collective bargaining reform for state workers, term limiting the state legislature, Fair Map redistricting, consolidating units of government(Illinois has the most of any state in the US by a lot), eliminating unfunded mandates on local governments, and workers compensation reform have to do with how much someone in the “middle class” makes? We all aren’t state workers affiliated with AFSCME or SEIU, some of us actually pay taxes.

No the real blame, the true culprit, for the states budget mess is Speaker of the House and Democrat Party Boss Michael Madigan. He pushed a budget last year that was $3 billion over projected revenues, which was rightfully vetoed by Gov. Rauner. He has been the one to steadfastly refuse to even contemplate one of the Governors reforms. He was the one just days ago dropping a 500 page, $40 billion spending plan at the 11th hour and 59th minute which overspent by a whopping $7 billion.

Michael Madigan is addicted to spending other people’s money and is singularly obsessed with raising taxes on the states wealthy.

I say he’s the problem.

Union Goon Harasses Sen. Sue Rezin In Ottawa

Sen. Sue Rezin

Sen. Sue Rezin

Monday state Sen. Sue Rezin was among those in attendence for an event at the LaSalle county courthouse in Ottawa with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

As Illinois heads into its second year without a budget, thanks to Speaker of the House and Democrat Party Boss Michael Madigan refusing to even consider one of the Governors Turn Around Agenda reforms, unions which have been angry with Rauner ever since he was elected have ratched up their vitriol against the Governor in recent days.

That union thuggery caused an unidentified union protester to verbally harass Rezin as she left the event and was heading towards the parking lot.

Warning Language:

The Goon called the Morris Republican a “Piece of @#$%” and repeatedly called her a “B@tch”.

Classy.

Wonder how that thug plans on getting this state out of the fiscal mess its in?

Any bets that the answered by tax the rich.

Gov. Rauner “Deeply Troubled” By Criminal Probe Of Auditor General Frank Mautino

Gov. Bruce Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner

Speaking at a press conference Monday afternoon at the LaSalle county courthouse in Ottawa Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said that he was “deeply troubled” by the ongoing federal grand jury investigation into campaign spending by former state Rep. and current Auditor General Frank Mautino the Ottawa Times reports.

Monday was the first time the Governor has spoken publicly about the scandal that has embroiled Mautino since virtually his first day on the job as the states top spending watchdog.

Mautino’s troubles started in January when the Springfield based Illinois Times noticed that Mautino was still taking in campaign contributions well after it was widely known that he was going to be appointed Auditor General for the retiring William Holland. From there the Edgar County Watchdogs found that Mautino had spent over $200,000 for gas and repairs at Happy’s service station in Mautino’s hometown of Spring Valley in a ten-year period, Mautino spent $284,000 on gas and repairs since 1999 which is as far back as online state Board of Elections records go. The Watchdogs also found Mautino had made $250,000 in payments for campaign related expenses and travel to Chicago made out to Spring Valley City Bank. From there the Ottawa Times’ David Giuliani found Mautino had spent $78,000 for meals, nearly half at a restaurant owned by his wife’s family, and somehow managed to overpay for a dumpster he doesn’t seem to have needed.  USofArn.com also found Mautino spent nearly $8,000 for flags, and paid his a couple of his campaign workers tens of thousands of dollars for repairs/maintenance at his Spring Valley office.

Since the scandal broke nearly 6 months ago Frank Mautino has steadfastly refused to answer any questions from the media or from lawmakers about his campaign spending.

Last week 22 state lawmakers, including Sen. Sue Rezin, from both parties called on Mautino to step aside as Auditor General while he is under federal investigation.

Gov. Rauner Reacts To Exelon Closing Clinton and Cordova Nuclear Power Plants

Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke earlier this week in East Moline about Exelon’s announcement that it was closing the Clinton and Cordova nuclear power plants following the failure of an energy bill to advance in the legislature.

From Illinois Review:

“I am extremely upset about this,” Rauner said, speaking in East Moline, near the Quad Cities plant. “Here’s the issue: you need to protect good-paying jobs. Exelon has good-paying jobs. I want to protect those jobs. I want to keep those jobs. I want to keep those plants open.”

But Rauner also said there are limits to what he’ll accept.

“We also have got to balance that with protecting our ratepayers and taxpayers,” he said. “This is a large corporation that’s asking for a bailout to keep some operations going. This is not an easy solution. I’ve said, let’s work this out and come up with a compromise because we want to keep these plants open. We also need to protect ratepayers from a massive spike in rates.”

Rep. Skoog: Rauner Has Held State Hostage For Last Year

Andy Skoog

Andy Skoog

Democrat state Rep. Andy Skoog(LaSalle) told the Ottawa Times’ David Giuliani on Tuesday that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has held the state hostage for the last year in his budget standoff with Speaker Michael Madigan.

Skoog voted for Madigan’s 500 page, $40 billion budget that overspent by $7 billion.

Skoog told Giuliani that he wants to see corporate tax loopholes closed, and tax increases on Chicagoland millionaires to close the spending gap.

Illinois has gone a year without a budget, and is now entering year two without one as the Senate rejected Madigan’s budget plan Wednesday, after Gov. Rauner vetoed a budget by Madigan that over spent by $3 billion last year. The Illinois Constitution requires a balanced budget.

Gov. Rauner has said he is willing to negotiate with Madigan and the Democrats who have veto proof super-majorities in both the state House and Senate, including some new revenue but Madigan and the Democrats have to agree to some aspects of the Governors Turn Around Agenda, which has included a property tax freeze, local right to work zones, collective bargaining reform, term limits on the state legislature, and Fair Map redistricting.

Skoog says that those reforms and others only benefit the special interest(s), corporations, and rich at the expense of the Middle Class.

“The governor needs to start governing,” he said. “For nearly a year, he has held the state hostage — refusing to sign or even negotiate a comprehensive state budget, unless he gets his way on a special interest agenda that benefits big corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”

Skoog is being challenged in the 76th district by Republican Jerry Long of Streator, who nearly won in 2014 against the districts prior state Rep. Frank Mautino, who is now the states Auditor General and is under federal investigation over campaign spending problems. Skoog was appointed to state Rep. in December after having been the LaSalle county circuit clerk.

Madigan Veto Override To Help Unions Fails

Michael Madigan(D-Chicago)

Michael Madigan(D-Chicago)

Wednesday Democrat Party Boss and Speaker Michael Madigan fell 2 votes short of overriding a veto by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of a bill that would handicap his ability to negotiate contracts with state unions, such as AFSCME, and would have all but guaranteed that unions would get very demand they want.

The vote was 69-47. A super-majority of 71 votes is needed to override a Governors veto, something Madigan has as the Democrats hold veto proof super-majorities in both chambers of the Illinois legislature.

*Update: The veto override failed thanks to retiring state Rep. Jack Franks(D-Marengo) voting present and Chicago Dem Rep. Scott Drury voting no along side the GOP.