Posts Tagged ‘gerrymandering’

Boss Madigan graphic courtesy of the Illinois Policy Institute

By John Ruberry

Last week, yes know it’s a cliche, but hell froze over in Illinois when Boss Michael Madigan was indicted on 22 corruption counts. I was a common assumption that Madigan never used email–after all, the feds might be reading those messages.

But the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, led by a Donald Trump appointee, John Lausch, got the job done

Coded language didn’t work. Madigan cronies, in secretly recorded conversations, would avoid Madigan’s name, referring to him as “our friend” or “a friend of ours.” Ironically, the mafia name for themselves is “La Cosa Nostra,” which roughly translates from Italian into “our thing” or “this thing of ours.”

I’ve written about Madigan many times at Da Tech Guy. In short, he’s the man who destroyed Illinois. When Madigan was first elected as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, Illinois had 26 electoral votes. For the 2024 presidential election the Land of Lincoln will make do with just 19. Illinois has lost population every year since 2014 and over 100,000 people bailed on Madiganstan from July 2020 thru July 2021.

Corruption is rampant in Illinois. And Illinois faces a millstone with Madigan’s dirty fingerprints all over it, unfunded state pension obligations, among the worst among the fifty states. Madigan was more interested in rewarding his public-sector union pals than properly funding their pension plans.

In 1983, Madigan was elected by his fellow Democrats as state House speaker and served, with the exception of a two-year span in the 1990s when the Republicans won control of the lower chamber, until last year, when the hint of scandal finally caught up with him. In 1998 Madigan was elected chairman of the state Democratic Party. Madigan remains committeeman of Chicago’s 13th Ward, a post he’s held since 1969. That seems like an insignificant position, but in 2007 when another ethically challenged pol was elected of as chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, “the Machine,” there was just one nomination–for Joseph Berrios. Madigan nominated him.

Since the 1970s, the Boss has been a partner in a small but lucrative Chicago law firm, Madigan and Getzendanner, which specializes in property tax appeals. Who sets property tax rates? Politicians of course, most of whom are Democrats in Blue Illinois.

There is the Machine–but then there is what the federal indictment of Madigan calls “the Madigan Enterprise.”

From that indictment:

Defendant MICHAEL J. MADIGAN, defendant MICHAEL F. McCLAIN, the Office of the Speaker, the Thirteenth Ward Democratic Organization, Madigan & Getzendanner, and others known and unknown together constituted an enterprise as that term is defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1961(4), that is, a group of individuals and entities associated in fact (referred to herein as the
“Madigan Enterprise” or the “enterprise”). The Madigan Enterprise was engaged in,
and its activities affected, interstate commerce. The Madigan Enterprise constituted
an ongoing organization whose members functioned as a continuing unit for the common
purpose of achieving the objectives of the enterprise.

The purposes of the Madigan Enterprise included but were not limited to:
(i) to exercise, to preserve, and to enhance MADIGAN’s political power and financial
well-being; (ii) to financially reward MADIGAN’s political allies, political workers, and
associates for their loyalty, association with, and work for MADIGAN; and (iii) to
generate income for members and associates of the enterprise through illegal activities.

The illegal activities committed by members and associates of the Madigan
Enterprise included, but were not limited to: (a) soliciting and receiving bribes and
unlawful personal financial advantage from persons and parties having business with the
State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, or otherwise subject to the authority and powers
vested in MADIGAN and other public officials acting on MADIGAN’s behalf; (b) using
MADIGAN’s powers as Speaker, including his ability to affect the progress of bills in the
House of Representatives, as well as his control over the resources of the Office of the
Speaker, including its staff, in order to cause third parties to financially reward
MADIGAN, his political allies, political workers, and associates; (c) using threats,
intimidation, and extortion to solicit benefits from private parties; and (d) using facilities
of interstate commerce to coordinate, plan, and further the goals of the enterprise.

In short, Madigan, according to the feds, was running a racket. Madigan supporters, the indictment alleges, were given no-show or little-show jobs, and the graft goes beyond state and local government. Much of the indictment covers Madigan and his associates allegedly strong-arming Commonwealth Edison, the electric utility for Northern Illinois, in exchange for legislation favoring the company.

Madigan was typically unanimously or near-unanimously reelected House speaker and party chair. The rest of the Democratic Party was along for the ride. All the while they were calling Republicans evil, racist, and lots of other things.

More from that indictment.

MADIGAN utilized his position as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois to influence and garner loyalty from legislators by providing or withholding staff and funding to legislators and their
campaigns
[bold print emphasis mine]. MADIGAN utilized his position as a partner in Madigan & Getzendanner to reap the benefits of private legal work unlawfully steered to his law firm. MADIGAN
directed the activities of his close friend and associate, McCLAIN, who carried out illegal
activity at MADIGAN’s direction.

McClain, by the way, is a former member of the state House and a longtime Madigan crony.

As for Madigan, politically he is a soulless person, other than maybe thinking of himself as an FDR/JFK New Deal/New Frontier Democrat. Madigan was all about the power and the money to keep that power, reminiscent, not of the political bosses of old, such as New York’s Willam M. Tweed or his idol, Chicago’s Richard J. Daley, but as a political version of V.M. Varga from Season 3 of Fargo. That villain was fabulously wealthy, but Varga wore the same cheap business suit every day–he slept every night in a tractor trailer. Yes, Madigan lives well, but his first love, perhaps his only one, is power.

For sixteen years of Boss Madigan’s reign of error and terror, Illinois’ attorney general was his daughter, Lisa.

And do you seriously believe that his fellow Illinois Democrats didn’t smell the stench? After all, Madigan, who was also a master gerrymanderer, was good to them. With Madigan in charge in the state House and their party, they almost always won. Only when the Commonwealth Edison scandal got too close to the Boss did the Dems in the state House dump him. Madigan resigned his party chair post shortly after his ouster from the speaker’s post.

Illinois Democrats knew Madigan was running a cronyism machine. They always did. And they didn’t care.

Madigan won’t be on the ballot in Illinois this fall. But the Little Madigans will be.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit and is a Commonwealth Edison customer.

By John Ruberry

There have been over 1,000 murders this year in Cook County, Illinois–where I live–and the county where Chicago dominates hasn’t seen that many killings since 1994. As for Chicago it has, as of three days ago, endured 777 murders in 2021. 

Liberals like to talk about root causes of crime. Indeed, the current situation is horrible. Apologists for the dramatic increase in crime over the last two years like to blame the COVID-19 outbreak. But the worst outbreaks are concentrated in deep-blue metropolitan areas with so-called prosecutors, many of whom that accepted campaign contributions from funds tied to radical leftist George Soros. 

People like Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney of Cook County. 

Here is one of those roots from one of Foxx’s poison seeds. Before the COVID outbreak Foxx, shortly after her first election in 2016, announced that her office would not pursue felony charges against accused shoplifters unless the value of the goods stolen exceeded $1,000. State law puts that threshold at $300.

And what happened? Retail threats soared. Here’s a story about that from 2019.

Five years later criminals, many of them wearing face masks, are emboldened. They don’t fear getting caught and if they are, because of the low-bail or no-bail policies of Foxx and Cook County judges–they are elected too–they are out on the street almost immediately.  Chicago and its suburbs are being plagued by gangs of flash mob thieves.

Crime will get worse in thirteen months–and the problem will be statewide as a no-cash bail law that Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, goes into effect. 

Small time criminals move on bigger crimes. Rudy Giuliani’s broken-windows theory of policing should be known as broken-windows fact.

And Chicago, with about 100,000 street gang members, has plenty of big-time crooks. 

Carjackings are out of control in Chicago and its suburbs. In the city there have been 1,444 carjackings so far this year–nearly double the annual total of just two years ago. Last month Chicago police arrested an 11-year-old “prolific carjacker.”

 As I mentioned last week John Kass, a columnist formerly with the Chicago Tribune, was demoted after back-stabbing liberal co-workers at the Trib complained that his column on Soros and the leftist “prosecutors” he funds was anti-Semitic. They lied and they know it.

Kass’ new columns and his podcasts can be found at JohnKassNews.com.

In his latest podcast Kass interviewed former local and federal prosecutor Robert Milan. It was a wide-ranging conversation, but I want to focus on his comments on the no-cash bail law, which is absurdly known as the SAFE-T Act.

“The new bill is going to make it easier to get out [of jail], Milan said, “in 2023 this already dire situation is going to get worse.”

He continued, “People have to organize victims of crimes and stand up and say, ‘This isn’t going to happen.”

Milan added, “Dangerous people should not be on the streets, period.”

So far in 2021, again as I mentioned last week, 56 people, as reported by CWB Chicago, have been accused of “killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony.”

A knee-jerk response of course is to vote-the-bums-out. That’s not so easy in Illinois, which, after a third-straight decennial redistricting, is burdened by gerrymandered districts designed to benefit the Democrats. Still, now is the time for Illinois’ feckless Republican Party to find an issue to rally on–and present itself as the party of personal safety. 

I believe the fight against no-cash bail will be up to rank-and-file Illinoisans, especially crime victims. The no-cash bail law, which fortunately still allows the most-heinous accused criminals to be locked up without bail, was largely a project of African-American legislators. But it is minorities, particularly blacks, who are usually the victims of violent crimes, particularly murder

Let’s get going, Illinois. Let’s get organized. Let’s make it not happen.

We’ve tried fighting crime the leftist way. It doesn’t work.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Minding the Illinois political maze for decades.

By John Ruberry

Since posting my Illinois gerrymandering entry here last week there is an update.

First some background: Despite multiple promises to veto a partisan remap of Illinois state legislative districts, Democratic governor JB Pritzker signed into law new hyper-partisan new state House and Senate districts, claiming that these new maps preserve diversity.

Not so fast, JB.

Late Thursday the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on behalf of five Hispanic voters, filed suit in federal court claiming that the new maps are “malapportioned.” AP sums up the controversey beautifully. “But the challenge from MALDEF,” the wire service says, “expands the source of objections to the very groups whose voting rights Democrats say they are protecting.”

Earlier last week the Illinois Republican Party also filed a federal lawsuit that claims that the new maps violate the 14th Amendment to the US Contsitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

Indeed it may. Illinois’ constitution states that new General Assembly district maps must be drawn by legislators by the end of June after each decennial census. If not, the process moves to an eight-person committee evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. If that panel can’t come to a decision then two names are placed in a hat, one Republican and one Democrat. Lovers of political theater will be thrilled to learn that the four times the remapping committee was formed, three times times no decision was reached and the tiebreaker clause was invoked. In 2000 a stovepipe hat said to have been worn by Abraham Lincoln was used for the tiebreaking ceremony.

The complete Census figures won’t be available until August. But it’s clear that the Democrats didn’t want the redistricting process to be left by chance, or worse, given to Republicans. So the Dems, rather than work with hard numbers, instead used population estimates from the American Community Survey.

This weekend on Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, host Mike Flannery ventured into what-aboutism expressed by the left regarding gerrymandering in Republican states. During an interview with state Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield).  Flannery phrased their argument this way, “That the Democrats here stopped short of annihilating as many Republicans as they could in the General Assembly–do you buy that?” Butler responded that he does not and he explained to Flannery, “We have 14 members–Republican members of the House–that were drawn in districts together and we have zero Democrats that were drawn into districts together.” That’s an observation the Wall Street Journal made earlier this month. Because of Democratic gerrymandering after the 2010 census, there are currenly only 45 Republicans among the 118 members in the Illinois House. 

While of course there are no state or federal legal protections to protect GOP state legislators, as I mentioned earlier in this post and last week, Pritzker promised he would veto a partisan remap.

There is a better way. Twice in the 2010s enough signatures were collected to put an amendment to the Illinois Constitution on the general election ballot that would take redistricting out of the hands of legislators and placing a non-partisan committee in control. Twice a lawyer closely tied to Boss Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), the longtime Illinois House speaker who was forced out of power early this year, sued to block having Illinois voters decide the issue. In a party-line vote, the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the Democrats both times.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

A month ago I wrote about Illinois General Assembly Democrats, behind closed doors, redrawing legislative maps. The Dems, thanks to their gerrymandering after the 2010 Census, already enjoy supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

There was hope, a quite naive one to be sure, that because Illinois’ Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, firmly promised, many times, that he would veto any partisan remap proposal, that fair maps could eventually emerge.

Shortly before Election Day in 2018, again as I noted last month, Pritzker had this to say to an NRP reporter, “I will not sign a bill that is gerrymandered, I have been for independent maps for a long time now.”

Well Pritzker isn’t for independent maps anymore even though, as the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) reported just two weeks ago, the Chicago billionaire promised to veto “an unfair map.”

Pritzker lied. On Friday he signed into law a hyperpartisan gerrymandered map. And going a step further, for the first time in five decades Illinois’ Supreme Court districts were redrawn. Do I have to tell you which party the new court districts will favor?

From the Wall Street Journal editorial board:

Illinois Democrats hold a statehouse supermajority, every statewide office and a state Supreme Court majority. That sounds like a monopoly on power. But with voters starting to revolt against the state’s fiscal woes and political corruption, Democrats are now working to further entrench their power.

Late last week Democrats jammed through new state legislative maps that combine 14 Republicans in the Illinois House into seven districts. That means seven GOP incumbents are guaranteed to lose in party primaries. Republicans will also lose their incumbent advantage in seven districts. No Democrats were combined in the same House districts.

Illinois’s maps were already heavily gerrymandered to favor Democrats, who control 73 of the 118 seats in the House and 41 of 59 in the Senate. But Democrats are worried a GOP wave in the 2022 midterm elections could defeat Gov. J.B. Pritzker. They want to shore up their supermajority to ensure they can override a new Republican Governor.

Apologists for the Democrats explain that according to the state constitution the General Assembly needs to have new legislative districts approved by June 30. What they leave out is that if no map is passed, again according to the state constitution, an eight-person bipartisan committee is appointed to redraw maps. Republicans would likely end up in a stronger position in such a scenario because don’t believe it’s possible to create an even more unfair map.

What’s worse about these new legislative districts is because of the COVID-19 epidemic, not all of the US Census numbers have been released. Illinois Democrats based their new state House and Senate districts on projections from American Community Survey, not hard numbers. 

When confronted about gerrymandering by Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery on this weekend’s Flannery Fired Up, Boss Michael Madigan’s slippery successor as state House Speaker, Chris Welch, explained to the host that Oklahoma, a red state, also based their remapping on ACS data. 

True–only that Welch neglected to mention that Oklahoma is committed to redraw its maps once the final Census numbers are in.

Illinois, because of population loss, will have one less congressional seat after the 2022 midterm elections. Federal guidelines on congressional districts are quite strict–so the new congressional maps have not been released as the Illinois Democrats await those hard numbers to crunch and torture. But speculation is that these maps will also punish the GOP. 

One-party Democratic rule has destroyed Illinois. I’ve noted these facts many times at Da Tech Guy. Illinois’ public-worker pension plans are among the worst-funded in the nation. The average percentage in state budgets dedicated to pensions is four percent. In Illinois, because its promises to these liberal public-sector unions were not properly funded, it is 25 percent. The state’s repupation for corruption is well known–in my lifetime four governors, three Democrats and one Republican, have served time in federal prison. Federal authorites have been investigating the inner circle of Boss Madigan for several years. And for the first time in history Illinois lost population between Censuses. 

Every state will be redrawing their maps. Former president Barack Obama and his first attorney general, Eric Holder founded a group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, that opposes Republican gerrymandering. Look for the two of them to holler and scream when they declare new red state remaps to be unfair. Of course Obama and Holder will be mum on gerrymandering in blue states, such as what occurs every ten years in Obama’s home state. 

What do you do if a liberal moans to you about those red state district maps that they say are gerrymandered? I have a three word reply for you. 

“What about Illinois?”

John Ruberry regularly blogs from Illinois at Marathon Pundit.

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