Posts Tagged ‘illinois exodus’

Madigan graphic courtesy of the Illinois Policy Institute

By John Ruberry

In March, after years of investigation, Michael Madigan, the decades-long speaker of the Illinois House and chairman of the state Democratic party, was indicted on corruption charges. The heart of that indictment was centered on northern Illinois’ principal electric utility, Commonwealth Edison, in what the indictment termed a “years-long bribery scheme” involving contracts, jobs, and of course favors, such as legislation favoring ComEd. Earlier this month, Madigan was indicted again, this time AT&T Illinois, a subsidiary of the much-larger AT&T, was the company involved. 

ComEd’s parent, Exelon, is a publicly traded company, as is AT&T. 

In return for AT&T Illinois paying a $23 million fine and admitting guilt, charges will be dropped by the local U.S. attorney’s office in two years, according to the paperwork filed in federal court in a deferred prosecution agreement. ComEd agreed to a similar settlement, while paying a $200 million fine

Madigan, 80, entered public life in 1969 as a delegate to the Illinois constitutional convention. He was elected to the Illinois General Assembly from a Southwest Side Chicago district a year later. He became House Speaker in 1983. 

As I’ve remarked many times before, Illinois is in serious need of term limit laws.  

While he was running what the U.S. District Attorney of Northern Illinois later called “the Madigan Enterprise,” the Boss managed to expand his power even more by becoming chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. Perhaps the most devious gerrymanderer ever, Madigan used that post and the speaker’s office to create supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Oh, Madigan’s daughter, Lisa, served four terms as Illinois’ attorney general during dad’s reign. 

During Madigan’s reign-of-error, Illinois’ pension bomb was created. The fingerprints of the Boss were on every state budget from 1983 until his departure from public life.

The Madigan Enterprise fell apart early last year after–on Illinois Democrats’ standards–a lackluster 2020 general election. The Boss, finally visibly tainted by the drip-drip of the ComEd scandal, was unable to win reelection as speaker. Madigan, bereft of the linchpin of his power, quietly resigned not only as state party chairman, but he also resigned his House seat. He even quit as Democratic committeeman of Chicago’s 13th Ward, where presumably he is still revered. Madigan was never interested in student council-style pretend-power, he only relished the real thing. 

AT&T Illinois sought out Madigan because it wanted to ditch its landline telephone business, which it did in 2017. The General Assembly overrode the veto of Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, to get the job done. 

According to the indictment, Edward Acevedo, a Madigan crony and former state representative, received $22,500 for an allegedly no-work AT&T Illinois consulting job. Acevedo is now serving time in prison for tax evasion tied to his role in the Commonwealth Edison scandal

Also indicted by the feds this month was AT&T Illinois’ former president, Paul La Schiazza, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Many of the minions of Boss Madigan are still in the General Assembly, most prominently Chris Welch, the current Illinois House speaker who, Brutus-like, turned on Madigan last year. 

Who is still in office is something for Illinois voters to think about when they make their election choices this autumn. Especially since, I suspect, it’s hard to fathom that ComEd and AT&T Illinois were not the only companies that tried to illegally curry favor with the Madigan Enterprise.

I recently read Matt Rosenberg’s What Next, Chicago? Notes of a Pissed Off Native Sonmy review is here. In it, Rosenberg recalls a conversation with a former Chicago alderman, Dick Simpson, who told the author, “We have a rule about bureaucratic crime, that if one person is convicted there were probably ten people involved with that particular crime or that general pattern, that were not caught.” 

When Madigan was sworn into office as a state rep in 1971, Illinois had 26 electoral votes. In 2024 it will only have 19. 

Surprised?

Disclosure: The author of this entry worked for AT&T Wireless for over a decade.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

The political conversation in Illinois has turned to “The Scream.” In one of the most powerful, and yes, disturbing political ads ever aired, there is no dialogue other than a woman screaming as three thugs run from a car to mug her.

The ad, which is funded by the People Who Play By The Rules PAC, has been pulled from b some television stations. Like many Chicago area residents, I viewed it a week ago, during the Chicago Bears-San Francisco 49ers game on the Fox broadcast network. The ad, using video footage obtained by CWBChicago opens with this caption, “On a Sunday afternoon in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.” It ends with, “Pritzker. Lightfoot. How much worse does it have to get.” Lori Lightfoot is Chicago’s inept mayor, who takes any attack on her, even on COVID-19, and turns it into a racial issue. J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire and Illinois’ governor, is a bit more polished than Lightfoot, but he labeled the ad racist too. Both politicians are Democrats. 

The 45-year-old woman was robbed of her fanny pack, keys, wallet, and phone. While the 32nd Ward of Chicago, where the attack occurred just two Sundays ago, is predominately white, it’s difficult to determine the victim’s race, as is the case of the attackers, they wore hoods and masks. 

Crime has skyrocketed in Chicago since 2019, the year both Pritzker and Lightfoot were sworn into office. Pritzker is running for a second term, and possibly, assuming he wins in November, for president in 2024. Lightfoot is running for reelection too, the first round of voting takes place in late February.

Kim Foxx is Cook County’s State’s Attorney. A Democrat, her campaigns have been funded by ultra-leftist billionaire George Soros. She’s a catch-and-release “prosecutor” of the vein of Los Angeles County’s George Gascon and since-ousted San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin. Foxx, best known internationally as Jussie Smollett’s protector, is a member of the rival leftist camp of Cook County Board headed by president Toni Preckwinkle, who was Lightfoot’s runoff opponent in 2019. Despite Foxx’s numerous failures, Lightfoot endorsed Foxx in the Democratic primary in 2020. 

Going back to the ad, “How much worse does it have to get?” Barring changes to the absurdly misnamed Illinois SAFE-T Act, things will get much worse here. Cash bail will be eliminated in Illinois. The Prairie State has 102 counties and of course 102 prosecutors. Of those, 100 oppose the SAFE-T Act. Of course Foxx is one of those two backers of it. While signed into law early last year, Pritzker and Illinois Democratic legislators smelled a pile of you-know-what, so they wrote into the legislation that the law won’t take effect until January 1, 2023, nearly two months after the gubernatorial and General Assembly elections. 

One of the most prominent opponents of the SAFE-T Act is a Democrat, James Glasgow, the state’s attorney of Will County. 

This weekend on Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, Glasgow told the host, Mike Flannery, “There are forcible felonies that are not detainable.” He then fires those crimes off, “Burglary, robbery, arson, kidnapping, second degree murder, intimidation, aggravated battery, aggravated DUI, [and] drug offenses.”

“Mike,” Glasgow continued, “if I showed up with dump truck full of Fentanyl–enough to kill everyone in the United States of America and I got caught under this new law, I would be processed and released. I could not be detained for a day.”

Flannery mentioned those who say Glasgow is wrong. “[I] just explained it to you,” the prosecutor replied. “Those crimes] are not listed in the detainable offenses. If it’s not listed in the detainable offenses–you can not detain.”

Beyond deeming objections to the SAFE-T Act racist, the media wing of the Democrat Party has also struck back by means of a fact-check, at Snopes, where Nur Ibrahim deemed such criticism as “Mostly False.” No, Ibrahim is mostly false in my opinion about his misleading fact-check–he should have reached out to Glasgow. Yes, there is a reason that Dan Bongino has a regular segment on his radio show and podcast, “Fact-Check Clown Show.”

Barring veto session amendments to the “Unsafety Act,” the rampant criminality of Chicago will spread statewide. If you live outside of Cook County and you want to see what you are facing in 2023, read CWBChicago every day, as I do. The site is filled with stories about accused criminals being released on no little bail, or placed on electronic monitoring, then committing more crimes, including car jackings, rapes, and murders. 

Here are some headlines from this month at CWB Chicago:

18-time felon tells authorities his electronic monitoring bracelet got cut by CTA train tracks

#38: Gunman shot 12-year-old boy in the head while on $1,000 bail for one of Illinois’ most serious gun crimes

#37: Man shot woman dead because he didn’t want her at a block party—while he was supposed to be home on electronic monitoring for 3 felonies, prosecutors say

#36: Driver exchanged shots with gunman in another car while on felony bail, prosecutors say

What do those numbers mean? It is part of CWBChicago’s “coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, ‘we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur’ under the court’s bond reform initiative.” Don’t forget, soon there will be no cash bond in Illinois, pending changes in the SAFE-T Act, beginning in 2023.

What to do? Even if you don’t live in Illinois–your state may be next to eliminate cash bail–Glasgow has some advice for you. “It is absolutely critical that we get this message out,” he warns, “or public safety will be damaged more than we can ever imagine.”

And if the SAFE-T Act remains in place? John Kass, in his most recent Chicago Way podcast, recalled this advice from a former confidante of the first Mayor Daley, who said these words to the former Chicago Tribune columnist after Kim Foxx was reelected in 2020, “The message is get the (bleep) out,” A relative of mine lives in Chicago’s 32nd Ward, blocks away from “The Scream” attack and also blocks away from where a culinary student was shot three times after being robbed of his cell phone. He’s planning his Chicago exit after living there for over two decades.

John Ruberry lives in suburban Cook County and he regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Amazingly, the quiet presidential campaign of J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire pol from the family that created the Hyatt hotel chain and more, continues. That says about the girth of Illinois governor’s ego and the threadbare status of the Democratic presidential bench, as the failures of the Joe Biden administration continue to mount.

Illinois, despite the influx of COVID bailout cash, remains a financial basket case. At best, Pritzker and his fellow Democrats have only chipped away at the state’s pension bomb. Illinois has the worst-funded public pension system among the states. In 2021 the Prairie State lost 122,000 residents, only New York and the District of Columbia, percentage-wise, saw a bigger population drop.

At Wirepoints, Mark Glennon, justifiably eviscerated Pritzker in his critique of the governor’s trial run of a presidential campaign speech given last weekend in Florida. Yes, Florida, the place that Democrats, including Pritzker’s wife during the worst period of the COVID-19 lockdowns, flock to, despite the governorship of Ron DeSantis, a man they hate. Oh, while in Florida–Pritzker was there to give the keynote speech at a gathering of Florida Democrats–he contracted COVID. I wish him well–as someone who was afflicted with COVID last month, I can say that it is not an enjoyable experience. 

I’m going to focus on just a couple of items from Pritzker’s dishonest Florida speech. “We honor the results of elections,” Pritzker said, obviously alluding to the Capitol Riot and its show trial investigation of it by the House January 6th Committee. In response Glennon retorted, “In Illinois, that would be elections based on the most gerrymandered map in the nation, which he approved in violation of what many regarded as his most important campaign promise – to deliver fair maps.” Yes, Pritzker repeatedly vowed as a candidate in 2018 to veto gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps. The Democratic supermajorities in the General Assembly–in place because of the 2011 gerrymandered map–sent to Pritzker’s desk new contorted legislative maps, which Pritzker signed into law. 

Pritzker lied–and free and fair congressional and state legislative elections in the Land of Lincoln died. But since Glennon’s article was posted, the Chicago Tribune revealed that Pritzker this year contributed $24 million to the Democratic Governors Association. That group spent millions on ads supporting the most conservative Republican candidate running to replace Pritzker this autumn, state Sen. Darren Bailey, who easily won the GOP nomination. Yes, I voted for Bailey. 

As with other races the DGA has meddled in, the group saw Bailey as the most conservative, or in their likely thoughts, the most extreme candidate. And presumably the easiest one for Democrats to defeat in November. But such a ploy might backfire. In another Republican gubernatorial primary race that the Democratic Governors Association meddled in, its preferred “extreme” candidate, Doug Mastriano, trails the Democratic nominee by only a few points. Yes, he can win, which has some Dems nervous

On the flipside, imagine the mainstream media uproar if Republicans funded the campaigns of a Bernie Bro socialist running in a Democratic primary. They’d cry, “Election interference,” and “This is undermining free and fair elections!”

A couple of times in my lifetime–on the presidential level–Democrats received the GOP general election candidate they were rooting for, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Donald Trump in 2016. You know what happened.

Bailey, in deep blue Illinois, faces a tougher hurdle than Mastriano. But much can happen in the next four months, and Joe Biden’s continued mismanagement of the economy, the border–heck, his complete mismanagement of everything–may compel moderate Land of Lincoln voters to send a message to the Democrats. 

Are there enough such Illinoisans to send Pritzker packing? 

Not yet, as a recent poll tells us.

Because of high taxes, Illinoisans suffer from among the highest gasoline prices in the nation. Pritzker, under the guise of a tax cut, is forcing Illinois gas station owners to post signs informing motorists of the “tax cut,” which is really a delay in an inflation adjustment, suspending it until December. Gas station operators who refuse to post the required signage face a $500-a-day fine. Without the fine threat, Illinois grocers are also being forced to post similar signage about a one-year suspension of a one-percent sales tax.

If Pritzker prevails over Bailey, look for his presidential campaign to begin. It will fail. Pritzker is not a likable candidate–and Illinois’ standards are low. His flat speeches are drenched in condescension. Pritzker comes across as a sleazy closer at a Las Vegas timeshare presentation, a meeting that you only agreed to endure after being promised free show tickets and two glasses of wine “Sign here,” he’d say, “you won’t regret it,” as all 350 pounds of him leans into you.

But not even alcohol can make Pritzker more palatable. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Blogger at the border

By John Ruberry

There is speculation that Illinois’ Democrat governor, J.B. Pritzker, is considering a run for president. A visit last week to New Hampshire is his first clue. 

But Pritzker, a billionaire scion of the family that owns the Hyatt Corporation, faces reelection for governor this fall. I’ll be voting for the Republican candidate, and I of course dearly hope whoever the GOP entry is in November will make Pritzker a one-term governor. 

There are many reasons to be against Pritzker for governor–and president. Let’s get started on why.

Gerrymandering. As a candidate in 2018, Pritzker vowed several times to veto gerrymandered legislative maps. He lied. Unless you are an aficionado of Cubist art or a Democrat activist, the 2021 census remaps, are a disgrace to democracy.

Budget. Illinois hasn’t had a balanced budget since 2001, when Republican George H. Ryan–yeah, Ryan was a bad guy–was governor and there was a GOP majority in the state Senate. In one of his first ads for his reelection campaign, Pritzker claimed the Prairie State’s budget is balanced. It’s not, unless you figure in trickery and federal COVID-19 bailout money. With a Republican majority a near certainty in the US House, Pritzker and the Democrats can’t count on bailout cash for Illinois’ next budget. 

Crime. While I’ll concede that governors don’t have much control over local law enforcement, if you think crime is bad in Illinois now, just wait until New Year’s Day, when Illinois’ no-cash bail law goes into effect–after the general election votes are counted this autumn. There are still instances when judges can lock up accused criminals. But of course, big time crooks also commit small time crimes. Petty crooks often move on to become big-time crooks. Cook County’s state’s attorney is Kim Foxx, a George Soros-funded pro-criminal so-called prosecutor. If Pritzker has ever criticized Foxx, I missed it. Pritzker signed the no-cash bail bill into law in February of 2021. If it’s such a good bill, then why didn’t no-cash bail go into effect immediately?

Last year Cook County, which included Chicago and it’s where I live, recorded over 1,000 murders for the first time since 1994.

COVID. The lockdowns in Illinois were among the longest and most severe. But his wife, M.K., and his daughter spent two months in Florida in the spring of 2020. Florida’s lockdown policies were less stringent. Pritzker claims that his family were in Florida before the pandemic was declared. But the governor didn’t reveal that information until two months later.

Stagnant population. Illinois had lost population, according to the US Census, every year since 2014. Or had it? But like late night ballots arriving in big-city polling places, the Census Bureau said, wait, no, Illinois gained population between 2010 and 2020. But growth, such as it is, can rightly be called anemic. 

Corruption. Until it appeared that the US Attorney’s office for Northern Illinois was finally closing in on Boss Michael Madigan, who was for decades the most powerful Democrat in the state, Pritzker was silent on the Illinois Democratic Party chair and longtime state House speaker. Only after a surprisingly lackluster 2020 general election for Prairie State Democrats did Pritzker issue a half-hearted call for Madigan to resign as speaker. The Boss failed to win reelection as House speaker last year and then he quickly resigned as Illinois Dem party chair. 

Three months ago, Madigan was indicted on numerous racketeering charges by the feds. Illinois is generally considered one of the most corrupt states in the Union. Even the Washington Post agrees. What is Pritzker doing to fight criminality by Illinois public officials? I can’t see any evidence that he is doing anything.

Toilets. Pritzker and his wife own two mansions on Astor Street on Chicago’s North Side. Allegedly looking for a property tax break, M.K. had the toilets removed from the one that Illinois’ future first couple didn’t live in. Then she had that mansion declared “uninhabitable,” so the Pritzkers could score that tax break. The Pritzkers later paid Cook County back the money from that sleazy move.

In 2019, Chicago’s NPR affiliate reported that the toilet scam was under federal investigation.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.