September 24, 2013 § 1 Comment
September 24, 2013 § Leave a comment
September 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
Who’s connected to whom and how in the lawmaker pay lawsuit
Sometimes you need a flowchart to understand all the connections between public figures in Illinois. That certainly could be useful in the case of the suit filed by Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan against Gov. Pat Quinn that seeks to restore sooner rather than later, lawmakers’ pay.
All of the above are Democrats, of course. And Quinn vetoed the line item that funds lawmakers’ pay, essentially saying he wasn’t paying them until they did their jobs and produced pension reform.
An unusual case to start, but the connections among the various parties make it all the more intriguing.
Quinn dismissed the option of having Madigan’s daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, represent him and instead took the alternative of hiring outside lawyers. (Wonder how much that will cost us?) But Madigan (or more pointedly, her staff) is representing Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who also was named in the Cullerton-Madigan suit because her office physically processes all the checks the state writes.
When the suit first was filed, some in the media took note of the fact that Madigan and Cullerton chose to file it not in more Republican-oriented Sangamon County, the count seat of Springfield, but in Cook County Circuit Court, where there are many more Democratic judges, many of whom owe the Speaker and Senate President their gratitude for a great deal of help in getting their bench appointments.
The case was assigned to Associate Judge Neil Cohen, who last week did not grant Madigan and Cullerton’s side the temporary injunction and immediate relief they sought, but in fact pushed the case to Sept. 18 as the next hearing, thereby ensuring lawmakers would miss another check at the start of September.
Still, there are some connections between Cohen and the parties in this lawsuit, as there likely could be with any Cook County judge. Cohen is married to Susan Sher. Sher is a close friend of First Lady Michelle Obama. She formerly served as the first lady’s chief of staff and as associate counsel to President Obama.
In a 2009 profile, the Chicago Tribune called Sher Michelle Obama’s “confidant-in-chief.” Her speaking agent’s website says about Sher: “A former labor lawyer, Sher previously served the city of Chicago as corporation counsel, the city’s top legal officer, making her a senior adviser to Mayor Daley. She was then vice president for legal and government affairs at University of Chicago’s Medical Center before moving to Washington to act as an advisor for both of the Obamas.”
Sher has donated a little more than $18,000 to Illinois candidates since 1999. And Sher has consistently donated some money to both Mike Madigan and Lisa Madigan over the years.
She donated a total of $3,500 to Citizens for Lisa Madigan on nine different June and December dates from 2002 to 2007. She gave Mike Madigan a total of $400 with two $200 contributions in 1999 and 2001, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections’ disclosure reports.
Sher also gave Citizens for John Cullerton $250 in March 2012. She has contributed to a few Republicans but Topinka isn’t one of them. There are no donations to Quinn on Sher’s donor list.
Cohen also has contributed a total of nearly $30,000 to candidates for judge and other offices since 1996. He has not contributed to either of the Madigans.
Associate judges like Cohen are appointed and do not run for election. He makes just under $172,000 as an associate judge in Cook County. According to the Illinois Courts website, “Circuit Judges are elected for a term of six years; Associate Judges are appointed by the Circuit Judges in accordance with Supreme Court rules for a four-year term.”
Clearly, if you’re appointed and approved by full circuit judges, connections do matter.
And it’s long been known that two of the most powerful people in Illinois when it comes to judicial positions are Democratic state party chair Michael Madigan and Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, whose wife, Anne, sits on the Illinois Supreme Court.
None of this is meant to imply Cohen is doing anything other than deciding the case on the merits.
A veteran former campaign operative who works with judges said recently Cohen’s connections to the Obamas might make him “bulletproof,” meaning he can and will handle the politically white-hot case as he believes it should be without being affected by outside pressure.
The fact that Cohen didn’t immediately grant the injunction Madigan and Cullerton sought would seem to illustrate that. On the other hand, lots of intelligent people seem to think the two Democratic legislative leaders have the stronger case anyway.
Which, of course, would mean Lisa Madigan and her office would come out on the losing end against her father in public, just as she seems to have when he told reporters last week she knew for a long time he wasn’t going anywhere while she toyed with a governor’s candidacy and collected donations.
Do any of the parties involved in this case have conflicts of interest? Do any of their connections to one another cause concern?
We can’t make up our own minds about all of that unless we know the connections and possible conflicts in the first place. If nothing else, this case certainly demonstrates yet again that, when it comes to the intersection of legislative, executive, judicial and political activities in Illinois, it’s a small world after all.
My hand-drawn look at the connections in the lawmaker pay lawsuit being considered by Associate Judge Neil Cohen:
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September 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
Families against Public CORRUPTION !! (( EXPOSE, EXPOSE )) (( DOCUMENT )) Make sure you expose the public corruption in your State, Maryland’s Delegate Kathleen Dumais and Judge Robert Bell should be prosecuted. STOP ALL funding to social workers that abuse families for their funding and profit. DEMAND they be terminated and sue them for intentional TORT “harm” damages to your family. Remember they are exposing your “at risk family” to intentional harm in the form of known risks. It has been clearly documented that the removal of a child from loving family members exposes the child, parents and grandparents to risks of PTSD, Depression and Psychological Trauma. How many families are ripped apart for the profit and funding of unethical social workers, LAWYERS and judges promoting their political agendas? How many unethical lawyer legislators like Delegate Kathleen Dumais of Maryland AIDE/CONTRIBUTE TO the abuse and murders of children and parents for their profit, funding and political agendas? Expose the BLOOD they have on their hands. BE SILENT NO MORE!! When will the public demand they be executed for their crimes against HUMANITY? — with Rik Littleand 43 others.
so guns pull triggers not the meds the user abused guns themselves can’t shoot on their own unless they have secondary help?
September 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
A professor of journalism from the University of Kansas says that not only is the blood of the Navy Yard shooting on the hands of the NRA and its members, but that he hopes for the death of their children.
The professor, who of course is responsible for teaching aspiring journalists how to conduct themselves and ‘fairly’ report on stories, was called out by none other than a campus reporting website that appears to be student driven. In other words, the students aren’t buying the nonsense — especially when real statistics on the subject of gun control and real gun death data are available freely for everyone to read. But that said, there are in fact still individuals that believe we really should confiscate firearms and submit ourselves to total government control.
Take, for example, those who were commenting on the CNN coverage before anything really came out on the subject of the Navy Yard shooting. There were top voted users calling for a complete gun ban already, and blaming gun owners for the work of crazed Aaron Alexis — the same crazed man now admitted to be on psych drugs like mass shooters before him. But the media doesn’t want to talk about the fact thatvirtually all mass shooters are drugged up on psych drugs.
Instead, they would rather fuel the minority of Americans that truly want to disarm the public, giving up any form of power left to the people by the Constitution.
After all, we are already living in a nation that dismisses the Fourth Amendment and Constitution at large within 100 miles of the ‘border’, swallowing up 197 million citizens into the void of personal rights. So what’s one more right being stripped? Well, the professor appears to be invoking his First Amendment right to remove our Second Amendment rights. In responding to one tweet challenging him to a debate, the professor responded:
“I appreciate your interest. But the subject isn’t relevant to the course subject. Free speech is for everyone. Thanks.”
And he’s right, we do all have our First Amendment rights (at least sometimes). The problem is that if we decide that we can just ‘give up’ our Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights, we will also lose the others.
September 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
here is JUdge Kinney, WILL COUNTY
By Benjamin Feldheim
The Society of Professional Journalists has publicly urged a Will County judge to rescind an order for Patch Editor Joe Hosey to reveal a confidential source or face jail time if he doesn’t comply.
The national organization released a statement Monday in support of Hosey, who was ordered by Will County Judge Gerald Kinney to give up the source of police and autopsy reports in the Hickory Street murder case. Hosey could be held in contempt of court for refusing to turn over the source and could face as much as six months in jail as a result.
“The Illinois statute protecting reporters and giving journalists a privilege is well established; it has been on the books for 31 years,” reads the SPJ’s statement. “It says that a reporter can be stripped of the privilege only when ‘all other sources of information have been exhausted’ and the ‘disclosure of the information sought is essential to protection of the public interest involved.’
“Protection of the criminal defendants’ rights is not the issue in the case. The identity of the source is not relevant to the murder cases. Kinney acknowledges as much: In his order, he says that he previously ‘has indicated that these inquiries may seem to be off topic’ in the context of a murder trial.”
If Kinney doesn’t drop the order, Patch Media intends to appeal.
“We, as an organization of 8,000 journalists and journalism supporters, cannot stand by and let this happen,” said SPJ President David Cuillier in the statement. “Society depends on leakers. We rely on people providing us information that we care about, even if the government doesn’t want it out — even if the information is inconvenient.”
The Chicago Headline Club, which serves as the SPJ’s local chapter, also called upon Kinney to rescind his order in late August.
Hosey’s next hearing is scheduled for Friday in Joliet.
- Patch Tells Judge Appeal Will Be Filed
- Patch’s Legal Argument in Favor of Reporter’s Privilege
- Hosey’s “Nightmare on Hickory Street” coverage