Thursday, August 25, 2005

Med Mal Law Signing

Governor Blagojevich intends today to sign legislation addressing medical malpractice. The new law was hotly contested by personal injury trial lawyers on one side and hospitals and doctors on the other. Both sides have battled over this issue in the past, and both sides are significant donors to Illinois politicians. From January 1, 2003 through June 30, 2005 (including the last election cycle and the most recent figures available) supporters of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association have given at least $4.5 million to state politicians in Illinois, while hospitals and doctors have given at least $4.2 million.

The lion’s share of this money went to the 2004 Supreme Court election, held in the Fifth District, which turned on concerns that high malpractice premiums are forcing doctors to leave the state. The governor will be signing the new law at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Alton, Illinois, which is located in the Fifth District.

Since the start of 2005, the Trial Lawyers have contributed about $250K and hospitals and doctors have given about $780K. Expect both sides to continue fighting these issues, and giving politically, at these astronomical levels for the foreseeable future.

For ICPR's medical malpractice issue briefing released last May, click here.

Monday, August 22, 2005

New Sunshine

The Sunshine Database is now updated through the first half of 2005. ICPR and the Sunshine Project have taken campaign disclosure reports filed with the State Board of Elections and produced easy-to-understand analyses. Use the Sunshine Database for:

Plus, find receipts and expenditures for legislators, statewide constitutionals, caucus PACs, state parties and announced candidates for governor.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lobbyists Everywhere

The Center for Public Integrity recently released a national report on lobbyists. The report compares the 50 states for lobbyist spending, and many in Illinois have expressed surprise that our state is not in the top ten. In fact, Illinois may be in the Top Ten, but different states have different reporting requirements, making comparisons between states very difficult Lobbying in Illinois is just as much a big business as it is elsewhere. Lobbyist disclosure in Illinois, however, is abysmal.

Illinois requires lobbyists to report spending on meals and gifts to public officials and some travel expenses. That’s about all. Most other states and the federal government require lobbyists to disclose far more, including their total spending, total billing to clients, and spending on each issue they lobby. Illinois’ numbers may look low, but that has far more to do with what’s revealed than with what the true total spending for lobbying is in Illinois.

Recent changes in Illinois also worked to slash the numbers. The 2003 Ethics Act also barred lobbyists from serving on boards and commissions, leading many lobbyists to cancel their registration. The number of lobbyists fell in 2004, and reporting meal and gift expenses fell with it. Nor is there any enforcement mechanism to ensure that people who should register actually do. While the Secretary of State’s Index Department takes the paperwork, enforcement is ambiguous; theoretically, it would take a criminal complaint by a state’s attorney to compel filing by a recalcitrant lobbyist.

So worry not. Illinois is still Illinois. It's not that the numbers are low; it's that there are no numbers to count.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Second Indictment (in as many days)

Those of you fully caught up on your legal thrillers will want to download the latest release from Patrick Fitzgerald. Remember, it's just allegations, but if you read it as a story with a plot, it's also a pretty good read. Click here to get the text of U.S. v McMayon et al, which deals with the Chicago Park District.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Levine Indicted Again, more to come

U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has issued two indictments in as many days alleging official corruption in Illinois. Here is yesterday's indictment against Stuart Levine and others for actions relating to the Teachers Retirement System:

Teachers Retirement System Indictment 8/3/05

And today he announced indictments against former employees of the City of Chicago for shakedowns and improper gifts relating to Millenium Park and other Park District projects. That indictment isn't yet available (really, who issues indictments these days without first making the pdf?), but we'll post it as soon as it's available.

And in a completely unrelated move, PRNewswire has just announced a seminar on "Ethics/Law/Crisis Management" The seminar, to be held in Chicago, is actually focused on confidential sources, but also promises to help PR professionals understand "how ethics apply in crisis management" RSVP by August 15, if you're interested; no fair responding on behalf of your least favorite pol.

Monday, August 01, 2005

House Republicans File

The House Republicans filed timely. The Illinois House Victory Fund, a kind of adjunct to the HRO, filed first, showing $8.5K in, $45 out (that rounds to -0- in thousands) and $8.5K available. Funds came from Saviano. Beaubien, and McDonalds (the restaurant).

Citizens to Elect Tom Cross reported $463K in, $330K out and $612K available. Big donors include Comcast and Raceway Associates (both at $15K) and the Manufacturers PAC at $11.5K.

The House Republican Organization shows $396K in, $307K out and $90K available. Tom Cross was the biggest donor.

Giles Files, Chavez doesn't

Citizens for Calvin L Giles filed this evening in a timely manner, showing $27K in, $8K out and $79K on hand. All receipts were listed as individual contributions, including those from PACs, but he gets points for filing on time.

State Rep. Michelle Chavez (D-Cicero), who won a contested primary and general election last fall without, apparently, raising or spending $3,000 on her behalf, has still not yet formed a committee. Perhaps she retains the support of the Cicero Good Government Group, which also suported her opponent in the 2004 general. They reported $312K in, $423K out and $8K available. Most of their efforts this past Spring were devoted to the unsuccessful effort to retaiin Ramiro Gonzalez as the Cicero Town President.

Still waiting for the House Republican Organization, Citizens to Elect Tom Cross, and the Illinois House Victory Fund.

Wrap Up

Citizens for Jesse White: The Secretary of State shows $522K in, $202K out and $1.5 M available. His top donor remains Robert Lozins, formerly listed as the head of Artmark and now described as “retired”. The committee also shows $30K from the operating engineers and $15K from the currency exchanges.

Citizens for Rick Winkel: The Champaign Republican Senator shows $67K in, $66K out and $18K available. Receipts include at $25K loan from Frank Watson, and expenditures include $25K to pay off that loan.

Friends of Lou Jones: $20K in, $27K out and $1.5K left in the bank.

Friends of Lee Daniels: the former Speaker’s committee shows $10K in, $184K out and $349K left. Expenditures include $22K in loans to the House Republican Campaign Committee, which accounted for all of the former caucus PAC’s receipts. HRCC showed $22K in expenditures, nearly all of it for legal expenses. HRCC now owes Friends of Lee $421K and appears to have evolved into a de facto legal defense fund.

Friends of Terry Link: The Lake County Democrat shows $108K in, $54K out and $90K available. Expenses include a $10K loan to Citizens for Sharon Elman.

Citizens for Skoien, State Committee: The Cook County Republican leader took in $366.13, spent $918.50 and left $266.10 available. He’d better hope Daley’s not convicted; he’s got a ways to go to hit $10K to pay that bounty. UPDATE: The Cook County Republican Central Committee filed; they show $68K in, $68K out, and $3K available. They also owe $53K in debts, mostly to Skoien ($26K0, Patricia Sutarik ($15K) and Thomas Swiss ($26K of their receipts consisted of loans).

Citizens for Edward Acevedo: The Chicago Democrat shows $76K in, $54K out, and $26K available. Expenditures include $10,500 in loans to himself.

Still no sign of the House Republicans…

Lisa Madigan Files

The Attorney General's report came in at 7:14. She shows $157K in, $44K out and $917K available. Biggest donors appear to be Development Specialists, who also gave to the governor, and Fred Eychaner, both at $25K; no one else appears to have given more than $5K during this reporting period. It appears that about a third of the funds came from donors who gave $10K or more, though that figure may change as we complete a more thorough review of donors to the committee.

Topinka Files

The State Treasurer's reports came in at 6:43. She shows $969K in, $187K out and $1.4M available. Top donors appear to include the James Pritzker Political Participation Fund at $115K, Billian Entertainment of Palo Alto, California, at $50K, and the Illinois Hospital Assn at $25K.

It appears that less than a third of the funds came from donors who gave $10K or more, though that figure may change if any donors gave large amounts previously.

Blago's In

The Governor's PAC filed at 6:03; he shows $10.4M in, $665K out and $14.4M available. More as we chew through this.

And I didn't mention the $38K in in-kinds.

It's early, but it looks like the biggest donors are:

SEIU - $250K
Pipe Trades/Pipe Fitters/Sprinkler Fitters: $150K
Clifford Law Offices: $100K
Illinois Hospital Assn: $50K
IL Council on Long Term Care: $50K
Laborers: $50K
Cable TV Assn: $40K (plus $35K from Comcast)
SBC :$30K (half from corporate and half from the PAC)
And many, many at the $25K level. All told, he's showing 1,115 donors. And that's just among the itemized givers.

We'll have to look at all the donors more closely, but at first blush it appears that donors giving $10K or more account for under a third of the total, which is lower than this committee has run in the past. Of course, that figure considers only donors within the semi-annual report; some smaller donors in this report may have given previously, which would upgrade their status.

Biggest expenditures include $100K to MBB Construction and another $71K to Castle Construction, both of which are linked to Chris Kelly and were big donors to the governor's first election campaign.

Move Illinois Forward also filed; they show $132.50 in (no typo), $41k out and $31K available. The fund sent $20K to Rockford Mayor Doug Scott for his failed re-election campaign.

Due Day, Part Deux

Ron Gidwitz for Governor: The D2 is in, and ... it shows only a little more than his website posting. He reports $3M in, $322K out and $2.6M available. We listed his biggest donors earlier, on July 18 (scroll down)

Friends of Dan Hynes: The Comptroller reports $303K in, $96K out and $367K available. Lots of labor money. Lots. Many unions, following the teachers' lead, are getting used to writing checks with five digits to the left of the decimal point.

Illinois Republican Party: Mystery Revealed! Earlier we noted that Ernst for Senate showed over $70K in in-kinds from the IRP and the RSSCC, which made little sense as Ernst couldn’t run again for Senate for several years. IRP has filed (so has RSSCC) and the payments make a little more sense. IRP reported $482K in, $471K out and $25K left. Expenditures included the $58K for Ernst plus nearly $50K for Gary Dahl, another $50K for Pamela Althoff, $16K for Daniel Bryant (who lost to Susan Garrett) and $16K for Summers for Senate (who lost to Forby). It looks like the IRP ran out of money and couldn’t pay its bills until this spring. Indeed, $178K of their Spring 2005 receipts were from RSSCC, which also made payments to many of the same campaigns

Democratic Party of Illinois: If IRP was digging out of debt, DPI wasn’t gaining much ground. They report $16K in, $63K out, and $57K available. The Chairman’s accounts, though, tell a different story. Friends of Michael J. Madigan reported $681K in, just $301K out and $961k available.

Republican State Senate Campaign Committee: Took in $651K, spent $478K (including $178K to IRP; see above) and ended up with $391K available.

Oberweis for Illinois: The ice cream magnate seems to have more flavors than donors. He reports $783K in, of which $680K was loans from himself. He spent $98K and left $685K available,

Citizens for Skoien, State Committee: The Cook County Republican leader took in$366.13, spent $918.50 and left $266.10 available. He’d better hope Daley’s not convicted; he’s got a ways to go to hit $10K to pay the bounty.

Due Day

Citizens for Emil Jones: The Senate President reports $737K in, $305K out and $1.6M available. The caucus PAC, Illinois Senate Democratic Fund, shows $530K in, $257K out and $374K available. For those of you keeping track, Citizens for Frank Watson filed over the weekend, but the Republican caucus PAC hasn’t shown up yet.

Taxpayers for Quinn (Patrick): the Lieutenant Governor shows $77K in (a lot for the Lt. Gov), $59K out and $28K available.

Citizens for Dave Sullivan: The Republican Senator reports $92K in, $81K out and $65K available. His seat is on the 2006 ballot, but he has suggested that he will not run again.

Friends for Froehlich: The House Republican shows just $150 in receipts, $1K out and $14K available.

Citizens for Jim Edgar: He may not be running for office, but he’s still got more in his fund that many of the Republicans who are running. He shows $21K in (all of it interest on his existing balance), $42K out and $1.1M available. FWIW, his June 30, 1998 balance was $2.8M, so he’s well under his personal use limit.

Citizens for John Cullerton: the Democratic Senator shows $34K in, $77K out and just $10K available. His seat is up in 2006.

Meeks for Senate: The lone Independent is lonely, indeed. He shows no receipts, only $160 in expenses, and $71K available. His seat is up in 2006.

Citizens for Susan Garrett: The north suburban Senate Democrat reports a very patriotic $1,775 in receipts, $12K in expenses, and just $10K available. Her seat is not up in 2006.

Citizens for Capparelli: The former Dean has two committees, and I can’t remember which was for legislative races and which was for committeeman races. Citizens for… shows $4K in, $30K out and $675K available. Friends of... shows $30K in (the same $30K that Citizens transferred out), $38K expended and $12K available.