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Illinois Playbook: Feds snag another Illinois pol

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022  |  Article  |  Shia Kapos

Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. It’s the 21st day of September, and we’re changing the minds of pretenders.

 

TOP TALKER

 

The Illinois state Senate is in upheaval as another Democrat faces charges by the feds. This time it’s state Sen. Emil Jones III, an heir to one of the most powerful political families in Illinois. Jones’ father is former state Senate President Emil Jones Jr.

 

The son is accused of taking a $5,000 bribe from SafeSpeed, a red-light camera company that wanted some legislative protection to keep traffic studies out of the suburbs, where it does much of its business. Jones also allegedly asked for a job for an associate and then lied about it all to the FBI.

 

Dad’s response: “The charges brought against my son, Emil Jones III, do not reflect the man he is,” the former Senate president said in a written statement. “Everyone knows he is an honest, hardworking legislator. I intend to fight with him and stand alongside him throughout this process.”

 

Current Senate President Don Harmon issued his own statement, saying he asked for and expects to receive Jones’ resignation from his leadership post and committee chairmanship. “These are grave allegations. Members of the Senate and all public officials need to hold themselves to a high ethical standard for the public to have trust and faith in our work,” Harmon said.

 

Jones III is to be arraigned Friday in federal court. “Defendants charged via criminal information, rather than via grand jury indictment, typically intend to plead guilty,” according to the Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Ray Long.

 

Familiar territory: Jones III is just the latest in a string of lawmakers facing federal charges in recent years, including the late state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who was at the center of a sweeping investigation into SafeSpeed and how red-light cameras are installed.

 

How it affects the General Assembly: “Timing of the charges creates a scenario where Jones III, who is running for re-election, will likely appear on the November ballot regardless of how his case plays out. But if he winds up resigning from the Senate, someone would likely then be appointed to serve out the full, four-year term, which begins in January,” according to Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel and Tina Sfondeles.

 

Republicans pounce: Senate Republican leader Dan McConchie said “even in a post-Madigan era, Illinois continues to have a systemic corruption problem — that Democrats continue to enable.” And House Republican leader Jim Durkin called the Illinois Democrat Party “an organized crime family whose only purpose is to shakedown Illinois taxpayers.”

 

THE BUZZ

MIGRANT MOVES: A civil rights law firm has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, accusing him of orchestrating a “premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme” to fly dozens of migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard. POLITICO’s Lisa Kashinsky has that story.

 

The lawsuit, filed by the Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights, alleges that DeSantis and state transportation officials violated the migrants’ constitutional rights by coercing mostly Venezuelan asylum-seekers onto planes in Texas to the island through “false promises and misrepresentations.”

 

— Mitch McConnell said he personally agreed with the decisions of Republican governors to send migrants to blue states, via POLITICO’s Congress Minutes

 

— Chicago seeks central Illinois help with overflow of bused migrants, by WGLT’s Charlie Schlenker

 

— Catholic Charities mobilizes to help migrants coming from border, reports Chicago Catholic’s Michelle Martin

 

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: skapos@politico.com

 

WHERE'S JB

On the campaign trail at IATSE Local 476 in Chicago at 11:15 a.m. for an endorsement announcement.

 

WHERE'S LORI

At City Hall at 10 a.m. to preside over the City Council meeting.

 

WHERE'S TONI

In Washington, D.C., to meet with the Illinois congressional delegation.

 

TAKING NAMES

— Rev. Jesse Jackson recently released from Shirley Ryan AbilityLab: “The 80-year-old civil rights leader spent several weeks at the AbilityLab to undergo extensive physical therapy focused on treating symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease,” by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo.

 

THE STATEWIDES

— AG Kwame Raoul says provisions in the SAFE-T Act like the no-bail provision ‘deserve discussion’: “Speaking at a campaign event on Chicago’s South Side, Raoul spoke of the need to have an “ongoing conversation” on what the threshold should be for determining what defendants are a threat to public safety, “whether it’s a specific threat to an individual or a community,’” by Tribune’s Jake Sheridan and Jeremy Gorner.

 

— Prosecutors challenge SAFE-T Act’s elimination of cash bail as thousands sign petition: “McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally this week filed a lawsuit challenging the SAFE-T Act, which outlines changes, including the elimination of cash bail, to the state's justice system,” by Daily Herald’s Alicia Fabbre.

 

— Why tech companies keep paying millions to settle lawsuits in Illinois: “Illinois is one of just a few states in the United States that has a law requiring companies to get consumers' consent before snagging their biometric data, and its rule, passed in 2008, is seen as the toughest in the nation,” by CNN’s Rachel Metz.

 

— Raoul seeking more money for consumers from ComEd for scandal tied to House Speaker Michael Madigan, by Tribune’s Ray Long

 

MEDIA MATTERS

— How those Dan Proft political papers are winding up in your mailbox? “The postage permit on Chicago City Wire and other titles in the right-leaning newspaper chain is registered to Paddock Publications, corporate parent of the suburban Daily Herald,” by Crain’s Corli Jay.

 

CHICAGO

— ‘You gotta play the cards that you’re dealt,’ Mayor Lori Lightfoot says: “We’re down in homicides and down in shootings. But the real test is, do people feel safer. ... We've got to continue to hold violent, dangerous people accountable,” Lightfoot says in a BET interview.

 

— Lightfoot’s choice to replace Smith in 43rd Ward will step down from zoning panel, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

 

— Chicago building explosion, collapse injures 8 in South Austin, CFD says, via ABC 7.

 

— Surveillance video shows a relative pushing 3-year-old boy into the water off Navy Pier, police report says: “The boy was “floating on his back, just looking up at the sky,” before he went underwater, a witness said. He went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital in ‘very critical condition,’ officials said,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

 

— Puerto Ricans in Chicago call for action after Hurricane Fiona cuts down power in the island: Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd), state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas and state Rep. Delia Ramirez, who is running for Congress, spoke about the repetitiveness of natural disasters on the island and what they referred to as a lack of response. “It feels like Groundhog Day,” said Rodriguez. Tribune’s Adriana Pérez reports.

 

— O’Hare and Midway rank below average as passenger satisfaction at U.S. airports falls in J.D. Power study, by Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat

 

— Data shows crews have replaced less than 0.5 percent of lead service lines shown to contaminate tap water in Chicago homes, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone

 

— Chicago Fire soccer training facility plan hits a snag over objections to building on public housing land, by Tribune’s Alice Yin

 

CAMPAIGN MODE

— Nikki Budzinski, the Democrat in the IL-13 congressional race, has received a boost from Emily’s List Women Vote! The organization is funding ads for Budzinski. “Control” and “Keeps” will air for three weeks in the St. Louis media markets on broadcast and cable starting today. Both ads target Republican Regan Deering on the issue of abortion.

 

— Waukegan officials blast Darren Bailey’s campaign for photo posted from non-political event; “I do not support ... his radical ideas,” by Lake County News-Sun’s Steve Sadin

 

— Greg Hart, the Republican running for DuPage County Board chair, is out with a new ad.

 

— IN MAYOR’s RACE: Ja’Mal Green touts ‘Bank of Chicago’ as way to create 10K homeowners, ‘repopulate’ South, West sides: “Green’s version of a public bank would start with $500 million in assets — half from the city’s ‘cash on hand,’ the rest possibly from federal stimulus funds,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

 

COOK COUNTY AND COLLARS

— Facing ‘potential crisis,’ Cook County recruits veterans to serve as election judges: “With seven weeks to go before Election Day, county officials have about 4,350 people lined up to work at suburban polling places, but they need at least 7,000 ‘to adequately cover’ all of them,” reports Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.

 

— Arlington Heights mayor, trustees assail effort to quash incentives for Bears or any business, by Daily Herald’s Christopher Placek

 

TRANSITIONS

— Mia McPherson has been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as an at-large circuit court judge in the 18th Judicial Circuit. She will fill the vacancy created by Judge Robert G. Kleeman’s retirement in March and the impending retirement of Judge Kavita Athanikar next month. McPherson’s appointment takes effect 24, and she is running unopposed for the position in the November general election.

 

— Jake Lewis, former deputy director of the Illinois Democratic Party, has started SJL Communications, a political and public affairs comms shop. Lewis had run comms for the state party. He also had worked with the Chicago Federation of Labor, Illinois Working Together, and now-Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

 

— Former state Rep. Litesa Wallace is joining Taylor Uhe, a government affairs firm. Wallace most recently ran unsuccessfully for the IL-17 congressional seat and before that was a Democratic state rep from 2014 to 2019.

 

— Rebecca Mason and Ryan Taylor have been promoted at Taylor Uhe. Mason, who worked with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on the Rebuild Illinois capital bill, will now focus on Springfield clients. And Taylor is now a partner, focusing on the firm’s strategic vision.

 

READER DIGEST

We asked Arizona or Florida:

 

Janice Anderson: “Arizona. I like the topography, and there are too many Illinois lawyers and judges in Florida.”

 

Matthew W. Beaudet, Chicago Department of Buildings commissioner: “Florida. My kin going back centuries has always lived by large bodies of water — Great Lakes, Atlantic, major rivers — so it's in my DNA.”

 

Trent Crawford, AL Media media analyst: “Arizona!”

 

Kay Hatcher, a retired state rep: “Arizona. We tested both, and the humidity in Florida was excruciating for my husband’s hands, which were shattered in Vietnam.”

 

Jan V. Kostner, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce: “Florida because of the ocean.”

 

William Kresse, Chicago Board of Elections commissioner: “Arizona. We have friends and family there, plus no humidity!”

 

Dennis Johnson: “Cubs have spring training in Arizona.”

 

Ed Mazur, City Club: “Florida. It’s not as hot and has no state income tax.”

 

Timothy Thomas Jr.: “Arizona due to an aversion to alligators, lizards, snakes and crawling insects that are seemingly acceptable by many in residential areas of Florida.”

 

Phil Zeni: “Loved every minute of living in Arizona for 15 years. Florida smells like a musty land of zombies.”

 

If gas was free, would you favor a speed boat or sailboat? Email skapos@politico.com

 

THE FIFTY

— California authorities increasingly uproot homeless people as public anger builds: “Democrats are under pressure to fix the state's most pervasive problem — or at least move it out of sight,” report POLITICO’s Lara Korte and Jeremy B. White.

 

THE NATIONAL TAKE

— McCarthy modeling his party blueprint on 1994's Contract With America, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers

 

— Special master to Trump’s lawyers: ‘You can't have your cake and eat it,’ by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney

 

— What the numbers really say about abortion and Democrats in the midterms, by POLITICO’s Jessica Piper

 

— Man in custody after Washington Monument vandalized with red paint, via NBC News

 

TRIVIA

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Elizabeth Grisanzio, finance director for Greg Hart’s DuPage chairman campaign, for correctly answering that Montgomery Ward CEO Sewell L. Avery refused to settle a strike in 1944 despite the order of the National War Labor Board. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the company seized, citing the importance of its operations to the war effort. When Avery refused to leave, two guardsmen picked him up and carried him out. An AP photographer captured the scene.

 

TODAY’s QUESTION: What company is the longest continually operated business in Chicago? Email skapos@politico.com

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

State Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville Jr., state Sen. Elgie Sims Jr., state Rep. Norine Hammond, political consultant Don Rose, attorney Monica Carmean, anti-violence activist and politician Tio Hardiman, retired AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza and broadcaster Bill Kurtis.