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The [Monday] Papers

"In a new interpretation of the Espionage Act, a federal judge made it easier for prosecutors in leak cases to meet their burden of proof, while reducing protections for accused leakers," Steven Aftergood reports for Secrecy News.

"Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the prosecution in the pending case of former State Department contractor Stephen Kim need not show that the information he allegedly leaked could damage U.S. national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially. Her opinion was a departure from a 30-year old ruling in the case of U.S. v. Morison, which held that the government must show that the leak was potentially damaging to the U.S. or beneficial to an adversary."

So you could leak the recipe for the meat loaf at the Department of Defense cafeteria and plausibly be charged with espionage. Nice.

That's Pat!
"House Speaker Michael Madigan has always strongly guarded the powers of the General Assembly as a co-equal branch of government, so it was a little surprising when he appeared to support Gov. Pat Quinn's line-item veto of legislative salaries back in mid July," Rich Miller writes in his weekly syndicated column.

"The governor vetoed the salaries in retaliation for the GA's failure to pass a pension reform bill. In a press release the day of the veto, Madigan said he understood the governor's frustration with the lack of progress, adding, 'I am hopeful his strategy works.'

"Behind the scenes, though, Madigan is said to be furious with the governor's veto. Madigan's legal staff has been meeting with other lawyers to set strategy to either get around the veto or oppose it. So far, they are not finding much in the way of non-court options."

Miller goes on to write:

But a lawsuit would be a last resort. Obviously, such a challenge would be roundly attacked by the media and probably by a lot of Republicans as cowardly. Why not just pass a pension reform bill and then override the veto later?

Quinn's legislative team has assured top Democrats that he would, of course, not oppose an override if pension reform is passed. But Senate President John Cullerton, for one, reportedly doesn't want to give Quinn the ability to claim such a victory. And both he and Speaker Madigan are reportedly loathe to allow this veto to set a precedent.

What if, for instance, Quinn vetoes salaries again to prod the General Assembly to make the income tax hike permanent?

Or, what if Bruce Rauner is elected? The Republican gubernatorial candidate has pledged to wage an all-out war with Springfield's entrenched interests, privately telling some House Republicans earlier this year that he would "bring Madigan to his knees." So allowing him this veto power would set up a near certain annual battle.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, another Republican gubernatorial candidate, has said he approves of Quinn's veto. If Dillard is elected, would he use a similar action to force passage of what he considers to be a balanced budget, as he has implied?

And even though the legislative leaders, Topinka and even, reportedly, the attorney general all seem to be in agreement that the governor's veto is blatantly unconstitutional, what if they lose in court? The veto was an unprecedented move, so nobody is absolutely certain that a court would rule in their favor.

So nearly everyone seems to agree the move is unconstitutional, but nearly everyone is afraid to challenge it as such. Profiles in courage.

*

My problem with Quinn's move regarding the precedent-setting is this: Who is the governor to say the legislature hasn't done their job? After all, that's his rationale: You only get paid when the job is finished. This is balderdash.

First, many folks get paid along the way - like, say, every week or two - while they are working on projects before they are finished. Second, who's to say when or if the job is finished? Sometimes not passing a bill is "finishing" the job in the legislating business. Sometimes passing a bill that the governor vetoes is "finishing" the job. One could argue that Quinn hasn't "finished" the job and therefore should not be paid until he does so. Or does "finishing" the job mean passing legislation to the governor's liking?

Ultimately, though, the briefly feel-good grandstanding of the governor is child's play. In other words, business as usual.

*

The horror of it all is that the Democratic alternative to Pat Quinn is Bill Daley. And the Republican alternative is a Republican. Seems like there's room for one more candidate in the race.

Cross To Bear
Speaking of profiles in courage, the Tribune reports that House Republican leader Tom Cross may be in trouble.

"Illinois House Republican leader Tom Cross gambled and lost on a potential run for attorney general and now finds himself trying to fend off attempts by rank-and-file lawmakers looking to take away the job he's got," the Tribune says.

"Cross, who has led the long-out-of-power House GOP for 10 years, had a promotion in mind at the end of spring session in late May, telling his members he'd likely run for the state's chief legal office if Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan pursued a run for governor. Instead, Madigan opted to seek a fourth term. Cross, wanting no part of the politically formidable Madigan, decided he wanted to stay on as legislative leader."

What a pussy. Either run for an office you want or don't. If you took out Madigan, you'd be next in line to run for governor in four years. If you didn't, ca la vie.

Madigan's Metra
"[T]he RTA had been set to award a consulting contract for as much as $120,000 to Compass Public Affairs LLC, a politically connected Chicago firm whose owners include Mike Noonan, a former top legislative aide to [Michael] Madigan," the Sun-Times reports.

Oops. That's the same Michael Madigan who is under investigation for meddling with Metra.

"In his bio on his firm's website, Noonan also boasts of his campaign work for the speaker's daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, saying he is 'proud of his job as Lisa Madigan's campaign manager, helping Lisa become the first female Illinois attorney general.'

"Despite the RTA staff having recommended hiring Compass to develop a suicide-awareness and prevention program aimed at reducing the number of suicides involving commuter trains, chairman John Gates Jr. pulled the contract from the RTA board's July 17 agenda days before the meeting. He says the delay was over concerns about the contract and that it had 'nothing to do with the speaker.'"

Just another Chicago Coincidence.

"'We believe it deserved much more thorough consideration and benchmarking against similar programs in other jurisdictions,' says Gates, whose agency employs Michael Madigan's son-in-law Jordan Matyas as a top administrator."

Then Gates burst out laughing.

*

I'd be curious to know just who first broached the idea of pulling the contract back - and how often that's happened at Metra in the last decade or so.

*

"Steve Brown, spokesman for the speaker, echoes that, noting that the RTA chose Compass after going through competitive bidding."

Well, you could put the Bears in the Big Ten and call it "competitive" but everyone knows who's going to win.

Reality Newspapering
A Tribune correction over the weekend prompted faithful Beachwood reader Mike Knezovich to write an excellent blog post whose conclusion I could not agree with more:

"Whether it's movies or television ads or social media, it seems that only extreme-to-the-point-of-freakishness items get our attention. Which numbs us to the true, quiet stories and accomplishments of people around us every day. It's like we live in a big reality TV show. And we don't value our own lives, which are pretty rich if we take the time to realize it.

"Actual reality provides plenty of drama, heartbreak, inspiration, tragedy and comedy - can we just stick with that?"

You Can Thank Edward Snowden For This
Lawmakers Promise More Scrutiny Of NSA Surveillance.

About That Election Code Omnibus Bill
Guess what? Pat Quinn just made it harder to challenge a sitting Chicago alderman.

Chicago's Summer of Rock . . .
. . . Continues. We're on a roll, my friends.

Is Next Year Finally Here?
In SportsMonday: The Time Is Actually Now On The North Side.

Next Year Is At Least Not Until Next Year
In The White Sox Report: It's Not Over Forever.

The Cub Factor
Will appear later today or tomorrow Facts & Figures.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Now or never. Or just later.



Permalink

Posted on July 29, 2013


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Can Anyone Stop Sinclair?
POLITICS - Hundreds Turn Selves In For Toppling Statue.
SPORTS - Bears Psychosis Grips City.

BOOKS - How Subversive Artists Made Thrifting Cool.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Cloudy Gate.


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