Earlier today both Greg Hinz at Craine’s and Rich Miller at CapitolFax reported that Illinois Freedom PAC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Illinois public and private sector unions had withdrawn funding for TV ads for the Dillard campaign.
I interpreted this change in spending to a recognition on the part of the union leaders that Dillard was a lost cause.
I still do.
But there has been some dancing since the news broke.
Illinois Freedom PAC’s Michael Murray admitted the drop in ad buys, but said that now it was up to the Dillard campaign.
In a email to local AFSCME presidents this afternoon, AFSCME’s Henry Bayer agreed that Illinois Freedom PAC was no longer involved in the campaign, but that it didn’t mean the unions had dropped their support of Dillard.
TO: Local Union Presidents
FROM: Henry Bayer
RE: Republican Primary
DATE: March 11, 2014
Our union along with other public employee unions helped underwrite the Illinois Freedom Political Action Committee to expose the sorry record of Bruce Rauner, a billionaire businessman trying to buy the Republican nomination for Governor.
Today some media outlets are reporting that the unions have withdrawn from participation in the primary.
That’s not at all the case.
As you know, AFSCME endorsed Kirk Dillard just one week ago, following on the heels of endorsements from the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association.
All three unions have made substantial direct contributions to the Dillard campaign in recent days and are communicating with our members via direct mail and phone banks
We believe the best use of our time and resources in the closing week of the election is making clear that Kirk Dillard is the best and most responsible choice in the Republican primary
By channeling our dollars directly to the Dillard campaign, which can purchase crucial television time at roughly half the rate of the independent expenditure campaign, we can get that information out most effectively.
When we started the independent expenditure campaign, we had not yet endorsed a candidate. We did not know who was best positioned to defeat Rauner.
The campaign has entered a new phase.
The independent expenditure effort did a good job of slowing Bruce Rauner’s momentum.
While he is still the frontrunner, Rauner can be beaten.
That’s why it is so important that we redouble our efforts to recruit volunteers for AFSCME phone banks and encourage each of our members to cast their vote in the Republican primary for Kirk Dillard.
What Bayer is denying is not what Hinz and Miller claimed.
Hinz and Miller did not say that the unions were withdrawing their endorsement.
What they did say was the Illinois Freedom PAC, which was formed in February for the specific purpose of being an independent political action committee opposing Rauner – and which had funneled over $3 million into the Dillard campaign for TV ad buys – had stopped the ad buys one week before election day.
Bayer’s denial and parsing words seems like a dance.
Crain’s Greg Hinz is reporting:
In a critical development in the GOP race for governor, a union-backed group that had spent millions of dollars on TV ads blasting front-runner Bruce Rauner has decided to end its campaign, just as the race enters the crucial last week.
Michael Murray, a spokesman for the Illinois Freedom PAC, said the group has spent $3.1 million so far ripping Mr. Rauner but will spend no more, effective immediately.
Mr. Murray denied a report in Capitol Fax that unions that funded the effort concluded Mr. Rauner now is too far ahead to lose the race, and didn’t want to throw good money after bad. Rather, he insisted, “We feel we have accomplished our goal.”
A few days ago the fifth and probably last law suit was filed against Senate Bill 1, Michael Madigan’s pension theft. It was filed by the University of Illinois and Parkland College employees in Champaign County Circuit Court. It also involves the State Universities Annuitants Association.
The four other suits have been ordered consolidated and will be heard in Sangamon County, which is Springfield.
The latest suit will most likely be consolidated with the previous four.
Yesterday, Chief Judge Graves of Sangamon County assigned the consolidated court cases to the Judge John Belz. It is expected that the Belz will schedule a case management hearing in the near future.
Senate Bill 1 was passed December 3rd and was signed by the governor shortly after.
It is not scheduled to take effect until this summer.
Requests for an injunction will likely be heard.
Meanwhile current retirees already received their scheduled post retirement benefit on February 1st.
Illinois legal observers have said to me that while the lawsuits were slow to all get filed, the case will now move quickly through the courts. They expect a decision by the Illinois Supreme Court before the next post retirement increase which is scheduled next February.
AFT President Randi Weingarten.
For years leaders of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have claimed that their members support Common Core State Standards.
There never was much evidence provided for the claim. Yet they continued.
At last year’s NEA Representative Assembly delegates refrained from resolutions opposing CCSS. But they did vote on ones that condemned the misuse of Common Core Assessments.
AFT President Randi Weingarten also began criticizing the use and misuse of assessments and poor implementation and training.
Last month NEA President Dennis Van Roekel called for a course correction in CCSS implementation.
In January Weingarten supported the New York State United Teachers’ vote against CCSS, also calling for course corrections.
Yesterday Weingarten announced that the AFT would no longer accept money from the Gates Foundation for its Innovation Fund. Gates has been a major backer of Common Core and the AFT Fund had received over $4 million dollars from Gates.
[Updated: This morning, AFT President Weingarten Tweeted: As I said when @AFTunion exec council voted: we’re not ending relationship w/ Gates, just making our member driven Inn Fund more independent.]
NEA also received $4 million from Gates. But they have not indicated any immediate intention of stopping the flow of Gates dollars.
Still, the shift at the top of our teacher unions suggest that claims of membership support for CCSS is not quite as secure as they once claimed.
Teachers will be heard.
Illinois Retired Teachers Association Executive Director Jim Bachman yesterday. Photo: Fred Klonsky
Early voting has already begun and election day is one week away. I received a request to repost the vote on Senate Bill 1. It is down below.
My good friend Glen Brown sent a reminder:
Unfortunately, many legislators voted “No” because they are political opportunists. It is important to remember that only a few legislators on the list also voted “No” on SB 1 last spring. Of course, they were also predominately republicans and hate Madigan.
One only has to look at the race for 39th District State Representative between Will Guzzardi and Toni Berrios to see the truth of Glen’s reminder about political opportunists in Springfield.
Jon Stewart points out that state legislatures are the meth labs of democracy. Nowhere is that more true than in Springfield.
Berrios was given permission by Speaker Madigan to vote against pension theft in December because she faces a strong challenge by Guzzardi.
Will Guzzardi stands firmly in defense of contractual and constitutional pension guarantees.
Prior to her December vote, Berrios voted for every pension stealing bill that was placed before her and was part of the gang that underfunded the pension system since she was elected 12 years ago.
Her no vote in December does not qualify her for re-election.
But a yes vote disqualifies.
Take Christian Mitchell in the 26th.
His yes vote on pension theft means a yes vote for his opponent, Jay Travis. For that and other reasons.
It is why I support Aaron Goldstein in the Democratic primary against Jaime Andrade in the 40th District.
As for Republican no votes, politics is complicated.
I was at the Area II conference of the Illinois Retired Teachers yesterday. I spoke at the end of the day. I followed IRTA President Bob Pinkerton, IRTA Executive Director Jim Bachman and TRS annuitant trustee Bob Lyons.
Thanks to IRTA Area II Coordinator Marti Swanson for inviting me to talk.
Republican State Representative Mike Tryon spoke earlier in the day. He represents Crystal Lake and the area where our meeting was taking place.
Tryon voted no to pension theft. Tryon gave as clear and sharp a presentation on pension theft as anyone I have heard. Republican, Democrat or independent. He appeared to be the rare legislator who knew pensions and actually read the bill he voted no to.
When he was then asked about revenue, he pivoted to an attack on Medicare expansion and opposition to a progressive income tax, even though a graduated tax would benefit most of the constituents in his middle class district.
Politics is complicated.
The Republican Kirk Dillard voted no in December as well. But Dillard, like Berrios, is exactly the example of the opportunist Glen is describing. Dillard was definitely a born-again pro-pension vote. With an eye on the primary election against the pension destroyer, Bruce Rauner.
The national assault on pension theft was hatched at meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council, which Dillard chaired for years. His so-called letter of resignation never mentions a repudiation of the politics of ALEC. It only explains that he is too busy running for governor to handle the work.
It was the equivalent of the “I want to spend more time with my family” explanation.
Who doesn’t get the IEA strategy here? Democrat Pat Quinn is running with token opposition in the Democratic primary. Bruce Rauner is a political neanderthal who is running an aggressively anti-union campaign.
But in order to justify their endorsement of Dillard the IEA and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (minus the CTU) have had to create a totally distorted picture of who Dillard is. Suddenly the recent chairman of ALEC is a friend of teachers and unions.
I mean his father wuzza teacher.
Readers of this blog know I disagree with the endorsement. And to be fair, I have not heard anything negative about my dissent from anyone in the IEA leadership. Actually, I rarely hear anything from the IEA leadership ever since Communications Director Charlie McBarron stopped communicating with me.
But former IEA President Bob Haisman has gone postal at my dissension. In his distorted view of union democracy, to dissent from leadership is traitorous.
Love it or leave it.
In contrast, I had a discussion over lunch with IRTA Executive Director Jim Bachman.
IRTA has also endorsed Dillard.
But our conversation was civil. Actually it was cordial. The IRTA is not a union. They represent the interests of retired educators exclusively. So a no vote on pension theft weighs even more heavily on their election recommendations. But Bachman’s advice to IRTA members (if I can paraphrase) is that if you are planning to pull a Republican ballot, vote for Dillard. And he totally understands why members may not.
Because politics is complicated.
Will you repost how the current incumbents voted on SB1?
In the House:
Dec 03, 2013
53 NAYS Y Acevedo Y Andrade Y Anthony Y Arroyo N Beiser Y Bellock N Bost Y Bradley N Brady N Brauer N Brown N Rosenthal
Y Sandack N Scherer Y Schmitz Y Senger Y Sente N Sims N Smiddy N Smith N Sommer N Sosnowski Y Soto N Stewart Y Thapedi Y Tracy N Tryon Y Turner N Unes Y Verschoore Y Walsh Y Welch Y Wheeler Y Williams Y Willis Y Yingling Y Zalewski Y Mr. Speaker
Y Drury Y Dunkin Y Durkin Y Evans Y Farnham Y Feigenholtz Y Manley
Y Fine Y Flowers N Ford N Fortner N Franks Y Gabel
N Martwick N Mautino N Mayfield Y McAsey Y McAuliffe N McSweeney N Meier
Y Burke,Daniel Y Golar Y Burke,Kelly P Gordon-Booth N Mitchell,Bill
N Cabello Y Cassidy N Cavaletto Y Chapa LaVia N Harris,David Y Moylan
N Cloonen Y Conroy N Costello Y Crespo
Y Harris,Greg Y Mussman
N Cross Y Currie Y D'Amico N Davidsmeyer N Jackson Y Davis,Monique N Jakobsson N Davis,William N Jefferson N DeLuca Y Jones Y Demmer N Kay
E - Denotes Excused Absence
N Halbrook N Hammond N Harms
N Moffitt N Morrison
Y Hatcher N Hays Y Hernandez A Hoffman Y Hurley N Ives
Y Nekritz Y Osmond N Phelps N Pihos N Poe N Pritchard Y Reboletti N Reis N Riley N Rita
Y Kifowit E Kosel Y Lang Y Leitch N Lilly
Y Sullivan Y Mitchell,Christian Y Tabares
Y Althoff N Barickman N Bertino-Tarrant N Haine N Forby N Lightford Y Radogno N Frerichs N Link Y Raoul N Luechtefeld Y Rezin Y Biss
N Bivins Y Brady N Bush NV Clayborne P Collins Y Connelly N Cullerton, T. Y Jones, E. Y Mulroe
N Righter N Rose Y Sandoval Y Silverstein
Y Cunningham N Delgado N Dillard N Duffy
N Koehler Y Muñoz Y Kotowski Y Murphy Y LaHood N Noland Y Landek Y Oberweis
Y Harmon P Harris P Hastings N McCann N Holmes N McCarter Y Hunter Y McConnaughay Y Stadelman
N Hutchinson Y McGuire Y Jacobs Y Morrison
Y Steans N Sullivan Y Syverson NV Trotter Y Van Pelt Y Mr. President
N Manar Y Martinez