I had a legal question so I called my lawyer friend, Aaron Goldstein.
Aaron is currently the Democratic Committeeman of the 33rd Ward. He is also running to be Illinois Attorney General.
That’s why I like Aaron. He can’t be considered a favorite to win the Democratic nomination, but he seems to love the challenge. I read in Natasha Korecki’s Politico email report that Aaron dropped 50 large into his own campaign on Friday.
Illinois attorney general candidate Sharon Fairley, a former federal prosecutor, is pumping $100,000 into her candidacy today, her campaign tells us. That places Fairley, who left her post overseeing a Chicago police oversight group to run for attorney general, in a competitive position financially. It’s a competition for Dem dollars among the many candidates running in the Democratic primary. Last week, Rod Blagojevich attorney Aaron Goldstein contributed $50,000 to his campaign fund. Sen. Kwame Raoul reported having about $400,000 in his account.
As a pension activist I am interested in specific issues in the Attorney General’s race. As you may recall, the current AG is Lisa Madigian, daughter of the Speaker. As Attorney General she defended her father’s pension theft all the way through the courts until it was unanimously overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Two Democrats who are also running for the AG spot voted for the pension theft bill: Kwame Raoul and Scott Drury. Pat Quinn was governor and he signed it. He is also running for Attorney General.
When I first met Aaron Goldstein in 2014 he was running against Jaime Andrade, a Dick Mell appointee, for the 40th State Representative District seat.
I supported him as a genuine progressive alternative and a defender of public employee pensions.
He lost that race but a few years later he took on Dick Mell one on one and beat the old man for the Committeeman’s office.
What would Aaron have done if he was AG back in 2015 when the legislature passed a bill most of us believed was unconstitutional? And Aaron thought so too.
Lisa Madigan must have thought the bill was unconstitutional. At least as it violated the pension protection clause. So she used what she thought was the right of the state to impose police powers in the face of a financial crisis. She argued that the state had the right to take our pensions because there is a crisis.
The Court responded by saying that not only does the bill violate the pension protection clause but the state has no right to use police powers in the face of a crisis that they themselves created.
What would Aaron have done?
“First of all I would have advised Madigan and the legislature before the bill was passed that it was unconstitutional,” Aaron told me.
But what would you have done if they ignored your advice? Could you statutorily refuse to defend a bill that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor?
Aaron spent some time explaining to me the various options that an Attorney General has at their disposal.
So, if all else failed, would you refuse to defend another attempt at pension theft?”
“Why not?” said Aaron.