For years and years we made our arguments to Daniel Biss about pensions. Our members met with him, protested in front of his office, took many bus trips to Springfield.
In all that time we never saw JB Pritzker. We never heard him say a word about pension theft. Not a peep.
You know why?
He wasn’t against it.
As J.B. Pritzker nears a decision on whether to run for governor, the Chicago businessman would have to deal with past family political contributions to a group that pushed to cut back on state worker pensions.
I don’t see any signs that the donations from Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, would poison his bid to win backing from organized labor. But with a potentially huge field of Democrats vying to take on GOP incumbent Bruce Rauner, the gifts definitely are getting some attention.
The donations—$10,000 each—came in December 2011 and went to the We Mean Business PAC, a group formed by Civic Committee President Ty Fahner to pressure state lawmakers to enact pension changes over union opposition.
The group ended up doing just that, giving large donations to several candidates opposed by labor—though one $10,000 check ironically went to House Speaker Mike Madigan, who enacted pension changes that later were tossed out by the Illinois Supreme Court.
To his credit, I suppose, Biss now admits he was wrong about pension theft.
As Biss moves up in the polls, Pritzker has decided to spend his self-funded multi-million dollar campaign war chest on ads attacking Biss.
That is smart.
Pritzker has decided to attack Biss on his record of pension theft.
That’s crazy, given Pritzker’s funding of corporate organizations attacking public pensions and throwing money at politicians like Madigan who got the constitutional pension bill passed.
Why are the unions that represent public employees backing Pritzker now?
Because they jumped on board when they were positive his self-funded campaign was unbeatable.
Yet, days before the start of early voting a third of Democrats in Illinois are undecided. I assume some of those undecided are union members.
Just as I thought it was crazy for Biss to talk about taxing pension benefits a few days ago, I think it is crazy for JB to pretend he’s a born-again pension warrior.
There are no clean hands in the governor’s race between these two when it comes to pension theft.
JB should take that shameless ad down.