Jim Dey | Another Illinois politician, another corruption plea | Columns

It’s time for another round of quick takes on the people, places and events that were being talked about this week:

Another one bites the dust

Remember former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann of Macoupin County? He is the former legislator whose legendary personal feud with former Gov. Bruce Rauner prompted him to run a doomed third-party campaign for governor in 2018.

McCann never had a chance to win, but drawing voters from Rauner was the goal. Democrat JB Pritzker would have won anyhow, but McCann got the piece of flash he was seeking.

McCann has a reputation for playing fast and loose with money that isn’t his, and he was indicted in 2021 for misusing roughly $ 200,000 in campaign in funds.

Now the inevitable has happened. The 52-year-old McCann apparently has apparently worked out a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

His court-appointed defense lawyer filed a motion seeking more time to finalize the details with the government.

“Additional time is required within which to receive a draft plea agreement from the government, to review it with the defendant and permit him time to consider the offers made, and for the entry of a guilty plea or to prepare for a jury trial, if necessary , ”Said the motion filed on McCann’s behalf.

The hard-luck businessman proved to be a major disappointment to those who helped him defeat a veteran Democratic incumbent in November 2010, particularly after he formed his own Conservative Party to undermine his former GOP colleagues.

Charges against McCann assert that he used leftover campaign funds on a variety of business and personal expenses that included mortgage payments and a family vacation.

An amusing acronym

The letters “NIL” – for “name, image and likeness” – have overturned the world of major college sports because the new policy allows college athletes to cash in on their sports celebrity.

No one can predict where this will end. Some say it’s a tragedy in the making while others argue it’s time college athletes are entitled to get what financial remuneration they can in the open market.

One thing is for sure – everything that used to be illegal ain’t anymore.

Hence another acronym for “NIL” – “now it’s legal.”

Political poppycock

Candidates who run for administrative posts like treasurer and comptroller have a problem when they are on the campaign trail. The offices they seek are so boring that it’s hard to excite voters with their promises.

As a consequence, they make promises they cannot keep because, even if elected, the offices they fill have no authority to fulfill the promise they make.

Here’s just one example: A candidate for state comptroller has promised to work to bring health care services to the elderly. That’s all well and good, except the comptroller pays the state’s bills and has no jurisdiction over health care.

This week, another example of that kind of empty emotional campaign pitch comes from Democratic Chicago City Clerk Anne Valencia, who is seeking her party nomination for secretary of state to succeed the retiring Jesse White.

Valancia apparently views her support of abortion as a winning position, stating the following in a TV ad:

“Elections have consequences. That’s why Democrats statewide are standing with me. No woman should face jail time for seeking an abortion. And no politician should make medical decisions for us. Not in Illinois. ”

Here’s the problem. The secretary of state distributes license plates. Its statutory duties have nothing to do with abortion.

Second, abortion will continue to be legal in Illinois no matter how the US Supreme Court rules in an upcoming decision. If the court strikes down Roe v. Wade, it would return that policy question to the states, and Illinois is among those states with the most liberal abortion laws in the nation.

So there’s nothing Valencia can do to promote abortion except try to strike an empty rhetorical chord with voters who don’t know any better.

Can I make you campaign for me?

Gas-station owners in Illinois hope the answer to that is no.

They filed a lawsuit this week in Sangamon County that challenges the constitutionality of a state law that requires stations to tout a gas-tax freeze passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. JB Pritzker.

Pritzker and legislators passed the requirement as part of a $ 1.8 billion temporary tax-cut package that takes effect before the election and expires after it.

The state was scheduled to implement a 2-cent-per-gallon hike in the gas tax on July 1. Now it will be delayed until Jan. 1. If gas-station owners do not post an 8-by-4-inch sign notifying customers of this in a way that is “clearly visible,” they can be fined $ 500 a day.

The lawsuit alleges that the gas stations are being forced to “speak on behalf of the Illinois government,” something they do not want to do.

The lawsuit notes that Pritzker and at least one legislator are already running political advertisements boasting of their roles in delaying the gas-tax increase for six months.

In 2019, legislators doubled the gas tax from 19 to 38 cents per gallon. They also provided for annual increases every following July 1.


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