Underwood Returns to the Texas-Mexico Border on 7/19/19
Congresswoman Underwood will be travelling to the Texas-Mexico border as part of a 9-member delegation from the House Homeland Security Committee on Friday, July 19.
Unlike her previous trip to Texas to the border in early April to facilities in El Paso, tomorrow’s trip will be to Customs and Border Facilities in the lower Rio Grande valley of Texas near McAllen, Hidalgo and Brownsville.
Homeland Security delegation will be lead by Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D, NY), who chairs the Homeland Security subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation and Operations.
The bipartisan delegation includes, in addition to Rice and Underwood, Representatives Max Rose (D, NY), Clay Higgins (R, LA.), Xochitl Torres Small (D, NM), Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX), Nanette Barragán (D, CA), Mark Walker (R, NC), and Antonio Delgado (D, NY).
Two of Underwood’s Bills Advance Out of Committee — Misinformation Posted in Underwood Press Release
At yesterday morning’s (7/17) House Homeland Security Committee meeting, two of Congresswoman Underwood’s bills before the committee were advanced to the full House for action.
Yesterday’s committee meeting was a “Markup” meeting, where legislation is reviewed by the committee and proposed amendments are discussed and voted-upon.
Underwood’s legislation before the committee, H.R. 3525 and H.R. 3526, were both reported out of committee and advanced to the full House.
After discussing/voting on amendments, a vote takes place to advance the legislation with a “favorable” recommendation to the full House.
After the committee meeting, Underwood released the following press release:
The press release concerns H.R. 3525 — U.S. Border Patrol Screening Standards Act.
Regrettably, it must be reported Underwood’s press release gave misinformation, which is something Underwood has done in social media multiple times, as previously reported here.
Twice in the press release, the word “unanimously” is used.
That is not what happened at the committee meeting yesterday, as the committee video, link below, proves.
Starting at the 1:40:12 point on the video, when Chairman Bennie Thompson (D, MS) calls up H.R. 3525, and after Underwood speaks to her legislation and amendments, Congressman Clay Higgins (R, LA), who was sitting-in for Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R, AL) as the acting ranking member, expressed strong objection to the “within 12-hours” direction of the Underwood legislation for treating migrants at the border, noting Americans, particularly veterans at VA facilities, do not have such protections.
Congressman Higgins’ response to Underwood begins at 1:45:44.
After Higgins’ discussion of his objections, and a procedural amendment-to-an-amendment and after Chairman Thompson weighs-in his support, 2 voice votes took place on the amendments, and a final voice vote to advance Underwood’s bill to the House.
On all 3 voice votes, the “ayes” had prevailed, though on each voice vote, there were audible “no”s heard on the video.
This bill and its amendments were NOT passed unanimously, and just because no one asked for a recorded vote does not give Underwood license to say it was “unanimously” approved. It advanced on a voice vote.
While the legislation will likely pass the House, Republicans’ objections to the 12-hour mandate in the legislation will cause problems for this legislation in the Senate.
Underwood’s other legislation, H.R,. 3526, the Counter Terrorist Network Act, was passed unanimously, through bundling the bill with other bills under a “unanimous consent” approval.
This procedure is comparable to how local boards approve “consent agendas”.
There was no discussion on H.R. 3526 prior to its approval. Towards the end of the committee meeting at the 2:36:20 portion of the video, Underwood addressed the committee, and points out her working with fellow committee member, Congressman John Katko (R, NY) on this legislation.
This was Underwood’s first bill she introduced with a Republican co-sponsor, and it has advanced to the full House for consideration.
MORGAN: Okay, but- but this is very important though is this could have been prevented in- in a couple of ways. Had Congress given the funding earlier than- than when we ask it would have helped alleviate some of the overcrowding.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But now–
MORGAN: The other thing right now is we’re con- continuing to ask Congress. We need legislative fix. We need Congress to act right now. Senator Lindsey Graham has a bill that he’s trying to push forward right now that would absolutely overnight help eliminate that- what you saw when we went down there with the vice president. Congress needs to act. They know it–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
MORGAN: –and they’re failing to do so.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re going to talk to Senator Dick Durbin next. Thank you commissioner
The Senator Durbin interview immediately followed (transcript link below), with the relevant information cut & pasted: ==========================================================
SEN. DURBIN: I’ve been there. I was just there eight weeks ago in the El Paso area. I’m going to return in the next week. I- I watched as this group was in formation and it became apparent to me it was more about public relations than really getting down to serious policy discussions. I’m going to continue–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well we’ve shown the video and not all of it is necessarily favorable to the administration. Wouldn’t it have been helpful for you to be there alongside Republicans to make the statement that you are working across the aisle or trying to?
SEN. DURBIN: Well, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican, and chairman of the Judiciary Committee and I are still in serious conversation about dealing with the policy. We will continue to. I’ve been there I’m going back. I think the circumstances which are shown in the video were bad. What I saw were even worse these kids in cages were not part of the video. I can understand that there’s sensitivity to exposing them to public review. But the fact is, it’s happening and America is rejecting this approach by the Trump administration. They don’t want to see more with these mass arrests and deportations, families split apart. Now listen to this. We’re hearing from the administration the serious humanitarian challenges at the border. Those are going to be multiplied now by these ICE raids across the United States as families are divided and young people are sent to more detention facilities. It is not going to make it any better.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You- the- the administration says that the work you and Senator Graham are doing essentially the only game in town. You said there are at least five or six areas of common ground that Democrats in the Senate and the House could support. What are they?
So putting the political rhetoric aside, and Senator Durbin has made political rhetoric an art form, what specific legislation is being referred to by Senator Durbin that he and Senator Lindsey Graham (R, SC) could possibly be talking about that could end the crisis overnight? Is there legislation on file? Doing a search, the following legislation relating to immigration sponsored by Senator Graham came up:
S.874 – Dream Act of 2019
S.166 – A bill to provide provisional protected presence status for certain aliens and to provide mandatory appropriations relating to border security.
While the mandatory appropriations provision of S.166 looks to have been applied to H.R. 3401, the other components, plus components of S.874, might show a legislative road map to quickly end the border crisis.
It should be noted that S.874 lists Senator Durbin as an original co-sponsor to the Senator Graham legislation.
Another co-sponsor added later is Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Three other co-sponsors have been added to this bill, and counting Senator Graham as the sponsor, there are 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats.
This might be the bill Senator Durbin alluded to in the Face the Nation interview from Sunday.
Obviously, both houses of Congress and the President must agree on the legislation, but at least there is hope to have two high-ranking senators having “serious conversation about dealing with the policy”.
Everyone can agree this humanitarian crisis at the southern border must end, permanently, and if new policy from Congress will end it, let’s all pray in earnest for the solution to come forward, fast.
Senator Durbin alluded in his interview he will be returning to the border this week, possibly as part of a Senate contingent with the aforementioned House Homeland Security Committee delegation going to Texas tomorrow.
Another potential obstacle to passing legislation quickly is the August recess, with the House adjourning until the week after Labor Day next Friday, and the Senate taking August recess on August 2nd.
Time is running out to have legislation drafted, passed by both houses, and signed by the President before congressional August recess.
Prayers are needed that ALL SIDES, the President, the House and the Senate, can put all differences aside, end the political posturing, and get this done QUICKLY BEFORE THE AUGUST RECESS. Lives are at stake, and so is our nation.
Frpom the Illinois Department of Natrual Resouirces:
IDNR Announces Updated Operating Schedule at Stratton-Bolger Lock and Dam
MCHENRY, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced an updated operating schedule for the William G. Stratton-Thomas A. Bolger Lock and Dam facility on the Fox River in McHenry County for the 2019 navigation season.
To facilitate ongoing construction operations at the Stratton-Bolger facility, beginning Aug. 19, the lock will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2 and Columbus Day Monday, Oct. 14) through the end of the 2019 navigational season.
Beginning Aug. 19 and continuing through the month of September, IDNR lock tenders will operate the lock on Wednesdays through Sundays from 8:00 a.m. until midnight.
For the month of October, IDNR lock tenders will operate the lock on Wednesdays through Sundays from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
The Stratton-Bolger facility is closed for the winter season each year from Nov. 1 through April 30.
Rep. Weber Named to Property Tax Relief Task Force
FOX LAKE – State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) has been named by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) to serve on the newly created Property Tax Relief Task Force.
Weber was tapped for the bipartisan task force for his local government experience and commitment to taxpayers.
The task force is required to provide short-term and long-term policy recommendations to address Illinois’ crippling property tax burden.
“The initial policy report is to be completed within 90 days, while the final report is to be completed by December 31, 2019 so recommendations that require legislative action may be taken up by the General Assembly in the 2020 spring session.
“More than any other burden, Illinois’ broken property tax system is driving families and businesses out of our state,” said Weber.
“As a border district in the collar counties, residents of the 64th District know all too well the damage of this broken system.
“While piecemeal fixes have provided some relief to taxpayers here and there, serious restructuring is needed to provide the relief taxpayers deserve.
“My time on the Lake County Board taught me firsthand how hard it is to balance community and taxpayer needs under this convoluted tax system. I hope my experience and the precise timetable of this task force will create the pressure needed to change our broken system.”
The task force’s primary duties are to examine the root causes of high property taxes, assess other states’ legislative solutions and propose policy changes that will bring real relief to Illinois homeowners.
The recommended solutions may be enacted by either administrative, electoral or legislative approach.
The members of this bipartisan, bicameral task force will also serve with no compensation.
State Rep. La Shawn Ford, a black Chicago Democrat has an answer for the gun violence in his district:
“I’m working with a concealed carry instructor and we’re going to go through the neighborhood and we’re going to encourage people to get their concealed carry license because it makes no sense for people not to have the protections that they need.”
Assault on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Underwood Assembles Comments from Democratic Elected Leaders in District to Speak to Alleged Hardships of SALT Deductions Cap
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood issued a press release today (7/17) touting her support for House Joint Resolution 72, which is Congress’ protest to a June 13 IRS ruling concerning contributions for state or local tax credits.
HJRes72 is Congress’ way of formally telling the Treasury Department and the IRS that it disapproves of the ruling.
The resolution, sponsored by Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D, NJ) with 48 congressional co-sponsors, includes Congressman Sean Casten and Underwood.
With the exception of Congressman Peter King (R, NY), all of the co-sponsors are Democrats.
The resolution has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Underwood used the July 16 filing of the resolution to renew a push for her legislation, H.R. 1757 which is one of many pieces of legislation which seeks to dismantle the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 by raising the state and local tax deduction cap from the current $10,000 that was implemented to help pay for TCJA, to higher limits.
Underwood and Casten both maintain this is to help the middle class.
In Underwood’s Wednesday press release, stated with emphasis added:
“Middle class families in the 14th District of Illinois are being double-taxed due to changes in the state and local tax deduction from the Republican tax law, all so the one percent and big corporations can get a tax break they don’t need,”
Double taxation is illegal!
Given the litigation several states attempted to strike down SALT limitations filed and dismissed since TCJA was implemented, the courts have made it clear there is no double taxation taking place in TCJA, including the SALT deduction cap.
This is deliberate language to draw a wedge with the lie that the TCJA cheated middle class families.
That is dead wrong.
The truth is the roaring economy Americans have enjoyed was due to the TCJA which gave businesses a greater incentive to invest and to hire.
The TCJA also lowered tax rates, and federal withholding on everyone’s paychecks.
Underwood tries to advance her claim using the same approach the Democrats used in a June 25 House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing, to tell about alleged hardships caused by the SALT deduction cap of TCJA.
In opening the hearing, the Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D, CA) stated the hearing’s purpose was to hear testimony:
“…how recent limitations to the SALT deduction harm communities, schools, first responders and housing values.”
The subcommittee heard testimony from local government witnesses including the mayors of Falls Church, VA and Bayville, NY; the commissioner of Berks County, PA; the school superintendent of Upper Arlington, OH; and the president of the Professional Firefighters of WI.
Underwood’s press release uses a similar approach, using elected officials from jurisdictions within the 14th district. they are:
Jack Franks (D), McHenry County Board Chairman
Larry Walsh (D), Will County Board Executive
Sandy Hart (D), Lake County Board Chair
Richard Irvin, Aurora Mayor
Ray Rogina, St. Charles Mayor
Denise Winfrey (D), Will County Board Speaker
John Wasik (D), Lake County Board Member
Given 5 out of the 7 elected officials cited were elected as Democrats reveals a one-sided point-of-view already.
But the 14th district includes 7 counties, but only 4 are represented among Underwood’s chosen elected officials.
What about DuPage, DeKalb and Kendall counties (the Aurora mayor has constituents in 2 of those counties, he lives in Kane County).
Since Lake, McHenry and Will Counties had their elected county board chairs/executives, where were their counterparts from DuPage, Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties?
Wouldn’t Underwood received consistent inputs from DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin (R), Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen (R), Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder (R) or DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski (D)? Did she even ask them?
Or would it be a case of telling the truth about Underwood’s legislation on SALT deduction cap?
Here is Jack Franks’ quote from Underwood’s press release:
“The tax law, which was touted as good for the middle class, has instead been harmful to my constituents, who shoulder one of the highest property tax burdens in the nation. The SALT cap increases federal taxes on a large percentage of our homeowners, and hurts them not once, but twice, because it also devalues their homes and makes them harder to sell. As a result, McHenry County, which at one time was one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, instead may end up with a net loss of population for the first time. I respectfully request Congress to pass H.R. 1757 to correct this unintended consequence, and deliver relief to hard-working McHenry County families.”
No Chairman Franks, accepting your assertion of highest property tax burden at face value, the reasons your constituents are burdened by higher taxes is due to what has been done in Springfield in recent years, including this past spring.
Whether it’s a 32% increase in the state income tax rate, to a plethora of higher taxes and user fees, Illinois residents are already overburdened by increased taxes.
Chairman Franks served 9 terms in Springfield, and was a part of the Democratic majority who expanded government services to such a point, that the loss of population is on Franks’ hands, not on SALT limitations of TCJA, due to the higher tax burdens at the sate level.
Given Franks’ counterparts in DuPage and Kane Counties served with him in Springfield in the General Assembly for over a decade each, they knew the truth of why suburban taxpayers are overburdened with high taxes.
The other six local leaders Underwood quoted gave similar deceptive statements like Chairman Franks in the press release.
The reason Franks’ and the others are deceptive is because it denies the whole truth of federal taxation on all income levels, and the fact the change Underwood is talking about will only benefit the wealthy, and not bring one time of tax relief to working families.
On June 25, an additional witness before the subcommittee was Nicole Kaeding, the vice president of federal and special projects at the Tax Foundation. Here is a brief excerpt of her testimony that day:
“Even those impacted by the SALT cap often saw a net tax decrease.
“First, they often were previously impacted by prior implicit SALT limitations, such as the AMT [alternative minimum tax] and the Pease limitation [limitations for itemized deductions], which were repealed by the TCJA.
“Second, some quit itemizing their deductions, switching to the expanded standard deduction.
“Filers also benefit from lower rates and the expanded child tax credit, among other changes.
“To the small group of individuals with net tax increases, an estimated 6.5 percent in 2018, it is unlikely that the tax increase is solely due to the SALT cap.
“It is often due to interactions with other provisions, such as the repeal of personal exemptions.
“The deduction cap is frequently cited as impacting state budgets; however, its impact is overstated.
“States saw an increase in revenue from tax reform, due to their conformity to the federal tax code.
“State and local governments have also explored and passed tax increases since the passage of the new SALT cap.”
Note that last sentence about governments exploring and passing tax increases since the end of 2017.
In Illinois, we know that all first hand, many of which couldn’t be written off by middle class taxpayers to begin with, like gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, and increased vehicle registration fees, among others, and Underwood’s legislation does not change current law that those tax increases cannot be deducted on federal tax returns.
And then there is the prospect of the graduated income tax, if passed by voters next year.
The Tax Foundation’s analysis can be viewed in the link below.
The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation gives similar analytics, and it is linked in the Bloomberg article below.
But look at something else Ms. Kaeding said,
“To the small group of individuals with net tax increases, an estimated 6.5 percent in 2018, it is unlikely that the tax increase is solely due to the SALT cap.” (emphasis added)
Given the 6.5% cited, what about the other 93.5% of taxpayers?
The constituencies represented by Underwood’s leaders cannot all be in the 6.5%, could they?
Finally, Congressman Casten testified before the same subcommittee on June 25, but after the witnesses had given their testimonies and questioned by the subcommittee.
Casten admitted the following:
“I agree we’ve got to pay for it and that’s fine, but since this exists to partially pay for an unnecessary tax cut, I think we have plenty of room to figure out how to pay for that cost.” Casten admitted that Underwood’s legislation does not pay for the proposed raises in SALT deduction caps.
He reaches for vaporware to pay for the nearly $600 billion to pay for the Underwood legislation.
Maybe Underwood and Casten should go figure out how to pay for the .HR. 1757 legislation, or any other changes to TCJA, while keeping in mind you are addressing tax relief for 6.5% of tax filers, overwhelmingly upper income taxpayers.
6th and 14th Congressional Districts Updates 7/16/19
Fallout from President Trump’s Tweets on Sunday — Both Hopeful and Disappointing
Yesterday (Monday 7/15) on Fox News, Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said the following, as reported in the New York Post: “Sen. Lindsey Grahm on Monday suggested President Trump ‘knock it down a notch’ when it comes to tweeting about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [AOC] and her progressive colleagues in the House moments before he launched into a full-scale attack on the group.”Everything else Senator Graham said on the Fox News appearance, was tweeted by the President:
What Senator Graham said is not completely untrue. Per Friday’s print edition of The Wall Street Journal in the editorial “Pelosi’s House Discipline” concerning the Squad:
“The four–in addition to trumpeting socialist measures, flirting with anti-Semitism and using Twitter to criticize moderates in their own party–voted against last month’s emergency spending bill for the southern border. They did so even though three of them have compared what’s happening at the border to the Holocaust.”
Given the entire progressive Squad began stirring up trouble as a result of the last week of June and Congress’, both House and Senate, actions on H.R. 3401, the emergency spending bill cited by the Journal, it would be worth examining what happened on that legislation with representations of the congressional votes done by the California Target Book.
While the names on the House votes could be difficult to read, the red-blue coloring representing the political parties is easily understood.
The initial House vote on June 25 is below, which passed 230-195 on a nearly straight-party vote, and note the Squad are the only Democrats to vote “No”:
The legislation went to the Senate and on the next day, the Senate wisely did a gut-and-replace amendment removing all of the unreasonable controls the House’s legislation attempted to attach to the funding bill, and voted to approve the amended H.R. 3401 by an 84-8 bipartisan vote:
Back to the House.
Here is where Speaker Pelosi wisely listened to Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus as well as the Blue Dog Coalition to approve the Senate-amended legislation.
This was when progressives other than the Squad tweeted things like “…since when did the Problem Solvers Caucus become the Child Abuse Caucus.”
Cooler heads prevailed, and on June 27, the House approved the Senate-amended H.R. 3401 by a 305-102 bipartisan vote.
The Squad again voted against the bill, but took many Democrats, 95 in all primarily progressives, who followed their example:
So examining the two House vote graphics, the initial 6/25 vote had the No votes primarily from Republicans, along with the Squad. On the final House vote, all but 7 Republicans voted in the majority, and predominately blue coloring representing Democrats’ opposition on the final bill. Both Congressman Casten and Congresswoman Underwood voted in the majority on both votes.
With the background of where all of this started in the past 3 weeks, reactions to President Trump’s tweet on Sunday continued from Republicans, including the other Senator from South Carolina, Republican Tim Scott:
Wiser words could not have been spoken. Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger tweeted yesterday:
The last 2 paragraphs in Kinzinger’s tweet refers to something at least one media outlet, WCIA TV, threatened to do after demanding Illinois Republican congressional representatives’ reactions but seeing none.
I know I wrote in an update posted yesterday (7/15) that I wanted to hear from candidates who want to replace Congressman Casten and Congresswoman Underwood, especially since both incumbents had tweeted their reactions to President Trump’s Sunday morning tweet. But sadly, some disappointing tweets went out yesterday, too, particularly from Congressman Casten:
Maybe Congressman Casten ought to call out the racism some of his Democratic colleagues have faced recently from the Squad’s AOC’s chief-of-staff, especially on the New Democrats Caucus in the House:
“Instead of ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal,’ let’s call the New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus the ‘New Southern Democrats.’ They certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”
But now, as I write this article, the House presiding chairman, Emanuel Cleaver (D, MO) has just “abandoned the chair” while slamming the gavel on the dais over frustrations within the House.
And why the frustration?
Because the Democrats put forth 2 House resolutions against President Trump yesterday, and the House was discussing them today.
One House resolution condemns the Tweets, the other one is a censure resolution.
As I type this, the House in open session is in discussion of House resolution 489, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor speech is being reviewed to be taken down, struck, from the record for personal attacks against President Trump.
Fortunately, both Casten and Underwood have not co-sponsored these 2 House resolutions.
But Casten wasn’t done there. Today, he sent two separate tweets this morning, challenging Senator Graham’s comments from Monday:
Everyone, please refer to how the New Democrats Caucus, Blue Dog Coalition and Problem Solvers Caucus have been characterized by progressives in the past three weeks.
Ideologically diverse, no question. Consistently respectful of members within the Democratic caucus, particularly between progressives and non-progressives? Congressman Casten should speak to that.
President Trump tweeted this morning, after Casten’s tweets:
And mid-afternoon, Casten tweeted this:
And now, the House has just passed House Resolution 489, by a 240-187 vote, mostly along party lines, with 4 Republicans voting with the Democrats. I am getting visions of President Trump acting like Martin Luther, when Pope Leo X issued the papal bull officially excommunicating Luther. I wouldn’t be surprised if the President burns a copy of the resolution. May God help our nation.
Casten Challenger Evelyn Sanguinetti Disappoints, Too Yesterday’s Capitol Fax had an article concerning Evelyn Sanguinetti (link below) releasing more endorsements. The excerpt from Crain’s Chicago Busienss included a request for comment for President Trump’s wrongful tweets from Sunday morning. Sanguinetti’s spokesperson said Ms. Sanguinetti had no comment. ANALYSIS Ms. Sanguinetti you, like me, are a person of color. This was a time for you to lead, to agree that the President’s tweets were wrong. This was the time to say so, but you chose not to. As one American who happens to of Latino heritage to another, you disappoint me. Capitol Fax Sanguinetti Link: https://capitolfax.com/2019/07/15/ives-could-kick-off-congressional-bid-soon-as-sanguinetti-announces-lots-of-establishment-endorsement
Congresswoman Underwood: The Bright Spot With Her Tweet Yesterday, Congresswoman Underwood tweeted the following, from her congressional Twitter account:
While the New York Times story she is calling out was published on July 10, the day of the House Democratic caucus’ closed-door meeting when Speaker Pelosi laid-down the law concerning progressives’ tweets, it was reassuring to see Congresswoman Underwood moving forward, and remembering President Trump is still the President, finding common ground on issues in order to resolve the challenges facing our country. Reactions from Underwood’s Trump-applauding tweet were mixed, including several “too soon” and “not today” but also supportive tweets, too. Congressman Casten would do well to learn from Congresswoman Underwood. Casten’s tweets make him look like someone with an ax to grind. Underwood is showing encouragement and a ready-to-move-on attitude.
As was written in Saturday’s update (link below), Underwood has been showing some genuine positive changes in the past 3 weeks, which was noticed with her vote on HR 3401 on June 27. I have been praying for Underwood to rise above the polarizing partisanship that we are seeing, as evidenced by Congressman Cleaver’s “abandoning the chair” which is documented in the Roll Call link below. In faith, I believe the prayers have been answered, and continue to be answered. I thank God for answered prayers.
MATTHEW G. GOODMAN JOINS McHENRY COUNTY AS ASSISTANT STATE’S ATTORNEY IN THE CIVIL DIVISION
Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, is pleased to announce that Matthew G. Goodman has joined the Office as an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Civil Division.
In private practice prior to joining our office, Matthew gained experience with many of the civil responsibilities he will undertake in our office.
Matthew has represented national home builders, restaurants, churches, and professional practices in zoning entitlements, leases, property tax abatements, letters of credit and bond related matters.
Matthew earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his Juris Doctorate, Magna Cum Laude, from Northern Illinois College of Law, DeKalb, Illinois. At NIU, he was on the Dean’s List all semesters and was active in the NIU Moot Court Competition.
We look forward to working with Mr. Goodman as he helps further our mission of doing justice on behalf of the residents of McHenry County.
Since failure of the Algonquin Township Board to pay the outstanding bill for $170,000 to Road District Attoney Rob Hanlon may end up costing taxpayers an additional two times or more of that amount, I thought some readers might like to see the underlying document.
The following was read to the McHenry County Board last night by ROAR fpr AJ Spokesperson Tracy Kotzman:
I am with an organization that reaches 14,000 members who are actively discussing their concerns regarding a member of this board, one who has been involved in a nationally reported death of a child.
Allegedly it appears as if this person made critical errors in judgement regarding not only this childs well being but his overall safety.
Isn’t their concern that your fellow board member may be failing in his most critical duties to the children of McHenry County due to his added responsibilities he takes on within this board?
I know myself and many in our community and outside of our community are concerned.
After many years of experience with DCFS, he is currently being investigated.
Officials at DCFS, knowing that they are short staffed and have high case loads made the decision to have Carlos Acosta removed from any case work and placed on administrative duties.
Their decision to do so along with his previous disciplinary actions concerns us greatly.
Does that not give you pause?
With the past and recent troubles he is facing with his employment with DCFS, it is our opinion that he is not capable of being efficient and diligent in his responsibilities.
It appears as if he has too much on his plate, and he should make a choice which position, in which organization he can adequately direct his focus on and better serve.
If he didn’t represent AJ and other at risk children to the best of his ability, then how can we believe he can represent McHenry County?
I certainly do not want him representing me.
DCFS investigators are in violation of a consent decree, by accepting case loads in excess of that decree.
The concensus is that these investigators are struggling to do their jobs properly, yet Carlos Acosta has time to take on added responsibilities outside of his very critical position where children are at risk?
Including representing McHenry County, District 5, the very same district this tragedy was allowed to happen in? [AJ Freiund was bured in Distict 5, but die in District 2.]
How could this be ethically or I believe there are many people in this room that were and are familiar with with Andrew Freund SR. the attorney that practiced here for years.
Some went to school with him, some lived in the same community with him.
Decisions made by this board affected that attorney, personally and professionally.
So I ask you is it appropriate or ethical for said member of this board to participate in an investigation of this attorney, an officer of the court, for which this board is associated?
Knowing what you know now, do you feel this board member is acting in the best interests of this community?
I certainly do not.
I believe he his incompentence in fulfilling critical duties he has been tasked with.
Does this board review, consider and make decisions about the conduct of its members?
Are you concerned about public perception with regards to highly visible and controversial actions of said members?
What, if any ramifications on this county would come as a result, if his employment with DCFS is terminated?
= = = = =
And from Aurora Thornton:
Mr. Chairman, it’s reported that you made a statement, to indicate that your placing the blame for AJ’s death on what you refer to as a “collective failure”.
We are in agreement with that conclusion. We believe, collectively, that DCFS, residents of AJ household, the judicial system is culpable as well as the drug dealers and in our opinion Mr. Carlos Acosta.
In our opinion, in order to remedy a collective failure, all parties to that collective failure, should be appropriately sanctioned.
The life of a young boy is the result of this “collective failure”. We now, have a zero tolerance policy as a group, and as a community….for “collective failures” regarding the children of this county.
We believe that Mr. Acosta should be allowed to resign his position on this board immediately.
We expect this board to ask for, if not demand, that resignation.
You were quoted as saying this isn’t about Carlos Acosta. This is a broken system.”
You were also quoted as saying, ” This is about a system that DCFS Workers who have 15 children they’re supposed to take care of have 40 or 50. That’s what this is.”
Mr. Chairman, your quotes, have some merit, we agree.
Per a long standing Federal Consent Decree, DCFS has specific limitations on how many current, and how many new cases may be assigned to someone such as Mr. Acosta during any given month.
It’s alleged that Mr. Acosta was violating the terms of that decree.
We agree, that this job is an intense and taxing profession, even when appropriate case loads are observed.
Mr. Acosta, who allegedly had an overload of children to protect, nevertheless, feels that he has plenty of time and energy to serve as an elected official representing a very complex and diverse county.
We believe that Mr. Acosta has over extended his abilities to get one job done properly, let alone his many other professions.
Again, we are asking for a resignation.
In the quote from Rep. David McSweeney, “I don’t think that this is someone that should be in public service.
“He should resign from public service and move on.”
The City of Woodstock reply to the Operating Engineers Local 150 FOI Act suit was written by Zukowski, Reogers, Flood & McArle attorney Jennifer Gibson.
The eight-page dismissal motion notes that the reasons for legal services were not provided because of attorney-client privilege, citing an Attorney General’s Opinion as authority. It also points out that the City misunderstood the time period for which billin was reuqested and has now provided what was requested.
The union and non-union wage studies were withheld because it was not infinal form, as well as being protected by attorney-client privilege.
Algonquin Township Road District Attorney Rob Hanlon had decided to pull out of the litigation started by Local 150 against Andrew Gasser.
He filled such a motion today in Lake County Court:
Hanlon wrote the following to Gasser:
This letter serves as a Notice of Default to Algonquin Township Road District with respect to amounts due under the engagement letters with my office.
As you know, you executed an engagement letter which provides that my services would be billed at the standard hourly rate of $400/hr.
I have submitted bills to the Road District that have gone unpaid.
I have further agreed to work with you and the Road Distict despite the ongoing hostility of the board to both of us.
However, I cannot continue to work and avoid other business opprotunities that are available to me while a group of vindictive people make arbirtrary decisions concerning a clear contract that they voted to approve without any limitations.
I have attached the engagement letter for the Local 150 work and its corresponding rider that supports the charges on the invoices that the board of auditors rejected necessitating this Notice.
To the extent that, within 5 business days, I do not receive payment of $179,864.70 (amounts of all of the invoices that you submitted to the board of auditors most recently), I will commence an action to collect the amounts invoiced plus all other amounts that have become due as a result of the default of the Road District.
Amongst the remedies is the cost of collection, attorney fees, collection of all courtesy discounts, and other remedies.
You should also be aware that Illinois has a Prompt Payment Act that allows additional interest under that act in connection with the non-payment of government obligations.
Under the Prompt Payment Act, the statutory interest is set at 9% (the same as in our agreement).
I’m sure Mr. Kelly can explain it to the Board of Auditors, but I doubt he will.
Also attached is a copy of the Affidavit you executed the last time the Board of Auditiors played games with my invoices.
I will be asking you to execute another such affidavit after you have a chance to confer with independent counsel.
His phot is not yet on the law firm web site, but the infomation posted reveals that former 6th District Republican Congressman Peter Roskam has been made a Partner at Sidley Austin:
What will Roskam be doing?
“Assisting clients navigate the complicated waters of Washington,” he wrote.
A press relesse from his new law firm:
Former U.S. Congressman Peter Roskam Joins Sidley
Washington, D.C. – Sidley Austin LLP announced today that former U.S. Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Illinois) has joined the firm’s Government Strategies group as a partner.
Rep. Roskam was in public office for 25 years, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Illinois Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives.
Rep. Roskam held some of the most significant positions in the U.S. House of Representatives during his tenure.
In addition to serving as the Chief Deputy Whip, he chaired three major subcommittees of the House Ways and Means Committee.
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Tax Policy, he was a chief architect of the historic 2017 overhaul of the nation’s tax code.
As Chairman of Subcommittee on Health, he began the Medicare Red Tape Relief Project, led a series of hearings addressing the opioid crisis and authored several bills to make opioid addiction treatment more accessible.
In addition, as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, he spearheaded efforts to increase supervision of the Internal Revenue Service.
“I have admired Peter since his first day in Congress as a member of the House Financial Service Committee,” said Michael Borden, partner and leader of Sidley’s Government Strategies practice.
“At Sidley, Peter will provide policy and strategic advice to clients around the world who are seeking solutions to challenges emerging from Washington, D.C.
“He will be in good company as part of our bipartisan team, all of whom also played major roles in the drafting, enactment and implementation of landmark laws from senior-level positions in the government.”
Sidley’s Government Strategies group is made up of individuals that previously served in the executive branch, Congress, and regulatory and administrative agencies.
Several are also alumni of congressional investigative committee staffs who have participated in many congressional investigations, including executive branch veterans who have dealt with Congress on behalf of the White House and other federal agencies.
With 2,000 lawyers in 20 offices around the globe, Sidley is a premier legal adviser for clients across the spectrum of industries. Follow Sidley on Twitter @SidleyLaw.
6th and 14th Congressional District Financials Summary — 2nd Quarter 2019
July 15 was the deadline for federal campaign committees to file their 2nd quarter disclosure reports with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
Back on June 23rd’s update here on McHenry County Blog, I predicted where the major 14th congressional Republican candidates would be with cash-on-hand, which is a key metric to determine how a campaign is doing. Here is what was published last month:
Here are the numbers, as obtained through FEC filings throughout the day on July 15:
As reported by Cal earlier in the day on Monday, Congressman Sean Casten far outraised Evelyn Sanguinetti, and has over 12 times more cash on hand than his Republican challenger.
Incumbent congressmen having a significant financial advantage at this stage is common.
It’s the power of incumbency.
Before discussing the 14th congressional district challengers, candidate Sue Rezin is not included on this grid since she did not announce her candidacy until July 9.
She will be filing a 3rd quarter report in October, which will report her first fundraising activity.
Since Allen Skillicorn at this point has not formally entered the race through filing FEC paperwork, he is not included either.
Candidate Anthony Catella is not counted, since he has yet to file FEC paperwork since his mid March announcement to the print media.
My prediction was nearly accurate for Ted Gradel, missing the $300,000 cash on hand threshold by a little over $10,000.
The prediction for Oberweis was off significantly, from the $500,000 cash on hand prediction.
ANALYSIS: While money is not everything in any campaign, to be successful in a high-profile race like Congress, you must have significant cash to purchase TV advertising and materials to support a campaign.
In the 14th, Republicans Jim Oberweis and Ted Gradel lead in fundraising.
Oberweis has loaned his campaign $200,000, honoring his commitment to match dollar-for-dollar contributions up to $1 million.
Since Ted Gradel has only loaned himself $30,000 since he launched his campaign on April 23, the Gradel campaign has actually raised more money from donors in the slightly more than 2 months since its launch.
Factoring out candidate loans, Gradel has raised nearly $275,000 compared with the $216,402 Oberweis has raised.
Very impressive for a first time candidate.
Since James Marter did not formally launch his 14th congressional bid until May 30, his campaign raising what it did is a good start for only a month.
He will clearly need to do better in order to compete with Oberweis and Gradel.
Please note, Marter ran for Congress in 2018 in the 16th district, which is why he had cash on hand at the end of 2018, and the end of March.
Finally, Danny Malouf, since his campaign’s launch in mid February, lags far behind.
He did not file an FEC report in April.
His filing today covers the period from his campaign’s launch through June 30.
Sue Rezin is a proven fundraiser since first running for office in 2010.
If she can show the same effective fundraising under federal rules as she has in her Illinois General Assembly campaigns, she should be able to be competitive with all of the primary opponents, and we should see evidence in the 3rd quarter filings.
It should take the FEC 2-3 days to process the detailed data which will enable anyone to query each candidates’ details to determine who the donors are, as well as where the candidates are spending their money.
Additional detailed analytics will be forthcoming when this additional data is available.