By Nancy Thorner –
Part 1, “Illinois Forum prods Illinois Government in New Direction” featured two of the four featured speakers, Jim Tobin, President, Taxpayers United of America and Dr. David Crane, youngest brother of former Congressman, now deceased Hon. Phil Crane. Through Tobin’s documented remarks, readers could determine how their elected Illinois representatives performed when voting on fiscal issues. Love of country and service to country were displayed by Dr. David Crane, whose father instilled the same in all five of the Crane children.
Featured in Part 2 are former gubernatorial candidates Bill Bradley and Adam Andrzejewski, founder of OpentheBooks.com. Each bring noteworthy information to readers. Adam Andrzejewski goes where his research leads him. Republican are not excused when they go over the line.
Speaker #3: Bill Brady, a conservative Republican, unsuccessful in running for governor.
Brady previously served in the Illinois House of Representatives, representing the 88th District from 1993 to 2001. He also ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Illinois in 2006, in 2010 as the Republican Nominee, and in 2014. Brady’s fellow GOP contenders in 2014 were businessman Bruce Rauner, state treasurer Dan Rutherford, and Senator Kirk Dillard. Among other things, Brady advocated for pension reform, reducing taxes, reforming worker’s compensation, not increasing the minimum wage, and the dismantling of the Illinois State Board of Education. Brady placed third with 15% of the vote.
Senator Brady perceives Governor Rauner as taking his job seriously by living and working in Springfield. Rauner is the only governor who has lived in the governor’s mansion for many years. Bradley related how Rauner is being challenged by the Chicago Democrats who want to continue with their destruction of Illinois. Efforts made by Governor Rauner to rein in spending have been overruled by Democrats. Of important for this state is to have a balanced budget and a reform agenda in place. Turning negotiations over to an arbitrator will only result in decisions favorable to unions.
Brady related how recently Governor Rauner has called for a statewide freeze on property taxes for two years and local control over collective bargaining. And the fight continues with Governor Rauner and Democrat legislators over real worker compensation reform.
Even during his 2014 bid for governor, Brady called for term limits in Illinois, limiting legislators to five terms in the House (10 years) and three terms (10 years) in the Senate.
As to why Illinois is in the serious financial situation it finds itself in today, the model of the 3rd Illinois Constitution of 1870 (a common sense constitution) was changed in 1970 when a Constitution Convention was called by Democrats to change the 1870 constitution for their benefit. Up until 1970 the General Assembly met every two years and operated on a two year budget. The 1970 Constitution directed that legislators meet full time every year with continuous session, which greatly increased the amount of spending that could take place. Then too, in 1980 Quinn reduced 3 member Senate districts to 2, thus giving Michael Madigan more power.
The Illinois Forum was founded in 1989 by Robert Redfern to advocate for term limits in Illinois — ten years (retroactive) and lawmakers would return to their districts. Redfern, however, was hampered in his efforts by Quinn’s action in 1980. Twenty-six years have passed and Illinois is still without term limits. States with term limits are thriving.)
Bill Brady Illinois made this rather surprising statement: “Illinois is not a blue state, but legislative redistricting guarantees Democrats a super majority in both state houses.” Help is needed to elect and educate legislators into making the right decisions.
Speaker 4: Adam Andrzejewski, founder of OpentheBooks.com
Adam Andrzejewski rounded out the excellent rostrum of featured speakers. Running for governor in 2010, Andrzejewski, in a wide field of seven candidates, won the second most number of counties. Having been endorsed by Polish Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, Andrzejewski finished within 5 percent of winning the nomination.
Open the Books.com was founded by Adam Andraejewski and is a project of American Transparency, a 501(c)3 non-partisan, non-profit organization that has become a national rallying cry for the transparency in public spending. The goal of Open the Books.com is to put every dime, online, in real time of all government spending.
Currently displayed are nearly two billion lines of spending from federal, state and local governments across America since 2001. 48/50 state checkbooks have been opened up which included salaries, pensions, or vendor spending in 50,000 local units of government. Openthebooks.com is based on “Article 1, Section 9” which dictates that a periodic reporting of revenues and expenses shall be given to the people on a timely basis, was well received and included a hand out about his site. U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (retired) is the Honorary Chairman of American Transparency.
As Adam stated, “We figured that politicians would go crazy if someone posted online every nickel and dollar they’ve been wasting. So, that’s what we did.”
Today, OpenTheBooks.com has captured 2.3 billion individual spending transactions from the federal, state and local levels. With OpenTheBooks.com mobile app, you can view it all from the palm of your hand. Done quarterly are oversight reports on government spending.
The spending problem was addressed as bi-partisan. Andrzejewski, in fact-checking Rahm Emanuel’s 2011 campaign promise for an appearance of the John Stossel show, found that 600 city vendors had given Emanuel $7 million in campaign cash and received $2 billion in city payments.
Regarding Republican abuse, OpentheBooks.com recently found that new Illinois Comptroller, Leslie Munger, paid the subscription political blogger Rich Miller’s “Ahead of Our Time Publishing” tens of thousands of dollars, even during the July, 2015 budget shutdown.
Furthermore, Munger rode the state airplane as a personal taxi even after Rauner “grounded” the state airplanes. Last Friday (August 21, 2015), Munger prioritized 16 payments to Planned Parenthood for nearly $40,000 during the midst of the baby-parts sale scandal. Munger continues to pay a lobbyist for circuit court judges from the Comptroller’s appropriation – to the tune of $60,000 per year of taxpayer money. Just why is Leslie Munger prioritizing these payments when there are 36,000 unpaid bills on her desk?
In regard to outrageous government spending, consider farm subsidies. Rev. Louis Farrakhan received over $317,000 in federal farm subsidies at his home in Hyde Park, Chicago. The National Audubon Society received $1 million in farm subsidies including tobacco subsidy.
Also, since 2001, $1.2 trillion in federal spending has flowed to Fortune 100 Companies. Steve Moore called Republicans to task on the front page of Investor’s Business Daily. David Stockman, Reagan’s former budget chief said, “the Gripper would weep if he knew what had happened to his war on big government subsidizing big corporations. Even HBO’s Bill Maher agreed with Moore, Stockman and Andrzejewski – the corporate welfare must end.
Regarding the VA scandal which was big news a year ago and which sparked a national debate, data shows that nothing has changed. The VA hired 25,000 new people in the last two years and less than 2,000 are doctors.
What about cleaning up ones backyard to squeeze out corrupt practices? Adams related how this process was started last year at the College of DuPage. Highlights of this investigation have been splashed across the major Illinois newspapers for the past year. Openthebook.com is proud of its work.
About Edgar County Watchdog accomplishments? The Edgar County Watchdogs were recognized by Andrzejewski for helping force out 131 elected and public officials during the last 30 months and further executed a lawful citizen arrest of their park district board after being prevented from public comment at a public meeting. This made national news.
In closing remarks, Robert Redfern cautioned how voters have a choice to make in 2016, not only in the election of a president, but also in the candidates chosen for state and federal offices. Will voters chose those who are serious about recovering the principles of liberty and limited government under our Constitution, or will they elect candidates who will subject them to living under the rules determined by state and federal bureaucracies? As related by Redfern:
“We can’t be cynical. We must have hope. You and I have stronger values and principles, and we will win.”
Bill Hogan, a member of the Board of Governors at Illinois Forum, led the “Pledge of Allegiance” to open the 26th Anniversary Luncheon. The prayer was offered by Carroll Kakac.
Special guests introduced as candidates for office in 2016 included:
Rob Meister, a millennial, who is running for Champaign County Recorder.
Mark Sheldon, a candidate for Champaign County Recorder of Deeds.
Don Remmenga – University of Illinois, Free Market Program.
Part 1, published 8/27/2015 at Illinois Review: Illinois Forum prods Illinois Government in New Direction – Part 1