WBEZ | Debbie Halvorson http://www.wbez.org/tags/debbie-halvorson Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bloomberg ads draw candidates' ire in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/news/bloomberg-ads-draw-candidates-ire-illinois-105763 <p><p>Two candidates to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress say voters should send a message that money cannot buy the election.</p><p>New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg&#39;s super PAC has spent more than $2 million on ads attacking former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson over her positions on guns.</p><p>Halvorson says if the ads are successful Bloomberg will try to &quot;buy seats&quot; across the country. She says &quot;we can&#39;t let that happen.&quot;</p><p>Alderman Anthony Beale says voters are &quot;extremely upset&quot; that someone from New York is trying to tell people in Illinois how to vote. He predicts there will be a &quot;backlash.&quot;</p><p>Halvorson, Beale and former state Rep. Robin Kelly are considered front runners in Tuesday&#39;s Democratic primary.</p><p>Jackson resigned in November. He pleaded guilty this month to misusing campaign funds.</p></p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/bloomberg-ads-draw-candidates-ire-illinois-105763 Biggert, Foster sidestep immigrant detention-center project http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-sidestep-joliet-immigrant-detention-center-project-103508 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Elisa_Chombo_CROP.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 360px; width: 250px; " title="Elisa Chombo of Joliet signs a petition against the detention center at a Monday night forum. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and her Democratic challenger, Bill Foster, are locking horns in one of the nation&rsquo;s most competitive House races, but both are trying to sidestep a brewing controversy over something President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration is talking about bringing to the district: a privately run immigrant detention center.</p><p>The project came to light last week when an official of Joliet, a city 40 miles southwest of Chicago, said he had had talks with federal officials and Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America. The Joliet official, City Manager Thomas Thanas, said the detention center could generate hundreds of jobs and city revenue.</p><p>The project is not going over well with Latino groups that organized a candidate forum Monday night at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a Joliet church. The forum&rsquo;s moderator tried to ask the 11th Congressional District candidates whether they would help fight the project.</p><p>The response from Foster, a former U.S. representative, elicited nods from the roughly 200 audience members at points. &ldquo;For-profit incarceration is something that I am personally quite leery of,&rdquo; Foster said. &ldquo;We have an immigration system that depends way too heavily on incarceration and deportation.&rdquo;</p><p>But Foster said it was too early for him to make a decision about the detention center. &ldquo;I want to see the details of it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So the answer is, I&rsquo;m waiting and seeing.&rdquo;</p><p>Biggert, the race&rsquo;s Republican, did not attend the forum. She sent a spokesman, who read a campaign statement that did not answer the moderator&rsquo;s question. &ldquo;Congresswoman Biggert would strongly oppose the federal government coming in and mandating what Joliet should or should not do,&rdquo; the spokesman told the crowd. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really, ultimately, Joliet&rsquo;s decision.&rdquo;</p><p>Hours before the forum, WBEZ asked the Biggert campaign whether she would back a privately built and operated immigrant detention center in the district. The campaign sent the statement and did not answer the question.</p><p>Joliet&rsquo;s project follows a setback for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CCA in south suburban Crete, where the agency wanted the company to build and run the detention center.</p><p>A political tide against the Crete project rose in January, when rivals in the area&rsquo;s Democratic House primary &mdash; U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his challenger, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson &mdash; both sided against it. Village trustees rejected the plan in June.</p></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 02:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-sidestep-joliet-immigrant-detention-center-project-103508 Election Analysis: Romney's delegates, Jackson's blowout, Manzullo's bow out http://www.wbez.org/story/election-analysis-romneys-delegates-jacksons-blowout-manzullos-bow-out-97491 <p><p>Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney grabbed an easy victory in Illinois&rsquo; primary. The former Massachusetts governor took 47 percent of the vote and at least 41 of Illinois&rsquo; 54 elected delegate spots.</p><p>Elsewhere, veteran U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., had a great day, veteran U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo had bad one and appointed Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis is one step closer to winning a full term on the bench.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s political reporter Sam Hudzik joined host Lisa Labuz to chat about these and other hot primary races in the state.</p></p> Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/election-analysis-romneys-delegates-jacksons-blowout-manzullos-bow-out-97491 Jackson v. Halvorson: History, hugs and hometown politicking http://www.wbez.org/story/jackson-v-halvorson-history-hugs-and-hometown-politicking-97304 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-14/Jesse Jackson Jr AP-File.png" alt="" /><p><p>One of the most closely watched primary elections next Tuesday will be in Illinois' Second Congressional District. Represented by Democrat Jesse Jackson, Jr., the new boundaries for the district extend from Chicago through the south suburbs and all the way past Kankakee.</p><p>The last few years have been by far the toughest in Jackson's 16 years in Congress. Stung by an ongoing House ethics investigation, he faces a Democratic challenger for the first time in 8 years. It has been a long, strange road to this point.</p><p><strong>Hugs for change</strong></p><p>At the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Jackson stepped to the microphone at what had become a tense breakfast meeting of Illinois Democrats.</p><p>"Democratic parties are about reconciliation," he told the assembled delegates, determined to break that tension.</p><p>One by one, Jackson called out his rivals, including U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, and hugged them. He turned to Debbie Halvorson, an Illinois state senator at the time, running for Congress against Republican Marty Ozinga.</p><p>"Come on up here, Debbie Halvorson," he called out, beckoning a politician he'd fought for many years over plans for an airport in Peotone. "Lord knows I want to build an airport in the south suburbs. But make no mistake about it, I want a Democrat in Congress more than I want somebody named Ozinga."</p><p>The crowd laughed, Jackson hugged Halvorson and then Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. He even got the feuding Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and Gov. Rod Blagojevich to hug.</p><p>Barack Obama, Jackson told the now-loosened up delegation, needed them to love each other. Then to go hug Ohio, Michigan, Florida.</p><p>"Go hug all of these states that are contentious and say, 'Listen. We can do this together. Yes, we can,'" he said to applause.</p><p>Jackson's speech brought a wave of welcome, if short-lived, spirit to Illinois Democrats. And he got a ton of good publicity, as the man who incited "hugfest" -&nbsp; a leader, above the fray.</p><p>Until the bomb hit, three months later.</p><p><strong>On the defense</strong></p><p>"I was shocked and saddened to learn that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday by federal law enforcement officials," Jackson said at a Washington, D.C. press conference on December 10, 2008, the day after Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges.</p><p>The Blagojevich criminal complaint included a reference to Senate Candidate 5, someone hoping to be appointed to replace then-President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. Supporters of this candidate had allegedly offered millions to Blagojevich in exchange for appointing their guy.</p><p>News reports quickly identified Jackson as Senate Candidate 5, and the congressman stated his defense to reporters.</p><p>"I did not initiate or authorize anyone at any time to promise anything to Governor Blagojevich on my behalf," he said.</p><p>Jackson did not take questions from reporters at the time, on the advice of his lawyer, he said. The congressman remained largely silent on this topic for years. He's never been charged with any crimes, though a congressional ethics investigation began.</p><p>Later, the <em>Sun-Times</em> reported that Jackson had directed a supporter to buy a plane ticket for a woman he was having an affair with. Nonetheless, he won in 2010 with more than 80 percent in the general election.</p><p><strong>From a PR challenge to an electoral one</strong></p><p>Last year, the once-a-decade redistricting process made the 2nd district more rural and it picked up Crete, the hometown of Jackson's old Democratic foe, a hug from his past.</p><p>"My name is Debbie Halvorson, and I am running for Congress," Halvorson announced in early October of last year.</p><p>Halvorson is no political novice, a one-time Mary Kay salesperson who became the first woman to serve as the Illinois Senate majority leader.</p><p>In the three-and-a-half years since Halvorson and Jackson hugged at the convention, Halvorson won a seat in Congress, and then lost it after a single term. Her comeback attempt, against Jackson, has been publicly focused not on the ethics investigation, but on what that investigation means for Jackson's focus.</p><p>"We need a congressman that doesn't have ethical distractions. Maybe that's why he can't get anything done anymore," she said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-14/IMG_1272.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson (WBEZ/file)"></p><p>This election has centered, for the most part, on three themes: ethics, that Peotone Airport that's yet to be built and - lastly - support for President Obama.</p><p><strong>Both campaigns fail the fact check</strong></p><p>In radio ads, both candidates have cited different stats about who supported the president more.</p><p>"Halvorson voted with the Republicans and against President Obama 88 times," said U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, in a radio ad aired by Jackson's campaign.</p><p>That number is based off a misleading presumption from the Jackson campaign that all votes against the Democratic majority are votes against Mr. Obama, even on issues the president is staying out of.</p><p>(Halvorson "is running for the Democratic nomination," said Jackson spokesman Kevin Lampe. "She should vote with the Democrats when she's in Congress.")</p><p>Meanwhile, Halvorson's claim of presidential support is also misleading.</p><p>"I voted with [Mr. Obama] 90 percent of the time," Halvorson said this week on WTTW public television. "My opponent, Jesse Jackson, Jr., voted with him only 79 percent of the time."</p><p>Halvorson was citing numbers from <em><a href="http://innovation.cq.com/media/vote_study_2010/">Congressional Quarterly</a></em> for votes from only one year - 2010. If you combine the scores for the 2 years they served together in Congress, Jackson and Halvorson's numbers are nearly identical.</p><p>(Halvorson's campaign manager, Jamie Crain, defended the focus on just the 2010 votes. "The year the Democrats lost the House to the Tea Party, Congressman Jackson didn't stand by President Obama when the president needed him most," she said in an email.)</p><p>This issue aside, the president has endorsed Jackson - though only through aides, like campaign strategist David Axelrod.</p><p>"Congressman Jackson was very supportive of the president when he ran for the U.S. Senate back in 2004," Axelrod said in a recent interview with WBEZ. "They've worked together on things. So, you know, that is...a friendship."</p><p>Asked if the endorsement could pose a political risk to Mr. Obama given Jackson's pending ethics investigation, Axelrod wouldn't go there.</p><p>"I'm not going to enter into that discussion. You know, let that process run," he replied.</p><p><strong>Everything is local</strong></p><p>Someone who's not at all reluctant to speak about Jackson is Rich Hofeld. The village president of south suburban Homewood for the last 15 years, Hofeld is a longtime Jackson supporter who's endorsed the congressman for re-election.</p><p>Jackson, Hofeld said last week, helped get federal funding for Homewood to build a small tourist attraction.</p><p>"I can't tell you how many people come into town to look at the rail-watching platform. I had no idea what a rail watching [was]," Hofeld said. "A rail-watching platform, I found from our rail committee (we do have a rail committee in town), it's where essentially the rail buffs go, and they watch trains."</p><p>Jackson has an office in Homewood, a 5-minute drive from village hall. Hofeld said they see each other often. A few years back, when the story broke about Jackson's extra-marital affair, the congressman called him, Hofeld recalled, maybe three times trying to reach him.</p><p>"And when he finally did get through to me...he said, 'My wife and I have reconciled this over the years, but I sincerely apologize for any possible embarrassment...that I might have caused you,'" Hofeld said. "I'm not the only mayor that he called. He called most of those that were his supporters. And I think that's the mark of a man that admits that he had done something wrong, and apologizes for it."</p><p>Hofeld also knows Debbie Halvorson, because for years she represented part of Homewood in the state Senate. Hofeld admitted he's biased, but said he couldn't name anything she'd done for his town.</p><p>The view is strikingly different on the other side of Halsted Street, in the village of Glenwood. Mayor Kerry Durkin said last week he wasn't going to officially endorse in the election because, he said, nothing good ever comes of stuff like that.</p><p>Still, he praised Debbie Halvorson over and over for the attention she paid to Glenwood in the state Senate. And while he said Jackson's staff is top-notch, he sees damage from Jackson's ethics issues.</p><p>"Has it interferred with his ability to do his job here? Yes. Because it's made him invisible," Durkin said. "I've been mayor since 2009. I've seen him three times maybe in that time frame. Ask me how many times I've seen Debbie Halvorson who isn't even my congresswoman."</p><p>How many times?</p><p>"Good God, I can't even think," he replied.</p><p>A few days after that interview, Durkin changed his mind about not endorsing in the congressional race. One thing that changed his mind, Durkin acknowledged in an email, was straight-up political.</p><p>A few years back Halvorson endorsed Durkin's slate of candidates in a Glenwood village election. Jackson also got involved in the local race, but he backed Durkin's opponents.</p></p> Thu, 15 Mar 2012 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/jackson-v-halvorson-history-hugs-and-hometown-politicking-97304 Jackson, Halvorson argue over who's more pro-Obama http://www.wbez.org/story/jackson-halvorson-argue-over-whos-more-pro-obama-96822 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-28/IMG_1272.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/debbie halverson_sam hudzik.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 473px;" title="Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson at a press conference Tuesday. (WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)"></p><p><em>Updated at 12:05 p.m. on March 1, 2012. </em></p><p>Illinois U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., and his Democratic opponent are arguing over who was a more reliable vote in Congress for President Obama. The very existence of the debate was a positive development for Jackson, who's had difficulty moving the election conversation beyond the topic of ethics.</p><p>Jackson's campaign in recent days has pushed the theme "88 times" - the number of votes Jackson said his opponent, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, cast against the wishes of the president during her single term in Congress, from 2009 to 2011. The theme is central to a radio ad featuring U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters and Corrine Brown.</p><p>"Halvorson voted with the Republicans and against President Obama 88 times," Waters, of California, said in the ad.</p><p>"She voted 88 times with the Republicans and 88 times against President Barack Obama? She's crazy!" Brown, of Florida, is heard saying emphatically.</p><p><strong>Halvorson response, Jackson re-response</strong></p><p>In a press conference she called Tuesday to denounce the vote claim, Halvorson pointed to a handful of times she voted with President Obama, when Jackson did not.</p><p>Halvorson also explained that for a lot of the 88 votes in question, the president never stated an opinion. But she acknowledged sometimes siding against the majority of Democrats.</p><p>"Does that automatically mean it's against the...president? No," Halvorson said. "That means that sometimes we have to cross the aisle and take a look at how it is to move this country forward."</p><p>"Democrats should stick together," responded Jackson campaign spokesperson Kevin Lampe. "[Halvorson] is running for the Democratic nomination. She should vote with the Democrats when she's in Congress."</p><p><strong>Dividing voters?</strong></p><p>Also Tuesday, Halvorson said she believed Jackson was trying to "divide [voters] racially" by using the radio ad, even as she acknowledged not hearing it herself. Halvorson said she'd been told it contained "rap music in the background" and was running on two stations geared toward African-American audiences.</p><p>The Jackson campaign distributed a radio ad to reporters it said had to be the one Halvorson was referring to, as it was the campaign's only ad making the "88 times" claim. That ad contained no rap music.</p><p>The newly drawn Second Congressional District, which stretches from Chicago's South Side down to Kankakee, is 54 percent African-American, according to <a href="http://www.ilsenateredistricting.com/phocadownload/releases/SB1178-CongressionalComparison.pdf">Census demographics</a> released by the Illinois General Assembly.</p><p><strong>Endorsement bashing</strong></p><p>The president has endorsed Jackson in the race. Still, as Halvorson pointed out, the president himself hasn't said the words publicly, instead <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/president-obama-stands-jackson-despite-ethics-investigation-96074">relying on aides</a> to confirm his support for the congressman.</p><p>Meanwhile, Halvorson responded to the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>'s <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-2ndcd-20120223,0,7564270.story">endorsement of the incumbent</a>. While noting ethical questions surrounding Jackson that've led to a continued <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/jacksons-staff-sends-handful-campaign-related-emails-congressional-addresses-96412">U.S. House probe</a>, the paper's editorial board wrote last week that the congressman "ran circles around Halvorson in our interview, showing a 16-year incumbent's command of the issues."</p><p>Conversely, the <em>Tribune</em> wrote that Halvorson "is alarmingly unqualified to represent the district."</p><p>"I've never had a very good relationship with the <em>Tribune</em>," Halvorson said Tuesday, before implying the paper had a financial stake in a Jackson victory. "If you're going to sell newspapers, who would you rather cover? Someone who's on the front page or someone who just works hard and creates jobs. And my stories end up...on page 10."</p></p> Wed, 29 Feb 2012 01:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/jackson-halvorson-argue-over-whos-more-pro-obama-96822 Jackson's staff sends handful of campaign-related emails from congressional addresses http://www.wbez.org/story/jacksons-staff-sends-handful-campaign-related-emails-congressional-addresses-96412 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-15/Jesse Jackson Jr AP-File.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 7:45 p.m.&nbsp;</em></p><p>There's a blurring of ethics guidelines at the office of a member of Congress from Illinois. Staff to U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., sent election-related messages from their government email accounts, in apparent violation of U.S. House rules.</p><p>The Chicago Democrat is already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, in part for allegations he used taxpayer-funded resources in his bid to win a Senate appointment in 2008.</p><p>That practice appears to have continued in the past few months, as Jackson prepared for a primary election challenge from former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson.</p><p><strong>The recent emails</strong></p><p>As Halvorson moved toward launching her campaign in September and early October of 2011, WBEZ asked for comment from Jackson's staff. In two instances, the aides sent statements from their government e-mail accounts, once with the subject line "Jesse Jr. statement in response to Halvorson" and another titled “Halverson statement" <em>[sic]</em>.</p><p>In February, an unsolicited press release was sent noting the congressman’s opposition to a proposed immigrant detention center in south suburban Crete, Halvorson's hometown. Deep in that document is a reference to Jackson’s “congressional opponent, Debbie Halvorson,” and a statement from the congressman noting that Halvorson did not speak out on the issue when she was in Congress. The release was sent from a government email account on government letterhead and remains <a href="http://jackson.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=519&amp;Itemid=86">posted</a> on Jackson’s government website.</p><p>This past Monday, an unsolicited email, from a Jackson staff member's government email account, contained nothing but a news clip about how a Super PAC is targeting Jackson in the upcoming election.</p><p><strong>Did they cross the line?</strong></p><p>Shown the four emails, a spokesperson for the House Administration Committee, Salley Wood, said - on their face - the messages "do not conform" to House rules prohibiting the use of government resources for campaign purposes.</p><p>The staff director for the House Ethics Committee, Dan Schwager, said in an email that the committee "does not comment on specific factual allegations."&nbsp;</p><p>Meredith McGeHee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., said she believed all but one of the emails - the news clip regarding the Super PAC - appeared to cross the ethical line.</p><p>"These don’t strike me as particularly egregious examples, but they are inappropriate in my view," McGeHee said. "And an admonishment to all staff as you get close to the election is wise. Because when you start talking about using taxpayer-funded resources, which are only available to incumbents, there’s already such a leg-up that they have. It’s incredibly important to have bright lines and to follow those lines closely."</p><p><strong>The rules</strong></p><p>The House rules make clear a prohibition against using government email accounts for campaign or political purposes.</p><p>"[T]he use of one‘s office desktop computer (including one‘s mail.house.gov e-mail address) to send or receive such communications continues to be prohibited," the rules manual reads.</p><p>In another section, the rules for similar activity are more vague. The manual states that a press secretary "should not give an interview that is substantially devoted to the campaign, or initiate any call that is campaign-related."</p><p>But there is an exception. Press secretaries "in congressional offices may answer occasional questions on political matters, and may also respond to such questions that are merely incidental to an interview focused on the Member‘s official activities."</p><p>In neither of the two instances in which WBEZ requested a response from Jackson's staff was the station asking about the congressman's "official activities" - only his potential re-election campaign.</p><p>Still, McGeHee does not believe these emails rise to the level of a House Ethics Committee investigation. Neither does Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the group Public Citizen, who said in his experience the House Franking Commission has been more lax when it comes to websites and email than with traditional mail.</p><p><strong>Jackson's response</strong></p><p>A statement from Jackson's campaign was released Tuesday afternoon, after having been vetted by lawyers, according to spokesperson Kitty Kurth.</p><p>"The Jackson staff follow the guidelines in the House Ethics manual," Kurth wrote.</p><p>Kurth said the emails in question were all appropriate because of a limited exemption allowing press secretaries to "answer occasional questions on political matters." She said all the emails followed requests from some member of the media.</p><p>In a separate conversation, Kurth said she was not aware of the language in the House manual prohibiting the use of "mail.house.gov" accounts to send or receive campaign emails.</p><p>The campaign's vetted statement also requested that WBEZ reporters not send campaign-related questions to the government email addresses of Jackson's congressional staff "as you continue to put them in to situations which some may find questionable."</p><p>It should be noted that in none of the instances of questionable emails did WBEZ send initial requests for comment to the government email addresses of Jackson's staff.</p><p><strong>Continuing investigation</strong></p><p>These new questions come as Jackson remains under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for his efforts to convince then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint him to the Senate. A big part of that investigation is whether Jackson directed any sort of pay-to-play offer to get the Senate appointment. He strongly denies that and hasn’t been charged with any crime.</p><p>But the other part of the ethics investigation has to do with a similar situation to the one that's arisen in recent weeks: an allegation that Jackson's staff used government resources for political purposes.</p></p> Tue, 14 Feb 2012 22:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/jacksons-staff-sends-handful-campaign-related-emails-congressional-addresses-96412 President Obama stands by Jackson despite ethics investigation http://www.wbez.org/story/president-obama-stands-jackson-despite-ethics-investigation-96074 <p><p><em>Updated at 9:14 p.m.&nbsp;</em></p><p>President Obama's top political advisor is not commenting on the ethics investigation into U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. The president is supporting Jackson in the upcoming Second Congressional District Democratic primary against a former congresswoman, Debbie Halvorson.</p><p>"Well, the president has endorsed him, primarily because there's a long history of friendship between them," David Axelrod said Thursday. "And Congressman Jackson was very supportive of the president when he ran for the U.S. Senate back in 2004. They've worked together on things."</p><p>"That is a friendship and it reflects a friendship," Axelrod added.</p><p>Jackson, of Chicago, faces a rougher than usual re-election this year, as the House Ethics Committee investigates his efforts to win a Senate appointment in 2008 from now-convicted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The congressman denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.</p><p>Axelrod had little to say when asked whether the association with Jackson is a risk for the president.</p><p>"I'm not going to enter into that discussion. You know, let that process run," said Axelrod, who - when pressed - still declined to comment. "By engaging in the discussion, I am - in a sense - commenting on the validy or lack of validity of that, and I'm just not going to engage in that."</p><p>Regardless, Axelrod said the president is unlikely to have much time to campaign for candidates other than himself.</p><p>"I think the best thing he can do for Democrats across the country is be the strongest, most effective presidential candidate he'll be," Axelrod said.</p><p>Still, the endorsement itself sends a message. Jackson's campaign noted it has billboards up, showing the congressman and President Obama, side by side.</p><p>In an statement from her campaign, Halvorson said she is "one of President Obama’s biggest supporters and I always will be."</p><p>"But, this race is about the people of the district," said Halvorson, who served in the Illinois Senate with Mr. Obama. "And, their endorsement is the only one that matters on Election Day.”</p><p>Halvorson represented the old Eleventh U.S. House District for a single term, before losing to Republican Adam Kinzinger in the 2010 election. When congressional boundaries were redrawn last year, her home in south suburban Crete wound up in the Second District, which Jackson has represented since 1995.</p></p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/president-obama-stands-jackson-despite-ethics-investigation-96074 Planned immigrant detention center roils Crete http://www.wbez.org/content/planned-immigrant-detention-center-roils-crete <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-10/Crete_couple_cropped.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Gary and Joyce Freudenberg." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-10/Crete_couple_cropped.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 310px; height: 256px;" title="Gary and Joyce Freudenberg live in an unincorporated area just outside Crete. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Opposition to an immigrant detention center planned for south suburban Crete appears to be growing. About 150 area residents overflowed a Crete Township Hall meeting room Monday night to hear from critics of the project.</p><p>In recent days, meanwhile, both candidates in a tough Democratic primary battle for the area’s U.S. House seat have come out against the plan.</p><p>Immigrant advocates who led the meeting said federal officials are planning a medium-security facility holding foreign nationals awaiting deportation. The speakers voiced concern about the detainees’ human rights.</p><p>Crete residents raised their own issues. “We don’t have a fire department or police department here that can service that,” retiree Robert Hughes said after the meeting. “And if I ever go to sell my house again, who’s going to want to buy my house? I’ll be living three blocks away from the prison.”</p><p>Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced last summer that the agency had “tentatively selected” Crete for the facility, which would be run by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. ICE on Monday sent a statement that says the village, the federal government and CCA are still working on details. “If and when a formal selection occurs, the appropriate notifications will be made,” the statement says.</p><p>Hughes and other Crete residents accused the village of trying to keep the plan a secret.</p><p>Village Administrator Tom Durkin said Crete officials learned about the 750-bed project from CCA in November 2010. He said the village board would hold a hearing before approving the plan: “It’s premature to bring anything to the public yet because, at this point, it’s an idea. It’s not a real project at this point.”</p><p>Durkin said the center would be built on farmland just southeast of Burville Road and Main Street, an intersection less than a mile from Crete Village Hall. He said the facility would generate property taxes and create more than 150 jobs.</p><p>The Democratic primary candidates include Debbie Halvorson, a Crete resident and former U.S. representative who announced her position on the detention center in a WBEZ interview after Monday night’s meeting.</p><p>“The fact that it’s being privately built and managed is one of the problems,” Halvorson said. “We’ve got 12 million people here illegally, they’re not going away, and we can’t keep building more detention centers.”</p><p>Halvorson’s stand followed a Friday statement from the incumbent, Jesse Jackson, Jr. “I don’t want the south suburbs to become famous for prisons and for breaking up families,” the statement says.</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this report misquoted Crete Village Administrator Tom Durkin regarding the amount of property taxes the project could generate.</em></p></p> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 11:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/planned-immigrant-detention-center-roils-crete House probe: Jesse Jackson Jr.'s staff wanted Bill Cosby to pitch Blagojevich for Obama's seat http://www.wbez.org/story/house-committee-continue-probe-jesse-jackson-jr-94546 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/AP1101050121194.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. House ethics committee announced on Friday that it will continue its investigation of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. The panel also released hundreds of pages of documents from the inquiry.</p><p>The ethics committee stressed in a statement that just because it's keeping the investigation open "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred."</p><p>The inquiry centers on whether Jackson was involved in pay-to-play offers, or used taxpayer resources, when the Chicago Democrat tried to win a U.S. Senate appointment from then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>According to testimony at Blagojevich's two corruption trials, supporters of Jackson offered the governor millions in campaign contributions if he appointed Jackson to the Senate.</p><p>The committee on Friday released more than 300 pages, including notes from interviews with the congressman, his staff and his brother. At the bottom of the stack was a copy of talking points prepared by Jackson's staff, apparently intended to help comedian Bill Cosby call Blagojevich to urge Jackson's appointment. The documents do not mention whether Cosby ever made the call.<em> (See page 297 of attached report below)</em></p><p>The documents also include a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/extras/2011-December/2011-12-03/Rep.%20Jesse%20Jackson,%20Jr.%20Response%20to%20OCE%20report.pdf">brief written by Jackson's lawyers</a> that said he "acted honorably at all times" and was never aware of any pay-to-play offers. The lawyers argued that any government resources used in his non-"traditional" campaign for the Senate appointment were "permissible" under exceptions in the House rules.</p><p>In a statement, Jackson said, "For the first time in three years my side of the story will be made public and for that I am grateful."</p><p>Jackson faces a primary election challenge in March from former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who's criticized him for "ethical distractions."</p><p>The ethics committee's investigation had long been stalled at the request of the U.S. Justice Department. The inquiry resumed after Blagojevich's conviction this summer, including on charges that he attempted to profit from his power to appoint a U.S. senator.</p><p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/74536677/Rep-Jesse-Jackson-Jr-OCE-REPORT" style="margin: 12px auto 6px; font: 14px Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; display: block; text-decoration: underline;" title="View Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. OCE REPORT on Scribd">Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. OCE REPORT</a><object data="http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf" id="doc_89322" name="doc_89322" style="outline: medium none;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630" height="900"><param name="movie" value="http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf"><param name="wmode" value="opaque"><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><param name="FlashVars" value="document_id=74536677&amp;access_key=key-1fq8gk6jwymdyenwi91f&amp;page=1&amp;viewMode=list"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#ffffff" id="doc_89322" name="doc_89322" src="http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=74536677&amp;access_key=key-1fq8gk6jwymdyenwi91f&amp;page=1&amp;viewMode=list" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="opaque" width="630" height="900"></object></p></p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 17:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/house-committee-continue-probe-jesse-jackson-jr-94546 Election 2012: Congressional money race http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2012-congressional-money-race-93125 <p><p><em>Updated at 2:46 a.m. on Oct. 17&nbsp;</em></p><p>Campaign finance reports from the third quarter (July – September) were due this weekend to federal election officials. Candidates had to report how much cash they raised (and from whom), how much they spent (and to whom) and how much they have left.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-13/fec.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 151px;" title=""></p><p>Illinois looks to have some super competitive U.S. House races in the March primaries. This is, in part, the result of new district boundaries formed during this year’s redistricting. The once-a-decade process was controlled by Illinois Democrats, as they hold the governor's office and majorities in both chambers of the legislature. Keep in mind, Republicans filed a lawsuit against the new map, and the boundaries could change.</p><p>But, for now, the map is what the map is. So here’s a look at the top-line money situation in a few of the expected primary races in Northern Illinois congressional districts. And if you just can’t get enough of campaign finance data, listen to WBEZ's <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> on Monday morning.</p><p><strong>SOUTH CITY, SUBURBS AND EX-URBS: Illinois’ Second Congressional District</strong></p><p>Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson is running against 16-year incumbent U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. The two have battled for years over control of the non-existent Peotone Airport. Now they’ll battle in a Democratic primary as Jackson’s district absorbs area much farther south. Halvorson announced her campaign about ten days ago. She told me at the time she had some cash left in her account from her 2010 loss, but had not started fundraising for this race.</p><p>“Because I did not want to raise money until I knew I was going to do this, because it wouldn’t be fair to anybody to take their money and then me decide not to do this,” Halvorson said. However, she did claim to have nearly $100,000 in pledged donations, “all in very small amounts.” Those pledges, of course, are not reflected in the totals below.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>DEM primary IL 2</th><th>Cash as of July 1</th><th>Third quarter raised</th><th>Third quarter spent</th><th>Cash as of September 30</th></tr><tr><td>Debbie Halvorson</td><td style="text-align: right;">$221,772.39</td><td style="text-align: right;">$83.66 (interest)</td><td style="text-align: right;">$11,544.86</td><td style="text-align: right;">$210,311.19</td></tr><tr><td>Jesse Jackson, Jr.</td><td style="text-align: right;">$305,818.10</td><td style="text-align: right;">$85,725.00</td><td style="text-align: right;">$132,327.00</td><td style="text-align: right;">$259,215.47</td></tr></tbody></table><p>This is a solidly Democratic seat. The only Republican with paperwork on file with the Federal Election Commission is the Rev. Isaac Hayes. He ran in 2010 against Jackson, but told me last week, “Right now it doesn’t look like I’m running” in 2012. He said he’s focusing on helping Mitt Romney win the Republican nomination for president. (Romney was one of the only established politicians to help Hayes in 2010; his PAC gave Hayes $2,500.)</p><p><strong>NORTHWEST SUBURBS: Illinois’ Eighth Congressional District</strong></p><p>The new 8<sup>th </sup>District is quite a bit more Democratic than it was a year ago, when Tea Partier Joe Walsh upset incumbent U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean. Walsh is likely to run in the new 14<sup>th</sup>, so this is an open seat.</p><p>The Democratic primary is a showdown between two candidates who’ve run big races before and impressed a lot of people, but failed to take home a win. Tammy Duckworth is a Purple Heart-awarded Iraq War veteran and former veterans affairs official at the state and federal levels. She lost a 2006 bid for Congress in the 6<sup>th</sup> District to Republican Peter Roskam.</p><p>Raja Krishnamoorthi is a former campaign advisor to now-President Barack Obama, and a former deputy state treasurer under Alexi Giannoulias. Krishnamoorthi lost the Democratic primary last year for state comptroller to state Rep. David Miller (who ended up getting crushed by Republican Judy Baar Topinka in November).</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>DEM primary IL 8</th><th>Cash as of July 1</th><th>Third quarter raised</th><th>Third quarter spent</th><th>Cash as of September 30</th></tr><tr><td>Tammy Duckworth</td><td style="text-align: right;">$0.00</td><td style="text-align: right;">$478,354.47</td><td style="text-align: right;">$113,016.43</td><td style="text-align: right;">$365,338.04</td></tr><tr><td>Raja Krishnamoorthi</td><td style="text-align: right;">$403,335.51</td><td style="text-align: right;">$313,535.74</td><td style="text-align: right;">$80,874.53</td><td style="text-align: right;">$635,996.72</td></tr></tbody></table><p>Duckworth got into this race a few weeks after Krishnamoorthi, so the cash-on-hand total is a bit misleading. But that's still a considerable advantage for Krishnamoorthi.</p><p>While a number of Republican names have popped up in press reports considering runs for the district, none have filed recently with the FEC.</p><p><strong>NORTH SHORE: Illinois’ Tenth Congressional District</strong></p><p>The 10<sup>th</sup> has become more Democratic under the new map, but freshman U.S. Rep. Robert Dold is still going for re-election. Right now he has a huge cash advantage over the Democrats eying the seat, with just shy of a million dollars on-hand, having raised $376,534 in the quarter. (As is common with sitting members of Congress, he got more than half of those recent donations from political action committees.)</p><p>The Democrats include Ilya Sheyman, a former MoveOn.org organizer and staffer to then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, and business consultant Bradley Schneider.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>DEM primary IL 10</th><th>Cash as of July 1</th><th>Third quarter raised</th><th>Third quarter spent</th><th>Cash as of September 30</th></tr><tr><td>Bradley Schneider</td><td style="text-align: right;">$306,150.46</td><td style="text-align: right;">$179,045.34</td><td style="text-align: right;">$68,178.87</td><td style="text-align: right;">$417,016.93</td></tr><tr><td>Ilya Sheyman</td><td style="text-align: right;">$60,255.30</td><td style="text-align: right;">$151,169.35</td><td style="text-align: right;">$69,911.00</td><td style="text-align: right;">$141,513.65</td></tr></tbody></table><p>Schneider's total raised this quarter includes a $100,000 loan from himself - on the final day of the reporting period. Take that away and his fundraising appears to be stalling.</p><p><strong>NORTH AND WEST EX-URBS: Illinois’ Fourteenth Congressional District</strong></p><p>U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, currently of the old 8<sup>th </sup>District, announced last month that – unless the Democrats’ map is changed – he’ll be running in the new 14<sup>th</sup>. That pits him against the district’s current occupant, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren. Both are Republican, both freshmen who beat Democratic incumbents in the 2010 wave and both are on the more conservative end of the GOP House caucus.</p><p>Where they differ is style. Walsh is a cable TV regular, a flame-thrower, a “fighter” in his words. And he’s already casting Hultgren as a career politician and a go-along-get-along type. Hultgren, a former state legislator, is soft-spoken, and – he argues – more focused on local issues than Walsh is. He’s painting Walsh as erratic and sound-bite driven.</p><table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>GOP primary IL 14</th><th>Cash as of July 1</th><th>Third quarter raised</th><th>Third quarter spent</th><th>Cash as of September 30</th></tr><tr><td>Randy Hultgren</td><td style="text-align: right;">$244,780.47</td><td style="text-align: right;">$186,945.00</td><td style="text-align: right;">$155,915.90</td><td style="text-align: right;">$275,809.57</td></tr><tr><td>Joe Walsh</td><td style="text-align: right;">$472,894.53</td><td style="text-align: right;">$156,099.72</td><td style="text-align: right;">$162,936.47</td><td style="text-align: right;">$466,057.78</td></tr></tbody></table><p>The candidates' cash totals look much like they did at the beginning of the quarter, with both spending roughly what they raised. But Walsh has a definite cash advantage going into the final months.</p><p>No Democrats have recently notified the FEC that they intend to run in this district, which is considered solidly Republican under the new boundaries.</p><p><strong>NORTH CENTRAL STATE: Illinois’ Sixteenth Congressional District</strong></p><p>Youth vs. experience. Energy vs. stability. Freshman vs. ten-termer.</p><p>U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, elected just last year to the 11<sup>th </sup>District, would face fellow Republican Donald Manzullo if the new map holds. Kinzinger will be just 34 when voters go to the polls in March, when the primary rolls around. Manzullo, who’s represented much of the district since 1993, will be just shy of his 68<sup>th</sup> birthday. And there’s going to be a lot of money around to buy up Rockford airtime.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>GOP primary IL 16</th><th>Cash as of July 1</th><th>Third quarter raised</th><th>Third quarter spent</th><th>Cash as of September 30</th></tr><tr><td>Adam Kinzinger</td><td style="text-align: right;">$431,511.86</td><td style="text-align: right;">$212,258.19</td><td style="text-align: right;">$76,757.82</td><td style="text-align: right;">$567,012.23</td></tr><tr><td>Don Manzullo</td><td style="text-align: right;">$222,994.33</td><td style="text-align: right;">$320,392.15</td><td style="text-align: right;">$59,392.07</td><td style="text-align: right;">$483,994.41</td></tr></tbody></table><p>Manzullo really stepped up his game this quarter, but trails Kinzinger due to the freshman's aggressive fundraising earlier in the term.</p><p>No Democrats have recently filed with the FEC to run in this solidly Republican district.</p><p><strong>OTHERS</strong></p><p>Keep an eye on the 11<sup>th </sup>District - though for the general election, not the primary. Former Congressman Bill Foster, a Democrat defeated last year by Hultgren, is looking for a comeback as the party's presumed nominee. He raised nearly $300k these past few months, and has $552,588.36 on hand. And he'll need it, as his likely GOP competition is flush.</p><p>If the map holds, he'll probably face Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, whose 13<sup>th </sup>District was relocated to the southern half of the state, and whose Hinsdale home got swallowed up in Congressman Mike Quigley’s 5<sup>th </sup>District, which extends all the way to Chicago’s North Side. Biggert took in nearly as much as Foster did in the third quarter, but started with a bulging bank account. She now has $886,412.29 at the ready.</p></p> Sun, 16 Oct 2011 17:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2012-congressional-money-race-93125