Political news

Two More Presidential Candidates Pop Up In Illinois

Nov 9, 2015

Presidential contenders have been popping up in Illinois.

That includes two today.

The Illinois primary election is March 15th. That's a full month and a half after the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the race for America's next president.

But some of the top candidates are spending time here. Hillary Clinton campaigned -- and raised money -- in Chicago last week.

Today, Republicans are flying in.

Donald Trump will hold a rally in Springfield tonight. Back up north, former Ohio former Gov. John Kasich is stopping by Chicago's Billy Goat tavern tonight.


The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture says a new international trade partnership will help farmers and ranchers in Illinois. That’s if it gains congressional approval.

But some Chicago representatives are already skeptical of the plan.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, known as TPP, was reached last month. But the details haven’t been released to congress yet.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the partnership will open new market opportunities for the soybean, corn and pork industries in Illinois, among other things.

Hannah Meisel / Illinois Public Radio

Mike Madigan is running for the Illinois General Assembly.

No, the other one.

Urbana businessman and city council member Mike Madigan is running for the 52nd state senate district, he announced Monday in Champaign.

Madigan is the owner of Hickory River restaurants in Urbana, Peoria, Springfield and Decatur and has served on the city council since May 2013. He's the only Republican in that heavily Democratic body.

While he may have the name in common with longtime Democratic House Speaker Madigan, this Madigan says the similarities pretty much end there.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t appear to have high hopes for his next meeting with Democratic leadership.

As Illinois enters its fifth month without a budget, Gov. Rauner and his political opponents have agreed to meet in public in the coming weeks. There, Rauner says they’ll talk about his priorities, which may include limits on collective bargaining, along with raising taxes and how much the state government spends.

All of those topics have been non-starters. That’s why Rauner told reporters he thinks the meeting is more for show, than to come up with a deal.

Hastert Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud

Oct 28, 2015

 Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty in a federal hush-money case. 

The 73-year-old Hastert entered the plea Wednesday in downtown Chicago. Under the plea deal, prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of up to six months.  


The Chicago Tribune reported that nothing new was revealed about the underlying events that led Hastert to withdraw nearly $1 million in cash from four banks over 2½ years.

Cook County

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown is hinting she may sue the county Democratic Party for dropping its endorsement for her re-election bid.

Brown says her cell phone was subpoenaed -- but she hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing. Still, it was enough for Cook County Democrats to reverse course and endorse Ald. Michelle Harris to replace Brown on the Democratic ticket for court clerk.

Brown says she contributed money to the party after it agreed to endorse her earlier this year, and she calls that exchange a contract.


On the state's 113th day without a budget, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner sloughed off critical comments Thursday made by his a pair of his predecessors.

Former Gov. Jim Edgar's still a popular figure within the Illinois GOP, which is why the harsh nature of his recent remarks garnered a lot of attention. Edgar scolded Rauner for putting his pro-business agenda ahead of the budget.

Then another Republican Governor from the past - James Thompson -- also said that Illinois is in the worst position it's ever been.

A lower-profile lawsuit against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert continues to move through the court system.

A judge says he will privately assess records of phone calls between the FBI and one of Hastert’s former business associates. J. David John sued Hastert in 2013, alleging the Yorkville Republican used a publicly funded office to do private business after leaving Congress. 

Hastert’s lawyers want to see the phone records from 2011: the judge says he’ll decide whether he’ll allow that after he reviews them.

Group Trying Again To Reform Illinois Redistricting

Oct 21, 2015

A group pushing for redistricting reform in the state of Illinois is trying for a second time to get an initiative on the ballot. 

Brian Moline talked with Cindi Canary, the Executive Director of Independent Maps.

In Illinois, redistricting is currently done by the state legislature, with the governor having the opportunity to veto. 

Canary said that when one party is in power, the process becomes overly partisan.

Illinois General Assembly

A Chicago Democrat is now calling Republican Governor Bruce Rauner “a gentleman.”

That’s after invoking slavery to illustrate what he says are extreme policies from Rauner.

Kwame Raoul is an African-American state senator representing Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Reporters asked him about meeting Governor Rauner halfway during this budget impasse.

“It depends on what the premise of what he wants,” Raoul said. “He could say he wants to put me in slavery, right? Should I meet him halfway?”