Friday, August 10, 2018

$1 million for a prosecutor? Cheaper to just ‘drop a dime,’ call U.S. attorney

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s effort to buy political supporters for his dream of a second term in office is costing him some money; particularly a $1 million contribution to the Illinois attorney general campaign of Erika Harold.
RAUNER: Trying to 'buy' political allies

Which Rauner says is essential because Harold is necessary to “prosecute” Michael Madigan, the Illinois House speaker whom the governor has based an entire campaign strategy upon calling crooked and corrupt and the reason Illinois has problems to begin with.

OUST MADIGAN, RAUNER would have us think, and Illinois goes back to being the paradise it ought to be.

There’s just one problem with that line of logic.

It really seems that Rauner doesn’t fully comprehend exactly what it is the various officials of Illinois state government do. There’s no way that Harold – if she were to get elected as state attorney general – would be going into any court to file an indictment against Madigan. Or anybody else, for that matter.

The attorney general is the legal counsel FOR state government. Many municipal governments are able to get by with an attorney hired part-time, or perhaps a few full-time attorneys to handle the legal issues they encounter.

ILLINOIS GOVERNMENT IS a big-enough scene that it takes the whole crew that works for the Illinois attorney general’s office to defend it every time a law suit is filed against the state, or any time government officials need legal advice on how to conduct themselves without violating the law. Essentially, Illinois has its own law firm.
MADIGAN: Partisan actions, not criminal

And yes, it may sound odd that the General Assembly (a body by-and-large filled with licensed attorneys) would need legal counsel. Although when you consider the legislators are politicians at heart – and NOT legal experts – it makes sense.

So if anything, if Madigan in the future were to find himself in a predicament with a prosecutor somewhere, it most likely would be that the attorney general would be a part of the team defending him from legal prosecution.

Too many people seem to think the attorney general is some sort of super-prosecutor who oversees all in the criminal justice world. Instead of being more of a civil law expert (and in reality an aspiring politico with a law school degree who wishes to run for an even higher office someday).
HAROLD: What could she do, if she wins?

IN REALITY, IT is the various state’s attorneys scattered around Illinois’ 102 counties who have the authority to go about prosecuting state officials if they think they can prove their actions are harmful to the interests of the people in a criminal manner. If the attorney general really tried to usurp that authority, they’d be the first to complain.

More likely, it is the U.S. attorney’s office (mostly in Chicago, although there also are federal prosecutors in Springfield and Marion) that would be inclined to review state government activity and determine that federal laws are being violated.

While federal prosecutors in the central and Southern Illinois districts traditionally don’t get involved in taking on state government, the activities of the offices of state government located in Chicago certainly aren’t alien turf to the prosecutors based out of the Dirksen Federal Building.
Otto Kerner learned what federal prosecutors could do

Just who do they think it was that challenged (and beat) those “four Illinois governors” who wound up serving time in prison for their activities – along with many other state, Cook County and Chicago municipal officials throughout the years.

I HAVE NO doubt that if Madigan were doing something truly corrupt (and not the Rauner definition of corrupt which mostly is Madigan’s refusal to go along with all the anti-organized labor acts the governor desires in the name of “reform”), there’d be a prosecutor more than willing to make his name off pursuing the case.
THOMPSON: Made his rep on Otto

Similar to the way then-prosecutor James R. Thompson turned his post into four terms as Illinois governor through overseeing the prosecution of then-Gov. Otto Kerner.

So if Bruce Rauner is really making a special donation of $1 million to support Erika Harold’s Republican campaign for attorney general because he expects her to prosecute Madigan (as he’s saying publicly when appearing on radio stations in Southern Illinois), I’d say he’s being foolish, and wasteful of his money.

If he really knows of specific illegal activity, it would be much cheaper for him to follow that old cliché and “drop a dime” to call the U.S. attorney’s office. Otherwise, we can only assume Rauner has got nothin’ on Madigan – which may be the real reason many people won’t vote for Rauner’s re-election come Nov. 6.


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