Edited by Jennifer Davis
"A lot of the things that Penny supported, I will," says Kehoe, who grew up in Missouri and lived in Maryland before moving to Decatur in 1990. "I have to respect her votes, but I believe I also have to find my own positions." He says he will be "active in education and helping working men and women." Kehoe, who says he's worked on campaigns helping to elect Democrats in the states he's lived in, was first elected to the Macon County Board in 1992 and then elected chairman in 1994. He resigned in 1995 due to a conflict of interest with his law firm.
HOUSE SPEAKER ELECTED DEMOCRATIC STATE PARTY CHAIR
They scurried out of the April rain and into the squat brick union hall just south of the Capitol. They greeted each other warmly: pats on the back, kisses on the cheek. Then they got down to the real business of unanimously electing House Speaker Michael Madigan chairman of the state Democratic Party
Now Republicans are complaining that the man once dubbed the "velvet hammer" has too much political control. Madigan laughs it off. He's too busy.
First, he's closing the party's Chicago office, moving the Springfield operation to smaller quarters and opening campaign offices as needed. The central committee will meet once a year, instead of quarterly. He'll appoint a CPA to serve as treasurer, someone who can take full liability for the party's election filings. And he plans to make it easier for the Democrats to endorse candidates.
"My method in the legislature will be my method here: full participation by those who want to participate."
Madigan assumed the chairmanship April 3, one day after House Republicans castigated the speaker for an alleged "ghost-payrolling" contract with a former lawmaker. He noted the timing, saying: "I think they accomplished their purpose in terms of providing some publicity which is not exactly flattering."
Meanwhile, outgoing Chairman Gary LaPaille offered Madigan advice he was given by former Democratic Senate President Phil Rock:
"This is something you want to do once in your life, but only once."
42 / May 1998 Illinois Issues
All Secretary of State George Ryan had to do was pick up the phone. With one call, Ryan can say he cleared the roadblock that has been stifling appointment of federal judges in Illinois. That roadblock: Republican U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas. It has been said Gramm was blocking Illinois' nominations because U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley- Braun blocked his choice for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
After being contacted by a concerned U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Ryan talked with Gramm. Ryan headed Gramm's Illinois campaign for president in 1996. Just two days later, the Senate confirmed the appointments of Michael P. McCuskey and G. Patrick Murphy to the federal trial court benches in the Central and Southern Illinois districts, respectively. "Consideration of these nominees was long overdue, and I am pleased that they finally were confirmed by the Senate," Moseley-Braun said in a release.
" It was a giant fraud on the taxpayers. You were a very integral part. You were the lead man at the gate."
Judge Richard Mills, as reported in The State Journal-Register of Springfield, while sentencing former Public Aid administrator Curtis Fleming to federal prison. Fleming admitted taking cash and gifts from Management Services of Illinois Inc., which had a contract with the state.
MSI INFORMANT SENTENCED
Curtis Fleming, the former Public Aid official who cooperated with officials in last summer's fraud and bribery probe, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.
Fleming's testimony helped convict four others in the Management Services of Illinois Inc. contract scheme that cost the state more than $12 million. MSI, its owners and another former Public Aid official were accused of renegotiating a state contract so the company was paid more for the same work.
Fleming, who faced up to 51 months, pleaded guilty He was charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of misapplication of funds.
Fleming "was a very important witness for the case," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Chesley. "His pleading guilty gave our investigation and prosecution credibility and assisted us in getting information from state agencies that were lukewarm as far as cooperating before."
As of presstime, the remaining MSI defendants — MSI owner William Ladd, former co-owner Michael Martin and former Public Aid official Ronald Lowder — are to be sentenced in mid-May.
Illinois Issues May 1998/ 43
Sam S. Manivong, Illinois Periodicals Online Coordinator