GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady is calling on
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate a large campaign
contribution that Gov. Pat Quinn received from Chicago-area Teamsters
unions. Brady is highlighting the fact that the donations came shortly
before Quinn issued an amendatory veto of legislation reforming the governance of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (known as "McPier")
-- a bill that the union opposed. Quinn responded that it is
hypocritical for Brady -- who voted in favor of legislation that
benefited his personal business -- to be calling for an investigation.
As the GOP (and the bank lobbyists on which they rely) try to chip away at the U.S. Senate financial reform bill, rumors are swirling that lawmakers may strike a deal
forcing federal regulators at the new Consumer Financial Protection
Agency to preempt stronger state consumer financial protections. In the
House, Rep. Melissa Bean led the charge for such language, finally agreeing on a compromise measure to allow for preemption on a case-by-case basis. Now, if the bankers get their way, the Senate may limit the reach of state laws even more. "This essentially takes cops off the beat," writes FireDogLake's David Dayen, "at a time when we should be adding them."
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan fought Bean's effort last winter. On Friday, she released another strong statement warning the Senate to proceed with caution. "In
a time of global economic crisis," she said, "we clearly need more
enforcers of consumer protection laws, not fewer." Read it here.
The Lisa Madigan/Supreme Court speculation continues, thanks to a Slate survey that lists her as one of 22 potential nominees to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. In an interview with the Sun-Times' Abdon Pallasch over the weekend, the Attorney General downplayed her chances but said
"it's flattering to even be mentioned as someone who
might be considered." Pallasch, however, predicts that she would face little resistance if nominated. While pro-choice, she
has backed Illinois' abortion parental notification law, arguing that local officials must enforce the state statute. "[Conservatives]
can criticize her for being the daughter of a powerful politician,"
Pallasch adds, "but they won't be able to point to
any scandals in the attorney general's office under her tenure."
It's a long shot, sure. But there's been some chatter in the past week that the White House might consider Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan as a replacement for John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. As a guest on Bill Cameron's WLS Radio show yesterday, Ray Long of the Tribune and Greg Hinz of Crain's discussed the possibility (H/T Eric Zorn):
Hinz and Long went on to agree that, if Obama ultimately nominates a Chicagoan, federal judge Diane Wood is a much more likely choice. (You can listen to the full segment here.)
Still, the Madigan idea is still fun to contemplate. When declining to run for U.S. Senate last year, she cited a desire to stay close to her young family. Yet somehow I think the family would be moving to D.C. if this opportunity came her way.
U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) has finally put an end to the waiting game over the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). Late last week, he released a draft bill (PDF) outlining how the watchdog agency would take shape. Unfortunately, the banking-friendly "compromise" brokered in the House by Illinois' own Melissa Bean will stand. And consumer advocates like Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan aren't pleased with the outcome: “State enforcement is critical to helping rein in the banks’ abusive practices that have led to today’s economic crisis,” she said in a statement today. "We must be allowed to continue investigating abusive practices by lenders who are doing business within our borders.”
Consumer advocates' other major gripe with Dodd's bill is that it would scrap the stand-alone CFPA all together and instead create a different agency -- the Bureau of Financial Protection (BFP) -- in the Treasury Department. Read the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim for more on the potential problems with this aspect of the plan.
Dodd's committee should vote on the measure this week. Stay tuned.