Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ice Miller Partner Plans To Seek Illinois GOP Gubernatorial Nomination

Robert Schillerstrom, Chairman of the DuPage County Board and a partner in Ice Miller's Public Affairs Group's office in DuPage County, Illinois, plans to seek the 2010 Republican Illinois gubernatorial nomination according to the Sun-Times. "There's an obvious leadership crisis in Illinois," Schillerstrom said. "We've become the laughingstock of the nation."

Schillerstrom is a certified member of the Combine, as Chicago Tribune political columnist John Kass has dubbed those politicians of both parties in Illinois who collaborate on self-dealing endeavors as opposed to promoting the true principles of their respective parties. Last year, Illinois political blogger Rich Miller asked if Schillerstrom had started lining his pockets with Democratic money. Miller's basis for asking that question was a story by the Daily Herald's Eric Kroll discussing Schillerstrom's new-found status as an Ice Miller attorney. "One of the most powerful Republicans in DuPage County is using his Democratic ties to enrich his private law practice on bond deals while awarding allies of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Gov. Rod Blagojevich taxpayer-funded lobbying contracts," Kroll wrote. “There is no relationship between what I do governmentally and what (my law firm) does,” Schillerstrom told the Daily Herald. “People can say that, and talk is cheap. But it’s simply not true. There’s no quid pro quos.” Kroll's report on Schillerstrom's Ice Miller work continued:

Schillerstrom’s law firm has made at least $421,750 in legal fees for work on bond deals at the Democrat-controlled Illinois Finance Authority, Illinois Housing Development Authority and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, a Daily Herald analysis found.

The money comes as Schillerstrom awarded a $100,000 taxpayer-funded contract to a lobbyist who works for Victor Reyes, Democratic Mayor Richard M. Daley’s former patronage chief who also is being investigated by federal prosecutors in a government corruption probe.

In addition, Schillerstrom hired a former Daley press aide to a much-criticized $107,000-a-year contract to do public relations work despite already having a county staff member to handle that task. And Schillerstrom awarded an $80,000-a-year lobbying deal to John Wyma, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s key adviser and fund-raiser, to lobby on the county health department’s behalf the past two years. The Blagojevich administration controls the state agencies where Schillerstrom’s law firm got the bond work.

All of the deals flowing in both directions come after Schillerstrom changed DuPage’s long-standing opposition to O’Hare International Airport expansion that Daley long has coveted. The Daily Herald previously reported that Schillerstrom collected more than $46,000 from O’Hare contractors in the year leading up to that change of position, an amount that has grown since then as Schillerstrom flirted with and then dropped a run for governor.

“I don’t think so,” said Schillerstrom when asked if he was trying to get closer to the Daley administration.

“As the area becomes Democratic, I’m dealing with more Democrats than I have in the past.”After years on his own in private practice, Schillerstrom joined Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller in November 2004. The firm brought Schillerstrom in as its Illinois rainmaker, charged with getting new business.“

Mr. Schillerstrom will be engaged in the growth of Ice Miller’s Illinois presence in the areas of public finance, general corporate representation and litigation, real estate, labor and governmental affairs,” the company wrote. Shortly thereafter, the company began getting more work as bond legal counsel on deals from Democrat-controlled boards. Ice Miller’s presence in Illinois government bond deals has grown significantly since Schillerstrom came on board, according to records in industry publication the Bond Buyer . . .Schillerstrom’s been so successful at rainmaking that Ice Miller recently opened up a new DuPage office in Lisle after acquiring the suburban practice of another Chicago firm.

“I’d like to think that is true, that I have brought in some business for Ice Miller and I’ve had some success doing that,” Schillerstrom said. “But there is no relationship between what I do governmentally and what Ice Miller does.”

Yeah, right. If the GOP nominates this self-dealing sell-out in next year's gubernatorial race, the party will deserve the trouncing it most assuredly will get at the polls. If Illinois voters are lucky, they'll have a real choice in next year's gubernatorial race.


M Theory said...

Maybe the list would be shorter if we could have the names of politicians who are not part of the combine in Illinois.

Gary R. Welsh said...

That would be a pretty short list. They've done a good job driving out the do-gooders from Illinois politics in both parties.