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March 17, 2006

Jacobs-Rumler: Politics as usual, or not?

Those many among us who complain regularly about our political system will never get a better chance than Tuesday to vote against "politics as usual."

In the Democrats' 36th District state senate primary, Mike Jacobs is the politics as usual guy. Paul Rumler is un-politics as usual.

Politics as usual granted Jacobs the incumbency. The sitting senator resigned; thus empowering the district's Democratic Party chairmen to appoint a replacement; they appointed the sitting senator's son. Politics as usual.

In order to accept the senate seat, Jacobs gave up his work-from-home job as a 'downstate liaison' for Secretary of State Jesse White. How he got that job was described by the then-sitting senator to the Associated Press in 2000: "I put in a word for him to get the job," Denny Jacobs said. `"Jesse said, 'If I can do something for him, I'll do it.' " Politics as usual.

The then-sitting senator, who is now a lobbyist for clients including Arlington Park Race course and AT&T Illinois, turned over $100,000 from his campaign fund to that of the new senator. Politics as usual.

Jacobs has since added at least $195,000 to the fund, from every corner of the map. The unions put in a lot of money.The Manufacturers PAC just gave him $4,000. Local heavyweights like Deere, Riverstone and Mid-American Energy are donors. The casinos are generous, too. The docs, the pharmacists and the insurance people all have put money in the pot. Even the local chamber of commerce tossed in $500. Politics as usual.

Some outside group with no "official" connection to his campaign spent $27,000 making phone calls in which the caller wrongly said Jacobs is the only pro-choice candidate in the race. Politics as usual.

Rumler has none of the politics-as-usual going for him. He's young, 26, grew up in Moline, went to Black Hawk College (Distinguished Academic All-American), then on to Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies(Summa Cum Laude), then a series of high-value internships with various legislators, including U. S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

In short, he's one of those smart kids we're always saying we want to come home and get involved, when they finish their education.

He's raised about $5,000 so far. He's done none of the media-chasing most candidates do. Hasn't called a press conference since the one in which he announced his candidacy. Tracked downed a couple of times by reporters seeking comment on some Jacobs gaffe, he's passed on the chance to be critical.. Very un-politics as usual.

He's impressed most everyone who've talked with him much.The Dispatch/Argus, in endorsing Jacobs because of his experience said of Rumler, "We were impressed with (his) commitment, as well as his thoughtfulness and grasp of the challenges facing the district."

Jacobs, if he's elected, may well turn out to be a good legislator, if he's a learner.

Rumler, for all his potential, might not.

So comes Tuesday and choices...

A commenter here recently disparaged Rumler's chances with a question: "Has the Rock Island County Democratic machine changed?"

The answer then, and now, is no, the Rock Island County Democratic machine hasn't changed. The real question is: Has Rock Island County changed?

We'll know the answer come Wednesday morning, when the counting's done.

Posted by jcb at March 17, 2006 10:01 AM


“After graduating from college in 2001, he worked for Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson as her Legislative Aide and then Legislative Director.”
- excerpt from Mr. Paul Rumler’s Resume


Boston Herald Audit Reveals More Tax Delinquents

Not surprisingly, 6 Boston Democrats have been found to have let their tax bills go astray. The hyprocrites: Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, Rep. Gloria Fox (and let's not forget Marie St. Fleur).

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (D-Roxbury) has a long history with personal and campaign financial woes. She served six months in a halfway house after pleading guilty in 1997 to failing to pay $51,000 in federal income taxes.

- Feb. 28, 2006
hub politics

State Senator Dianne Wilkerson last spring steered a $500,000 state contract to a nonprofit organization run by Bruce C. Bolling, a political ally who was fighting state auditors' accusations that he misspent a similar amount of money as a consultant to highway agencies.

Wilkerson attached, with no debate or a roll call, an amendment in May to a sweeping construction systems bill directing that the Massachusetts Economic Development Authority make "not less than $500,000" available to Bolling's group ...

Wilkerson and Bolling, a former City Council president, are longtime political allies. He donated $350 to her campaign within three weeks after Wilkerson slipped the $500,000 amendment into the construction reform bill. His wife also serves as a political adviser to Wilkerson.
- The Boston Globe
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Wilkerson boosts an ally already facing audit problem
Bolling group got contract

Wilkerson's finances draw state lawsuit: Accounting of campaign cash probed
By Maggie Mulvihill
Thursday, September 29, 2005 - Updated: 05:09 PM EST

1. E-mail article View text version View most popular

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, whose stint in politics has been marred by campaign finance and tax violations, was sued by state officials yesterday for refusing to document nearly ,000 in questionable use of campaign funds over a two-year period, including purchases of pizzas.

Attorney General Tom...

Mass. Lawmakers on Wrong Side of Tax Laws

BOSTON, Feb. 8, 2006
(AP) Marie St. Fleur was a candidate for lieutenant governor for less than 24 hours before she had to drop out over unpaid taxes and student loans, leaving voters to ask how a key player in crafting the state budget could make such a mess of her own checkbook.

It is a question Massachusetts voters have asked themselves before.

Massachusetts, dubbed "Taxachusetts" years ago for its tax-happy ways, seems to churn out scofflaw lawmakers unable or unwilling to pay their own taxes on time.

To some, the most galling thing of all is that some of Massachusetts' tax-delinquent lawmakers have strongly opposed efforts to cut taxes.

"It takes a special type of chutzpah to say, `I am going to raise your taxes, but I'm not going to pay them myself,'" said Republican analyst Jim Nuzzo.

Last March, the Boston Herald reported that six members of the 160-member House failed to file tax returns in recent years. Whether Massachusetts is any worse than other states is not at all clear.

Republicans like Nuzzo say a big explanation for all the tax-delinquency cases in Massachusetts is the Democrats' lock on the vast majority of elected offices in the state.

"Because this is a commonwealth where Democrats just win, there is no one to hold them accountable," he said.
In fact, for most rank-and-file lawmakers, unpaid taxes are not a career-killer.

In 1997, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson pleaded guilty to failing to file tax returns from 1991 to 1994. She was sentenced to house arrest, then sent to a halfway house for 30 days by a federal judge after twice breaking a 9 p.m. curfew.

The Boston Democrat said she did not file because she had received a death threat and had to hire bodyguards, leaving her with no money to pay her taxes.

Voters in Wilkerson's district overwhelmingly returning her to office with 74 percent of the vote in 1998. She is now facing a campaign finance lawsuit filed by the state attorney general alleging she failed to report nearly $27,000 in donations and refused to explain more than $18,000 in personal reimbursements.

MMVI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sen. Wilkerson gets house arrest in tax case
1. "TYPE=PICT;ALT=Photo"

By Glen Johnson, Associated Press writer
BOSTON -- A Boston state senator who failed to file tax returns for four years in a row was sentenced yesterday in federal court to serve six months of home detention and two years of probation. Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, 42, must be at home from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., but won't have to wear an electronic bracelet, U.S. District Judge Edward Harrington ruled. She also will be permitted to attend late-night Senate sessions, if necessary.

Wilkerson also was required to pay back the money she owes the Internal Revenue Service, plus $2,100 in fines and court costs.
"The payment of taxes is not a personal matter. It is a public obligation. To fail to do so is a crime against the public," said Harrington, in an apparent rebuke to Wilkerson who had publicly described the case as a "personal tax matter."
Harrington said it was "arrogant" for state lawmakers not to pay their taxes.
"Those who tax others, should themselves pay taxes," he said.


Posted by: MrDemocrat at March 17, 2006 10:16 AM

It's time to get rid of all this cronyism and nepotism that has run rampant for years. Politicians are supposed to represent us, the people of the 36th. I wasn't a Senator's son. My Dad didn't give me a work from home job making $55,000.00 a year. My Dad didn't give me a job as a Senator. I cannot relate to Mike Jacobs, and I cannot stand the negative tactics that he has chosen to use in this campaign.

I can relate to Rumler. He came from modest roots; I believe his Mother is a teacher. He's worked hard to achieve in school, and he worked hard to EARN the jobs he's had. The job with the Whip is most impressive. Steny Hoyer is a hugely respected legislator.

I met Paul. He came to my home while passing out flyers. He is the type of person I want representing ME. I don't care much for politicians that brag about how much money they've raised from Big Tobacco or other special interest groups. Rumler doesn't have that baggage. Rumler doesn't owe any favors to anyone.

I hope that the voters are energized, because this may be their only chance to actually choose their representation. If Jacobs gets elected, despite all the negative press he's received, etc., it will prove that nobody's vote matters, except for the machine.

People please vote. Please tell your neighbors to vote. Tell your children to vote. Our representation shouldn't be chosen by the machine.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 10:24 AM

No one in the Jacobs family was born with silver spoons in their mouth. Not by a long shot.

Jacobs has a masters degree in political science from what I have read.

I have seen nothing negative from the Jacobs camp in his mailings or on television, even in the media regarding his opponent.

Rumler came to my door. I wasn't impressed at all.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 10:45 AM

Not sure what the boss' problems have to do with the employee...

Here's a couple of links:

Wilkerson's Senate website

For Wilkerson, new scrutiny and new resolve -- Boston Globe, Jan. 22, 2006

MassScorecard on Wilkerson

Posted by: jcb at March 17, 2006 10:48 AM

My vote goes to Rumler

Posted by: em resident at March 17, 2006 12:53 PM

I've thought about the SNEM thing a lot and how Denny thought he could just "give" his senate seat to his boy. You can say a lot about Denny Jacobs, both good and bad, but I don't think anyone would dispute that he is a canny and savvy politician. I wonder why he had the tin ear about the coronation of his boy? Same for the Politburo. Didn't anyone in the RICO Democrat leadership anticipate a backlash towards this arrogant move? Did Denny do it just because he could? Didn't he see how this could send the wrong message and annoy other Democrats, let alone the rest of us? I really don't understand this Denny/Politburo move, unless Denny was blinded by fatherly love, and Politburo just wanted to send a "screw you" message to the voters. In this way, it just doesn't make sense----they all should have known better.

All that said, there is still a very real possibility that SNEM will really get elected (not just in his mind) on Tuesday, although I'll be doing my part to see that it doesn't happen.

Posted by: paladin at March 17, 2006 01:22 PM

I know it's popular to come out against "politics as usual" but we should consider that "politics as usual" delivers some good news to the district. That good news, recently, has been construction of the West Rock River Bridge. The start of the WIU-QC campus.
The MARK of the Quad Cities. Just a few for starters. Sometimes "politics as usual" isn't so bad.

Posted by: anonymous at March 17, 2006 01:37 PM

Rumler has my vote as well. Mike's arrogance resonates from his personal appearances and quotes in the paper.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 02:00 PM

$2000.00 for that Mikey, what a waste. Must have been some other fringe benefits...

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 02:01 PM

Anon 1:37 p.m. -- If "politics as usual" had only a negative side, there'd be no question who'd win.

It is "politics as usual" that benefits our communities in the ways you mention. Those projects were achieved over decades of sustained effort, and some, like WIU, will take additiional years of the same.

Who would be the best person to make that effort is the question. The dark side of "politics as usual" has stunted what otherwise should have been an informative discussion of goals and ideas.

From the dark side, phone-banks spread distortion, money representing both sides of issues pours in, debates are dodged, all who ojbect are subjected to vicious personal attack...

The politics that benefit our community can be played without that sort of coarsening of civic life.

Posted by: jcb at March 17, 2006 02:05 PM

Thank you John for pointing out how Mike Jacobs has circumvented, sorry Mike, I'll use a smaller word, sidestepped the democratic process. How is avoiding a debate ever in the best interest of the community? God forbid the issues get discussed in a public setting.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 02:10 PM

As posted in the Capital Fax:

So the AG is the daughter of the Speaker, the Comptroller is the former Assessor's kid, Ramey is Pate's stepson, McAuliffe took his dad's spot, Osmond her husband's, Demuzio her husband's, Phelps his uncle's, Jacobs his dad's.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 02:25 PM

Where 30 people will show up (half of them student's who don't vote here)?

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 02:26 PM

Boy what a time to drop that irrelevant info the masseuse dug up with a Google search! Money well spent Sen. Jacobs. Touche.

Posted by: anonymous at March 17, 2006 04:08 PM

Oh there is more than that. Just wait. Rumler hasn't even been forthright.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 17, 2006 05:29 PM

Anonymous 3-17 10:45...

Maybe not a silver spoon, but as Anne Richardson famously said of Bush Sr., he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

Posted by: Petroleum V. Nasby at March 18, 2006 03:59 AM

Mike, I can't believe you take time to post on here without even the slightest attempt at disguising yourself. Frankly I think it's ridiculous that our Senator spends so much time on Blogs.

And, are you threatening Rumler? Nice style from our Senator.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 18, 2006 08:12 AM

Speaking of politics as usual, the Taking A Crack At It guy has a depressing post about what will happen if Lane Evans either steps down before November, or waits until after the election to Pull A Denny(tm).

TACAI says that the Democrat Chairmen of each county in the 17th Dist. would vote on a replacement, the votes being weighted, with RICO getting more of a say---20%. TACAI says the usual hacks are waiting in the wings---with bated breath, I'm sure. So look forward to a Congressman Denny, Denny Jr., or Boland. Denny Jr. and Boland woud be a nice double play because the Politburo could then make two appointments.TACAI also mentions Schweibert, whom I could support, but he probably isn't sufficiently indebted to the Politburo to get the vote. So it looks like our only chance to break out of the Politics As Usual Cycle Of Hackery, is to solidly defeat Evans (and SNEM) at the polls in November. Hey, fantasies can come true!

To anon@5:29 PM. Ohhhhh goody! I can't wait for the Jacobs Smear Machine to swing into action and elevate our civic discourse (snort!snicker!guffaw!).

Posted by: paladin at March 18, 2006 10:32 AM

Someone tell me what exactly SNEM is, called me dumb I guess. Unfortunateley this blog will not be read by many, because frankly politics is boring and very few pay attention. Hence the reason our area does not change our representation based on their lack of "doing a whole lot" for the QC. The Milan- RI bridge - big deal, who's to say that could not have been carried on by a newbee in office. And what else has Denny given us.....hmmmm..hmmm. oh Gambling, but who is winning there- Rock Island only in the IL QC's. What else has Denny really done that has meant New JObs, saved jobs, better education, better taxes, what, can someone come up with somthing??????

Posted by: Let's get serious at March 18, 2006 01:19 PM

I didn't know that Rumler passed up opportunities to bash Jacobs (as pointed out by JCB). That certainly is a change from "politics as usual". Rumler gets my vote for staying positive, and running a clean campaign, without any tainted money.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 18, 2006 02:04 PM

Wow, I just got an automated call from PersonalPac. They are still proceeding with the abortion thing. How can they do that? They know that it's slander. How can Mike Jacobs give them the go ahead to do that, knowing that what they are saying is false?? Dirty politics.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 18, 2006 02:44 PM

Wake up people - Jacobs has nothing to do with PersonalPac making the calls. DUH

Posted by: Anonymous at March 19, 2006 09:57 AM

If he's got nothing to do with them, he should clearly disavow them, and ask that PersonalPac cease and desist.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 19, 2006 12:02 PM

He certainly has something to do with it. He's accepted over $27,000.00 from them. Just plain dirty.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 19, 2006 03:54 PM

Has anyone called Jacobs' campaign manager Pat O' Brien for an explanation of the robo calls?

Posted by: anonymous at March 19, 2006 11:17 PM

No jcb the Democratic machine did not chage. Jacobs is firmly in control of the machine!

Posted by: theend at April 2, 2006 04:10 PM