Monday, April 11, 2005

O'Malley on Spending, Ethics, Rod and Net Worth-- and on TV

Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” features one of eight possible March, 2006 Republican Primary Candidates for Governor: Pat O’Malley. The show airs throughout the City of Chicago at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].

A partial transcript of the show with Pat O’Malley is included, below. Additional partial transcripts of the show with O’Malley are linked to in the body of this blog entry.

Pat O’Malley was a state senator for ten years before he gave up his seat to run in the 2002 Republican Primary for Governor, coming in second to Jim Ryan.
Possible Republican Candidate for Governor Pat O’Malley debates and discusses with Show Host and Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz corruption and ethics in State Government, Pay to play, Gov. Blagojevich, Ald. Mell and Chris Kelly; tax increases, pledges and cuts; jobs, state budget deficits, government productivity improvements, DCFS and state government spending in Illinois; O’Malley’s net worth and self- funding of his campaign; his potential competitors for the Guv nomination; guns, gays, God and abortion; Airports, Reform and much, much more.
Patrick O’Malley: …I think what you have to do is look at government [and] everything within state government; nothing should be immune from being investigated and decided whether or not we can achieve its goals and purposes with the same or less money than we are already spending.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, basically it’s a way of looking but not necessarily by an [across the board cut] rule—just looking where there are areas where you can improve productivity, cut out waste and you are saying you could find two billion dollars of cuts in spending to balance the budget.

Patrick O’Malley: I would suggest to you that we could find more than that.

Jeff Berkowitz: …How much more?

O’Malley: No, I’m not going to--

Berkowitz: Would you like to go back to the 1999 levels of spending?

O’Malley: Oh, I’d love to go back to the—

Berkowitz: Could we do that?

O’Malley: I’d like to go back to the 1992 levels.

Berkowitz: Could we do that?

O’Malley: I don’t think it’s achievable in the short term. However, government has to start growing the other way. We have to quit spending the taxpayer’s money frivolously

Berkowitz: Okay…It’s much in the news about Pay to Play. We hear about toll roads and we hear about people getting contracts [for items] on toll roads and getting franchises in an oasis, and so forth. The allegation is that these folks are fundraisers for Governor Rod Blagojevich. They are otherwise connected with Governor Rod Blagojevich. And, so the phrase comes up that is well known in Illinois for a long time. Pay to play. Is that the case and what would you do about it if you were Governor?

O’Malley: Well, I think what you are asking is whether or not this current Governor is actually engaging in that. Let me change it a little bit if I could. When I ran [for Governor] in 2002, I ran on a reform blank. We were going to change the way we did in business in Illinois in politics and in our government. Mr. Blagojevich embraced the same ideals eventually when he ran in the general election [against Jim Ryan].

Berkowitz: The same ideals that you talked about?

O’Malley: Yes. And, it’s one thing to talk about them; it’s another thing to do them. And certainly the appearance of what’s going on is not good. And, if we say too much more—who knows, we could have one of his friends at the trial bar filing a suit against both of us for whatever we might say. After all, he went after his father—father-in-law.

Berkowitz: Well, he and Chris Kelly went after his father [in-law].

O’Malley: That’s correct.

Berkowitz: Or, at least he [Gov. Blagojevich] went after his father [in-law] orally. Chris Kelly, I guess, threatened a lawsuit [against Ald. Dick Mell, the Governor’s father-in-law], right?

O’Malley: Right. But, the appearance of it stinks. And, this is what- this is what motivated the voters in 2002 to want change. The Republican Party base understands that that change is necessary.

Berkowitz: If you ran, that would be a plank, again?

O’Malley: Absolutely.

Berkowitz: You would be running on that reform. You know, you would need to get money, how much could you self fund-- yourself. [The transcript of the dialogue with O’Malley on this topic continues].
Berkowitz: I’ve taken a pledge. I’m going to ask every candidate [for Governor] I’ve said, who is on this set, what his net worth is? I’ve said that to Ron Gidwitz, I’ve said that to Jim Oberweis. Let me be fair. I am going to say that to Pat O’Malley. What is your net worth?

O’Malley: I am not going to tell you what my net worth is. But, I’ve never hidden the fact that my wife and I have lived and achieved the American Dream and continue to do so every day.

Berkowitz: …Maybe we should have a procedure where you take a pledge—you say your net worth when you go into office and [you report] your net worth when you go out. Then the voters can figure out—Did something happen here? You know, shouldn’t they know what your net worth is. Why would you not want to tell them?

O’Malley: Why should they? Why should they?

Berkowitz: Well, they want to know. They’d like to know the wealth of the individual—

O’Malley: I am not hiding the fact that I am well to do.

Berkowitz: Why not tell them the exact number? Why play games?

O’Malley: Laughter.

Berkowitz: Well, is there an answer?

O’Malley: The answer is obvious to you.

Berkowitz: Well, it’s not obvious to me but we are going to go on—casinos.
Former “Fab 5” State Senator Pat O'Malley (R), one of eight possible candidates in the March, 2006 Republican Primary for Governor, recorded on March 26, 2005 and as is airing on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs tonight, April 11 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at