Monday, June 06, 2005

Judy to Blago, Mike and Emil: The Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet.

State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka was interviewed yesterday on WTTW's Chicago Sunday by Phil Ponce, and my guess is that the interview will air again sometime this week on WTTW's Chicago Tonight. Topinka argued that the legislation delaying pension payments this year by about a billion dollars was the equivalent of the State taking on new debt and therefore required not a simple majority vote, but a three-fifths approval by the legislature.

Topinka has referred this debt issuance issue to Attorney General Madigan and hinted someone “from the outside,” perhaps someone on one of the affected pension boards, might file a lawsuit on this issue, even if Lisa does not bite. Judy Baar said she expected AG Madigan to act independently, as she said she has in the past, of her father- Speaker Mike- who apparently was the deal closer, if not architect, of the pension deal.

Topinka also said, “This budget may not be a done deal,” and she implied the outcome on the debt issuance issue could affect her decision to run for Governor. Topinka said she would decide this summer if she will be a candidate for governor.

The Ponce interview was about 10 minutes, with Phil taking Topinka softly through her paces on the Alan Keyes mess and the money woes of anyone running against the 20 million dollar fuel injected Hot Rod, but staying away from the broad range of issues that might be of interest to the Republican Party base.

Judy Baar filters her polls through Rich Miller and Lynn Sweet and Tiptoes through the Tulips with Ponce. Not bad work if she can get away with it. And, so far, it seems to be working. However, one of these days she will have to answer some tougher questions, and then what?

Like Rauschenberger, Topinka did say it would be nice if the party were to rally around one candidate. Good Luck, perhaps Steve and Judy can drug Jim Oberweis and the five other Republican potential guv candidates and they will agree to having the party elders [with Topinka and Raushenberger differing markedly on who those people are] decide the primary winner this summer.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at