Monday, October 03, 2005

John Filan on TV: Blagojevich “wouldn’t tolerate that.”

UPDATE: See today's article in the Sun-Times which dovetails nicely with tonight's show. The article goes through the Blago Fundraiser in New York involving Joe Cari and Stu Levine; brings Bill Cellini back to the action--Cellini's name had come back in vogue with the Edgar flirtation with a run; discusses John Rogers, but neglects to mention his role on Blago's CEA and as one of the folks OMB Director took along with him to visit the Pension Board [See end of transcript, here] and finally cites to Blago spokesman Pete Giangreco's argument that when officers of corporations make individual campaign contributions in their own names to pols-- we shouldn't think that maybe their contributions had something to do with their corporations. Come on, Pete-- you are a good guy, but even the Bushies would blush if they made that argument.

Tonight’s “Public Affairs,” show in the City of Chicago features Governor Rod Blagojevich’s OMB Director John Filan. The show airs tonight at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21.

See here for more about tonight’s show, OMB Director Filan and a continuation of the partial transcript of tonight’s show, included, below:
Jeff Berkowitz: As you know, there was a plea agreement that reported, that is, in the plea agreement it was said thatJoe Cari [former Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee], you know Joe, right?

OMB Director John Filan: I don’t know him, but I know who you are referring to.

Berkowitz: He held a fund raiser for the Governor and Stu Levine, you know Stu Levine—

John Filan: I met him at one meeting.

Berkowitz: He [Levine] flew the Governor out to New York [for the fund raiser, and Levine was re-appointed by Gov. Blagojevich to some state boards]. What is reported [in the Plea Agreement] is that Cari said that …Stu Levine said…or it was reported [in the Cari plea agreement with the U. S. Attorney’s office] that “Public Official A,” with two close advisers, had a scheme to get campaign contributions [kickbacks, for the Governor]. Basically, the Pension Board [or someone on the Board] would say, or somehow direct [money managers] to deal with a consultant who really wouldn’t do anything. They [money managers] would pay that consultant and that consultant would give money to the Governor’s campaign. I have paraphrased it, but you are familiar with that—that has been all over the press. [See here, and this includes a link to the Joe Cari Plea Agreement].

John Filan: I have read that, yes.

Berkowitz: So, what [Gubernatorial candidate] Senator Steve Rauschenberger said is that the Governor has to “come clean,” and say what he knows about this because it is now reported in the press that reliable sources say that “Public Official A,” referenced in the Cari plea agreement is the Governor and that Chris Kelly and Tony Rezko are the close advisers [to the Governor referenced in the Plea Agreement] and Kelly and Rezko are well known fundraisers [for the Governor] and involved in other activities. So, that’s what’s out there. And Rauschenberger said even you, John Filan, are a part of this because you deal with the bond houses and how they issue bonds [for the State], as we have been dealing with for the whole show—

OMB Director John Filan: Hmmm, hmmm.

Berkowitz: So, what can you say about that?

John Filan: …I think Senator Rauschenberger knows this clearly—that the Teachers’ Retirement System is not under the Governor. The majority of its [board members] are elected by their peers—

Berkowitz: The people on the Pension Board?

John Filan: by retirees and by current members. So, the Governor’s office has absolutely nothing whatsoever… to do with whatever investments they [the Pension Funds] make in the funds. We send money over there to fund the pension systems, but once it gets there, we have zero involvement. ..I was at the press conference on Friday. I think the Governor was emphatic and clear that he would not tolerate such behavior. The way you characterized it—it was difficult to express…I don’t know what to make of that other than the Governor was very clear that he wouldn’t tolerate that.

Jeff Berkowitz: Yeah, but your critics said that when you started this with the ten billion dollar bond sale-- that you wanted to change--We’re going to continue to speak as the credits roll [See here for a continuation of this partial transcript].
OMB Director John Filan, recorded on September 18, 2005, as is airing on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs tonight, Oct. 3 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at