Psst. Wanna hear a secret? Gov. Pat Quinn went to Mexico on a trade mission last week.
Quinn’s office treated the trip as very hush-hush right up until his departure on Wednesday. The office put out a press release announcing the trip about 8:30 p.m. Monday. The release noted that the information contained in it was embargoed until 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. In other words, the news media wasn’t supposed to put out any stories about the trip until early Tuesday morning.
Of course, the embargo might have been more meaningful if The Associated Press hadn’t caught wind of the trip and put out a story 6 days before Quinn’s office officially announced it.
Moreover, it turned out that newspapers in Mexico City had stories about the trip 2 days before the AP.
So much for secrecy.
“Water is something that brings us all together on planet Earth,” Quinn said in explaining that water-resource issues would be part of his trade mission to Mexico.
Along those lines, Quinn said he’d like to pursue a sister lake relationship with Mexico. Presumably, it would be like the well-known sister cities deal that’s been going on with municipalities for some time, only involving water.
It was unclear whether Quinn was thinking big picture with Lake Michigan or more downstate with Lake Springfield.
The Illinois Policy Institute backs House Bill 3303, which would freeze pension benefits for teachers, state employees, and others at their current levels and move them into a 401(k)-style plan.
Awhile back, a House committee held a hearing on the bill. Shortly after that, the IPI issued a press release crowing about how 259 people filed witness slips in favor of the bill and only 10 filed in opposition.
Let’s take a look at those slips, shall we? Number eight on the list is a Diana Rickert. She lists herself simply as “citizen” in the box where witnesses are asked to identify whom they are representing. Most of the time, these witness slips are filled out by lobbyists, and they identify some association or other interest group they are representing that has a stake (pro or con) in a bill.
Now, if you go to the IPI website, you will see a Diana Rickert listed as director of media relations for the group.
So much for that spontaneous outpouring of support for the bill.