Short-Term Appointment is Deciding Vote on Taxes, Death Penalty

As published on The Welles Park Bulldog News, by Patrick Boylan

Kathleen C Moore, a retired school teacher from Lincoln Park, was appointed by 11th legislative district Democratic committeemen to fill the term of John Fritchey late last year. During her short term in office Moore voted on more than twenty bills. Her votes include being the deciding vote on both a $6 billion increase in personal income taxes and a moratorium on the Illinois death penalty.

(Patrick Boylan/Welles Park Bulldog)

The appointment of Moore was made despite Ann Williams’ (D-Hamlin Park) election to the post in the November 2010 election. Williams was sworn in as the 11th District state legislator on January 12th.

Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D- Boys Town) told The Bulldog Moore was one of many people considered by the committeemen to replace Fritchey. “Ann Williams was unavailable to be seated,” Feigenholtz said.

Feigenholtz said Moore has “been an active member of the community for a long time.” She said, “the Moore’s have lived in Lincoln Park for decades and are active members of St. Clement’s Church.”

The 11th district became open on December 28th following the resignation of John Fritchey (D- DePaul West). Fritchey was elected to the Cook County Board in the election. Fritchey was sworn into his county board seat on December 6th.

Under Illinois law, committeemen of the party that won the seat meet to consider filling the vacancy. The committeemen vote on a replacement with their vote weighted according to the vote of the winning candidate.

In this case, the committee used the weight from Fritchey’s unopposed 2008 run. If they had been replacing Ann Williams, they would have used the 2010 election returns.

According to Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the Better Government Association, the committeemen choose Moore because Williams’ vote for the tax increase was not certain. “There were questions about how she would vote if a tax plan was on the lame-duck agenda.” Shaw wrote on the BGA site Williams claims that local Democratic leaders, including Fritchey and Senate President John Cullerton, wanted her commitment to support the tax hike before arranging for her to be sworn in.”

Fritchey responded to Shaw’s post “at NO time did I ever pressure, or even ask, Ann Williams to vote for an income tax hike.” (Emphasis from original response).

Fritchey said in his response to Shaw he told Williams she should accept an early appointment. “I told her my position was not predicated on how she would vote on any issue, including an income tax vote.”

“Ann Williams informed me that she did not want to be appointed early,” Fritchey wrote.

Fritchey took aim at Williams saying “being a legislator entails making both hard votes and easy votes. Williams’ decision to avoid… those votes any sooner than she had to was a decision made solely by her.”

A person claiming to be Moore entered an on-line discussion regarding Moore’s appointment to say “how did I get appointed in the first place? We have been personal friends of the Cullertons for 35 years. Through John we know Sara Feigenholtz, who suggested my name to one of the Ward Committeemen…”

Feigenholtz did not disagree with that statement when it was read to her Friday. However the identity of the on-line person could not be confirmed Friday.

Moore and her husband Thomas Moore, an attorney at Anderson & Moore, PC, are prolific political contributors. Searches of Illinois and federal records show $32,688 in contributions by the couple since 1996. IL Senate President John Cullerton’s (D-Ravenswood Manor) campaign received $2,250 from the couple. Though they are not recorded as having contributed to Cullerton since 2000. Feigenholtz’s campaign received $550 for a federal campaign and $750 for a state campaign.

The committeemen would have been familiar with the Moore’s too. Patrick O’Connor noted receipts of $1,000 for a federal campaign, Fritchey received a $1,000 for his federal campaign.

According to Fritchey, the committee voted unanimously to select Moore.

Shaw says Moore wasn’t happy with the tax increase but didn’t see there was any other choice. Shaw says she admits to not having seen the bill, a press release, a fact sheet, list of cuts, streamlining or accountability measures as of last Sunday. Moore approved the $6 billion bill Tuesday sending the bill to a rare midnight session of the Senate.

Time was of the essence as the new legislature would be sworn in at noon Wednesday. Shaw notes Williams would have had a hard time supporting the tax bill in its present form.

Moore was an unknown in Springfield. Although she was listed as the state rep on the Wicker Park/ Bucktown Chamber of Commerce page, no photo of her was posted on the legislative web site. A staffer from the house majority party said they had no way to contact her. “I never had any contact information for her,” a person there told The Bulldog.

An attempt was made to contact all the persons named in this post by telephone or e-mail, except for Jesse Ruben Juarez and Andy Shaw. A message was passed to Moore through an acquaintance.

Click here to read more on the Welles Park Bulldog site and to see supportive documents.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Short-Term Appointment is Deciding Vote on Taxes, Death Penalty

  1. Jerome Zacny

    What can be done to mandate the publication of Illinois property tax notices at least two weekd prior to elections? Also, what can be done to eliminate voting on proposed legislation by “lame duck” legislators here in Illinois?

    Every time I read or hear of Illinois politicians speak of ‘ethics reform’, I feel insulted. The term is an oxymoron. It’s embarrassing to admit that I live in this State, one of the most, if not thee most, corrupt states in the U.S. It was Illinois legislators who passed a law making their anuual salary increases automatic; who voted themselves pensions of 80% of their salaries, as of the last day worked; and who voted to provide retiree health insurance for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives, at no cost to themselves. It was these legislators who continually who promise job security, similar lavish pensions and health insurance benefits to public sector unionized employees, while active and retired.

    Now that the historical corruption has led the State to near bankruptcy, the State’s three top Democrats (Madigan, Cullerton and Quinn) postpone a vote on raising the State income tax by 67% (and the corporate tax rate by 50%) until after midnight, only hours before the newly elected legislators can be seated. Now we must endure the self-congratulatory comments by these people, and others who stand to benefit from these tax increases, telling us how brave they were to “make the hard decisions” for the good of the people of Illinois. For those who don’t understand why there can’t be civil discussions about politics, they need look no further than what our legislators have done for themselves and to the taxpayers.

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