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Cook County Judge Michael Howlett Jr. dies at 65

Cook County Circuit Judge Michael J. Howlett Jr., who investigated U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, died Sunday of prostate cancer at his Winnetka home. He was 65.


17 months in prison for businessman in Daley kin sewer scam: Watchdogs


A former Mississippi sharecropper who landed millions of dollars in contracts from the city of Chicago was sentenced Thursday to 17 months in prison for his role in a minority-contracting scandal that involved sewer deals held by a company whose investors secretly included then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s son and nephew.

Donors find no great divide between Emanuel and Rauner


An analysis of campaign contributions since Rahm Emanuel ran for mayor and since Bruce Rauner launched his gubernatorial campaign shows an overlap of more than 100 campaign contributors.

Rutherford tries to keep GOP primary bid on course


State Treasurer Dan Rutherford loves competitive sailing and has been a crew member several times during Chicago-to-Mackinaw Island races on Lake Michigan. But if Rutherford’s Republican campaign for governor is metaphorically like one of the racing boats that he has turned into a summertime hobby, it’s dangerously close to being swamped heading into the March 18 primary.

Give Blagojevich, other federal inmates chance to shorten sentences: U.S. Rep. Davis


U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., wants Congress to give federal inmates a chance to shorten their sentences – and thinks imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich who is serving 14 years in prison should qualify.

GOP’s Dillard draws on time spent with Edgar


Kirk Dillard is hoping recent endorsement help shifts his struggling fundraising, and he’s counting on IEA members who might typically vote for a Democrat to “cross over” in the primary and pull Republican ballots.

Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds arrested in Zimbabwe, pleads not guilty


Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds — an ex-con from Chicago convicted of bank fraud and having sex with a 16-year-old girl when he was in his 40s — has been arrested in Zimbabwe, said a Zimbabwean immigration official. The state-controlled newspaper, The Herald, reported that Reynolds was arrested Monday for allegedly possessing pornographic material and violating immigration laws.

Bill Brady bets 3rd time’s a charm in GOP gov race


In his third pursuit of Illinois’ executive mansion, Bill Brady finds himself squarely in the role of underdog, having taken some hard lumps in the past, running a shoestring campaign that may not have the resources to air a single TV commercial before the March 18 primary and getting outspent by GOP frontrunner Bruce Rauner by a nearly 54-1 margin during the last quarter of 2013.

Cook County to settle deputies’ suit vs. Sheriff Tom Dart for $2.4M

The Cook County Board is expected to settle a federal lawsuit brought by 21 deputies who allege Sheriff Tom Dart retaliated against them because they backed his political opponent when he was running for sheriff in 2006. The deputies, who will split the $2.4 million …

New PAC launches $2 million anti-Rauner ad campaign


The newly formed Illinois Freedom PAC launched a TV ad combating Rauner’s contention that he will “shake up Springfield,” by drawing ties between the businessman and convicted insider Stuart Levine.Rauner has emphatically denied any impropriety tied to Levine and has publicly said he doesn’t know him.

Rutherford first denies, then likens room-sharing with co-worker to NFL, NHL

In the midst of defending against sexual harassment allegations by one male employee, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford acknowledged that he had shared a hotel room with a different male employee on state time — “to save resources.” At a news conference he called to rebut sexual harassment allegations leveled by a high-ranking former staffer, Rutherford initially denied that he had shared a room with another male employee on taxpayer-funded trips. “We do that on the campaign side, we do not do that on the state side. And this is something that you do in small business. It’s something that your

Quinn calls for minimum wage hike, celebrates pension reform


SPRINGFIELD — Declaring “we’re getting the job done,” Gov. Pat Quinn repeatedly insisted in his State of the State speech Wednesday that Illinois is on the rebound, but his 2014 rivals for governor blamed him for the state’s dismal unemployment rate and needled him for his silence about rolling back income-tax rates next year.

Public-sector unions sue Gov. Quinn over pension reform


SPRINGFIELD — Trying to trump Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State address, a bloc of public-sector unions announced Tuesday they have sued the governor and other state officeholders in a long-expected bid to have last month’s pension-reform law declared unconstitutional.

GOP governor hopefuls give views on expanded gambling


Three out of the four Republican candidates running for governor say they are jittery about expanding gaming in Illinois, though each says they’re willing to consider expansion proposals — with caveats.

Priorities super PAC lines up for Clinton run

One of the most potent outside liberal-oriented political groups announced on Thursday that it would back Hillary Rodham Clinton if she chooses to seek the White House in 2016, the latest sign that senior members of President Barack Obama’s team were looking to line up with the former first lady.

Police board rejects deal to suspend Chicago cop 60 days in woman’s death


THE WATCHDOGS: In an unusual move, the Chicago Police Board has rejected a proposed deal under which a police sergeant had agreed to be suspended for 60 days because his gun was used in the shooting death of a Northwest Side woman four years ago. The police board scrapped the deal that police Supt. Garry McCarthy had struck with Sgt. Steven Lesner, instead ordering a full inquiry into the events that led to Catherine Weiland’s death.