(CBS) – Taxes, tapes and toilets — just three of the topics when the Democratic candidates for governor get together in the same room.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports on the sparks that flew Friday as the political hopefuls met with the Chicago Tribune editorial board.
The biggest tussle was over the FBI tapes — recordings that show J.B. Pritzker angling with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich for an appointment as state treasurer. The conversation is featured in an ad put out by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election campaign.
“I’m just a little baffled as to why were you talking to this guy about these kinds of things,” editorial page editor John McCormick told Pritkzer.
“I was simply seeking the opportunity to do public service,” the candidate responded.
Primary opponent Daniel Biss chimed in: “If that phone call was your definition of public service, you’re doing it wrong.”
Pritzker has “emerged as the poster child for pay-to-play politics in Illinois, and nobody wants that,” Democrat Chris Kennedy said.
Pritzker was also forced to defend getting a tax break for his Gold Coast mansion after the toilets were torn out. “It wasn’t habitable at the time, at least it was designated that way,” he said.
Biss says Kennedy has done the same kind of thing, in trying to get property tax breaks for properties.
“Both of these guys have scammed the system,” Biss said.
After the forum, Kennedy praised the Rauner TV commercial with the Blagojevich-Pritzker tapes.
“I think he should be applauded,” Kennedy said.
Both Rauner and Kennedy have repeatedly attacked the property tax system, and the politicians who profit from it as tax appeals lawyers. Rauner on Friday issued an executive order preventing state lawmakers from appearing before the state tax appeals board.
That would hit Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, who has made millions as a tax appeals attorney.