“Capping a week of turmoil in his government and political operation, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) today [Friday] lost to an outside firm one of his oldest and closest aides, one who had been expected to be chief strategist in Rauner’s re-election campaign. Joining Xpress Professional Services as the new head of its political operation, the firm announced this evening, is Mike Zolnierowicz, who is widely known in Springfield as ‘Mike Z.’” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
AND YOU THOUGHT THE BUDGET WAS DONE. “Illinois has its belated state budget, but the state Capitol’s next flashpoint in the political struggle over finances is about how to fund public education with just weeks before the first day of school.”
“Rauner has suggested he will veto that newly devised school funding method, which could leave the state with no plan to allocate general state education aid and jeopardize schools’ opening. Rauner promised Friday there will be no extended summer vacation. … Rauner objects to specific state-funding allowances for Chicago schools on top of a new requirement that the state pick up the employer’s portion of teacher pensions costs for them — the way it does for every other Illinois district. He calls it a ‘bailout’ for the strapped school system.” (AP)
Billionaire J.B. Pritzker (D) on Saturday accused Rauner of using the issue to create an “us versus them” mentality by “pitting … central and southern Illinois against Chicago” in order to “increase the turnout” in areas where he did well in 2014. (Hotline reporting)
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"Former veteran Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of making false statements to federal agents." Wolfe was indicted "earlier this year on three counts of making false statements to the FBI, which questioned him about his contacts with reporters ... According to the indictment, in October 2017 Wolfe gave a reporter ... information about an unidentified man who had been served with a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The reporter published stories about the subpoena and the man's upcoming testimony in a closed committee hearing."
"The federal deficit widened last year amid higher government spending—including rising interest costs on the debt and increased funding for the military—and flat revenues following last year’s tax cut. The government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said Monday. That is the largest annual deficit in six years and 17% higher than the $666 billion deficit in fiscal 2017. As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.9%, up from 3.5% a year earlier and the third consecutive increase."
"Saudi Arabia has given Turkey permission to search its Istanbul consulate Monday afternoon, a Turkish diplomatic source told CNN. Saudi officials first granted permission for the consulate to be searched last week, but later asked for a delay and no search has yet taken place. Turkish officials also want to search the nearby consul general's residence, and have repeatedly accused the Saudis of failing to cooperate with their investigation."