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Who's connected to whom? Who's invested in what? We deserve to know

TRAIL OF CONNECTIONS Yesterday we summarized this Chicago Tribune series on the government employment histories of hundreds of House Speaker Michael Madigan's campaign workers. If you think Illinois law should make it easier for taxpayers to untangle these webs of connections, and various other financial interests of office-holders,you'll want to read this.

BRAKES ON BROWN Cook County already has some of the highest court filing fees in the nation, but Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown wants to raise them again. Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association says Brown has some questions to answer before she gets more taxpayer money.

DIRTY SECRET Illinois has a dirty secret buried deep in its tax history. Ben VanMetre of the Illinois Policy Institute says voters should know about it as the temporary income tax increase expiration date approaches. More here.

PREDICTION Speaking of that end-of-the-year expiration date, I made a prediction about it in last week's Only In Illinois video. In case you missed it, it's here, on location from the Governor's Mansion in Springfield.

WEATHER AND POLITICS Winter weather and politics have a long history in Illinois. Our current polar vortex, as the professionals are calling it, is no exception. A suntanned Rahm Emanuel returned from vacation to face heat from both the Chicago Teachers Union and Tribune columnist John Kass. Plus: Dan Rutherford becomes the final GOP governor candidate to release his tax returns. More here.

POETIC One of the Reboot Illinois Twitter faithful retweeted this poem paying homage to frozen Illinois. In our book, any poem that rhymes "shut" and "butt" is a literary masterpiece. It's here.

HEADLINES The roads may be hazardous, but there's plenty of news today:
  • 5. Opinion: While Mayor Emanuel was in steamy Indonesia, did Karen Lewis force him to close the Chicago Public Schools due to the cold? (Chicago Tribune)
    4. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett says the late decision to close schools had nothing to do with union backlash. (CBS Chicago)
    3. A federal judge ruled Chicago’s ban on licensed gun stores unconstitutional. (Chicago Tribune)
    2. Opinion: Expediting the lawsuits against the pension reform bill would be the best move for the state. (Peoria Journal Star)
    1. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford became the last Republican gubernatorial candidate to release his tax returns. (Chicago Tribune)

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