Did $2 Million Influence IL AG Solicitor’s Actions?


Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s solicitor attacked Gov. Bruce Rauner for filing a brief in support of the plaintiffs in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association U.S. Supreme Court case.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan received over $2 million in direct political donations from public sector unions.  Should the plaintiffs prevail in the Supreme Court, public sector unions’ ability to give millions to future candidates like Madigan will be greatly reduced because they will no longer be able to force teachers and other government employees to pay dues against their will.

SPRINGFIELD — Top lawyers for Illinois’ Republican governor and Democratic attorney general are in a dustup over the governor’s office filing a “friend of the court” brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s solicitor general says Gov. Bruce Rauner’s staff lawyers stepped out of line when they filed an amicus curiae brief in a case now before the court, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

Rauner’s lawyers say Madigan’s office is wrong on several fronts.

The Friedrichs case is of nationwide interest to unions and right-to-work advocates, among others.

Rebecca Friedrichs and nine other California teachers who are not union members object to paying what are known as “agency fees” or “fair-share” dues.

They argue that being forced to pay dues, even those said to be directed only toward bargaining and contract administration, is a violation of their First Amendment rights of free speech and free association.

The high court announced in June it would hear the case this term, which began earlier this month. A decision is not expected until summer 2016.

On Sept. 25, Illinois Solicitor General Carolyn Shapiro wrote to Scott Harris, clerk of the court, to inform him of an “unauthorized” filing of an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief on behalf of Rauner in support of Friedrichs’ position.

But the attorney general cannot infringe on the governor’s ability to speak to this court, especially when…the governor and the attorney general are adversaries in active litigation on the same issue in Illinois.”