Republicans Cry Foul on Obama Library Vote
Updated: Monday, April 21 2014, 11:16 PM CDT
A proposal to spend state money on a Barack Obama Presidential Library
will go back to committee after Republicans protested what they say was
an illegal vote.
The House Executive Committee voted 9-0 Thursday
to support a bill to use $100 million in state funds for a presidential
library, in hopes that would bring the library to Chicago. Among the
"yes" votes were three Republicans who say they weren't there when votes
The unanimous vote comes thanks to a procedural rule
the committee used to mark some non-present members as "yes" votes,
including the absent Republicans. Normally, the chairman would ask the
Republican's spokesman on the committe for permission, but Rep. Ed
Sullivan Jr. (R-Mundelein) was one of the absent members.
"And so the problem we have there is how do you ask for leave if there's no one there to answer you?" Sullivan said.
calls the action illegal and has filed a protest. Whether it's illegal
could be hard to prove, says Ron Michaelson, a UIS adjunct professor of
"You might question the ethics," he said. "You
might question the credibility, the integrity of the process, but in
terms of the legality, that's a hard thing to argue."
It did seem
to get results in this case, though. A spokesman for House Speaker
Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) defended the procedure but said that since
some mebers were exercising their "Tea Party gene," the committee would
take another vote on the bill.
Sullivan says that's good, but would rather see the process started again from scratch.
"Why would we continue that in essence on a farce?" he asked.
said he is opposed not just to the way the Obama library proposal was
passed, but to the library itself. The Republican said he has no doubt
the library proposal will pass the committee again, but he thinks it
will have a harder time in front of the full House.
The new vote will take place Apr. 30, the day legislators return from their mid-session break.