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Surprise: Illinois "Paperwork" Backlog Delays Seating Mark Kirk Prior to Senate Lame Duck Session

The Chicago Way:

Illinois Republican Mark Kirk won't be seated in the U.S. Senate in time for the start of the lame duck session of Congress this month - unlike two other newly elected senators.

The session begins Nov. 15. But state officials say the paperwork officially declaring Kirk the winner of the Senate race won't be delivered until Nov. 29.

That should still allow Kirk to participate in two weeks of the session in December. He argued strongly during the campaign that voters needed to send him to the Senate quickly so he could help block spending and tax increases.

Two Democrats are expected to be sworn in at the start of the lame duck session. Chris Coons of Delaware will fill the remainder of Vice President Joe Biden's term, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia replaces the late Robert Byrd.

Funny how that works, isn't it?  Delaware and West Virginia will both manage to seat their new senators immediately, yet the Illinois process is bogged down in "paperwork" and red tape.  One wonders if this is the same sort of "paperwork"-related logistical snag that prevented military ballots from being mailed out in time a few weeks back.  With all these humiliating snafus occurring, thank goodness Illinoisans just elected a new governor to whip the state government back into shape.  Oh, wait.

(Note: I've reached out to the Kirk camp for their reaction to this story. Still waiting to hear back).

UPDATE: Will Kirk cave on the DISCLOSE Act, even after he's seated?

UPDATE II:  Speaking of the Chicago Way...

Convicted political fixer Tony Rezko gave U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez free upgrades on a riverfront town house after the congressman asked for them, Gutierrez told the FBI, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Gutierrez's comments to federal agents in a previously undisclosed 2008 interview contradict what the congressman told the Sun-Times in 2006 about the purchase.

He told a different story when questioned by federal agents two years later about the town home he bought in River Walk, a Rezko development along the Chicago River north of Diversey, the Sun-Times has learned.

Gutierrez told them he and his wife had had dinner with Rezko and his wife, sources said, and that he told him that the price of the town home had gone up $35,000 in two weeks...Considering that the price had risen, Gutierrez told Rezko he thought he should get some upgrades, sources said.

The upgrades eventually included an additional bathroom and higher-quality carpeting, the Sun-Times has learned. Gutierrez told the FBI he didn't know the value of the upgrades and didn't have documents that would show what they were worth, according to the sources.

The Sun-Times reported in 2006 that Gutierrez got the cheapest price on any of the 17 riverfront town houses in the Rezko development. Others paid $495,000 and $660,000, in some cases for smaller town homes. The congressman sold his unit in March 2006 for $610,000 -- 40 percent more than his purchase price.

Gutierrez has a history of flipping real estate, in some cases in deals involving campaign contributors.

Say, didn't convicted felon Tony Rezko also help grease the house-hunting skids for another prominent Chicago pol a few years back?  Avert your eyes; nothing to see here.

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