The news media, particularly in Chicago, has expended huge amounts of time and energy researching every nook and cranny of attorney-general candidate Lisa Madigan's life and political connections. But almost nothing has been written about her opponent, Joe Birkett.

What follows was assembled using DuPage County grand-jury testimony given by police detective Greg Figel.

According to the testimony, William Stoltz was unemployed for the last six months of 1999. Stoltz lived in a house with his wife of 18 months, Dawn.

I'm getting pretty tired of all the news stories about political corruption these days.

Every time we turn around, another media outlet is screaming for a new federal investigation. It's become the thing to do in media circles, an attempt to mount an indicted trophy head or two on newsroom walls as a display of accomplishment and importance.

E-Mail To Ellicia (from Vanessa Miller, age 16):

Hey hun, how are you? I am doin' just fine. I just got back from the state fair. These last two days have been awesome for me. I have my own press pass for future use and I can pretend that I am all-important.

You know it's bad news when the Republican state treasurer has more money in her campaign account than all her fellow GOP statewide candidates and the state Republican Party combined.

Plus, to top it all off, most big-time Republican who filed campaign-finance disclosure reports last week - except Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka - did business with a corrupt little mail house called Unistat, run by the now infamous (and indicted) Roger "The Hog" Stanley.

Illinois House Republican Leader Lee Daniels summoned his top lieutenants to Springfield last week for what was billed as an election strategy session.

Instead, the meeting immediately morphed into a war council, as Daniels and his leadership team talked about how to fend off a surprisingly strong coup attempt.

It's been a long time since a union has taken a hit in Springfield like the American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees took last week.

The Illinois Senate Republicans held lockstep for more than eight hours last week, approving all but a handful of Governor George Ryan's 234 budgetary vetoes one by one.

There might be no more politically powerful union in Illinois than the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Want proof? Well, AFSCME brought thousands of its members to Springfield last week for its annual "lobby day," and both state legislative chambers used the opportunity to suck up a whole lot more than they ever would for any other labor organization.

The feds set off a political atomic bomb the other day with the indictment of Illinois Governor George Ryan's campaign committee and his two former campaign managers, Scott Fawell and Rich Juliano. The big question on many minds is whether the entire state Republican Party will be damaged by the resulting radioactivity.

You gotta wonder about the sanity of the folks who run the Libertarian Party.

Illinois Libertarians have the greatest opportunity in years to build their party. When Republican-leaning citizens become disenchanted, they often vote Libertarian.

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