CHICAGO - Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM) is demanding $1.2 million in tax breaks for the next 20 years to stay in Illinois. The company's tax-payer funded subsidy may ultimately depend on the connections and influence of its new attorney - Michael Kasper.
Kasper was the Illinois Democratic Party's general counsel and House Speaker Mike Madigan's legal counsel for many years. He officially stepped down from Madigan's inner circle after the November 2012 election, saying he wanted to leave public service to enter the private sector.
According to files with the Illinois Secretary of State, Kasper is listed among five lobbyists for a firm that has borne his name since 2002. Records show Chicago-based Fletcher, OBrien, Kasper & Nottage has been building lobbying muscle in Springfield for 11 years.
Another political notable in the firm's stable of lobbyists is former Illinois House Republican Organization (HRO) spokesperson David Dring, who worked closely with former ILGOP House leader Tom Cross, who is now running for State Treasurer.
In addition to ADM, the Secretary of State's records show Kasper's firm represents ComEd, Dell, Illinois Judges' Association, several hospitals and universities, ILGOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's education choice group Stand Up for Children, and VISA.
With $24 million in tax subsidies on the line, success for ADM and their lobbyists should be quite lucrative.