By DOUG IBENDAHL • December 12, 2011
We at Republican News Watch salute David McSweeney, Republican candidate for State Representative in the 52nd House District of Illinois. We’ve finally got a Republican challenger with the courage and backbone to say enough is enough.
McSweeney is doing two things we applaud. First, he’s listed his own name as objector on the petition challenges he’s filed against his opponents. McSweeney’s not playing the phony game most candidates play where they’re behind an objection, but find some stooge to list his or her name as the objector on the form, thinking that will hide what’s really going on. Cowardice rules in Illinois politics. McSweeney is breaking that mold.
Second, McSweeney is standing up for himself against crooked GOP players who just never seem to learn. Our take on McSweeney’s statement below is that he’s rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.
We look forward to hearing what all of the persons called-out below have to say in response to McSweeney’s allegations, some of which, if true, involve serious criminal activity (e.g. stealing from the taxpayers of Illinois).
Today I filed objections to the petitions submitted by my opponents, Kent Gaffney and Danielle Rowe. I have taken this step in order to sustain the integrity of the petition process and to respect the high ethical standards that the people of the 52nd should expect from candidates and elected officials. I believe that the Illinois State Board of Elections will determine that both of my opponents will not qualify to be on the ballot.
The specifics of my challenge to Mr. Gaffney’s petitions are contained in the complaint that I filed. A primary motivation for my action revolves around the use of Illinois State Government staffers to pass petitions for Mr. Gaffney and the fraud that was subsequently uncovered. Specifically, the true identities of the actual circulators for many of Mr. Gaffney’s petitions were intentionally falsified and I believe that the intent of the cover up was to mask the amount of government time spent doing campaign work. Thus far, we have obtained the sworn affidavits of 41 citizens of the 52nd district attesting to the fraud and we are continuing to gather information.
With regard to these government paid staffers, we have filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests and have requested time sheets and documentation of their time. It is illegal to use government resources for campaign purposes and it appears that the fraudulent actions of these staffers with regard to their petition circulation may well be related to an attempt to cover up the level of campaign activity on behalf of Mr. Gaffney. Be assured that we will continue to pursue the truth on this matter. We will also provide a copy of our objections to the appropriate legal authorities.
My objection to Ms. Rowe’s petitions is based on an analysis of the signatures contained in her petitions. Many of the signatures on her petitions were found to be outside of the district and to be unregistered voters. Ms. Rowe’s petitions fail to meet the 500 valid signature minimum requirement.
Also, of particular concern with regard to Ms. Rowe’s campaign is the involvement of a number of individuals and organizations who have promised the Rowe campaign substantial financial support. Specifically, we have received disturbing reports and evidence that WLS radio personality and Illinois Liberty PAC Chairman Dan Proft, Illinois Policy Institute leader John Tillman, Illinois Opportunity Project Executive Director Matthew Besler, and attorney Patrick Hughes have, while directly coordinating with the Rowe campaign, pledged substantial financial support to Ms. Rowe’s campaign in the form of unlimited independent expenditures through a 501 (c)(4) organization, Illinois Opportunity Project, or a closely affiliated independent expenditure committee. We’ve also received detailed information about the close and coordinated relationship between the Illinois Policy Institute (a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) entity), Liberty PAC and the Illinois Opportunity Project.
After becoming aware of Ms. Rowe’s supporters’ plans my campaign sent a document entitled “McSweeney Campaign Policy on Independent Expenditures” via certified and registered mail to all of the parties involved. The document outlines the relevant laws regarding such expenditures and specifically focuses on the issue of improper coordination.
We will continue to accept additional information on the coordinated activities of the Rowe campaign and the individuals and entities listed above. We are prepared to take all necessary and proper legal steps to protect ourselves from the clearly coordinated activities summarized above. As we continue to receive additional information, we will report any breach in the law and our evidence to the appropriate authorities, including, but not limited to, the Illinois Attorney General, Illinois State Board of Elections and the IRS.
I do not take these actions lightly but they are necessary in order to preserve the integrity of our electoral system.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.