SEE THE RECORD HERE: $30K DONATION AGAINST MANZULLO; KELLY CHALLENGES PROFT TO ANSWER THE CHARGES
“I’m just so disappointed in them. I’m just so ashamed,” says one tea party supporter, who feels betrayed.
Statement by William J. Kelly, spokesman, Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform
(Chicago, IL) – For too long, Illinois conservatives and tea party organizers have been in the dark about the activities and motives of John Tillman and Dan Proft. But thanks to Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, conservative bloggers, and even members of the mainstream media, that is changing.
Now Illinois tea party organizers know that most of the Tillman-Proft funding used to defeat tea party and conservative candidates this year comes from top contributors to Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama.
Proft and Tillman’s main contributor, Ken Griffin, bundled more than $221,000 IN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS TO BARACK OBAMA in 2008. He and his wife, Anne, each gave $100,000 TO RAHM EMANUEL’S CAMPAIGN FOR MAYOR OF CHICAGO. Griffin was a former executive with GEORGE SOROS FUND MANAGEMENT.
Were Tillman and Proft supposed to be the voice of tea party and conservative reform?
No wonder Illinois tea party leaders feel betrayed. Tillman and Proft were using tainted Soros-Obama linked funds against conservative candidates in the March primary.
But now there is new information that Anne Griffin donated $30,000 last month to the Campaign for Primary Accountability. The SUPERPAC’s top target was Rep. Donald Manzullo who lost to Rep. Adam Kinzinger. The campaign for Primary Accountability spent $238,931 to defeat Manzullo, more than it spent on any other candidate.
Dan Proft endorsed Kinzinger over Manzullo in the March primary.
Illinois tea party organizers are still bitter over the loss of Manzullo last month.
Last week, the Proft-Tillman money scandal widened to include Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady and newspapers are questioning large financial transfers from the Griffins.
“It’s no wonder we can’t get traction in Illinois,” remarked one tea party organizer.
“Soros can’t just fund Dems now can he? It’s more smoke and mirrors. I am glad someone is looking into the funding of these politicians ‘on our side,'” remarked another.
Illinois tea party organizers now are asking some very serious questions about Dan Proft and John Tillman. The biggest question is: what side are they really on?
Unearthing this information has been a painful exercise but a necessary one. You can’t fight the opposition if you don’t know who the real enemy is.
On a personal note, now I understand why Dan Proft and John Tillman opposed my candidacy for Comptroller against Proft’s former boss Judy Baar Topinka in 2010. Now I understand why they campaigned against me for City of Chicago GOP Chairman in March. And now I know why they did not oppose Rahm Emanuel’s candidacy for Mayor of Chicago as I did.
All of this should now make perfect sense to the conservative candidates and tea party organizations that John Tillman and Dan Proft opposed this past March.
On Saturday, I challenged Dan Proft to come to the TAPROOT meeting in May to answer these charges and more.
Is Dan Proft man enough to do that? Or doesn’t he have a leg to stand on?
Every tea party organizer and every Illinois conservative needs to continue to ask John Tillman and Dan Proft these tough questions and to demand some answers.
If we don’t ask the tough questions that need to be asked, who will?
ANOTHER VICTORY FOR ILLINOIS CITIZENS FOR ETHICS REFORM! READ THE MEDIA’S NEW INVESTIGATION HERE.
CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS INVESTIGATES
Chicago, IL – It is often said: Just follow the money. Due to a series of hard-hitting reports from Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, major media are now investigating a dirty little campaign finance shell game courtesy of the Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman and Dan Proft.
And the scandal just keeps getting BIGGER AND UGLIER.
On Monday, Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform released records detailing a troubling financial relationship between the so-called “conservative” Illinois Policy Institute, its principals John Tillman and Dan Proft and a major campaign bundler ($221,000) for Barack Obama with ties to Rahm Emanuel ($200,000) and George Soros Fund Management.
The Illinois Policy Institute and its affiliated political action committees are funded by four major donors. One of these contributors is a former executive of GEORGE SOROS FUND MANAGEMENT and top contributor to RAHM EMANUEL named Anne Dias-Griffin. The French hedge fund manager (see the bio here) contributed $100,000 TO THE CAMPAIGN OF RAHM EMANUEL in late 2010.
Her husband, Ken Griffin, a POLITICAL CAMPAIGN BUNDLER FOR BARACK OBAMA IN THE AMOUNT OF $221,000 in 2008, ALSO CONTRIBUTED $100,000 in late 2010 TO NOW MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL
In what smacks of political money laundering, the Griffins contributed significant amounts to all of the John Tillman and Dan Proft-connected political action committees. Although the group cloaks its donors, it is highly probably that the Griffins are also funding the Illinois Opportunity Project. All groups operate out of the Illinois Policy Institute, which calls itself a 501c3 tax-exempt group, utilize the same personnel, and resources.
After the Griffin donations, Tillman and Proft then used the Illinois Opportunity Project and PAC contributions – many made on the same day – to stack the deck against conservative and tea party candidates in the Republican primary on March 20, 2012.
BUT THAT APPEARS TO BE THE TIP OF THIS SCANDAL-RIDDEN ICEBERG.
Following the reports of Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, Republican News Watch began investigating a strange pattern of massive contributions from the Griffins to small downstate political groups.
NOW CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS is asking serious questions about this shell game of contributions and the involvement of Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady.
“Within a few days, those groups turned around and wrote big checks to the state party (Pat Brady) totaling $140,000. And that’s well over the $10,000-per-person legal limit that each of the Griffins could have donated on their own to any single political party,” writes political columnist Greg Hinz.
Apparently, Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady failed to report the contributions for two months when campaign finance law requires reporting within five days. In defense of the errors, John Fogerty, counsel for the Illinois Republican Party, claims that the funds may not have been deposited right away.
“Does that mean the state party (Pat Brady) really sat on more than $100,000 in checks for two months or so before depositing them?” questions Hinz.
Brady has angered conservatives with his involvement in key Republican primaries this past election cycle. He personally managed the campaign against Sen. Chris Lauzen for Kane County Chairman and lost. In an embarrassing move, Brady and Dan Proft endorsed the 23 year-old frat boy son of a major donor to Rahm Emanuel in the race for Chicago’s 42nd ward committeeman.
After being questioned by the Springfield Journal Register, John Tillman and former gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna stepped down in March 2012 from directorships of all the Illinois Policy Institute-connected political action committees. However, both maintain still positions as board members of the Illinois Opportunity Project, and are responsible for directing the fund’s political contributions.
Whether all of this violates the Illinois Policy Institute’s tax-exempt 501c3 status is a question for IRS investigators.
But why are John Tillman and Proft, who have branded themselves as “conservative reformers,” even tied to major campaign bundlers to Barack Obama and contributors to Rahm Emanuel? And what is their relationship to Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady?
Inquiring conservative minds really want to know.
Chicago, IL – In the aftermath of the recent investigations launched by Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, John Tillman, Dan Proft and their apologists are crying foul. However, where were these so-called “concerned” voices when Tillman-Proft affiliated political action committees were attacking conservative candidates – some would call it “fratricide” – this past election cycle?
The word, “fratricide” assumes that John Tillman, Dan Proft, et al. operate in conformity with the principles of a brotherhood. In this case, a conservative “brotherhood.” Do they? It is a question that deserves to be asked.
But there are many other questions that also deserve to be asked. With the media now beginning to turn up the heat on John Tillman, Dan Proft, Andy McKenna, and the activities of the “tax-exempt” Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Opportunity Project, and all of its related political action committees, the next question is: who is really funding these operations?
As revealed in a flowchart released last week by Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, the Illinois Policy Institute-affiliated political action committees are funded primarily by four large contributors. It is safe to assume these four contributors also fund the Illinois Policy Institute and the Illinois Opportunity Project – which cloaks its donors through its 501c4 tax status.
A search of the Illinois State Board of Elections website indicates that one of these contributors is a former executive of GEORGE SOROS FUND MANAGEMENT and top contributor to RAHM EMANUEL named Anne Dias-Griffin. The French hedge fund manager (see bio above) contributed $100,000 TO THE CAMPAIGN OF RAHM EMANUEL in late 2010. Her husband, Kenneth Griffin, A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN BUNDLER FOR BARACK OBAMA IN THE AMOUNT OF $221,000 in 2008, ALSO CONTRIBUTED $100,000 in late 2010 TO NOW MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL. A SNAPSHOT of these contributions to Rahm Emanuel is available here and at left.
According to opensecrets.org,Griffin contributed $126,000 in January through August 2008, with 90 PERCENT GOING TO DEMOCRATS. Griffin has also been a past MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO ROD BLAGOJEVICH AND ANDY MCKENNA. McKenna is also involved with the Illinois Policy Institute, the Illinois Opportunity Project, and the Empowering Children PAC.
The Griffins were also the main donors behind Liberty PAC, which lists Dan Proft as its chairman, and Empowering Children PAC, which was chaired by John Tillman and Andy McKenna until March 2012.
Here is a snapshot of contributions from the Griffins to Liberty PAC and Empowering Children PAC. It is likely that the Griffins are also funding the Illinois Opportunity Project, which is housed at the Illinois Policy Institute’s address at 190 S. LaSalle. Dan Proft admitted last week that he is a paid consultant to the Illinois Opportunity Project and Tillman is a board member responsible for directing the group’s political funds. Both maintain there is nothing improper or illegal about this association.
The Tillman-Proft-controlled Liberty PAC, Empowering Children PAC, and the Illinois Opportunity Project were responsible for funding significant opposition to proven conservative candidates in the recent election cycle.
The George Soros-Rahm Emanuel linked funds were used to stack the deck against Illinois conservative Republican candidates, including Dave McSweeney; Laura Pollastrini, Dave Carlin, Ron Sandack, Jim Oberweis, and numerous others.
If the Griffins are behind Tillman’s Illinois Opportunity Project, they are also responsible in part for recent $10,000 donations to Dan Proft for Governor on March 20, 2012 and $20,000 to the Proft-controlled Liberty PAC a week before the primary election in March 2012.
Reform-minded individuals need to ask Mr. Tillman and Mr. Proft some very serious questions about their motives and intentions in this regard. Questions that include: John Tillman and Dan Proft, if you accept donations from George Soros and Rahm Emanuel-linked contributors, what do they expect in return? And do you intend to provide it?
The Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform can’t wait to hear the answer.
TILLMAN, PROFT BUCKLE UNDER QUESTIONING
Chicago, IL – Freedom of speech has prevailed despite attempts by some so-called political leaders in Illinois to stop it. After Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform released its flowchart on the Illinois Policy Institute’s shady operations this week, the Springfield Journal Register and its syndicates raised red flags over the activities of John Tillman and Dan Proft.
Neither Tillman nor Proft handled it well when they were questioned about the Illinois Policy Institute, its dubious political action committees, donors, and Tillman and Proft’s legal relationship with the organizations.
Last month, the Springfield Journal Register asked Tillman about his role in three political action committees all with ties to the tax-exempt Illinois Policy Institute; Tillman quickly said he was resigning from all of them.
But political reporter, Bernard Schoenburg has caught Tillman again. Schoenburg noted:
Not long after that conversation, at least $50,000 moved to various political committees from another organization called the Illinois Opportunity Project. It is not a political action committee, so it’s not possible to track its major donors via the State Board of Elections website, as can be done with PACs. Tillman is one of five board members on the Illinois Opportunity Project.
“These donations … were all made in full compliance with the law and properly disclosed, which is why you are aware of them!” said Tillman when questioned.
Tillman said that he can “wear different hats,” just as does House Speaker Michael Madigan D-Chicago, who also chairs the Democratic Party of Illinois and an ideal role model for a “conservative” policy leader who claims a reform agenda.
Proft said he hoped he wouldn’t fall down the path of Illinois’ long list of convicted criminals like Ed Vrdolyak and Rod Blagojevich.
In the story, Proft admitted he was a paid consultant to the Illinois Opportunity Project, which recently contributed $10,000 to Proft for Governor and $20,000 to his organization, Liberty PAC. Illinois Opportunity Project is listed in Illinois State Board of Elections records as residing at the Illinois Policy Institute, a 501c3 organization.
Are your eyes blurry yet?
Many Illinois conservatives have been angered by Tillman, Proft and their surrogates for working AGAINST conservative and tea party candidates in the primary election this past March. Tillman and Proft seeded establishment or unknown candidates with thousands of dollars shuffled through the Illinois Policy Institute and its political action committees.
Tea party groups have begun to disinvite Proft from speaking engagements. Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform has been covering the leaked emails that reveal a pattern of Proft bullying tea party leaders.
CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ILLINOIS CITIZENS FOR ETHICS REFORM STORY AND FLOWCHART
The first in a series of investigative reports from Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform
Chicago, Illinois – The so-called “conservative” Illinois Policy Institute has racked up contributor dollars as a reform-minded policy think tank dedicated to change. But like Media Matters for America, the Illinois-based 501c3 tax-exempt organization’s political and financial activities raise serious red flags about its operations and intentions and those of its questionable key players, John Tillman, Dan Proft, Andy McKenna, and Patrick Hughes. Hughes, Proft, and McKenna have run previously for statewide public office.
Utilizing its 501c3 status, Illinois Policy Institute raises millions of dollars researching and publishing policy positions on a myriad of issues, ranging from ethics in government to waste, fraud, and abuse of Illinois taxpayer dollars to campaign finance reform.
In order to qualify, a 501c3 organization must pass a series of requirements. Once granted 501c3 status, organizations pay no federal income tax and donors may deduct their charitable contributions because the IRS presumes that these “charitable” organizations benefit the public. But a 501c3 organization may not “participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.”
Critics have charged that Illinois Policy Institute is merely a corrupt front group organized to farm donor lists, form and manage political action committees, and advance the political ambitions of its Board of Directors.
A flowchart of the organization’s activities and affiliations raises a number of questions and spotlights the hypocrisy of Illinois Policy Institute Executive Director John Tillman:
– Why is Illinois Opportunity Project, a 501c4, organization operating out of Illinois Policy Institute? What is its relationship to Illinois Policy Institute?
– Does Illinois Opportunity Project share office space, equipment, and personnel with Illinois Policy Institute?
– Who is funding Illinois Opportunity Project? The same donors that fund Illinois Policy Institute?
– Why is Empowering Children PAC listed at addresses used by Illinois Policy Institute?
– Why is Dan Proft’s Liberty PAC listed at addresses used by Illinois Policy Institute?
– Why did John Tillman set up Fiscal Accountability PAC and why is it listed at the address for Liberty PAC’s accountant?
– Why did Illinois Opportunity Project give $10,000 on March 12, 2012 to Dan Proft for Governor and who made that decision? Why did Illinois Opportunity Project give $20,000 to Dan Proft’s Liberty PAC a week before the primary election in March 2012?
– Are the same four donors that are funding the three PACs also funding Illinois Policy Institute and Illinois Opportunity Project?
– Why did the Tillman-controlled PACs give contributions to political candidates on the same day?
– Through these activities and others, isn’t Illinois Policy Institute engaging in the same unethical political practices that it accuses Democrats like Michael Madigan of engaging in?
The Internal Revenue Service and responsible media should demand some answers from Illinois Policy Institute Executive Director John Tillman about his organization’s dubious shell game activities.
Donors to Illinois Policy Institute-affiliated political groups should think twice before contributing; who knows where your dollars are really going.
“You gloat about how popular you are with The Tea Party; but you still are very concerned with me. Dan Proft; The Man with a Law Degree worried about a blue collar nobody like me. Get on with your life Dan.”
– Illinois Tea Party organizer who was bullied by Dan Proft
Chicago, IL – WLS radio host and political operative Dan Proft, who is already raising money for his second bid for Illinois governor, isn’t on the greatest terms with Illinois tea party organizers these days, as a series of bullying emails to tea party members emails leaked to Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform reveal.
Members of Illinois tea party organizations are furious with Proft over his support of Rep. Adam Kinzinger over the more conservative Rep. Don Manzullo and his PAC funding of candidates around the state that insiders say were not known or endorsed by any tea party organizations or conservative organizations. In one campaign, Proft endorsed a candidate whose family had funded Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign in 2011.
Over the last week, a frenzy of angry emails were traded with tea party organizers who generally agreed that Proft, who has a troubling financial relationship with the town of Cicero, would be no longer be invited to speak at tea party events. Proft had been a fixture on the Illinois Tea party speaking circuit since 2010.
“Mr Proft is a turncoat, not in a sense that he is going from Conservative to a Liberal. but he certainly is trying to promote himself as some sort of Tea Party Conservative and then acts like a BIG “R” Republican or worse RINO. Encourage this at our own peril,” said one tea Illinois tea party organizer in his email.
“I had him scheduled to speak-but he was cancelled a couple weeks ago. He didn’t take it well, so much for his next run for office,” said another.
“I say uninvite those who are not with us when it counts. The Summer Soldier and Sunshine Patriot did not create our Declaration and Constitution; Those who decided to hang together did,” said yet another.
In the emails, the Chicago Tea Party was also criticized for having Proft be a featured speaker at its April 16th rally in Chicago and Proft’s relationship with the group was also questioned.
“To those this may concern: Dan Proft will be speaking at The Tax Day Rally in Chicago. I am requesting that each of you send out a press release concerning Dan Proft. We don’t want him speaking for or at Tea Party events. He is using the Tea Party to gain credibility and to further his own political career. Dan Proft has been endorsing candidates who are far from conservative or share any of our Tea Party principles. Also; Contact those who are hosting The Chicago event and tell them to cancel Dan Proft,” said another email.
The current leader of the Chicago Chicago Tea Party is Eric Kohn, who, according to his LinkedIn account, worked as operations manager for Proft’s Urqhardt Media in Cicero. He is also named as the treasurer of Fiscal Accountability PAC, which contributed to Proft-backed candidates this election cycle. It is funded by the Illinois Opportunity Project, which lists Proft as a board member. Illinois Opportunity Project contributed $10,000 to Proft for Governor on March 20, 2012. Source: Illinois State Board of Elections
The level of anger escalated to the point that a conference call with Illinois tea party activists was called by Illinois Tea Party head Denise Cattoni.
Unhinged by all the criticism, the WLS radio host began targeting tea party organizers who sent out the emails criticizing him. With one tea party member, Proft bullied the organizer with a bombardment of harassing emails laced with arrogant and condescending remarks such as, “Learn to read,” and “know you don’t deal in facts; you deal in unfounded attacks and cowardice,” “soft-headed juvenile behavior” and “now try to stay on point.”
The now-furious Proft then sent an email to the tea party organizer’s group to try to get him ousted. It didn’t work. He also misrepresented the conference call that took place among Illinois tea party organizers.
From Dan Proft: I am writing to you because recently XXXXXXX send out an erroneous and disparaging email about me to tea party leaders around the state. He was quickly and properly rebuked by the Chicago Tea Party among others. But the most disturbing part of his email wasn’t his ad hominem attacks on me. I am used to such soft-headed juvenile behavior by those with little command of the facts but a lot of free time. The most disturbing part was his call for me to essentially be silenced ostensibly because I supported Adam Kinzinger over Don Manzullo. Of course, thankfully the overwhelming majority of tea party leaders and ILGOP leaders for that matter understand that attempting to silence dissenting views, particularly on the basis of a disagreement over a particular campaign or particular issues, is the province of small minds and small men.”
Feeling harassed by Proft who had been emailing him non-stop over the course of a week, the organizer wrote back to him:
From Tea Party Organizer to Proft: Dan Proft, Illinois Tea Party hasn’t rebuked me. I was on the confrence call last night. My email was discussed. And many people agree with me about you. They disagree about the level of participation you have with The Chicago Tea Party. XXXX was on this call as well. I know most of The Tea Party leaders in The 16th CD. Just about all of them agree with me regarding you. Don’t believe me? Ask them. You gloat about how popular you are with The Tea Party; but you still are very concerned with me. Dan Proft; The Man with a Law Degree worried about a blue collar nobody like me. Get on with your life Dan.
Proft, angered by the criticism of his activities, apparently believes that bullying and harassing his critics is the way to silence them. So much for the First Amendment, right Dan Proft?
Proft’s D-list William F. Buckley routine was already wearing thin but no one likes a bully.
(Chicago, IL) – Is it ethical for a radio talk show host to be raising campaign funds for a second statewide political bid for governor while he is promoting himself on Chicago radio? WLS-AM Chicago talk show host Dan Proft does not appear to be troubled by the ethical quandry. Either the honchos at Cumulus Media, which owns WLS-AM, know about it or they do not.
Michael Damsky, former general manager and President of Cumulus-owned WLS-AM who was fired last week, tapped Bruce Wolf, a veteran sports broadcaster and Proft, a political operative with a history of questionable no-bid contracts in Cicero and dirty dealings with Cicero’s mayor Larry Dominick, for weekdays from a weekend shift back in June. WLS-AM’s ratings have been in a state of decline since the fall. Over the weekend, Cumulus’ Lew Dickey and Jon Pinch named Damsky’s replacement – David Crowl, formerly of Clear Channel.
Proft also ran a failed bid for governor in 2010, coming in last in the Republican primary.
Recently, Proft formed a political action committee called Liberty PAC, which is operated out of Illinois Policy Institute, a 501c3 group, and, in a move that outraged many Illinois Republicans, heavily funded questionable candidates in the 2012 Republican primary. Proft is on the board of Illinois Opportunity Project (a 501c4), which also operates out of the Illinois Policy Institute. How can a 501c4 and a PAC operate out of a “Republican-leaning” tax-exempt 501c3 that raises money promoting ethical reform in politics? Because this is Illinois and ethics is snickered at in this state.
Proft seems to snicker at it as well considering his on-air rants against House Speaker Michael Madigan and the corruption that is Illinois politics. It is a case of “do as I say” but not “do as I do.” On March 20 – primary election day in Illinois, Illinois Opportunity Project contributed $10,000 to Proft for Governor. (See snapshot from the Illinois Board of Elections website).