(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).
Illinois Opportunity Project also contributed $20,000 to Proft’s Liberty PAC just days before the primary election date.
Perhaps with the management shake-up, ethical practices at Cumulus and WLS-AM will finally improve and Mr. Proft will be held accountable for his activities. But this is Illinois. Ethics, smethics.
Any comment, Mr. Crowl?