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Leaked Emails Show WLS Host Bullying Illinois Tea Party Leaders (Part 1)

“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.

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About Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform

Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform (ICER) is a organization of grassroots and business leaders formed to spotlight and bring light to ethical issues in the public sphere. ICER acts as a nonpartisan watchdog to spotlight unethical campaign finance activities and illegal and corrupt government practices.

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