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Statement by Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform Spokesman, William J. Kelly
Chicago, Illinois – For the last several weeks, GOP Party Chairman Pat Brady has come under fire following a series of news reports from Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform and other media raising serious concerns about potential violations of state campaign finance law involving tens of thousands of dollars and other irregularities in the handling of Illinois Republican Party finances.
Embarrassing much? To say the least.
But rank and file Republicans in Illinois are also fed-up with Brady’s direct interference in GOP primaries in the 2012 election season and his stunning electoral failures in 2010 – including the loss of the Illinois governor’s race and remap control – a remap that resulted in the loss of longtime conservative Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL).
It must have been a different Brady that was “elected GOP Party Chairman in 2009 who said:
“The reason I think I won [State GOP Party Chairman] is because they [Illinois Republicans] want ethics, they want reform, they want this office to maintain the highest degree of integrity,” said Brady when he was first elected to his position by the Republican State Central Committee on August 20, 2009.
Ethics? The highest degree of integrity, eh?
So has Brady lived up to the ethical bar he said his election i.e. appointment established? Many Republicans would argue the answer is “no.”
On Tuesday, the Illinois Center Right Coalition (“ICRC”), a Republican organization, passed a resolution calling for the Republican State Central Committee to recall Brady from his position as Chairman if he fails to resign.
The ICRC Resolution reads in pertinent part:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the Illinois Center Right Coalition call upon the Illinois Republican State Central Committee to produce and publicly disclose Chairman Pat Brady’s Ethics Disclosures, since he is required to submit a statement of his interests or potential conflicts of interest to the members of the Central Committee; the ICRC calls for Chairman Brady to resign immediately. If he refuses to do that, we call for the IL GOP State Central Committee to recall Pat Brady from his official position as State Chairman effective immediately.
The resolution outlines ten reasons for the recall, including Brady’s controversial decision to act as campaign manager in the race for Kane County Board Chairman against longtime Republican Sen. Chris Lauzen; his failure to recruit Republican candidates for office, leaving numerous races uncontested (21 of 59 (36 %) State Senate seats have no Republican Candidate and 43 of 118 (36 %) State Representative seats have no Republican Candidate); and his participation in a downstate fundraising scenario with major donors to Rahm Emanuel ($200,000 in 2011) and Barack Obama (bundled $231,000 in 2008) which has called the State GOP party’s finances into question.
Proponents of the resolution say that it could serve as a model and urge others conservative and Republican groups to adopt similar resolutions.
“We have to keep the pressure on,” said one Republican activist who feels betrayed by Brady. “If Republican voters voted for their party leadership, we would have accountability. As it stands, we don’t.”
After review of he circumstances surrounding Brady’s election to GOP Party Chairman in 2009, the troubling patterns continue to emerge.
Backstory: Andy McKenna succeeded Judy Barr Topinka as State GOP Chair, who presided over the failed U.S. Senate races of Jack Ryan and Alan Keyes against Barack Obama. She tapped Dan Proft as an overpaid consultant on the campaigns – both efforts were bungled.
McKenna resigned abruptly on August 20, 2009; the former GOP Chairman was under pressure to resign after the party’s political failures mounted. By the time McKenna was done, Democrats held every statewide office, a super majority of seats in the Illinois Senate, and a 70-48 seat edge in the House.
McKenna has since been deeply involved with seeding the so-called tax-exempt Illinois Policy Institute and the John Tillman-Dan Proft political action committees, which funded questionable candidates against conservatives in the recent primary elections. Both McKenna and Proft mounted failed campaigns for governor in 2010. Read more about the George Soros-Barack Obama-tainted Illinois Policy Institute political shell game here. Read the Springfield Journal Register story here.
Brady was named his McKenna’s successor within hours of his announcement in a closed door session of the State GOP Central Committee. He was unopposed. Previously, he served as Republican National Committeeman. He had succeeded the unindicted Bob Kjellander, who was named in a federal trial and accused of participating in a $500,000 kickback scheme involving convicted felons William Cellini (another Republican powerbroker) and Antonin “Tony” Rezko and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, now serving a 14 year term in prison.
This is what not having direct elections has done for the Republican Party in Illinois. This is what happens when you strip Illinois Republicans of their right to vote for their own party leadership: abuse of power and no accountability.
For this, we can thank liberal Republican Gov. James Thompson and then State Party Chairman Al Jourdan for engineering an unusual change in the Illinois Election Code back in the 1980s to permit the Republicans – not the Democrats – to use an undemocratic process to choose its state party committee members. Until then, Republican Party central committee members had been directly elected by primaries among their registered voters.
That is when things changed for the worst in Illinois.
So how do we change this destructive pattern? How do we end the vicious cycle of abuse?
We need to give the Illinois Republican Party back to the people. On June 8th and 9th, Republicans will have the opportunity to do just that. Please join like-minded conservatives and Republican organizations in the effort to restore Republican voting rights today.
The next installment of this Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform will trace the patterns of corruption in party political circles, who is involved, and who is getting what in return.