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.
Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform has written 14 posts for Illinois Citizens Against Corruption

EXCLUSIVE: Conservative Super PAC Exposes Aaron Schock (PART 1)

“Schock on our scorecard only got a 44% which is a flunking grade for anybody. Unfortunately Schock is a young guy in his early 30s as is Kinzinger but they are trying to portray themselves as the next generation of Republicans in Illinois.  Awful way to reenergize the GOP.”

– Club for Growth’s Andy Roth on Aaron Schock

Chicago, Illinois – Apparently, Rep. Aaron Schock has a number of superfans in the Illinois Republican Party, among them CBS Chief Correspondent Jay Levine and GOP party chief Pat Brady. Levine gushed like a schoolgirl during his interview with the 30-something congressman Friday. Quivering at the knees, Pat Brady had this to say when questioned about Schock’s future in state politics:

“I think it’s unlimited. I think anything he [Schock] puts his mind to, he can accomplish,” Brady said, who is leading a charge to reduce the role Illinois Republican voters would play in choosing their gubernatorial nominee.

Maybe it’s Schock’s penchant for the color pink that has these party bigwigs getting a collective shiver up their  spines. But Illinois party officials are already mouthing the words, “Governor Schock” for 2014.

However, not everyone is a fan of Schock’s. Tea Party leaders are still furious over Schock’s participation in the defeat of longtime conservative congressman Don Manzullo. A number of Illinois Republicans also worked against Manzullo. But Schock’s biggest opponent may be one he cannot ignore – the conservative super PAC, Club for Growth. The conservative super PAC sat down for a three-part interview with William Kelly to expose Schock’s ultra liberal voting record, his relationship with freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Rep. Eric Cantor, and how the liberal Young Guns PAC is recruiting liberal Republicans to run against conservative candidates.

Here is a preview of the EXCLUSIVE interview – the full article will appear Wednesday morning at Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad at the Washington Times Communities.

KELLY: This guy – Aaron Schock – what can you tell me about him?

CLUB FOR GROWTH: He’s a very liberal Republican. The reason he decided to go with Kinzinger is because they are two peas out of the same pod. Schock on our scorecard only got a 44% which is a flunking grade for anybody. Unfortunately Schock is a young guy in his early 30s as is Kinzinger but they are trying to portray themselves as the next generation of Republicans in Illinois.  Awful way to reenergize the GOP.

With regard to the FEC complaint against him, Schock admitted to his crime in the press. He said he would support Kinzinger against Manzullo and he wanted Cantor’s help so he went to Cantor and said Cantor please give $25,000 to the Campaign for Primary Accountability and by doing that he broke the law. As a lawmaker you cannot solicit for more than $5,000.

CLUB FOR GROWTH Clearly they [Cantor and Schock] are targeting conservatives because they have impeded leadership’s ability to pass large spending bills with liberal Democrats. We saw that with the debt deal last year and earlier this year with the highway bill. We will see it again this year with the farm bill.

KELLY: So GOP leadership was against Manzullo because he opposes redistribution of wealth?

CLUB FOR GROWTH: What we’ve been saying at the Club for Growth is that liberal democrats want to take the country over the cliff at 50 mph. GOP leadership wants to take it over the cliff at 25 MPH and conservatives don’t want to go over the cliff at all. GOP leadership still does not understand the urgency and need for us to stop the economic slide that Obama is perpetuating.

MAUREEN: What do Schock and Kinzinger get out of it?

CLUB FOR GROWTH: Schock is just a sophomore legislator. He got in 2008 and was re-elected in 2010. Kinzinger got elected in 2010. Young guys. Immediately once they got elected they went to leadership and said, “how can we help?” Leadership has co-opted them from day one. When Kinzinger got in trouble. Schock and leadership said “we got your back” because they were not these rock star conservatives screwing up leadership’s agenda.

KELLY: Transalation? They [Schock and Kinzinger] have no core values. They want job security. Benefits. Pensions. They want the goodies. So they are willing to sell out. Andy, was that about right?

CLUB FOR GROWTH: You got it exactly right. I urge voters to follow the voting records of Kinzinger and Schock and other members of the Illinois delegation. It appears they [Kinzinger and Schock] vote that way quite often.

Parts two and three of this exclusive interview will be released this week.



Reprinted with permission from William J. Kelly and the Washington Times Communities/24/7:

Chicago, Illinois, May 27, 2012 (as originally published) – Pulling a ‘Specter’ has become shorthand for an act of political betrayal against your party’s fundamental principles. This week, sixteen Illinois Republican lawmakers with the encouragement of state GOP leaders did just that when they approved Democrat legislation that would implement ObamaCare two years ahead of schedule in the cash-strapped state.

Back in 2009, then Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) was one of only three senators to break party ranks and vote for President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, that the president’s Council of Economic Advisors have now estimated cost taxpayers $278,000 per job created.

In April that same year, Specter suddenly announced he was joining the Democrat Party, the switch giving Senate Democrats a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats. In December 2009, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), informally known as ObamaCare, passed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 60-39.

But Specter paid a serious price for his Republican betrayal; voters do not seem to react well when a politician changes his stripes for a political gain. In 2010, Specter lost his seat to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in the bruising 2010 midterm elections and the successful sweep of Tea Party-backed Republican congressmen into office.

Ever since the Specter betrayal, Republican primary voters have become increasingly astute at discerning Democrats-in-Republican-clothing.

The sneaky late Thursday vote on Illinois bill HB 5007 this week – right before the start of Memorial Day weekend – may have forced some of these Illinois “Republicans” out of the proverbial political closet.

In 2011, Illinois lawmakers agreed to a moratorium on expanding the failing state Medicaid program. But HB 5007 – sponsored by State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) (who took over former State Sen. Barack Obama’s seat) – circumvents the moratorium by enabling “expansions approved by the federal government.” The bill actually implements ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid two years ahead of schedule and could add as many as 250,000 people to the already overburdened state Medicaid rolls.

The expansion is based on ObamaCare’s eligibility rules and has built-in safeguards if portions of the law are ruled to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court this year.

The bill passed both houses in Illinois and included the support of 11 House Republicans and 5 Senate Republicans, five of them lame ducks.

But Republican voters, outraged at the perceived betrayal by the Illinois GOP leadership, are speaking out. Earlier this week, Tea Party organizations across Illinois issued statements condemning House Minority Leader Tom Cross for “cutting deals with Chicago Democrats” on ObamaCare. Senate Leader Christine Radogno has come under fire for permitting 5 lame duck Republicans to vote for the ObamaCare expansion

The political sleight-of-hand has left some to wonder: with Republican leaders like these, who needs Democrats?

Illinois GOP Party Chairman Pat Brady also has remained silent on the issue. But the Republican defection appears to be in direct conflict with the current Illinois Republican Party platform which states in pertinent part:

Illinois Republicans reject the socialized healthcare schemes being promoted by our two United States Senators (Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Barack Obama) and a majority of the Democrats in Springfield. Healthcare policies should: …foster accessibility by lowering costs and putting individuals and families in charge of their own healthcare decisions.”

Twenty-four Illinois Republican lawmakers also voted to pass gambling expansion in Illinois this week – another betrayal of the party platform. SB1849 authorizes five new casinos – including Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s city-owned casino in Chicago.

Rep. Dan Brady – cousin of GOP Party Chair Pat Brady – also voted for the measure.

Will there be a backlash against the Illinois GOP establishment for its support of these controversial measures? Will a robust movement of taxpayers unite against this latest encroachment of big government in Illinois? And will RNC Chairman Rence Priebus condemn Illinois Republican leaders who supported ObamaCare when he comes to speak before the Illinois GOP Convention on June 8th and 9th?

Read the rest of the story at the Tea Party Report at Washingtontimes.com. 



OUTRAGE: Republican Group Demands Recall of Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady



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.

Read Crain’s Chicago Business and Huffington Post stories here.

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.

See the full text of the MODEL RECALL RESOLUTION here.

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.

Read now about how you and your organization can become delegates to the Illinois Republican State Convention and vote on June 8th and 9th to take back your vote.

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.


The full text of the Illinois Center Right resolution reads as follows:

 WHEREAS, the platform of the Illinois Republican Party contains the following: “To conduct ourselves in such a way as to rebuild the public trust in the Republican Party” and

WHEREAS, the platform of the Illinois Republican Party contains the following: “our party will not stand for the slightest compromise in the ethics of our political leaders” and

WHEREAS, the platform of the Illinois Republican Party contains the following: “The Republican Party supports the citizen-led effort to institute a process for recall of elected officials.” and

WHEREAS, the platform of the Illinois Republican Party contains the following: “Party officials must act in such a way as to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.” and

WHEREAS, the platform of the Illinois Republican Party contains the following: “Illinois Republicans call on all citizens of Illinois to join us in restoring to Illinois government the principles enunciated in the Platform, principles which have guided our Party and which motivate us to active involvement in the political arena.” and

WHEREAS, when Pat Brady was elected as the Chairman of the Illinois GOP he made the following statement: “The reason I think I won is because they want ethics, they want reform, they want this office to maintain the highest degree of integrity.” and

WHEREAS, the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party is responsible for raising money to support Republican candidates and ensuring the success of those candidates in the General Election; and

WHEREAS, 21 of 59 (36 %) State Senate seats have no Republican Candidate and 43 of 118 (36 %) State Representative seats have no Republican Candidate

WHEREAS, Pat Brady, the current Illinois Republican Party Chairman has failed to meet the stated requirements of the platform by:

• Participating in a fundraising scenario with downstate Republican organizations that has called into question the Illinois Republican Party’s finances

• Directly involving himself in contested Illinois Republican primaries

• Directly acting as campaign manager for a candidate in a contested Republican primary

• Misusing state Republican funds to support embarrassing candidates in Chicago city elections

• Failing to organize statewide political and grassroots resources to enable a Republican gubernatorial candidate to win office in an election year highly favorable to Republicans;

• Failing to recruit adequate candidates for State Office

• Failing to secure Illinois Republican party victories, which was responsible for the loss of political remap control affecting local, state, and federal offices

• Failing to win key Republican races and any races of import

• Creating an atmosphere of distrust among members of the Illinois Republican Party and subjecting those members to the derision brought by successive and numerous political losses.

 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.



1. Post this article and VOTING RIGHTS POSTER on your facebook page. Send the poster to your like-minded conservative friends. SPREAD THE WORD.

2. If you are planning on going to Chicago CPAC – don’t. It is highly unfortunate that they planned Chicago CPAC for the same weekend as the Illinois Republican State Convention.

3. Call your local GOP County Chairman. Here is a list of them from Republican News Watch. Scroll down and to the right you will see a list that says “Republican County organizations.” Find your county and click it.http://republicannewswatch.com/wp/?p=755

If you are from Cook County, call your Republican township or ward committeeman. Here is the list:http://cookrepublicanparty.com/leadership.aspx

4. Ask your County GOP Chairman (or if you are from Cook, your committeeman) to name you a delegate.

5. If you are denied the opportunity to become a delegate, contact me at williamjpkelly@gmail.com.

6. Once you are named a delegate, register as a delegate for the Illinois Republican Convention here:http://ilgopconvention.eventbrite.com/

7. When the vote for direct elections is called, vote to restore direct elections and the right for Illinois Republican voters to choose their own leaders.

 Let’s send a message to our corrupt Republicans officials in Illinois that we demand the right to vote and we demand it now. Before it is too late.


Kelly will discuss Tillman-Proft Funding Chart at May 3 Tri-County Tea Meeting

Statement by Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform spokesman William J. Kelly

Chicago, Illinois – The Cicero bully is at it again. New emails obtained by Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform reveal that Dan Proft has now stooped to bullying conservative women in Illinois’ pro-family movement.

This week, angry that a woman was circulating information about his funding from major donors linked to Barack Obama and Soros Fund Management, Proft sent her a bullying email that the:

…poorly researched, poorly reasoned and just plain farcical ravings truly diminishes you. It is truly unfortunate that you are so easily fooled by fact-free demagoguery.  I feel sorry for you.” – says Dan Proft to a woman in the pro-family movement

In true bully form, Proft never picks on someone his own size. Instead, he focused his attacks on a person who is known to be a very sweet woman who has been deeply involved in the pro-family movement for decades.

But Proft is a serial harasser. Last month, he was caught sending bullying emails to Illinois tea party organizers who were disinviting him as a speaker to their organizations.  Proft’s appearance at last month’s Chicago Tea Party rally on Tax Day may have been the reason for the poor attendance – a meager 200 or so people.

Now new leaked emails show an unfortunate pattern of harassment. One bullied tea party organizer in Illinois emailed him back, hoping the harassment would end:

 “I cannot believe you are engaging in worthless chatter with me Dan. You have been sooooo condescending. I thought that whatever I wrote would never be worthy of a response. Get on with your life, Dan. I am not stopping you.”  –  Illinois Tea Party organizer bullied by Dan Proft

“I am aware of what you are doing and what you are not doing. I’ll live my life as I chose but thanks for the advice….I am still waiting for a substantive response to my substantive answer as well as to the substantive examples that run in contravention to your fact-free demagoguery.”    – Cicero Dan Proft bullies people with emails

Tea party organizers, who have called out Proft as a traitor, have lined up against him. Proft worked aggressively against Rep. Don Manzullo and used his dubious political action committees to support other questionable candidates in the recent March primary. Many have had the courage to stand up and speak out. 

Interestingly enough, Proft isn’t really denying the facts in any of the bullying emails he has sent. He relies on bullying (and an increasingly laughable use of his computer’s online thesaurus function) to pressure pro-family and tea party organizers who are unhappy with his dirty tactics.

The real problem for Proft, Tillman, and their associates is that the plain facts being exposed are public information. Anyone can search them in the online databases at the Illinois State Board of Elections and the Federal Election Commission websites.

Here are the links:

Obama, Soros-linked contributions to Proft, Tillman 



Proft-Tillman donors’ ties to Obama


Proft-Tillman donors’ ties to Rahm


Proft-Tilman donors’ ties to Soros Fund Management  


Shell game of Tillman-Proft political action committees


Where did Proft’s bullying nature come from? 

How ’bout Cicero? Proft’s longtime shady dealings with the corrupt Cicero town is well-known. It is the place where he cut his political teeth.  Cicero has been making the news almost daily now. Take a look at CBS report on Cicero from last night.

Is this what the Illinois conservative movement and tea party movement is about?

With Dominick’s no-bid contracts to his Urqhardt consulting company, Proft received hundreds of thousands of dollars as spokesperson and consultant to Cicero’s corrupt mayor Larry Dominick. He was given more than $300,000 to represent a Cicero “building.” He loaned those funds to his campaign for Governor.

Also troubling is his relationship with pal, Craig Pesek, who worked with Proft to get Dominick elected. Illinois State Board of Elections records reveal that Pesek, who manages Dominick’s political committee, also contributed to Proft’s campaign for governor. His equally shady brother, Jeff, did too. Here are some links to Pesek’s shady background.

Illinois Citizens for Ethics will continue to report on Proft, Pesek, Dominick and their troubling Cicero relationships.

The oft-repeated quote from Edmund Burke bears repeating, “All evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing.” But once good people know about evil and they do nothing, are they still good?  As a conservative activist for the last twenty years, I have grappled with that question.

I am still waiting for the answer.



“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

Open source record from anti-Manzullo SUPERPAC

(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?

$30K contribution against Manzullo from Griffin

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?

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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 name of the four donors have been withheld

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.



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.  


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.

Apparently, the Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady and Dan Proft could not even pull out a win in a tiny 42nd ward race in Chicago.

Brady, Proft and Tillman have not handled the media scrutiny well.

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.

Both Proft for Governor and the Proft-controlled Liberty PAC received $30,000 from Illinois Opportunity Project in March 2012. Proft is a paid consultant to the Illinois Opportunity Project.

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.


The Soros connection

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.

Source: Illinois State Board of Elections

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 MCKENNAMcKenna 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.

Liberty PAC contributions

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.

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