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?
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
“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.