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.
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 MCKENNA. McKenna 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.
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.
The first in a series of investigative reports from Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform
Chicago, Illinois – The so-called “conservative” Illinois Policy Institute has racked up contributor dollars as a reform-minded policy think tank dedicated to change. But like Media Matters for America, the Illinois-based 501c3 tax-exempt organization’s political and financial activities raise serious red flags about its operations and intentions and those of its questionable key players, John Tillman, Dan Proft, Andy McKenna, and Patrick Hughes. Hughes, Proft, and McKenna have run previously for statewide public office.
Utilizing its 501c3 status, Illinois Policy Institute raises millions of dollars researching and publishing policy positions on a myriad of issues, ranging from ethics in government to waste, fraud, and abuse of Illinois taxpayer dollars to campaign finance reform.
In order to qualify, a 501c3 organization must pass a series of requirements. Once granted 501c3 status, organizations pay no federal income tax and donors may deduct their charitable contributions because the IRS presumes that these “charitable” organizations benefit the public. But a 501c3 organization may not “participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.”
Critics have charged that Illinois Policy Institute is merely a corrupt front group organized to farm donor lists, form and manage political action committees, and advance the political ambitions of its Board of Directors.
A flowchart of the organization’s activities and affiliations raises a number of questions and spotlights the hypocrisy of Illinois Policy Institute Executive Director John Tillman:
– Why is Illinois Opportunity Project, a 501c4, organization operating out of Illinois Policy Institute? What is its relationship to Illinois Policy Institute?
– Does Illinois Opportunity Project share office space, equipment, and personnel with Illinois Policy Institute?
– Who is funding Illinois Opportunity Project? The same donors that fund Illinois Policy Institute?
– Why is Empowering Children PAC listed at addresses used by Illinois Policy Institute?
– Why is Dan Proft’s Liberty PAC listed at addresses used by Illinois Policy Institute?
– Why did John Tillman set up Fiscal Accountability PAC and why is it listed at the address for Liberty PAC’s accountant?
– Why did Illinois Opportunity Project give $10,000 on March 12, 2012 to Dan Proft for Governor and who made that decision? Why did Illinois Opportunity Project give $20,000 to Dan Proft’s Liberty PAC a week before the primary election in March 2012?
– Are the same four donors that are funding the three PACs also funding Illinois Policy Institute and Illinois Opportunity Project?
– Why did the Tillman-controlled PACs give contributions to political candidates on the same day?
– Through these activities and others, isn’t Illinois Policy Institute engaging in the same unethical political practices that it accuses Democrats like Michael Madigan of engaging in?
The Internal Revenue Service and responsible media should demand some answers from Illinois Policy Institute Executive Director John Tillman about his organization’s dubious shell game activities.
Donors to Illinois Policy Institute-affiliated political groups should think twice before contributing; who knows where your dollars are really going.