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?
SEE THE RECORD HERE: $30K DONATION AGAINST MANZULLO; KELLY CHALLENGES PROFT TO ANSWER THE CHARGES
“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
(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?
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?