Curran Accepts Kelly’s Debate Challenge on Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

William J. Kelly on-air at AM 560 WIND


WHAT:  William J. Kelly discusses the proposed legislation to permit 250,000 illegal aliens to receive state-issued driver’s licenses in Illinois at the Republican Assembly of Lake County’s January meeting. Sheriff Mark Curran has accepted Kelly’s challenge to debate him on the issue.

DATE:  January 10, 2012

TIME:  7:00 PM

PLACE:  Mundelein Comfort Inn, 517 Illinois 83  Mundelein, IL 60060

Kelly Responds to Sheriff Curran, Challenges to Him Debate on Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens


Statement by William J. Kelly

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 2012In a letter to the Illinois Review, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran accused me of “inaccuracies” concerning his support of Senate Bill 957, which allows 250,000 illegal immigrants to receive state-issued driver’s licenses. Since I am not in the habit of penning inaccuracies, I feel compelled to address his response. In January, I will be speaking to the Republican Assembly of Lake County on the issue of driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. I would like to challenge Sheriff Curran to come and debate me on this issue publicly at that time.

Let me say that I did not single out Sheriff Curran in my column for criticism. Curran, unlike other GOP leaders, changed his position on illegal immigration about a year or so ago. Other Illinois Republican leaders who supported this bill changed their position on illegal immigration…one day after the November election. This is what masquerades as “principle” these days.

Illinois politicians can spin it in any way they want; but everyone knows this bill is about politics, not policy. SB 957 was fast-tracked and Illinois Republicans leaders just hoped GOP primary voters wouldn’t notice the vote right before the holidays. They were wrong.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has been trying to get this legislation passed for a long time and they have targeted legislators who oppose them. Sensing the GOP blood in the water this election cycle, they moved quickly. The ICIRR recast itself as the “Highway Safety Coalition,” which has a nice, friendly ring to it. After all, who can be against “highway safety?”

But the public doesn’t know what is really taking place behind the scenes here. Greg Sullivan, Executive Director of the Illinois Sheriffs Association, was kind enough to offer a glimpse of how law enforcement really feels about this bad bill. Now we know have some idea why Illinois police chiefs have joined together to oppose the bill in Springfield.

In his response, Sheriff Curran named a handful of law enforcement officials who support this bill. ICIRR knew they needed the backing of law enforcement to market this bill to the public and to Springfield. But it is truly deceptive to say that Illinois law enforcement supports this bad bill – when the majority does not.

A few other key points. Curran repeated – almost verbatim – all the arguments in favor of the bill listed on the Highway Safety Coalition’s website. I am familiar – but not impressed – by any of them.

Yes, Illinois lawmakers plan to use “biometrics” like facial recognition to issue driver’s licenses but not fingerprint biometrics. Why not use fingerprinting if it can help and law enforcement wants it and trusts it? I think it is because the ICIRR’s membership doesn’t want it. But why is our state law being determined by illegal immigrants who don’t want to be fingerprinted?

Illinois, New Mexico, and other states have used biometrics in the identification process for years. But we still have driver’s license fraud in these states. Just this past June, nine people were arrested in a national driver’s license fraud ring in New Mexico involving the sale of hundreds of illegal licenses to foreigners in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Documents like rental agreements, utility bills, vehicle titles, and proof of insurance were forged to get the licenses.

This raises some serious questions about the use of passports and consular IDs to receive a TVDL in Illinois. In his response, Curran says that foreign governments have established “strong procedures for issuing these documents” and that “they have no interest in enabling fraud.” Really, these documents aren’t subject to fraud? How much cooperation has the U.S. received from the Mexican government on the issue of illegal immigration? I’m sorry, but I’m skeptical and the public should be too.

Curran’s last point is we need a “smart solution that allows cops to actually do their jobs and go after bad guys and (not good people just trying to go to work, school or church).” But more than 80,000 accidents a year are caused by these “good” illegal immigrants on their way to work, school, and church at a cost of $660 million to insured drivers. A smart solution isn’t a solution that panders; it’s a solution that works.

All we have heard from SB 957’s proponents in Springfield is that we – the people of Illinois – need to “trust them” on this bill. Illinois politicians tell us that they know what they are doing and there won’t be any fraud or abuse . But Illinois politicians haven’t earned our trust. Whether it is driver’s licenses and convicted Illinois governors or billions in unfunded pension liabilities, we have a broken system in Illinois.

And, somehow, I don’t think issuing driver’s licenses to 250,000 illegal immigrants is going to help.


The Illinois GOP’s Disgrace: Pat Brady Fails to Resign

Statement by William J. Kelly

r-PAT-BRADY-large570Chicago, Illinois – On Saturday, I called for conservatives to unite and attend the GOP State Central Committee meeting at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. The objective: freedom of speech. We were there to tell Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady to resign. Finally.

Did he?  He told me “no.”

During the meeting, Brady tried to pretend that we – Republicans – were all one big happy family but the anger and hostility in that room proved otherwise.

The GOP Chairman has accomplished much during his term: He has divided the Republican Party and attacked conservative candidates for office. He has ignored grassroots activists in favor of his own agenda. He is interested in advancing his little circle of power; he isn’t interested in helping the Illinois GOP.

Brady discussed all of the party’s accomplishments in fundraising and organizing. However, as much as he wanted to gloss things over, the elephant in the room was one he couldn’t miss: The Illinois GOP failed miserably in the 2012 elections.

Actually, failed is not the right word. The GOP was decimated. Destroyed. Obliterated.

And the responsibility squarely rests with Pat Brady, the GOP’s biggest failure. The party’s biggest disgrace of all.

In a GOP landslide election year in 2010, Brady bungled the governor’s race and Republicans lost any voice in the remap as a result. The statewide remap helped put House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate Leader John Cullerton on the path to veto-proof Democrat supermajorities in the state legislature. And the Illinois GOP we lost four congressional seats.

Brady also personally involved himself in GOP primaries. He managed the campaign to oppose Sen. Chris Lauzen for Kane County Chairman. He even meddled in my race for Chicago ward committeeman. He wanted to curry favor with the son of a big Republican donor (who also donates to Rahm Emanuel).

Brady couldn’t even win a Chicago ward committeeman race. How inept and silly can you be?

During the State Convention, he prevented delegates from participating and stopped a vote on direct elections, which would have returned voting power to GOP primary voters.

At Saturday’s meeting, many other organizers and Republican activists were present, infuriated at how the State Republican Party treated them in 2012.

In an act of disrespect for attendees, Brady wouldn’t let any non-committee person or candidate speak from the podium – but he made exceptions for Dan Proft and Jack Roeser.

He wanted to make sure he could take away the microphone quickly if need be.

Party hacks harassed people who were taking photos and video.

Censorship much?

Many called for Brady’s resignation outright. Others were very specific in their outrages.

Sherri Griffith, the Cook County candidate for Recorder of Deeds, lashed out asking why the state or Chicago GOP did not manage to get even one signature petition for her. Not one.

Lori Yokoyama, who ran for Cook County State’s Attorney, was furious: The GOP wants to cultivate women and minorities? But they left Yokoyama and Griffin to fend for themselves with no support or involvement of the party. Not even a press release.

Yokoyama’s point was well-taken: Brady now wants to do a poll of voters to see how the GOP can better appeal to women of color. Brady had his chance and he blew it.

I was proud of Carrie Miller of Patriots in Action. “We work for conservative candidates and then you destroy them,” she said to Brady. “You want to choose your people. You don’t want to hear from the grassroots!”  Attendees clapped vigorously in agreement.

About 10 other people wanted to speak but were prevented from doing so – including recent candidate Carl Segvich. GOP operatives pushed people out of the room, mumbling disrespectfully under their breath about attendees.

That’s the Illinois GOP: a party that has always had disrespect and disdain – maybe even hate – for its conservative base. The people who really do the work and get out the vote.

The Election of 2012 proved that the Illinois GOP may want conservative votes but they really don’t want us in the party.

The question is: What do we do now?

SIGN THE PETITION: Illinois Politicians Mislead on Bill to Permit Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants


Here is the text of the petition:

We, the people of the State of Illinois, oppose what is currently known as SB 957, legislation that will permit 250,000 illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain a state-issued driver’s license.

The current bill is poorly thought-out with no safeguards in it to protect against fraud and corruption.  Given the history of licenses-for-bribes in the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and the involvement of a now convicted Republican governor and 80 indicted state officials, we, the people, believe that this bill is lacking in any fundamental safeguards to issue these licenses and are concerned that they will be misused as official identification.

Illinois lawmakers admitted in a recent press conference that there is an insurance “loophole” in the present bill; yet the insurance provision is one of the stated reasons why proponents say this bill is necessary. We, the people, believe that Illinois lawmakers are misleading the public on this bill and there is no guarantee of any uninsured drivers securing insurance in exchange for a driver’s license.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is attempting to repeal the bill that permits these driver’s licenses in her state, citing reasons of fraud, corruption, and security concerns. We, the people, agree with Gov. Martinez and demand that our elected representatives vote “no” to this poorly-conceived, hastily assembled, pandering bill that is an affront to all legal citizens, legal immigrants, and undocumented workers.

Please sign today and contact your representative in the Illinois State House to say “no” to this bill when it comes up for a vote.

Please share this petition with friends and family.



TV Ad Hits Illinois Republicans on Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

Springfield Protest Rally Set for Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda at 10:00 AM

CHICAGO – Safer Families Coalition today launched a new television ad that slams Illinois Republicans for supporting an ill-conceived bill to permit 250,000 illegal immigrants to receive state-issued driver’s licenses.

The spot, entitled “Remember the Willis Children,” recalls the horrific Willis-Guzman van crash on Interstate 94 and the deaths of the six Willis children in a fiery explosion that was caused by an illegally licensed commercial truck driver named Ricardo Guzman. More than 80 connected Illinois officials were eventually implicated in the scandal and former Gov. George Ryan is still serving a six-year prison term for racketing, tax evasion, conspiracy, and fraud.

The ad asks the question: Can Illinois politicians be trusted to issue driver’s licenses to thousands of undocumented workers?

The ad can be viewed here:
Broadcast-quality versions are available upon request.

“Illinois has a sordid history when it comes to issuing driver’s licenses and this reckless bill to issue driver’s licenses to 250,000 illegal immigrants is just another scheme by Illinois politicians who are more concerned about votes than the safety of our families on the streets,” says William Kelly of Safer Families Coalition.

Illinois Republican leaders who are supporting the effort include State Sen. Bill Brady, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, and former Gov. Jim Edgar among others.

“This bill raises more questions than answers. How dare Illinois Republican leaders play Russian roulette with our families,” says Kelly.

The Safer Families Coalition will be holding a rally in on Tuesday December 2 at 10:00 AM in the Springfield Capitol Rotunda to protest the full vote of the Illinois Senate on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

For information, contact please contact Laura at (312) 768-8683 or

Kelly calls for Dec 4th Springfield Protest: Just say “No” to Driver’s Licenses for Illegals


Tuesday, December 4, 2012 – 10:00 AM Rally in the Capitol Rotunda, Springfield Illinois 

Tuesday afternoon – lobbying of Springfield legislators

Springfield coordinator: Sandy Dragoo, (ph) 217.725.9445,

Or contact William J. Kelly at (312) 768-8683 or

Thanks to Republican Leader Sen. Christine Radogno and Sen. Bill Brady, a new controversial bill to permit 250,000 illegal immigrants to receive Illinois driver’s licenses just cleared Senate Executive Committee by a 12-2 vote Thursday. A full Senate vote is expected next week.

If passed by the House and signed by Gov. Quinn in January, Illinois will join other states like New Mexico and Washington State in issuing licenses to undocumented workers.

According to the Highway Safety Coalition (HSC), a pro-amnesty front group, approximately 80,000 accidents are caused every year by “unlicensed, uninsured immigrants” in Illinois.

That begs the question: what happens to the 80,000 uninsured illegal immigrants involved in those accidents?

Illinois is a sanctuary state with a very lenient policy on illegal immigration. So next to nothing happens. Insurance premiums skyrocket and legal, insured drivers are on the hook for an extra $836 million a year.

So isn’t that another reason to punish – instead of rewarding – uninsured, illegal drivers?

Apparently, that’s not what Republican lawmakers Sen. Christine Radogno and Sen. Bill Brady believe.

This isn’t the first time Illinois has had a run-in with issuing “illegal” driver’s licenses.

n 1994, an illegally licensed truck driver named Ricardo Guzman caused the deaths of the six young Willis children in a fiery van crash near Milwaukee.

A large piece of the truck’s taillight assembly had broken off and Guzman, who purposely ignored the warnings of other drivers, failed to stop. He said he was afraid of being stopped by police. Other driver’s radioed him on the CB but Guzman, a Mexican native, didn’t understand English.

Duane and Janet Willis’ van struck the assembly which pierced the gas tank, exploding the van and trapping the young Willis children inside. No human being should die like that – much less six children.

The horrific deaths of the Willis children ignited a federal investigation into how Guzman managed to get a commercial driver’s license or CDL.The resulting investigation, Operation Safe Roads, exposed a heinous bribery scheme in George Ryan’s Secretary of State’s office: Pay a bribe, get a license.

From driver’s licenses to vehicle stickers, Ryan & Co. collected their kickbacks. Whistle blowers told their party bosses that unqualified people were receiving licenses and were promptly told to shut up and look the other way.  Unsafe driver’s who failed the driving test were put on the road. And people died.

A lot of people died – not just the Willis children.


The investigation determined that more than 2,000 tainted licenses were issued and all the while Ryan had been collecting cash payments, gifts and vacations at Jamaican villas. 80 defendants were eventually convicted in the wide-ranging scheme.

There are political motives behind this new legislation in Illinois to allow illegal immigrants to receive driver’s licenses too.

Of course, Illinois politicians are licking their chops over all those votes in the growing Hispanic community.

The corporate headquarters of State Farm Insurance is in Bloomington, Illinois–Sen. Bill Brady’s state senate district. They would benefit from this deal. Is State Farm twisting Brady’s arm?

How many unqualified drivers will be issued licenses this time? Who will be on the receiving end of the kickbacks? How many more people will die?

We need to put an end to the madness and say “no” to rewarding bad behavior.

Join me on December 4th in Springfield, Illinois to let lawmakers like Sen. Bill Brady and Sen. Christine Radogno know how you feel about their support for driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

Instead of rewarding bad behavior, we need to punish it.

We need legislation that ensures we have safe streets for the people of Illinois of every race, color, and creed. This new legislation that is being supported by the GOP establishment does not protect the people of Illinois.

For information about the protest, contact Amy at (312) 768-8683 or

Judy Baar Topinka should become a Democrat, William Kelly says

Chicago, Illinois, November 28, 2012 – Conservative commentator William J. Kelly has issued the following statement regarding Illinois comptroller Judy Baar Topinka:

Due to Illinois comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s stated support for legislation that will allow driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, I am calling on her to make it official: switch parties and run as a Democrat in 2014.

The reason we have political parties and platforms is so that voters know what and who they are really voting for. Political candidates betray voter trust by running on one set of principles and then politically jumping ship. In this case, the Republican Party platform clearly opposes illegal immigration. Can you be a Republican and support or encourage illegal immigration? I do not believe you can.

I became a Republican because it was the party of law and order. That is what the GOP stands for. As Republicans and as Americans, we cannot support policies that sanction illegal activity or undermine our national sovereignty.

So why is Judy Baar Topinka supporting this legislation? As usual, she is pandering for votes. It’s not about principle; it’s about elections.

The Highway Safety Coalition, a pro-immigration rights interest group, says that more than 79,000 accidents a year are caused by uninsured undocumented workers in Illinois. And the only solution Springfield lawmakers can come up with is to issue repeat lawbreakers state-issued IDs?

The legislation being considered during the current Springfield veto session will only attract more illegal immigration to Illinois and perhaps that is what some lawmakers want but it is not what Illinois needs.

I am calling on all voters to join together in a non-partisan coalition to stand up for legal citizenship, the rule of law, and to oppose this legislation now.

To contact the Illinois comptroller’s office, call (217) 782-6000. You can call any member of the Illinois General Assembly at the Capitol in Springfield by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (217) 782-2000 and asking for you Illinois State Representative or Illinois State Senator by name.


William J. Kelly is the Chairman of, a non-profit organization.  He writes a weekly column for the DC-based Communities at the Washington Times and contributes to national publications like the American Spectator and He is a former statewide candidate for Illinois comptroller.

To schedule comment or for questions, please contact Laura at (312) 768-8683 or

More Election Fall Out, Conservative Group Calls on IL GOP Chair to Resign

Chicago, IL, November 19, 2012 – Citing a failure of leadership, the conservative Illinois Center Right Coalition (ICRC) has issued a resolution calling for Pat Brady to step down as Illinois GOP Party Chairman.

The call for Brady’s resignation comes just one week after a challenge to Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno’s leadership from within the GOP.

“Under Brady’s failed leadership, the Illinois Republican Party is weaker than it has been in decades,” says ICRC Chairman Frank Napolitano. “Republicans lost any say in the statewide remap as a result of the party’s poor performance in 2010; that sealed the fate of Republicans on November 6th and GOP leadership must now be held accountable.”

In total, the Illinois GOP lost four congressional seats, seven state house seats, and five state senate seats giving Illinois Democrats a veto-proof supermajority in the legislature.

The ICRC resolution faults Illinois GOP leadership across the board, citing job loss due to Republican crossovers to vote with Democrats on excessive laws, mandates and taxes; the sabotage of Republican candidates for office by party leadership; and the failure of GOP leadership to slate any candidates for 39 house seats and 18 senate seats, leaving Democrat candidates unopposed.

The text of the ICRC Resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS the election laws of the State Of Illinois have been ‘engineered’ to greatly impair the opportunity for third party / independent candidates for office and

WHEREAS the Democratic Party of the State of Illinois has a party platform which the ICRC cannot support and

WHEREAS the platform for the Republican Party of the State of Illinois aligns closely with the ICRC platform; the Steering Committee of the ICRC promotes and supports primarily Republican candidates for office and

WHEREAS The lack of effective leadership within the Illinois GOP has had an economic impact resulting in the loss of thousands of Illinois jobs due to a Democratic majority (with the aid of Republican crossovers) implementing excessive laws, rules, regulations, mandates and taxes on Illinois Commerce and Illinois’ citizens and

WHEREAS the appointments of some additional Republican candidates for State Office were openly thwarted by Officers of the Illinois Republican Party and

WHEREAS thirty nine Democrats ran unopposed for the State Legislature and eighteen Democrats ran unopposed for the State Senate and

WHEREAS the lack of good Republican candidates resulted in complete Democratic veto proof majorities in the Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois Senate

WHEREAS the Chairman of the Illinois GOP used donated money to advertise a Vote By Mail campaign while other Republicans were educating voters on the subject of absentee voter election fraud and

WHEREAS the Chairman of the Illinois GOP could only offer the following reason for a liberal election tsunami in Illinois: “We’ve got to get over this caricature of us as being a bunch of angry people standing in the way of everything.”1

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the Illinois Center Right Coalition call for the immediate resignation of the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.


 For more information, contact William Kelly at at (312) 768-8683 or



KELLY TO ROCKFORD TEA: Blame Brady, Cross, and…Radogno

Chicago, Illinois, November 15, 2012 – Some  Illinois conservative leaders are up-in-arms calling for Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno to go.

Family PAC’s Paul Caprio has cited Radogno’s failure to help support pro-family candidates for office and has made statements in support of Sen. Kyle McCarter and Sen. Dan Duffy to take on the GOP reigns.  Other conservatives also remember Radogno’s involvement in the passage of HB 5007 – which implements ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid two years early in Illinois. Last May, she urged five lame duck Republicans to cross-over and vote for the bill.

So, yes, I agree, Radogno should go. We just don’t need any more Republicans who act like Democrats.

But if Radogno is an example of failed Illinois GOP leadership, then there are other “Republican leaders” that are clearly just as culpable for the political meltdown that took place last Tuesday.

If the argument against Radogno is that she failed to support pro-family Republican candidates this election cycle or due to her role as architect in the passage of progressive tax bills and spending,  then Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady and House Republican Leader Tom Cross should also step down and step down now.

The combined “leadership” of Brady, Cross, and Radogno has delivered nothing but failure to Illinois Republican voters.

Even in 2010 – a national Republican landslide year – the Illinois GOP establishment fumbled the single biggest opportunity for continued Republican gains:  the gubernatorial race .  By losing that race, Illinois Republicans lost any say in the statewide legislative remap.

That was key to Republicans’ political future.

What kind of political future can we really expect now? The legislative redistricting process takes places once a decade.

That failure – again in a Republican landslide election year – is the reason for the political bloodbath we experienced in Illinois last week.  It is that failure that caused Illinois Republicans to lose four congressional seats, seven state house seats, and five state senate seats giving Illinois Democrats supermajorities – and strong one-party Democrat rule.

But Brady, Cross, and Radogno are not taking any responsibility for this epic failure.

Late yesterday, Cross endorsed Radogno for another term.  Brady has already stated he has no plans to resign.

Instead, these failed leaders say they will put forward a “plan” for the future of the Illinois Republican Party.  A plan that apparently involves even more moderate Republicans – instead of conservative ones.  A plan that – in the words of Rep. Aaron Schock involves candidates that “don’t offend moderate women and young people.”

What exactly is that supposed to mean?

Was liberal Judy Biggert a candidate that “offended women and young people?” How what about Bob Dold?  Dold was a pro-choice Republican who even introduced legislation to save Planned Parenthood from having its funding cut.

Aren’t these the text-book liberal Republicans that the Illinois establishment now says it needs to win elections moving forward?

So why didn’t these candidates win last Tuesday?

Conservative and Tea Party candidates were the force behind the 2010 election gains – Brady, Cross, and Radogno can take no credit for that.

Now, just two years after those dramatic victories, are Republican voters supposed to believe that the national and Illinois electorate no longer has an appetite for a message of pro-family values and personal and fiscal responsibility?

That is what our Illinois GOP leaders and members of the media would have us now believe.

The truth is – the Illinois GOP leadership of Brady,Cross, and Radogno blew it in 2010 and 2012 and now they deserve to go.