Anger over IL GOP’s Attempt to “Bamboozle” Delegates
ACTION ALERT: ILLINOIS GOP CONVENTION – JUNE 8 and 9th
Chicago, Illinois – The Illinois Republican State Convention begins this Friday, June 8 at the Tinley ParkConvention Center. But activists are already worried that corrupt practices will threaten to undermine the voting rights of registered Republican delegates.
Scores and scores of Illinois Republican voters have complained that they are being denied the opportunity to be a delegate at this year’s convention. After multiple requests, the Illinois Republican Party has yet to release the official list of delegates attending the convention.
The corrupt practices have angered activists and voters alike and officials are fearful that delegates will fight back on the convention floor on Friday and Saturday.
“The Illinois Republican Convention is a historic opportunity for GOP delegates to vote on critical issues like ‘direct elections,’” says William J. Kelly, longtime taxpayer watchdog and candidate for Republican National Committeeman. “But, already, some leaders in the State Central Republican Committee are engaging in dirty backhanded tactics that threaten both the spirit and principles of what the party was founded on.”
But there is a new sense of urgency in the fight for direct elections.
Last week, Illinois Republican leaders voted for early passage of ObamaCare, gambling expansion, tax increases, and no pension reform. Without direct elections, Illinois GOP leaders can continue to vote for legislation without fear of reprisal from Republican voters.
However, the real question is how will delegates to the convention react? Will Illinois conservative and Tea Party organizations fight back? Or will they attend CPAC Chicago instead?
On Friday and Saturday, convention delegates, in theory, will also vote on candidates for Republican National Committeeman and whether or not to maintain the conservative planks in the party platform.
Currently, there are three candidates for Republican National Committeeman – they include: Rich Williamson, Alexander “Sandy” Stuart, and broadcaster William J. Kelly. Rich Williamson is the current National Republican Committeeman and Alexander “Sandy” Stuart, a fundraiser for the Illinois GOP, is currently under fire for questions surrounding a downstate fundraising scheme with campaign bundlers to Barack Obama.
But corrupt practices threaten to undermine that voting process as well.
In an email to the candidates, Deb Detmers, Chairman of the selection committee, said that it is the committee’s goal to supply the delegates with one choice for national committeeman.
“In the spirit of true democracy, shouldn’t the delegates know the names of all the candidates for Republican National Committeeman?” says Kelly. “I think the committee will attempt to bamboozle the delegates by submitting to them only one name for consideration.”
After Kelly requested a list of the selection committee members, Detmers again lashed out at him Friday afternoon.
“After I asked her for the list on the phone, she [Detmers] accused me of questioning her integrity and hung up,” says Kelly. “I may not have questioned Detmers’ integrity – but the federal government already has.”
Previously, Detmers was the Finance Director for former convicted Gov. George Ryan, currently serving a 6 ½ year prison term on federal corruption charges. She was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony at trial. She admitted under oath that she took taxpayer money while serving as Ryan’s political director and that she was aware of Ryan’s “aggressive fundraising” tactics but said “I didn’t do anything.”
The Illinois State Central Republican Committee has a fine history replete with corrupt leaders. GOP Chair Pat Brady took over the role of National Republican Committeeman from Bob Kjellander, who was named as “Individual A” in the guilty plea agreement of former Blagojevich aide Lon Monk that he conspired to kickback $500,000 to convicted felon Antonin “Tony” Rezko.
Again, Brady was one of those candidates “recommended” to convention delegates by the “selection committee.” He was also the only candidate in the running when Andy McKenna suddenly announced he was resigning for GOP Party Chair.
Kelly is calling on all delegates to vote “no” if they receive a ballot that does not contain his name. This will force the committee to include all three candidates for National Republican Committeeman on the ballot – not just the selection committee’s handpicked candidate.
The three candidates for National Republican Committeeman will also be speaking to the committee on Friday at 12:30 p.m. “We want all delegates to attend and hear all three candidates speak and make their own decisions. They have a right to know and a right to vote for the candidate of their choice,” says Kelly.
Delegates should plan to attend the Illinois GOP convention on Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, and to stay the day to influence the rule-making process on direct elections, the Republican National Committeeman race, and the language of the party platform.