To all my Illinois Tea Party and conservative friends,
I just wanted to let everyone know that I am very gratified that my open letter exposing Dan Proft has struck such a chord. The letter was just a restatement of what so many Illinois conservatives were already thinking and saying in emails and on facebook. My letter also resulted in many others – conservatives and tea party organizers – sending their own letters to each other, facilitating an open discussion.
It was interesting to see so much agreement. Freedom of speech is important. Getting at the truth is even more important.
As you can imagine, I’ve had a little experience asking tough questions. As proof, here’s a short video called “A Conservative in Chicago,” which documents my 20 years of conservative activism.
In a recent Illinois Tea Party conference call Tuesday, there was a statement made against me because of my fallout with AM 560 WIND, which financially sponsored Teacon last year. My friend Andrew Breitbart was also mentioned in the call. Unfortunately, Andrew isn’t here any longer to set the record straight. But I can tell you that he wasn’t a fan of hypocrisy or the way WIND or its co-host Amy Jacobson have conducted themselves.
In fact, here’s the late great Andrew Breitbart criticizing AM 560 WIND on my radio program and a video he had produced for Breitbart.com.
I also understand that there are a few other tea party organizers who have been critical of my letter. With some, it is just self-interest or it is because they were close to Steve Stevlic and the Chicago Tea Party organization. With others, there are still hard feelings because I wrote about Proft friend and ally Steve Stevlic and his prostitution problem in my DC-based columns last year. But if the tea party isn’t about truth, what is it about?
As to any factual statements about Proft that I have made, I encourage everyone to do their own research. There is no need to take my word for it.
In fact, here are just a few links (there’s more of course) for people who are interested in hard facts and would like the opportunity to ask more questions. Read the links and search the State Board of Elections for contributions.
I have also heard from many people that Dan Proft has sent bullying and threatening emails to those tea party organizers who expressed criticism of him this week. He has even asked some of those leaders to throw people out of their groups. Imagine that. All of this, unfortunately, proves the point that I was making.
I know that asking hard questions is never easy so I applaud everyone that is speaking out and want to let you know that if you received a bullying email – you weren’t alone. It is a common tactic to attack the messenger and that is what has happened here.
It is also not surprising to me at all that “some” people are also attacking me for “daring” to question Proft, his funding, and his true motives. When I say “some” people I mean a few people in the Chicago Tea Party leadership. But since many of them work for Proft, why should their opinion matter to me? None of this is very surprising.
Before my letter even appeared, a number of organizations had disinvited Proft from speaking engagements at their group due to his support of dubious candidates in the GOP primary. That led a number of tea party organizers to ask the question: Why is Proft, with all his shady Cicero deals and his PAC’s support of questionable candidates, still speaking at Chicago Tea Party’s Tax Day Rally? It is a legitimate question.
But, frankly, I already knew the answer to that question already.
The current head of the Chicago Tea Party, Eric Kohn, was the operations manager for Proft’s Urqhardt Media,which received no-bid contracts from Cicero. Kohn is currently treasurer for Fiscal Accountability PAC which is one of Dan Proft’s connected PACs.
In the conference call, a Chicago Tea Party cited the importance of “Freedom of Speech” in their “decision” to have Dan Proft speak at the rally and I agree wholeheartedly. Consequently, if “freedom of speech” is the goal, then surely they would also allow me to speak on April 16th, wouldn’t they?
Feel free to ask the Chicago Tea Party organizers about that and let me know. The answer would be interesting since the organizers have not allowed me to speak at any of the Chicago Tea Party rallies – even, in 2010, when I was a GOP candidate for comptroller against Judy Baar Topinka – one of Proft’s close friends and allies. From their actions, freedom of speech does not really seem to be the goal.
If anyone has any questions, I would welcome the opportunity to come speak to your organization and present you and your membership with the hard facts. As I have said before in this email, if the Illinois Tea Party isn’t about truth, what are we about?
William J. Kelly