To All My Fellow Tea Party and Conservative Friends,
Many of you probably received an email from Illinois Tea Party organizer Denise Cattoni late yesterday, which also named me. The email was in response to a letter I posted on my website in praise of a flowchart being circulated by Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform.
First of all, I just want to say that I don’t blame Denise Cattoni for the email. Not at all.
Dan Proft is the typical bully who doesn’t pick on people his own size. Instead, he is hiding behind a poor soul, Denise Cattoni, expecting her – forcing her – to defend him. Defend him in the same way poor Denise Cattoni was forced to defend Proft’s friend and ally, the disgraced Steve Stevlic and his prostitution problems.
There is a very critical reason why this email was sent out yesterday.
Because the flowchart (see chart) released by the Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, was very damning and damaging to Proft, John Tillman, Andy McKenna, and Pat Hughes and the unfortunate game they appear to be playing under the guise of “real reform.” Ironically, the chart was based on very simple, searchable information from the State Board of Elections website – information anyone could have uncovered.
I am the subject of criticism because I support the effort of Citizens for Ethics Reform. And now, many more people do as well.
Because with so many red flags being raised about Proft and his Cicero dealings, his bullying attempts to silence some tea party organizers who are critical of him, and now this new information about how the Illinois Policy Institute is being used or misused – we all need to be asking some serious questions.
Unfortunately, there are some people that do not want us to ask or talk or discuss what is going on here. But if the Tea Party movement – the conservative movement – hopes to have any legitimacy now or in the future – how can we not ask these questions?
Do we just ignore bad/wrong/corrupt behavior because someone happens to hide behind the word “conservative?” Isn’t the tea party movement in Illinois supposed to be about asking tough questions, freedom of speech, and uncovering ethical abuses of power?
To be quite honest, I wish all of this were not the case. I have tried to reach out and work with many of these people and their “organizations” for years. But now I understand why they were so unwilling to work with so many reform-minded people and tried and true conservative leaders inIllinois.
In my opinion, it is because they do not care about real reform. But for those of us that do care about real reform, how can we not stand up and speak out when it is necessary? We cannot allow anyone – no matter who they are or who they purport to be – to bully us into silence. I hope that all of you who are reading this will continue to ask the tough questions that need to be asked.
I certainly intend to do that and more.
Please feel free to share the above flowchart on the Illinois Policy Institute’s activities with your contacts.
It is never easy to stand up to a bully. It is also not easy to stand up to a group of greedy bullies who are exploiting Republicans and conservatives in Illinois for their own personal gain.
Yet that is exactly what the watchdog group, Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, is doing.
Knowing what it takes to stand up to the bad guys and fight back, I applaud Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform for its bravery and will work with them in any way that I can.
In Illinois and even in the conservative and tea party movements, truth has been in short supply for some time now. Even some so-called leaders in the conservative movement have purposely looked the other way or refused to call out what is happening in plain site.
Back in 2008, I welcomed the Tea Party movement’s emergence onto the national and local political scene. As a conservative with a 20-year history of activism, I felt that finally, finally, we would have the numbers to pressure the media and Illinois’ political leaders – Democrat and Republican – into telling the truth. But I feel as if the efforts have, too often, been thwarted.
The Tea Party has been disappointed. They have been let down.
But, most of all, they have been duped.
However, the protective veil against those who have been doing so much harm may be disappearing.
On Monday, Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform released a disturbing flowchart that exposed what the “conservative” Illinois Policy Institute is really doing, how it is doing it, and who is involved. It is an indictment of how we, as conservatives in Illinois, continue to get hoodwinked by hustlers who know how to talk the conservative talk but aren’t really walking the conservative walk.
We accept people at face value. We don’t always do our research. And, because of that, we really do not know who we have been dealing with or giving our loyalty to.
Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman talks and writes about ethics and corruption in government and how we can change the system. For years, Dan Proft has ranted about Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and how he games the system for personal benefit. And both have raised millions of dollars from contributors by doing so.
However, the Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform’s flowchart exposes the fact that these hustlers are just gaming the system too. And they have been doing it in plain site.
Simple searches on the Illinois State Board of Elections website reveal the Illinois Policy Institute’s involvement in a network of shady political action committees and an organization called the “Illinois Opportunity Project.” All of the PACs are housed at the tax-exempt Illinois Policy Institute and are used to shuffle the same donors’ money around to the same handful of candidates backed by Dan Proft’s Liberty PAC. Not to mention, Proft for Governor’s campaign coffers.
It’s quite the dirty little shell game. Tricking and evading the system to extract hundreds of thousands of dollars from the same donors.
How does any of this benefit the conservative movement or the tea party in Illinois?
Who does it benefit?
John Tillman, Andy McKenna, Patrick Hughes, and Dan Proft.
Instead of those millions of dollars being squandered for personal political gain by the Illinois Policy Institute , how much better off would we be if had conservative candidates and individual tea party groups around the state been the recipient of those funds? (more…)
Chicago, Illinois, April 9, 2012 – The watchdog group, Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform, has done a little digging on the Illinois State Board of Elections website and has uncovered information about how some “conservative” tax-exempt organizations like the Illinois Policy Institute operate. The organization has published a flowchart to explain the “charity’s” web of self-serving political action committees.
Anyone concerned about ethics and campaign finance reform should be questioning Illinois Policy Institute today and asking its Board Members John Tillman, Dan Proft, Patrick Hughes, and Andy McKenna whether they are intentionally engaging in deceitful activities to circumvent their 501c3 tax-exempt status and serve their own political ambitions.
Here are some of the ethical questions being raised by Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform:
– 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?
(From Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform)
Read the full release at Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform:
Chicago, Illinois, April 4, 2012 – Longtime taxpayer watchdog William J. Kelly announces today the formation of the Chicago Republican Organization (“CRO”), a new group formed to build a “real Republican Party in Chicago.”
“Illinois has been called the Greece next door and we are. Cook County’s local government debt of $108 billion exceeds one-third of Greece’s GDP,” says Kelly. “How did we get here? Through a corrupt one-party system and a lack of any true political opposition. We cannot wait twenty years for a two-party system in Chicago so we are going to build one.”
Kelly says that he is forming a Board of Directors of business and reform-minded political leaders to lead CRO and to help recruit candidates and organize Chicago and Cook Countyto get out the vote for Republican candidates for local, statewide, and national office.
The organization is already planning its summer fundraising initiatives and membership drives – including a boat cruise event with national speakers. Kelly says that he will build on his extensive track record of success with special events to drive membership and volunteer efforts. For Kelly’s recent event at Chicago’s historic Signature Room with Fox News’ Dick Morris, he had an overflow crowd of attendees.
“In order for Illinois Republicans to win statewide and national office, getting out the Chicago and Cook County vote is critical. But, to date, that effort has been an abject failure,” says Kelly. “CRO will step up to the plate to do the job that has not been done in Chicago in years.”