From Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform

Dear Illinois Conservative and Tea Party Friends,

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?

It doesn’t.

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?

Just that thought alone should bring every struggling tea party organizer in Illinois to call out the Illinois Policy Institute and its leaders and demand an answer now.

Is the idea here to criticize and condemn the corrupt Democrat machine but then replicate it? That seems to be the tax-exempt scheme Tillman, McKenna, Proft, and Hughes have cooked up.

Now that the people at Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform have begun to expose the truth, it is our responsibility to share it.  Share it on Facebook, on Twitter, email your lists, and post flowchart on your own blogs.

It is also our responsibility to do more to expose the truth. Go to the Illinois State Board of Elections website.  Research donors, candidates, and committees. Don’t take anything at face value. We should have all learned our lessons by now.

Again, I extend my praise to the Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reform and their investigative efforts and will be looking for their next report soon.


William J. Kelly

For those that are uninitiated, here are some links to Illinois Citizens for Ethics Reforms’ most recent reports:





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