An open letter to Are you really pro-life?

Dear Pro-Family Leaders,

This is an open letter to the leadership of and those who are involved with or support the organization.  As a life-long Catholic and conservative activist from Chicago, I have watched too many conservative, Republican, and Christian organizations being taken over by the liberal political establishment.  I am certain you have too.

After years of fighting the fight, I finally entered the media myself to report on our issues from a Christian conservative viewpoint. Here is my most recent story that was syndicated in Catholic media.

That is why I am so troubled by what I see happening with and here’s why:

I understand that Mr. Burch, the President of, serves as Vice President/Secretary of the Illinois Opportunity Project. John Tillman, Dan Proft (who is also a paid consultant to the fund) and Tillman associate Bob Costello are also on the board of the Illinois Opportunity Project.

While Mr. Burch was on this board, Illinois Opportunity Project, a 501(c) (4) political committee, donated thousands of dollars to state senate candidate Arie Friedman, a pro-abortion pediatrician.  In October 2012, Dan Proft formed Liberty Principles PAC which then spent thousands of dollars to oppose Friedman’s opponent in the general election. This was after Proft promised pro-family leaders he would not support pro-abortion candidates for public office ever again (Beth Coulson was another extreme left-wing pro-abortion candidate he supported).

Many in the Illinois pro-life community were outraged at Friedman’s positions – including Illinois Family Action.

Now the reason that Illinois Opportunity Project, Tillman, and Proft supported Friedman was due to his ties to transgender billionaire James Pritzker (who now calls himself “Jennifer.”) Friedman is one of five board members on Pritzker’s Tawani Foundation. What kind of bizarre quid-pro-quo to support a pro-abortion candidate was this?

So why would Mr. Burch continue to be involved in the Illinois Opportunity Project, which not only gave money to Mr. Friedman but donated to Mr. Proft’s campaign for Illinois governor and pays him a consulting fee while this was taking place?

I also see that Tillman, Proft, and Costello, are on the event committee for CatholicVote’s upcoming 5th Anniversary Golf Classic on September 18th, which may be an indication that Catholic principles are not necessarily a motivating factor for the organization.

So, again, the question is why?

There’s more. Just a few months ago, Richard Lorenc and Eric Kohn, both employees and associates of Proft and Tillman’s, wrote this piece in the Chicago Sun-Times called, “Real Conservatives Back Gay Marriage.”   I would encourage the people on this list to give Mr. Kohn and Mr. Lorenc’s article a read and decide if it reflects Catholic principles.

For background, Kohn was/is part of Proft’s Urquhart Media, which had Cicero contracts from corruption poster boy Larry Dominick. Until recently, Kohn was spokesperson for Craig Pesek, who, according to the Chicago Sun-Times and the FBI, is under fire for his ties to criminals. Kohn is the treasurer for Tillman’s political action committees and, despite his lack of credentials, was propped up by Tillman as the treasurer of the recent failed Illinois Virtual Charter School Plan, which was seeking more than $16 million in state tax dollars this spring. Kohn’s wife, Rebecca, is an Illinois Policy Institute employee.

Until recently, Richard Lorenc was the Director of Outreach for the Illinois Policy Institute and is now on the board of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry.  Again, I would encourage the people on this list to read up on this organization’s purpose.

Tillman and Proft have a history of attacking conservative and Catholic candidates behind-the-scenes so valid criticism of them in this forum and many others is more than warranted.  That’s why this letter is also important: so that Christian leaders understand the false hypocritical commitment that people like Mr. Tillman and Mr. Proft have for pro-family and Catholic principles.

So my question to’s leadership is: Are you really committed to basic Catholic principles or do they merely serve a political end? If is committed to Catholic principles, how do you explain the above? What is providing to Tillman/Proft, etc.?
And do you expect Catholic donors like Pat McCaskey to support candidates and causes that do not reflect Catholic/conservative principles?

Feel free to respond to me directly with any questions via email. I await your responses.

William J. Kelly
Safer Families Coalition

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