Monday, January 25, 2010

Lightning Hitting Twice

In November of last year, we shocked Chicago by objecting to my opponent’s petition on the grounds that she was not a registered voter. Of course, objecting to petitions is a common practice in Illinois so that wasn’t the surprise. Instead we turned heads and gained valuable notice because I was a little-known reform candidate fighting machine politicians with their own tactics.

Though the Board of Elections ultimately ruled against our objection, the publicity projected my name recognition status into the sky -- gaining me an incredible amount of unpaid media and positive press.

Now I know that they say “Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice” but we’re about to prove that wrong.

It’s a fact that Mike Kasper and his firm represent Madigan-friendly politicians all the time, both defending them in court and pursuing their opponents in court as well. Many a reformer has been knocked off the ballot by Mr. Kasper’s legal skills. Such expertise doesn’t come cheaply.

Of course you wouldn't know that to look at the Disclosure Filings of those same state office holders, since they seldom report the spending. According to election law, if somebody else pays, the payment by another specified person needs to be recorded as a "contribution-in-kind." The failure of those contributions to be reported is an illegal act of non-disclosure if there ever was one.

That’s why my attorney Rich Means and I went back (with Suzanne's help) to the State Board of Elections on Monday, January 25 and filed another complaint! You see, the only way to reform our political landscape is to yell “The Emperor has no clothes” when indeed he (or she) has none. It’s up to the election board to hold candidates accountable for their disclosure reports and we aim to help them to do so.

Notice, please, that I wrote "candidates." Our filing isn't just against my opponent Ms. Mell, but also against Dan Burke, Michael Zalewski, and Carol Sente. That's right. None of these incumbent candidates reported how much they paid, how much some other named person or entity paid, or the value as a "contribution-in-kind" called "legal services" Mr. Kasper and company gave them. Somebody paid many thousands of dollars for these legal services and the public is entitled to know who.

Incumbents must be made to follow the laws they pass. Honest and full reporting of all contributions is one way to clean our state. Your contribution (which will be reported) will do just that.

You see, neither I nor the other reform candidates who were targeted by Madigan and Kasper have the political clout to get free and unreported legal services.

And there is more to it than that.

I’m not na├»ve enough to think that it’s really free. Yes, there may be no exchange of money but the picture gets even more murky when you see that Kasper is part and parcel of the registered lobbying firm of FLETCHER, O'BRIEN, KASPER & NOTTAGE, P.C. Now what do you think a State Representative does when the lawyer that defended him sends a lobbyist in his employ to ask him to vote for a bill that favors one of his clients?

As it says on their website (www.fokn.com): "Services provided by FOKN to its clients include monitoring and analyzing proposed legislation, passing and defeating legislative initiatives, securing appropriations, rulemaking, public relations and contract procurement."

Will you stand with me and say “Conflict of Interest” when an elected official allows a lobbyist to give him free and unreported legal council? Will you make a donation to say “Enough is enough?” Will you write a check to end the power of big money lobbyists?

Election day, February 2, is coming on fast. We can’t lose this opportunity to show Chicago’s voters why they have to vote the insiders out and the reformers in. Your contribution of $1,000, 500, 100, 50, or 25 will help us fight this challenge against illegal filings and insider conflict of interest.

Your contribution now will give my campaign the boost it needs to put us over the top on Tuesday, February 2. Contribute Here.