Friday, August 15, 2008

Lake County Democrats Claim Shock, Horror, Ignorance at Petition Forgeries... 8 Months After this Was Pointed Out to Them (UPDATED)

A number of Lake County Democrats are finally being hit with the fallout from the tainted petitions containing alleged forgeries of persons both alive and dead. The Daily Herald is reporting today that the two indicted campaign workers for State Senator Terry Link (Jerry D. Knight and Kenneth Davison) also "circulated" petitions for seven other Lake County Democrats, including incumbents like Coronor Dr. Richard Keller and Recorder of Deeds Mary Ellen Vanderventer, as well as candidates like Michael D. Jacobs (running for State's Attorney against Mike Waller), Cynthia Pruim Haran (who is running for Circuit Court Clerk against Sally Coffelt), Jim Parks (running against JoAnn Osmond in the 61st legislative district) and Diane Hewitt (running for county board Dist. 2 against Randy Whitmore).

Those Democrats that were contacted by the Daily Herald expressed shock and horror, as if this was the biggest surprise of their lives. Former Vice-chair of the Lake County Dems, "Sneaky" Pete Couvall, who hired Knight and Davison, stated that "The only thing I'm guilty of is being hustled by a couple of con artists." Coroner Richard Keller, whose petitions were circulated as a block with the other Dem county-wide candidates, said he was unaware Knight or Johnson had worked on his petitions. "I found out later that (the paperwork) included those gentlemen and that there were irregularities," Keller said. The Herald reports that Hewitt said she knew Knight gathered signatures for her but was unaware of any irregularities. Parks said he learned Knight and Davison worked on his petition after the fact, and called the irregularities embarrassing.

Oh, how the passage of time (and a few indictments) bring some clarity to the situation.

For those of you new to the scene, this space and the Lake County GOP have been talking about this since last November, when Link's Dem primary opponent Jerry Johnson first identified the signatures of dead people on Link's petitions. Things just snowballed from there, culminating in an investigation by the Lake County State's Attorney and the return of indictments of the two paid petition circulators yesterday.

But, way back in December 2007, Lake County GOP Chairman Dan Venturi pointed out that not only had these two individuals circulated petitions for Link, but also these other candidates. His letter was published in the Lake County News-Sun and you can read it here. But even before Venturi's letter was published, this story was all over the newspapers.

Only now, however, after all of the Dem candidates, including Link, are secure in their positions on the general election ballot in November, are these candidates willing to discuss the tainted petitions and apparently admit they'd been collectively bilked (so they say) by these two devious men. Prior to this, only Link would talk, and his statements amounted to a zillion reasons why this was all nonsense, or perhaps the work of the Republicans.

As we have said many times here, we suspect the reason why Senator Link rebuffed all calls for an investigation of his own into the allegations of forgery was that he was afraid that if he looked too closely, the petitions circulated by Knight and Davison (which amounted to over 75% of Link's total signatures) would have shown to be invalid, and Link would not have had enough legitimate signatures to remain on the ballot. To remind everyone, that would have meant that Link would have had to run as a write-in candidate, either against Jerry Johnson directly as the other Dem primary candidate, or face the possibility of both men running as write-ins. A man with the ego the size of Terry Link's would never have been able to stomach that.

The Lake County Dems as a group should be condemned for their silence and refusal to confront the seriousness of this situation until the Lake County State's Attorney had to indict the Dems' petition circulators, and the press finally started making some phone calls to get these people on the record. This bunch collectively has about enough integrity to fill a thimble.

It may be too late to get them off the ballot, but not too late to reject them at the ballot box in November. Lake County citizens, do you want a crew with ethics like these folks representing you? It will be your choice.

BONUS CONTENT: Read some biting comments from the News-Sun "News Hound" here.

UPDATED 8/16/08: The Daily Herald reports that Kenneth Davison surrendered to authorities last night. Knight is still at large.


Anonymous said...

These are the comments I have been posting at the Daily Herald, News Sun and other blog sites about the sudden Democratic revelations of this law breaking activity.

Louis G. Atsaves



These irregularities and violations of the law by Knight and Davidson occurred nearly 10 months ago and these Democrats who benefitted from it are now finally publicly stating that they are embarrassed and ashamed? Where were these statements 10 months ago? Why did they have to wait until now to become embarrassed and ashamed or claim that they were being conned by a couple of con men?

Where were their grassroots support for their candidacies? No volunteers available?

Did these candidates pay for Davidson and Knight to circulate petitions for them illegally or did the Lake County Democratic Party or just the Link for Senate campaign pay them to do this? They needed to get hired guns to circulate petitions?

Each candidate is ultimately responsible for the conduct of his or her campaign. Keller and Hewitt and the others had 10 months to condemn those actions. Other than being embarrassed, they should all own up to this behavior and accept responsibility for the actions of those who ultimately put them on the ballot.

Is this how they would run their offices if they get elected or reelected? Is this an indication of their hiring practices?

Enough! Vote Republican!

Anonymous said...

I am in Shock, and Horror that the candidates are claiming they knew nothing about what happened. Before any person for elected office can be elected they must get on the ballot.(yeh,yeh write ins). So this is a very important step in the election cycle that follows specific rules. If a candidate can not pay close attention to the details of step 1, how can they be trusted to pay attention to the details of the office? I can not believe an experienced politician can even look at the questionable petitions without asking some questions. At least make sure the forms are signed, notarized, sufficient signatures, etc. Who filed the petitions? Unless a person has contempt for the system and believes he is above the rules and procedures.( I believe this of Terry Link). This whole mess with petitions applies to all of the other 7 candidates who permitted this farce. If they do not pay the price for their corruption and shenanigans it will continue.

I wonder if the two paid "workers" included the pay on their tax returns? How can a person pay 2 people for work and not be aware of what they got for their money. Is this how they plan on running the county and state? If they can not be prosecuted, for their wrong doings at least don't vote them into office.

Bannockburn said...

Link is a a very corrupt leader of the Lake County Democratic Party.

We Democrats need to get rid of Terry - I think Susan Garrett or Kathy Ryg should take the helm of the party -- warning to Democrats ...stay away from Terry this Fall. Those guys are going to jail but they will lighten their sentences by turning on Pete couvall and terry Link.

There is more to come on this. Terry should retire.

WilmetteLife said...

Seals already dumped Link from his website!

Anonymous said...

Just checked the Seals site. Under "endorsements" it still says "State Senator Terry Link."

Also checked the Lake County Democratic Web Site. Their "news" site has a complete blackout on this story. What is interesting to see is that Senator Link will be a featured speaker at several Democratic events later this month.

So for those of you hoping that Democrats will treat Senator Link as being somehow radioactive as a result of these indictmants, there is your answer.

Louis G. Atsaves

Anonymous said...

Great ad from Mark,