Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tammy Duckworth Admits Error in Using State-Owned Van at Dan Seals Campaign Event (UPDATED); Terry Link Petition Circulators Back In Court

Yesterday, Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth tried her best to make a media splash for 10th District Dem Challenger Dan Seals, who is running against incumbent Congressman Mark Kirk, but the event was overshadowed by her use of a state-owned van to drive to event, a clear violation of state law. The mistake was admitted by Duckworth's office, according to the Chicago Tribune. "She will reimburse the state for the use of the state vehicle, and will not make this mistake again," Jessica Woodward, a Veterans Affairs spokeswoman, told the Tribune. The Tribune also noted that by the time the event was over, someone had quietly moved the van out of sight of reporters.

This marks at least the second time a Seals media event has blown up in his face. Aside from the very questionable wisdom in making support of veterans an issue with a guy like Mark Kirk, who is a naval intelligence reservist, and is credited with saving and greatly expanding the North Chicago VA hospital, the Duckworth mistake was the story of the event, not Seals' criticisms of Kirk's records on veterans. As to Seals' criticisms, a quote from Dan didn't even make it into the Trib story.

NBC-5's coverage of the event quoted Seals as stating that "We don't want somebody who just supports veterans some of the time. We want someone who is going to support them all of the time." So, what Seals is really saying that his criticism of Kirk is that he has not voted in favor of every single bill that had some purported benefit for veterans in it. Well, that might make for a political sound bite, but I think Kirk has explanations that make a great deal of sense for why he sometimes has to vote against a bill that contains some benefits for veterans, but otherwise is ill-drafted, has provisions that would actually harm veterans, or has other flaws. No doubt when Seals brings this up at the upcoming debates, Kirk will fry him.

Getting back to Duckworth, even though she took pains to make clear she had taken off from work and was appearing as a 'private citizen,' for someone in her position as the appointed director of a state agency, this appropriately was met with criticism. It's pretty hard to have a position like hers and then claim you are stepping away from that to campaign as a blatant partisan. Of course, we're pretty used to that kind of stuff in Illinois; after all, this is the state that basically gave Barack Obama an official state-wide endorsement when we moved the primary up to February 5th to give him an advantage against Hillary Clinton. But this also gives Kirk a pretty good hook to paint Seals as a Blagojevich-supported Chicago-style politician--which is a death knell to a candidate in the 10th, if it sticks.

Duckworth, who herself is a failed Congressional candidate, might want to think twice about the company she keeps, in campaigning for another failed congressional candidate who can't seem to gain any media attention without getting egg all over his face.

UPDATED: Just saw that the Daily Herald has a pair of articles, the first on 'van-gate', and the second on the meat of the event. Interesting that in the second article, Duckworth pooh-poohs the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars PAC that Mark Kirk just received. "We all know what that is worth," she said. Imagine- a so-called representative of veterans that doesn't care what veterans think. Nice.

TERRY LINK'S PETITION CIRCULATORS BACK IN COURT: In other news, Jerry Knight and Kenneth Davison were back in court in Lake County yesterday, this time to plead not guilty to multiple charges of forgery and perjury. Background on the story here. Jerry Knight's story is apparently going to be that people claimed to be someone they were not when they signed the false signatures. This will be a little tough to argue as a defense, though, when it can be easily shown that many of the signatures were names that were copied right out of the phone book, with errors in the addresses that were one line above, or one line below, the entry for the person in the phone book. Unless Knight didn't notice that people signing his petitions had a phone book in their hand when they were writing in names, this is going to be a hard sell.

Better get a good lawyer, Mr. Knight. You are certainly not going to get any help from Pete Couvall and Terry Link, who immediately threw you and your partner under the bus when the scandal broke.


Anonymous said...

Reading the story in today's Tribune could almost have been funny had it not been so very pathetic. Seals is a first rate moron. At a time when Dems are leading, in a state where Obama reigns supreme, leave it to stupid is as stupid does Dan and his team to screw up royally again. And as for Ms. Duckworth. Let's just say she's not winning any awards in the near future. Congressman Kirk has the endorsement of the VFW in this election cycle among many, many others. And Dan? Well, as I said, stupid is as stupid does.

Anonymous said...

Tis the season for morons......


This is why need to elect:

MARK KIRK--Congress
KEITH GRAY--State Senate

Anonymous said...

TA, I read, read it again and couldn't believe what I was reading. Duckworth has the gaul to make an ugly statement about the VFE endorsement. Isn't she the representative of Veterans? Doesn't she represent VFW members? Can someone make me understand how she's allowed to keep that job when she makes outlandishly ignorant statement like that. Oh, I forgot. She's a Blago appointee. We sure do have the 'best' in leadership in Illinois governement.
Duckworth is a disgrace. Her endorsement of Seals is something he deserves.

Anonymous said...

Hey TA, sorry to digress, but thought this ongoing Rangel story should be of interest. Seals has a lot of explaining to do in the upcoming debates. What's below is from Roll Call today. I thought you'd get a chuckle out of the 'using campaign contributions' line. Birds of a feather, right?

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is asking the House ethics committee to allow him to use campaign contributions to pay a forensic auditor to investigate his tax returns and personal financial disclosures, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Crisis management experts said Rangel’s legal expenses and a detailed audit could end up costing more than $100,000, which is likely to be far more than any tax penalty he is ultimately required to pay for failure to report income from his various properties.

With the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rangel defied House Republicans announcing that he would not step down from his post as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Anonymous said...

Seals is imploding after news of the Duckworth Vangate story.

Anonymous said...

Seals should resign. We Democrats are going to get killed.

Anonymous said...

Privately Durbin's finance people are trashing Dan, apparently his campaign is not playing well with the elites in democratic circles. When he can't manage a campaign event, you are left to wonder if he can manage a congressional office.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad Kirk voted with that awful sell-out "drilling" farce bill. How could he just abandon us like that? The Chicago area usually has the highest (or almost the highest) gas prices in the country, and Mark Kirk does not care to help make prices go down.

He is more and more a RINO. Granted, at least he's not a carpetbagger, but still, I don't like that vote he made.

Anonymous said...

The the large photograph in the Tribune with Dan Deals' classic deer in the headlights look, Duckworth looking sour, the Dan Seals sign off to the side and the VFW veterans in the background spoke volumes as to how this "event" blew up in Dean Deals' face.

The DCCC is giving this guy how much money?

Louis G. Atsaves

DemsDC said...

Found your blog and have a message:

The DCCC is going to waste millions here when they should be spending it on more viable candidates.

If the DCCC spends here, Kirk will be helping Republicans because Seals has imploded and that Democrat money is wasted.

Team America said...

DemsDC- thanks for stopping by. We get a lot of Washington-types swinging by here on a regular basis, according to my sitemeter (including folks at Democratic National Headquarters from time to time), so maybe you will help your cause by giving DCCC some good advice. I doubt they're smart enough to take it though, considering they can't even proofread their own mail pieces sent on behalf of the Pup.

Anonymous said...

The only way DCCC money makes sense in the 10th is if they think it will force Kirk to spend all his money and not give it to other Republicans.

So, if they think of it as a hedge, it almost makes sense.

Still, you have to wonder how a guy like Rep. Bill Foster feels watching this money go for a guy who has no chance of being elected.

Anonymous said...

Pioneer Press actually had something of note today: if the democrats can't win this district they are screwed.

Also if you've got a barf bag handy, Dan's on public t.v. right now doing his best impression of a 16 year old campaigning for glee club president.

Anonymous said...

Dems DC I don't know where you get your info from, but what I get from the Hill is that the DCCC HAS to spend money here give that it's Obama's HOME STATE, and a MARGINAL district. I don't see how they can justify spending money in a red district in a state like Alabama or Wyoming where he's going to lose 2/1.

I am also sure Jans mommie commie mafia would have a conniption on Van Hollen if they white flagged the pup.