Turns out that, for a career politician, Terry Link (D-Waukegan) sure gets rattled easily when he's faced with some real political problems. As our readers know from yesterday, the Lake County GOP filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections claiming that Link improperly failed to disclose payments made to his two indicted campaign workers, Jerry Knight and Kenneth Davison, who are alleged to have forged the signatures of the living and the dead on Terry Link's nomination petitions.
Link must be feeling the heat, because he's lashed out at Dan Venturi, the Lake County GOP Chairman, calling him a "idiot" and threatening to sue for libel, according to the Daily Herald:
In a complaint filed Wednesday with the Illinois State Board of Elections, county GOP chief Dan Venturi and Waukegan Township Republican Chairman David Pfeifer claim disclosure reports Link submitted earlier this year did not include payments to two campaign workers who have been charged with forging names on Link's candidate petitions. * * *
Reached Thursday, Link said he was aware of the complaint but hadn't read it. He maintained he's followed the law and angrily lashed out at the Republicans for playing what he called "gutter politics."
"If these idiots want to keep (pursuing) this witch hunt, I'm going to file a libel suit against them," said Link, of Waukegan. "I'm done with the harassing and misleading the public."
The Lake County News-Sun said this:
"I'm sick and tired of the witch hunt that they are doing," Link said. "Let's talk about issues. They don't want to talk about issues. They don't want to talk about the real facts."
But Lake County Republican Chairman Dan Venturi said Link's disclosure forms are an issue, and the GOP has filed a formal complaint regarding the forms with the State Board of Elections.
"Senator Link needs to follow the law and be accountable to the citizens of Lake County," Venturi said. "This is simply the latest incident in a continuing pattern of questionable and/or illegal activity on the part of Senator Link."
Venturi also said that Link's "refusal to even acknowledge that these are legitimate concerns of Lake County voters is especially troubling."
I spoke to Venturi yesterday at a packed fundraiser for Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller, and while Venturi figured he wouldn't make Link's Christmas card list this year, he wasn't worried about anything Link said or was planning on doing. Fact is, if Link was stupid enough to file a lawsuit, that would bring far greater publicity to the "petition-gate" scandal and campaign disclosure stories than the GOP could ever afford to buy. Next time, Link might want to think about reviewing the complaint before making comments to the press about something he hasn't yet seen.
As we said yesterday, the fact that Link denies that questions raised about his ethics are a legitimate campaign issue should really tell you something. Stay tuned.