Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Forward to 2008 in the Tenth District

What's your prediction for the 10th in 2008? Yes, yes, we're going to have an election and either Mark Kirk, and one of the Dem candidates (Dan Seals or Jay Footlik), will be sent (back) to Congress to represent us. But you can do better than that. What will be the defining issues that will shape this election? Will they be driven by "external" issues, like the national presidential ticket, and/or international problems like Pakistan? Will it be internal issues like immigration, health care and the economy? Or might it be "external" issues that have a big impact on many locals, like Israel, as we have suggested here? Discuss.

MEANWHILE: Here's that clip of Mark Kirk being interviewed by Fox Chicago Sunday. Take a look at the whole thing. Pay attention to the facts being cited and analysis that Congressman Kirk gives on the Pakistan situation, and other issues such as Lake Michigan contamination. Then decide if Kirk is merely "grandstanding" (not sure what that even means, exactly), as some have suggested, or if Kirk is doing what a congressman is supposed to do, i.e., become immersed in the issues that affect the U.S. and the 10th District, make the tough decisions, and come home and report on what's going on. There's a reason why no one is interested in having Dan Seals and Jay Footlik on T.V. to discuss Pakistan and other weighty issues. Simply put, they have nothing to say, and the amount of sour grapes that is going on over at "the other blog" is simply astounding.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Weekend Update

Lots going on this weekend, so let's get to it:

LINK ON THE HOTSEAT: I almost spit out my coffee this morning in shock, but the Waukegan News-Sun came out and demanded an explanation from State Senator Terry Link as to how he could have allowed the fraudulent signatures gathered by his two prime circulators to have been submitted in support of Link's candidacy. You know when the News-Sun, which has slobbered over Link's every accomplishment and supported his every position (even down to bringing gambling to Waukegan), comes down this hard on him (among other things, criticizing his "cavalier" attitude), there is a change in the dynamics of Lake County politics afoot. Perhaps more importantly, the News-Sun also took up the demand first made by Lake County Republican Chairman Dan Venturi and challenged the other Democratic candidates that also had signatures obtained by the two Link circulators to explain themselves.

What a difference a month makes--as much as I love to read Capitol Fax Blog, blogfather Rich Miller was like most who didn't take this issue seriously when we first broke the story. I recall Miller's November 21, 2007 syndicated column on the influence of political blogs, in which he stated "Congressional campaigns aren’t the only races being affected by blogs. A blogger in Lake County (“Team America”) was the first to report concerns about state Sen. Terry Link’s nominating petitions. Apparently a couple of dead people “signed” the petitions, as did one of Link’s former Republican opponents. Oops. The seriousness of the situation was overstated, but the local media picked up the story almost right away." (emphasis mine)

No one is calling the situation overstated now.

JERRY JOHNSON FILES HIS APPEAL: As we reported earlier this week, Jerry Johnson officially announced that he would file an appeal of the State Board of Elections decision that kept Link on the Feburary 5th primary ballot. The appeal was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County on Thursday, December 27th. Download the actual appeal petition here. As to timing, and the effect on the election if a judge were to kick Link off the ballot, it could be horrendous. It will no doubt take a few days for the State Board to be served with the appeal, then a hearing must be scheduled. Considering New Year's, that means basically a month to get that done (which for Cook County is moving at transwarp speed). If Link is removed, that reduces him to write-in candidate status, which gives Link precious little time to gear up his war machine to get out the word that the emperor will be dethroned unless the little people do their duty to write in Link's name. The fact that the ballots have already been printed (and I don't think they would reprint them now) means that Link will still be on the ballot, so voters would have to be coached to ignore Link's actual name on the ballot and then write in his name on the line that is always available for write-ins. Early voting begins on January 14th; if there is no decision by then, early voters would not even know they were supposed to write in Link instead of check his name off. Based on the rumblings in Link's power base, Waukegan, the locals are salivating at the chance to finally get back at Link for years of slights, and mounting a successful write-in campaign could be a real challenge in the face of Johnson's determined opposition.

MARK KIRK INTERVIEWED AGAIN ON PAKISTAN: As we reported earlier, Congressman Mark Kirk has proven himself to be a go-to person time and time again for the Chicago media for his insight and analysis in crisis situations, both nationally and internationally. Congressman Kirk will appear again on TV tomorrow morning on Fox Chicago Sunday at 8:00 a.m., Channel 32. See a preview here.

SEALS AND FOOTLIK TO BE GRILLED BY HIGHSCHOOLERS: In addition to the two debates scheduled for Seals and Footlik for January 10th and 12th, which will be sponsored by the League of Women Voters (see this post for more details), a debate has been scheduled for January 9th at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, at 7:30 p.m, in the Performing Arts Center's Little Theater. I don't have any more details yet, but I am assuming that the debate will be open to the public, not just Stevenson students. According to the scant information available on the Stevenson website (scroll all the way down to "News Alerts"), the debate will be moderated by Stevenson students. This oughta be good.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mark Kirk Holds Commanding Lead in Tribune Survey

The results are not final, but as of two minutes ago from this post, incumbent Congressman Mark Kirk held a commanding lead over Democrat challengers Dan Seals and Jay Footlik in Tribune Columnist Eric Zorn's unscientific '20 Questions for 2008' survey. After TA cast his vote, the totals for question "Who will win the race in the 10th U.S. Congressional District (North Shore)?" are:

Incumbent Republican Mark Kirk (227 responses) 62.9%
Democratic challenger Dan Seals (117 responses) 32.4%
Democratic challenger Jay Footlik (17 responses) 4.7%
361 total responses

Obviously, this is not a scientific poll, and it's not of "likely voters" or even necessarily limited to voters in the 10th District. So, I doubt Mark Kirk will be trumpeting these results in a press release or anything. But, the most interesting part of the poll (for 10th Dist. purposes) was really in the answer to two other questions:

Which party will win the White House?
The Democrats (302 responses) 78.9%
The Republicans (81 responses) 21.1%
383 total responses


Will Sen. Dick Durbin get at least 66 percent of the vote when he runs for re-election in November?
Yes (262 responses) 69.5%
No (115 responses) 30.5%
377 total responses

To me, that seems to be an indication that even though many people seem to think the Dems will have a banner election in Nov. 2008, Mark Kirk will still come through on top, probably for all of the reasons we talk about often here. The 10th Dist. voters are a notoriously independent lot, and it doesn't surprise me at all that Kirk's support is strong even while Dems are strong state-wide and perhaps nation-wide.

Seals with 32.4% of the vote isn't even in the ballpark. That tells me that his 47% of the vote in 2006 was pretty much what we all figured, i.e., a national reaction to Bush and the war, which most likely will not be the same situation come this fall.

It also tells me that Footlik (4.7%) has a lot of work to do, and that maybe the Seals poll that we discussed here a few weeks ago wasn't so far off the mark. You'd think that if Footlik had better numbers to talk about by now, we would have heard... but maybe he's saving it for after the New Year. Or maybe not.

Mark Kirk Tapped for Analysis by Chicago News Media on Bhutto Assassination

As more evidence that Congressman Mark Kirk is one of the top go-to government officials that news media in Chicago turn to when a crisis erupts, watch Mark Kirk on Fox News from this morning.

During times of crisis, the American electorate tends to embrace those elected officials that have shown their experience and steady hand in sorting out the issues and charting a safe course forward. It's worth noting that Democratic hopeful Dan Seals has basically no actual foreign policy experience, and what little Jay Footlik has is limited to Israeli issues.

Jay, Dan, comments on the crisis? Or are you guys still trying to find Pakistan on the map?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mark Kirk Reacts to Assassination of Benazhir Bhutto UPDATED x2

WGN News has a report up on Mark Kirk's reaction to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazhir Bhutto. Read about it here.

Sadly, the spinmeisters have already wasted no time in trying to capitalize on this tragedy for political purposes. Read here about Obama strategist David Axelrod's comments trying to tie Senator Hillary Clinton's vote in favor of the war in Iraq on today's events in Pakistan.

Updated 8:45 p.m.: Earlier this evening on WGN radio, Mark Kirk was interviewed by radio personality Dean Richards for Kirk's analysis of the assassination and its implications for U.S. foreign policy, as well as its potential effect on the upcoming primary elections. Kirk lauded Prime Minister Bhutto as "one of the most accomplished women in the world," and one who was likely to have won the upcoming elections in Pakistan. Kirk attributed the murder to Islamic radicals, perhaps the same group that was responsible for the last Bhutto assassination attempt on October 18th.

Kirk noted the importance of Pakistan to world stability, not only due to its possession of a nuclear arsenal, but also in the day-to-day fight against terrorism, for example, as the main supply conduit for NATO forces in Afghanistan. He also noted that Pakistan has been a staunch ally in the war on terror, ever since Colin Powell informed Pakistan that they were either with us or against us. They wisely chose to be with us, but it has been a shaky alliance, mainly due to the large numbers of people within the country who would like to disrupt Pakistan's close relationship with the United States. Kirk suggested that the U.S.'s most important role at this point was to provide a "calm and steady diplomatic influence" in the region, assist with the investigation of the crime, and otherwise seek to provide guidance and support as that country comes to grips with this enormous tragedy.

Kirk predicted that it will take time for Bhutto's supporters to coalesce behind a new leader, and the elections might well have to be postponed. Finally, Kirk noted that in times of international and national crisis, people tend to embrace leadership and experience, rather than change, and he predicted that this event would likely result in increased support for Hillary Clinton and John McCain, who are largely regarded as the most experienced foreign policy gurus among the candidates on both sides.

TA is working on obtaining a sound file of the interview, as I think that it's something everyone should hear. After listening to Mark Kirk talk about the complex issues inherent in this tragedy, and the aplomb with which he was able to answer the detailed questions about what happened today, and what the likely aftershocks might be, I cannot believe that anyone who listens to Kirk for five minutes, and then listens to his would-be challengers, can come away with anything but a strong conviction that we need to return Mark Kirk to Washington for another term.

UPDATED x2 12/28/07 7:00 a.m.: Frequent commentor "I am Spartacus" pointed out a Waukegan News-Sun article in this morning's edition that has further reaction from Mark Kirk. Good thing he (she?) pointed it out, as it was buried on page 10 and I might have missed it. It's certainly not Sparty's fault, but aside from a few Mark Kirk quotes, it's not a very pithy article, and if you are looking for actual analysis of the situation and the potential effect on the U.S., you'd be better off looking here and here. The News-Sun has a bit of way to go if it wants to be a primary news source for Lake County readers, at least on the national level.

On the other hand, maybe the News-Sun just knows its readership, and should be given some credit for trying to dumb this down (see the "Five Reasons Why You Should Care" sidebar in the article) so people understand the relevance of this major event, at least tangentially, on their way to looking up the Lotto numbers.

Jerry Johnson to Appeal Election Board Ruling on Terry Link Petitions

This just in... Jerry Johnson announced that he will appeal the State Board of Elections ruling that kept Terry Link on the ballot. The appeal will most likely be filed this week. The most likely venue will be Cook County. More details as they come in...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Now the Fun Really Begins... 40 Days to the Illinois Primary UPDATED x3

Well, I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus or whatever it is you celebrate this time of year. I didn't get a bit of work done over the last four days, but that's not what Christmas is about. I did wrap a lot of presents and then threw out a lot of wrapping paper, plus played Luke Skywalker to my 6 year old's Darth Vader (if I'd known my future son would be playing with basically the same T.I.E. and X-Wing Fighters I had when I was 10, I could have just saved all of that stuff, but who knew?)

In any event, things won't get super-heated politically until after New Year's, but since it's 40 days out, I wanted to offer a thank-you in advance to Dan Seals and Jay Footlik. As a team, they are going to do the voters of the 10th District a great service by beating the snot out of each other and exposing their true positions (or at least, what they say their true positions are) on at least some of the major issues, especially Iran and Israel. Without a primary opponent, it's likely Seals would be making the same old vague speeches about how he is "strong" on Israel, but opposes the war in Iraq and any action against aggressor nations like Iran, to make sure he has a good showing in the primary and bring in that DCCC money. With no primary opponent, there would be no reason for Seals to go beyond the same old rhetoric and he would simply waltz in and remind everyone that he is not Mark Kirk.

Not so fast this time, buddy. Jay Footlik, for all his apparent gaffs (although some I've spoken to actually liked the "squares" commercial and the "meshugana" mailing) as a candidate, is serving the very important purpose of ensuring that each candidate's position on the issues, especially Israel v. Iran, will be well documented and available for Mark Kirk to address in the general election, against whomever the winner on the Dem side is.

Why is the Israel v. Iran issue so important? Obviously, with a huge Jewish voting population (many say 20% of the total electorate in the 10th District), a large portion of the constituency has a direct interest in the issue. But, on a larger scale, it's important as to whether the voters will elect a liberal pacifist in the mold of Jan Schakowsky and Nancy Pelosi, or whether they will go with someone a bit more willing to say that there are instances in which the U.S. (and Israel) will have to meet aggression with force. Even, perhaps, go so far as to meet the THREAT of aggression with force, as in the case of taking action of some kind against Iran.

Mark Kirk himself has been out in front of this issue (see discussion on H.R. 2880), working on non-military and economic means to put pressure on Iran to fess up and give up its nuclear weapons program once and for all. But that does not stop the concern that such measures won't be enough, and that's the box that Seals and Footlik will both be in this January, as they try to pander to the leftist, pacifist Dem base, but "stand tough" on Israel, as any successful candidate in the 10th must be. This issue will continue to develop (see here) and, in my opinion, will be the defining issue of the Dem primary here in the 10th. Not health care, not Iraq, not immigration.

Mark Kirk is already in the lead on this issue, and neither Dem candidate can address the question by simply saying "I'm Not Mark Kirk." Which "I'm Not Mark Kirk" the Dems will put on the general election ballot is going to be a fun slugfest to watch. And the eventual winner will have to live with the position that gets him on the ballot. I find it amusing, because even though both Seals and Footlik no doubt clearly see the trap, there is no way they can avoid it.

UPDATED 12:50 p.m.: Still think Israel's concern over Iran is alarmist and irrational? Check out the latest killer missile system that Russia is selling to Iran. Let's hear Seals blame Mark Kirk for this. I can hear it now: 'Well, if the U.S. would tone down its aggressive imperialist rhetoric, poor Iran would not be so scared and have to spend all of its oil wealth on upgrading its missile defense systems.' Go ahead, Dan, just try to sell that one in the 10th District. I dare ya.

UPDATED 1:30 p.m.: Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 10, 2008 and Saturday January 12, as the League of Women Voters hosts Dan Seals and Jay Footlik in their first (and perhaps only?) live face-to-face public debates. The first debate will be at New Trier East High School in Winnetka (say, isn't that where Mark Kirk graduated from?) at 7:00 p.m. on the 10th. More info is here. The second debate will be at the Arlington Heights Library at 10:00 a.m. on the 12th. More info is here.

UPDATED 1:20 p.m. 12/27/07: Mark Kirk continues to make headlines by leading the push to insist on appropriate safeguards to the Bush administration's planned sale of JDAM bomb technology to Saudi Arabia. Read the latest here. As we have noted before, Mark Kirk is out showing his support of Israel while Dan Seals and Jay Footlik fight over who is the real carpetbagger. Sad, sad.

MEANWHILE... what they're saying on other blogs:

The Democratic elected officials need to change the way they do business and speak out against the widespread fraud that's about to entangle more than just Link. First order of business? Get rid of Couvall. He should have been gone. He was the mastermind behind the scheme and everyone knows that. There's a criminal investigation going on and whether he is indicted or not, we all know that he was in the middle of the scandal. Yet, he continues in a position of leadership and is awarded with positions, business opportunities and perks particularly in Waukegan. This speaks volumes about the leadership in the Lake county democratic party.

Posted by "twocents" at Talk O' The Town.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Team America's Readers Tee Off On Dan Seals and Earmarks UPDATED x1

Wow- I went out for dinner last night and came home to find that the Faithful Readers here at Team America had been quite busy while I was goofing off. It appears that the Sealmeister has used his e-mailing skills that he learned working for and figured out that targeted e-mail blasts are a lot cheaper than running ads or sending our mailers (none of which have hit District mailboxes yet, as far as I know). While I have not been able to independently verify this, and it's not on Seals' website (the latest press release on the site is dated Nov. 2), one of our readers claims that Seals released the following e-mail only last night:

Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007
From: "Dan Seals"
Subject: In Congress, It’s the Time of Year for Taking

Dear Friend,

It's that time of year again. The snow is on the ground, the holiday spirit is in the air, and the gift-giving is underway. And nowhere is this gift-giving more apparent than Congress' most recent spending bill, which gave billions of dollars in pork to the big special interests and lumps of coal to our children, grandchildren, and future generations to come.

That's right. Just this week, Congress sent a spending bill to the president that contained a side-splitting 9,000 earmarks, pet projects of individual members of Congress that are slipped into legislation at the last minute, financed with taxpayer money, and never debated or scrutinized before being signed into law. Given that we as a nation are already in debt, future taxpayers, like my kids, will pick up the bill.

Some of these earmarks surely go to good projects. But too many of them don't. The problem is that the process of earmarking doesn't give us any way to tell. That's because the decisions about what gets funded and what doesn't get made behind closed doors and without debate. That is an invitation for waste and abuse. The Democrats that took control of Congress in 2006 point out that they have taken steps to reform this process. They have not gone far enough. The system of earmarks should end. 9000 earmarks isn't a victory for anyone, but it is a definite loss for the taxpayer. I can think of no good reason why we should continue supporting a system that encourages waste and abuse. Our Congressman, Mark Kirk, can apparently think of 140 million reasons. He asked Congress for a staggering $140 million in pet projects to be funded by taxpayer dollars. Again, I'm sure there are some good projects in there. But if so, why not bring them into the light and have them voted on? The only one who has anything to lose is the project that shouldn't receive any funding in the first place. And that's the way it should be. But this is Congress, where it is better to take than to give. It's one more reason why we need a change in Congress.

Sincerely, Dan Seals
Democrat for Congress
December 22, 2007 8:23 PM

Many readers wasted no time jumping on this issue, as noted in the many, many comments to the last post, below. In a nutshell, our readers noted that the projects that will be funded by the Kirk-sponsored earmarks are hugely important to the 10th District , and most (if not all) were released by Kirk and fully vetted and considered months ago (not 'hidden' as Seals appears to think).

Moreover, many were also sponsored by Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama. In fact, if you check out the link under Durbin's name above, you will find that he brags about securing $350 million in projects for Illinois, not just the $140 million that Seals is so upset about Mark Kirk funding. Where's the outrage against Durbin, Dan? Oops. Next time Danno, you might want to check with the bosses before going out and making a record that you don't support their projects or your own constituents.

Getting back to Kirk and his so-called "pet projects," among other things, expanding Metra service is a biggie. But rather than spending time by trying to fight Mark Kirk's efforts to improve the quality of life for people in the district, maybe Seals should join the call with Kirk to the DEMOCRATIC leadership in Illinois to provide matching funds so that we do not loose out in over a billion dollars in federal grants. More about that here and here.

Blasting "pork" that is wasteful government spending is one thing. But Kirk already has a top-notch record on that issue, considering he killed the "bridge to nowhere." (and, in fact, it was largely the public outcry over the "bridge to nowhere" that has lead to increased scrutiny of federal earmark spending. Leave it to Seals to try to steal an issue from Mark Kirk that he practically invented).

And hidden, last-minute earmarks that are not the subject of debate aren't good, as they are generally also pork. But important projects that benefit constituents and represent the return of our own tax dollars to benefit local causes are not "pork," especially if they are fully considered and debated, and are not last-minute add-ons. Here's a list as compiled by the TA readership:

Dan Seals would have voted AGAINST:

-- The Durbin/Kirk legislation to help schools, written by the leaders of Highland Park, Glenview and North Chicago.

-- $100 million for our Veterns Hospital.

-- O'Hare security upgrades

--$600,000 to research and develop better detection of breast cancer in African-American women for University of Chicago Hospitals

--$536,000 for a therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research

--$30 million earmark for the Metra Connects program which is a coordinated plan to address transportation issues and meet the population explosions within Northeast Illinois, and the Metra's STAR line project to connect the northwest suburbs with O'Hare and downtown.

--Earmarks of $7 million for each of the four major Metra extensions (STAR line, UP West Extension, UP Northwest Line, Southeast Service Line).

-- at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, North Chicago: $26.871 million for infrastructure upgrades ($16.65 million) and a weapons training facility ($10.221 million) at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

Sorry, Dan, but you seem to be proving time and time again that you are an amateur at this. Simply railing against "earmarks" smacks of trying to jump on a populist issue by relying on a buzzword, instead of doing actual research to understand the issue. Why would anyone think that you could do a better job at representing this District than Mark Kirk? Especially those of us that aren't millionaires?

A big hat tip to all the TA readers who researched this issue and spent a lot of time compiling the earmark list that Seals opposes.

UPDATED 12/24/07: I mentioned in comments yesterday an interview Charles Krauthammer gave on Fox yesterday concerning our scorecard on the "axis of evil" (North Korea, Iran and Iraq), which has now made it into his syndicated column. It's definitely worth a read for his unconventional look at how our efforts against these countries has turned out.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Terry Link Survives Petition Challenge in 5-3 Vote

No surprise, the word from the Johnson v. Link hearing is that Terry Link remains on the ballot. It was a 5-3 vote. Jerry Johnson was removed from the ballot. Our report from the field:

A Long Uncomfortable Silence

In a cramped hearing room where there were only 12 seats for spectators, as opposed to the prior large conference rooms that held as many as 50-75 spectators, the Illinois State Board of Elections, following their hearing, voted to certify Terry Link as a candidate for the State Senate (30th District) as a Democrat.

Voting in favor of certifying Link:

Albert S. Porter (D) Chairman
Patrick A. Brady (R)
John R. Keith (D)
William M. McGuffage (D)
Wanda L. Rednour (D)

Voting against certifying Link:

Bryan A. Schneider (R) Vice-Chairman
Jesse Smart (R)
Robert J. Walters (R)

The hearing began with the recommendations of the State Board of Elections staff attorney. His recommendation was to adopt the findings and recommendations of Hearing Officer Goodman. An overview of the case was briefly given by the attorney. A minimum of 1,000 genuine signatures are required to be placed on the ballot for State Senate. Senator Link filed petitions containing 3,378 signatures. Candidate Johnson objected to 2,393 signatures on various grounds. A record examination lead to the sustaining of objections to 1,660 signatures, and overruling 689 objections to signatures.

Following the hearings held before Hearing Officer Goodman, 1,526 "genuine signatures" remain. The 5 death certificates of those 6 "dead" signatures were never formally introduced into evidence and were objected by the Link attorneys. Over 24 affidavits of those who swore on oath that the signatures on the petitions bearing their names were NOT theirs were also never formally introduced into evidence and were objected by the Link attorneys. The Hearing Officer sustained all objections made. The attorney for the Election Board indicated his concurrence of the recommendations of Hearing Officer Goodman.

Attorney LaVelle on behalf objector Johnson summarized the evidence and stressed that the Harmon v. Electoral Board of the Town of Cicero case was controlling for the law. He stressed that patterns of fraud that are not alleged in pleadings cannot be simply not considered (the case law repeatedly states "cast a blind eye to") as patterns of fraud always emerge from evidence that develops at hearings and not from pleadings or allegations.

The State Board Attorney indicated that he agreed with Link's attorney that to argue and consider a pattern of fraud now in the absence of definitive pleadings would be to catch the candidate by surprise and would unduly prejudice his right of due process and a fair hearing. Left out in this argument was the fact that two agents of the candidate committed these patterns of fraud. So how can one surprise oneself under such circumstances?

LaVelle called the testimony of Knight (I was too sick to be an officer of the Oxford House) incredible and unbelievable (he wasn't sick enough to go out and amass 1,650 "signatures").

Attorney Nottage argued on behalf of Link that the hearing officer heard all the evidence and was in the best position to determine their credibility. He stated that it would be inappropriate for a pattern of fraud to be considered by the full Board of Elections absent any clear pleadings alleging fraud. He argued that during the hearing of December 8, 2007 the Link Campaign was surprised by evidence presented by objector Johnson claiming false addresses, false signatures and a pattern of fraud and was pleased that the Hearing Officer sustained those objections to such evidence. (My note: Again, they were surprised by the activities of their own agents who acted on their behalf?) He argued that Knight's testimony should be understood in the light that he did not see eye to eye and had many physical altercations with the President of the Oxford House (i.e. "the landlord") which explained why no paperwork or physical evidence somehow existed that Knight resided there from 9/07 to 11/07. (My note: Physical fights with the landlord might explain why Knight was not around the Oxford House in 2007).

After hearing the evidence, Chairman Porter asked for a motion:

After TEN LONG SECONDS of complete silence, (and yes, I counted) Commissioner McGuffage (D) moved that the candidacy of Link be certified and the recommendations of the hearing officer be adopted. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Rednour (D). Rednour was in Springfield on videoconference.

On the other cases I heard being ruled upon, only a second or two of silence existed before someone made a motion.

That long silence followed by a 5-3 vote spoke volumes about this unusual matter.

Louis G. Atsaves

PS- According to the Johnson campaign, the "signature" of one dead man was not stricken from the petitions. This dead man signed twice. His "second signature" was stricken but curiously, not the first. Go figure that one out.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lake Country Republicans Call on Terry Link to Withdraw; Lake County State's Attorney Investigating Petition Fraud; Link Clams Up UPDATED x2

It may not be long before this smile is wiped right off Terry Link's face.
The secret that wasn't much of a secret can now be told, and that is that Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller has been investigating the allegations of petition fraud on State Senator Terry Link's nomination petitions for the last several weeks. As you might expect, Waller's office won't comment on the results thus far, but the investigators have talked to many of the people whose signatures were allegedly forged, and you can also expect that the two primary circulators, Jerry Knight and Kenneth Davison, are going to be very sought-after interviewees with the State's Attorney's office.

The Daily Herald has a story up here. I find it interesting that a few weeks ago, when confronted with the allegations, Link stated that either "Republican operatives" who were interfering in a Democratic primary were to blame, or someone was simply playing "games." Today, when questioned by the Herald about the investigation, Link has no comment and stated, "I'm not going to try the case in the media." My, what a difference a few weeks make... Not only has he clammed up all of a sudden, he sounds like he's already been indicted (maybe he sees the writing on the wall...?)

Today Lake County Republican Chairman Daniel Venturi released this open letter:

December 20, 2007

Open letter to the Voters and Elected Officials of Lake County

As Chairman of the Lake County Republican Party, I have paid close attention to several media sources discussing the alleged pattern of fraud looming over Senator Terry Link’s nominating petitions. It has been nearly a month since the Daily Herald broke the first news story.

After learning of the allegations of petition fraud, I requested Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Waller to begin an investigation of the matter as a result of the flow of information into our headquarters. I am pleased to state an investigation is underway.

My staff and I have conducted an examination of all nominating petitions circulated by Jerry D. Knight and Kenneth Davison, the two primary petition circulators who account for more than 75% of Link’s signatures. Not only does there appear to be a clear pattern of fraud associated with the signatures purportedly obtained by these two individuals, I am disturbed to report the alleged pattern of fraud may be systemic among other Democratic candidates, reaching from one end of the county to the other.

The following Democrat candidates had Knight and Davison as circulators for their own candidacies:

Angelo Kyle, Candidate for State Representative, 60th District: Obtained 700 signatures from Knight and Davison

Jim Parks Candidate for State Representative, 62nd District: Obtained 495 signatures from Knight and Davison.

Diane Hewitt, Candidate for County Board District 2: Obtained 50 signatures from Knight and Davison.

Coroner Richard Keller, Recorder of Deeds Mary Ellen Vanderventer, State’s Attorney candidate Michael D. Jacobs and Circuit Clerk Court candidate Cynthia Purim Haran: Obtained 270 signatures from Knight and Davison.

I am outraged that Senator Terry Link, who is also Chairman of the Lake County Democrat Party, has not ordered an investigation into this matter. I am further outraged that not one of the Lake County Democrat elected officials whose petitions have been tainted by this fraudulent activity have demanded an investigation. Their silence serves as an endorsement of the activities leading to the allegations of a “pattern of fraud.”

It is my hope, with the attached summary and details, to shed light on the blatant disregard for the electoral process and criminal activity demonstrated by certain members of the Lake County Democrat Party.

It is crucial to draw attention to this matter immediately, so the State Board of Elections does not join the Lake County Democrat Party in turning a blind eye on this criminal activity. Anything less than Senator Link’s removal from the ballot will be viewed as condoning these actions and will lead to further erosion of the public’s confidence in our electoral process.


Daniel Venturi
Lake County Republican Central Committee
847-401-8822 cell phone

See a copy of the actual letter here. The letter was widely disseminated to the news media and many government officials, including the governor (who appoints the members of the State Board of Elections), Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and both the majority and minority senate leaders (who confirm the appointments of the members of the State Board of Elections). Also, a few governmental watchdogs like Cindi Canary of the Illinois Coalition for Political Reform and Jay Stewart of the Better Government Association (frequent critics of the State Board) were also copied. Part of the intent is to ensure that for Friday's hearing on the Link petitions, the Board members understand that a whitewash of the Link scandal is simply not going to be possible with the eruption of media attention that the petition debacle has now engendered.

Attached to the letter was the 90-page overview of the evidence that we had here a few days ago.

Also, the demonstration up in Waukegan went very well. Around 30 people marched to Link's house and then to Dem headquarters. It was a peaceful demonstration. Photos and a video are coming. The Daily Herald and the News-Sun covered the event so expect some coverage in the MSM tomorrow.

UPDATED: Here's the video link, courtesy of an anonymous commentor. They were certainly an enthusiastic bunch!

ONE MORE THING-- someone who isn't banned from Ellen of the Tenth, please go over there and ask her why she's been so silent on the Link scandal, along with all the other Dems. Ellen constantly brags about her ability to root out injustice and expose the truth, but it apparently only applies when Republicans are the target. Dan Seals, Jay Footlik, Dem county-wide candidates, how do you guys feel about all this? What, dead silence? That's what I figured....

UPDATED x2 12/21/07 7:15 a.m.: The mainstream media has some decent coverage this morning. In addition to the Daily Herald article mentioned above (front page in this morning's print edition, above the fold placement with headline "Criminal Probe of Petitions"), there is a sidebar that covers yesterday's protest. There is a big spread in the Waukegan News Sun on page 4 that includes the picketers. Also, the Chicago Tribune has a good article that mentions Chairman Venturi's call to also look at the other Democratic candidates petitions that had Knight and Davison as circulators.

This has got to take the cake, though--notwithstanding the trouble Link appears to be in, he apparently is sticking with the story that this is all an inadvertent mistake. BUT, he then goes on to tell the Tribune that "I never personally circulated one petition, so there is nothing [the state's attorney] can do to me."

Well, I have a suspicion that certain people are already vowing to make Link eat those words.

Can you really believe the chutzpah? Never mind accountability to the voters, Link is only concerned about whether a criminal probe can touch him. Was it part of Link's plan all along to not circulate his own petitions so he could disavow any anticipated trouble, or is he simply trying to take further advantage of his own laziness?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Waukegan Area Voters to Picket Terry Link and Demand Action

Wow. As I reported below under updates, a number of voters in Waukegan and North Chicago have apparently had about all they can handle from State Senator Terry Link, and are organizing a protest walk to demand a response and action. You can check out the organizational banter here.

No firm word on when, but it looks like tomorrow afternoon around 3:00, in order to get press coverage in advance of the State Board of Elections hearing on the Link petitions. I would guess it will be from the residence of one of the local activists (or another Waukegan location) to Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Waukegan. Link's District office is in Lake Bluff, which is a bit of a hike from Waukegan, and if the protestors show up to Link's Waukegan home, they are likely to get arrested if they bend a blade of grass on Link's lawn, so here's hoping the protestors are smart about this.

As commentor KellyAnn put it:

Petition signatures: 50 cents each
Seeing the dead come to life: Priceless!!!

UPDATED: Check out this post on the Chicago Reader Clout City blog about a recent decision by an election board hearing officer against State Rep. John Fritchey's primary opponent. The burden of proof in Fritchey's case seems about 180 degrees opposite of where the Johnson v. Link hearing officer came out, considering that Fritchey's opponent presented 49 affidavits certifying that rejected signatures had in fact been signed by the individuals (the hearing officer had previously determined that the signatures on the petitions did not match the voter registration card signature) but STILL REJECTED the affidavits because none of the affidavits explained why the signatures appeared to be different. The contrast between the standard used by the Link/Johnson hearing officer to allow signatures of Link to remain on the petitions, and the standard used by the Fritchey hearing officer to reject signatures, is astonishing. I hope the Johnson team takes notice and cites to this at the hearing on Friday. Hat Tip: Capitol Fax Blog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jerry Johnson Calls for Swift Board of Elections Action and for Withdrawal of Senator Terry Link as a Candidate

In a rush as usual lately, but I wanted to share a few photos and documents from today's Jerry Johnson press conference. I'll have more up later.

In brief, Johnson walked through the evidence his team has collected that shows that at least five dead people have been noted on Link's petitions, as evidenced by death certificates and, in fact, one dead person even signed twice. On other petitions, signatures appeared in the same order as the phone book, and a number of errors were evidenced in people's addresses that only make sense if someone mistakenly transposed names and addresses while copying them out of the phone book. Johnson also quoted from the testimony of one of Link's circulators, Kenneth Davison, who admitted to forging names, and who also was asked by Pete Couvall, Lake County Democratic Vice-Chairman, to go change the address on Davison's driver's license so that it match the address that Davison used on the petitions (Couvall denied this at the petition challenge hearing).

A copy of the press release that was handed out at the conference can be read here. The Johnson campaign has collected over 30 affidavits from people who claim their signatures were forged. Here is an overview of the evidence, including phone book citations and the rest. The most interesting new information was that the Johnson campaign hired a well-known and respected handwriting analyst who has attested that over 100 of the signatures on the petitions passed by Jerry Knight were signed by the same person. Read her affidavit here.

Johnson is calling on the State Board of Elections to review the evidence and fully and fairly evaluate the legitimacy of Link's candidacy due to the tainted petitions. Johnson has further demanded that Link withdraw as a candidate due to the overwhelming evidence of fraud on his petitions.

UPDATED 12/18/07 10:00 p.m.: I forgot to mention that the hearing before the entire State Board of Elections is scheduled for this Friday at 10:30 a.m. It will be held in the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago (probably the 9th floor), but will also be conducted via closed-circuit TV to Springfield for the convenience of the full Board (this feed is not available to the public). As I understand it, the Board is composed of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. However, all of the Board members are dependent on Senate confirmation to keep their posts when it comes time for reappointment. This implies that it might be a bad idea to annoy state senators...

ALSO- now that Jerry Johnson has made his public statement, look for Lake County Republican Chairman Daniel Venturi and the Lake County Republicans to add their call for Terry Link's withdrawal as a candidate, a State's Attorney investigation, and possibly further demands as well.

FINALLY- if you're disgusted by Link's shenanigans and want to kvetch more about Jay Footlik and Dan Seals, head on over to
Unincorporated Middle, where she's talking about Mark Kirk's latest bi-partisan efforts to improve the 10th District while the Dem candidates insult the voters and each other, all the while arguing about who has more ties to the 10th. If that doesn't give you your Kirk/Seals/Footlik fix, you can also view the Pioneer Press article on the Footlik "meshugana" piece that we reported on afew days ago (but hey, Pioneer Press is a weekly, so what do you want, and they ask a whole bunch of people the same question we asked here, which is, did that piece help or hurt Footlik).

OK, ONE MORE THING- if you think the folks up in Waukegan and North Chicago (many of whom have a real bone to pick with Terry Link for the lousy job he's done representing them for the last 10 years) aren't paying attention to this story, guess again. Check out the "Talk O' the Town" board, where they have been discussing the
"roundtabling" and press conference like you wouldn't believe. I think Link may be in for a shock if the sentiment shown on that board translates into ticked off people willing to work against Link, in addition to talk.

UPDATED 12/19/07 7:30 a.m.:
The Waukegan News-Sun has a article up this morning, but it's essentially a regurgitation of the Johnson press release. Too bad, because I'm dying to hear how Link is going to try to weasel out of this. His previous claim that people were playing pranks on him seems even less plausible than it did a few weeks ago.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Johnson Press Conference Update

Here is the Press Advisory issued by the Johnson Campaign:

CONTACT: Jerry Johnson, (Johnson for Senate), (847) 912-7274


WHAT: The Johnson for Senate campaign will be holding a press conference to unveil and discuss irregularities in nominating petitions circulated by supporters of State Senator Terry Link (D-30).

WHEN: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 02:00 pm

WHERE: 218 N. Jefferson, Suite 102, Chicago, IL

The Johnson for Senate Campaign will be holding a press conference to unveil and discuss serious irregularities in nominating petitions circulated by supporters of incumbent State Senator, Terry Link. The scope of these irregularities is such that Senator Link’s campaign may not have enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot for the February 2008 primary election. The Johnson for Senate Campaign will also call upon the State Board of Elections and the Lake County States’ Attorney to investigate the circumstances of these petition irregularities.

- - -
A copy of the Johnson for Senate campaign report is on file and available for a fee from the Illinois State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.

Monday Morning Update

A few quick notes to start the day... (updated as to time and place of Johnson press conference)

Jerry Johnson Press Conference This Tuesday: First, TA understands that the Jerry Johnson campaign was quite busy over the weekend continuing to build its case of petition fraud against State Senator Terry Link. Among other activities, Johnson volunteers spent time making phone calls to people who were suspected of having their signature forged. Many of these folks provided affidavits swearing under oath that these individuals never signed a Link petition. At last word, the total number of affidavits collected is TWENTY-SIX (26). In addition, the total of dead folks found on petitions is now up to six. Dead people obviously can't sign affidavits, but death certificates are public records, and these are being obtained as well. Finally, TA understands that Jerry Johnson is planning a press conference for this Tuesday. LOCATION AND TIME HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED: The press conference will be held on Tuesday Dec. 18 in the law offices of Michael LaVelle (Jerry Johnson's attorney), downtown at 2:00 p.m. The address is 218 N. Jefferson, 4th Floor.

Is Jay Footlik doing a "Push Poll"?: Next, while trolling Ellen of the Tenth last night, one commentor implied that Dan Seals' primary opponent Jay Footlik had recently conducted a telephone "push poll." Anyone have any information on that, especially what questions were asked? As we've discussed here in the past, most people seem to agree that a "push poll" is characterized by a high volume of calls to many potential voters in which mostly leading, negative questions are asked and no real attempt to analyze the results are made. In other words, it's simply negative campaigning disguised as a scientific poll (and a technique that is disavowed by most professional pollsters as unethical). Some may recall that TA initially characterized Dan Seals' recent poll as a "push poll" and was soundly criticized by one ardent Seals supporter, Bored Now, who vehemently denied that the Seals poll was a "push poll." Let's see if Seals supporters as readily agree that the poll conducted by Footlik does or does not fall into that category.

Keep scrolling down to read new posts and join in the comments!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mark Kirk is No Meshugana

Not much time tonight (sadly, I have to do some actual work still tonight), but I just returned from the Chicago Chapter meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which sponsored an event featuring our own Congressman Mark Kirk at the Renaissance North Shore Hotel in Northbrook. Learn more about the RJC here.
The room was packed with well over 200 people. Eat your heart out, Ellen. And before anyone accuses Mark Kirk of hosting a closed event open only to true believers, please note that it was well publicized in the local press. Of course, the main subject, dealing with Iran in a practical way, probably wasn't something the EBG crowd would want to hear. Mark had a great presentation, and some detailed handouts stating all that he has done to further Jewish causes over the past year, which I will try to post soon. Gotta go, but here are some more more pix from tonight:

Dr. Michael Menis gets the program started.

Mark Kirk gets a standing ovation from the crowd.

Mark wows the crowd with details of his accomplishments over the past year.

Dan Seals and Jay Footlik take note. Mark Kirk is the real deal, and the folks attending tonight know it. You boys have your work cut out for you.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jay Footlik v. Dan Seals: May the Better Meshugana Win! UPDATED x1

I spent this snowy evening going to a few holiday political events, including an event in Long Grove featuring Congressman Mark Kirk and his wife Kimberly, and then trekked out to Lake Zurich to an event for Dan Duffy, candidate for the 26th State Senate District (which is being vacated by Bill Peterson). Despite the crappy weather, both events were very well attended (Duffy's featured former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, who is looking slim and trim these days), and I meant to do a post tonight focusing on Dan (a former college classmate of mine). The focus of the post was going to be why we need energetic people like Dan, with genuine business experience, in Springfield to fight against Blago's economic voodoo death spells like the ill-fated Gross Receipts Tax (GRT), which Dan was instrumental in defeating. But that'll have to wait.

Instead, while I was catching up on my blogs tonight, I came across yet another post by Dan Seals shill Bored Now of Chicago, which is worth sharing. TA's sources are usually good at sending along the latest mailings by Jay Footlik (and I assume they would also send along Dan Seals' mailings, if he ever sent anything out), but Bored Now beat me to this one. It's really an embarassment for Footlik, I think. Here are the pix, lifted from Prairie State Blue:

As I was saying, Bored Now has a good discussion started at Prarie State Blue, but he has a decidedly anti-Footlik tact, and goes so far as to call the mailer "offensive." Since everyone knows that Kirk is the favored son here, it puts us in a slightly more objective position to judge exactly just what the heck is going on with the Footlik campaign....?

Footlik is clearly not reluctant to spend the money he's raised. This is the third or fourth significant mailer, and he has done at least two cable TV ads, including the famous (or infamous) "Brady Bunch" ad, which we discussed previously. But, come on now, is this the same guy whose tagline is "Serious Experience"?

Being the kind of guy that tries not to take himself too seriously, I have a certain amount of respect and affinity for the somewhat off-beat humor and angle that Footlik is apparently trying to use to reach out to his audience. But, hey, buddy, this is the big time. It's a multi-million dollar race for Congress in the North Shore, not library board in Kickapoo.

And, we all know you're Jewish, already. Even assuming that this mailing only went to Jewish households, how is the average Jewish voter going to react to this? Does the average Jew identify with the mope in the picture? If not, I would think it's just as easily a turn-off as a endearing light-hearted dig at one's own ethnicity. But, being a goy, I have little insight as to whether Jewish folks will see this as a insider's clever use of ethnic humor or whether it will backfire as a reminder of sterotypical disparagement. Certainly the term "meshugana" itself seems to be one of those terms that Jews use to laugh about themselves. But, maybe not everyone is laughing, and few probably expect to see this usage from a prospective future congressman.

Footlik only has about 45 days to get it together. Despite Dan Seals' penchant for putting his foot in his mouth (read about his insecurity complex about millionaires here) Ellen Beth Shrill and her crowd are already scouring the Internet to try to tie Footlik's recent lobbying jobs and his company DiNovo to all manner of shady foreign lobbying and military contracts (look in the comments). Whether it's true or not, it's obvious Ellen has been released to start firing the big cannons. Footlik may be seriously outgunned, no matter how much the Illinois Federation of Teachers likes him.

In fact, by the time I got finished with this post tonight, Ellen had the mailer up and was panning it already. As usual, Ellen tries to look for the deeper meaning and wonders if the Footlik mailer is yet another sign of the apocalypse and the breakdown of civilization begun by George Bush and Mark Kirk. I, on the other hand, just want to know if this is going to get Footlik any votes, or lose them.


PS-> A big shout-out to the government class at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire where TA has learned the Team America Blog is required viewing (!). Thanks, and we'll try to keep it up on our end.

UPDATED 12/16/07: 7:50 a.m.: IF SEALS BUYS, WOULD FOOTLIK GET THE COMMISSION? Looks like Jay Footlik has picked up another tip from our commentors (I think I recall "BD" suggesting something along these lines), but Jay has taken this one step further and provided Dan Seals with a little free real estate research and located several homes under $400,000 that Seals could probably afford (he now lives in Wilmette in a decent pad, just a few blocks over from the 10th district boundary). Check out the Sun-Times article here. Hat Tip: "I am Sparticus".

Seals' response was stock and pretty lame-- Oh, this is all dumb and 'I want to focus on serious issues like Iraq and health care.' Well, that's what happens when you throw around the "renting" stone while living in a glass house (and one outside the district to boot). At least Seals didn't accuse Footlik of practicing real estate brokerage without a license. Wonder who gets the commission.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dialing for Votes in Lake County: Was the Phone Book a Source for Terry Link's Signatures? UPDATED x4

I promised myself I wasn't going to post on the Terry Link petition scandal this week and move on to other topics, but the situation keeps getting more and more outrageous.

Here at Team America, we have been scratching our heads trying to figure out exactly where Kenneth Davison and Jerry Knight, the two primary petition circulators, got all of those names from. From the very beginning, everyone was skeptical that any two petition circulators, no matter how dedicated (or well-paid) could have garnered over 2300 legitimate signatures (60 Pages for Knight x 25 sigs = 1,500 sigs; 32 Pages for Davison x 25 sigs = 800 sigs).

Various theories have been floated: use of old petitions and/or old voting registration lists were considered, and rejected by our team as unlikely possibilities. Then someone made the connection (I'd love to give credit where due, but this researcher prefers to avoid the limelight) to listings in, of all places, the local telephone directory.

What's the phone book connection, you ask? Read on...

First, an amazing number of petitions have the names listed in ALPHABETICAL ORDER (by last name, just like it is in the phone book). As someone who has passed many a petition, I can attest that it is extremely hard to plan my route of circulating petitions door to door in such a way that the names go in alphabetical order. People also don't tend to sign in alphabetical order at Jewel, the post office, or other usual signature gathering spots. For example, petition Sheet #77, circulated by Jerry Knight, has the following last names appearing on lines 7-22:

Adams, Bell, Burton, Cook, Cooney, Garcia, Hamilton, Hill, Keller, Lopez, Moore, Nagel, Palmer, Rollins, Watt, Zacks

Notice a pattern? If that wasn't enough, try Sheet #127, also "circulated" by Jerry Knight. Last names in lines 1-19 are in alphabetical order:

Clausing, Danatte, Eckert, Edwards, Funk, Godoy, Gonzales, Hughes, Humphreys, Kawa, Keeper, Lentz, Mehan, Massimo, Phillips, Reizner, Senatin, Severones, Underwood

And, if that didn't convince you, just to mix it up, sometimes they started at the bottom of the sheet, which resulted in names appearing in reverse alphabetical order. Sneaky, sneaky. For example, on Sheet #62 (another Knight special), we have (starting at line 25 and going up the page):

Gustafson, Heuschmidt, Jarrett, Kowalski, Lloyd, Little, Morris, Naber

None of this is immediately apparent unless you take the time to look, since the signatures are all First Name followed by Last Name. You have to look at the last names to pick up the pattern. But, similar alphabetical (or reverse alphabetical) "coincidences" were noted by our persistent researcher as follows:

Sheet 6 - line 10-23
Sheet 41 - line 7 - 23
Sheet 62 - line 25 going up the page
Sheet 77 - line 7 - 22
Sheet 100 - line 1 - 22
Sheet 102 - line 3 - line 25 and continuing to Sheet 101 - line 1 - line 5
Sheet 103 - line 7 - line 25 and continuing to Sheet 104 - line 1 - line 12
Sheet 124 - line 1 - 23
Sheet 125 - line 7 - 25
Sheet 126 - line 1 - 25
Sheet 127 - line 1 - 19 and starts over line 20-25
Sheet 138 - line 11-25

That not good enough to convince you that something fishy is going on?

There's more. Sometimes they must have gotten tired and transposed the names. For example, Barbara Jarrett (sheet 62, line 23) "signed" her name as "Jarrett Barb". Often, names were off by a letter or so--i.e., Clyde Golwitzer (Sheet 8, line 14) has his name "signed" as "Goldwitzer." Most people tend not to misspell their own names when signing documents, but it's easy to misspell when it's NOT YOUR NAME that you are writing.

Sometimes, the first names in the phone book are listed by initials only. For example, also on sheet 62, "B. Myers," who is listed that way in the phone book, unsurprisingly, "signed" her (his?) name as "B. Myers" on the petition. Some of these people actually contacted by our faithful researcher indicate they never sign with only their first name initial. "A. Moran" listed on sheet 40, line 18, with the correct address, says she NEVER signs as "A. Moran" (her first name is Amy) and Ms. Moran says she has beautiful handwriting to boot (her husband agrees... but the signature on the petition is barely legible).

And, in some cases, where a person's first name was only listed by the first initial in the phone book, the circulator appears to have simply guessed at the first name. Sometimes, they guessed wrong. For example, an "Addie" Underwood supposedly signed Knight's petition (Sheet 127, line 19). The phone book listing is for "A. D. Underwood." But, the Underwood who lives at that the address (as we found out on the reverse lookup white pages on the Internet) is "Ausie D. Underwood,'" not "Addie." (it's a clear signature on the petition, so there is no doubt about the mistaken first name).

The phone book method may also account for the names of certain "dead people" that seem to have "risen" on the Link petitions. For example, Larry Jelinek, someone I knew who passed away earlier this year (but still "signed" Link's petition), is still listed in the phone book.

Finally, to close the book on the "phone book" theory, sometimes the "circulator" screwed up the address by using the address for the person listed above or below the individual who supposedly "signed" the petition. For example, Aritha Walker (sheet 41, line 23) is listed as living at 245 Jackson, in North Chicago. Aritha lives on Jackson, but at a different street number. "245" is April Walker's house number at a completely different street in Mundelein. April Walker is the entry in the phone book immediately above Aritha Walker. Again, it's hard to mistakenly write your own address, but pretty darn easy when you are copying out of the phone book and are off by a line or two. Oops.

Does anyone really need any more to prove that there is a massive case of petition fraud going on here?

Moreover, I think this pretty much blows away Terry Link's position that someone is playing tricks with his petitions. Unless a large group of people armed with Lake County phone books somehow signed numerous pages of Link's petitions without the circulator catching on that the signatures were being forged right out of the phone book, I'd say the evidence of fraud is in the petitions itself. Care to try again, Senator?

Please explain this, Senator Link. Your constituents are getting tired of waiting. I can only hope that the State Board of Elections and other authorities are interested in hearing your explanation as well...


Dan Seals and Jay Footlik faced off, after a fashion, before the Tribune editorial board. See the article here. Footlik confronted Seals on his 'you come out on the side of peace' statement when Seals was asked about a theoretical conflict between Iran and Israel from the last election. Glad to see Jay's finally picking up a few pointers from our humble blog. Also, Seals appears to believe that only "millionaires" live in the Tenth District, since he can't afford to move in (no surprise, since he's out of work). Unincorporated Middle already has some thoughts on that gaff. The article also noted that Seals, ironically, also criticized Footlik for only renting a house in the Tenth District. Funny how Seals claimed the residency issue was an unimportant red herring last time around, but now it's a good dart to throw at Footlik.

Next, Mark Kirk and Melissa Bean made quite a press splash by calling on Springfield legislators to get off their collective duffs, at the risk of losing over a BILLION dollars of federal matching funds for mass transit if state legislative action isn't taken. Seals hates it when Bean goes out and works with Mark Kirk. As we've noted here, Seals seems to think that partisan loyalty should trump bi-partisan cooperation when it comes down to serving the people of the Tenth District. Well, Bean was never much of a Dem anyway.

UPDATED 12/12/07: Things may be looking up for Jay Footlik, as the Trib reported tonight that Footlik beat out Dan Seals for the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Read Seals' response here, and he doesn't sound too happy. Unincorporated Middle has more here. Don't get too excited Jay; after all, this union is the same one that's a big fan of newbie state senator Michael Bond, so there's no accounting for taste. The union reportedly gave Bond more than $40,000 in campaign contributions, so you would think that the endorsement also comes with a cash prize.

UPDATED x2 12/13/07: Momentum on the blogosphere may be picking up on the Link scandal. Follow blogger El Rider over at Flying Debris takes a look at PhonebookGate and comes up with a better lede than I did. After all, why pass petitions door-to-door when you can "Let your Fingers do the Walking." Damn. I should've thought of that.

UPDATED x3 12/13/07 12:30 p.m.: Rich Miller over at Capitol Fax Blog seems to be taking a greater interest in the Link petition scandal now that we've been beating the drum here for a few weeks. Rich has posted the affidavit from Jerry Knight's former landlord that was presented at last Saturday's petition hearing in which the landlord attested that Jerry Knight did not live at the address in Waukegan (838 Hickory) that he gave on his petitions which he circulated. Rich also posted the testimony that Knight gave at the hearing in which Knight swore that he did live at the Hickory address through November 9th, and finally also posted a copy of a police report in which Knight was arrested for trespassing in Zion on November 7th, but gave a Chicago address. The documents are posted in the subscriber-only section on Capitol Fax Blog, but TA has them as well, and we will post them if there is any interest.

UPDATED x4 12/13/07 10:00 p.m.: By popular request, here are copies of the documents that were posted over at Capitol Fax Blog under the subscribers-only section. Rich Miller and I got them from the same source, I'd bet, so I assume he's not claiming copyright ;-)

Here is Jerry's Knight's testimony attesting that he lived at the Hickory address in Waukegan through November 9th (and which is good for a chuckle since he claimed the 5th Amendment when asked what his current address is. What's not so funny is that the judge let that pass). Here is the copy of the police report from his arrest on November 7th, giving a Chicago address. And here is the affidavit from his former landlord stating that Knight did not live at the Hickory address since 2006.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

"Pattern of Fraud" Evidence Disallowed; Terry Link Remains on Ballot

I wanted to wait until I had more complete details before posting on the results of the Link petition challenge hearing yesterday, but the public is clamoring for the scoop, so here is what I know:

As has been reported to me, the Link petition challenge was held yesterday before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a fancy title for 'hearing officer.' Pete Couvall, the Democratic vice-chairman, and the person who notarized all of Link's petitions, was subpoenaed by Jerry Johnson's attorney, as were Jerry Knight and Kenneth Davison, who were the primary Link petition circulators.

Kenneth Davison testified that he forged some signatures himself and went door to door and asked some people to sign for everyone who lived at the house. Some of Davison's signatures were rejected and some were allowed.

The bigger issue, however, is that Johnson's attorney was not allowed to present any evidence of an overall "pattern of fraud" because that was not specifically alleged in the original petition challenge document itself. Thus, Johnson's attorney was not allowed to argue that Davison's and Knight's petitions should all be thrown out based on the argument that they were inherently tainted and unreliable as a group.

Knight took the stand and denied he forged any signatures, and stated that he lived at the address he gave on the petitions (which is required for petition circulators). Couvall testified that he picked up Knight on several occasions from that address. However, the landlord for that address also testified, and he stated that Knight had not lived there since sometime in 2006. Knight's petitions were ultimately allowed.

The end result is that Link remains on the ballot at this stage.

I understand that Johnson's attorney intends to appeal to the full Election Board. I have not spoken to him myself, and I am no election law expert, but if the ALJ's ruling was that "pattern of fraud" was not allowed to be argued because it was not in the original complaint, I would think that the main issue on appeal is that Johnson should have been allowed to amend the complaint to add the 'pattern of fraud' argument, based on the discovery of all of the forgeries and dead folks, many or most of which came to light after the petition challenge was filed. Election challenges, however, have their own set of rules, so I could be dead wrong on that.

I also understand that because the 'pattern of fraud' argument was disallowed, no affidavits of people who stated that they did not sign the petition (and which had been collected by Johnson's team) were allowed into evidence, and none of the death certificates of the dead folks whose names appeared on the petitions were allowed either. That, I do not understand, since you would think that even if such evidence were not allowed to support a 'pattern of fraud' argument, they would at least be evidence of a specific challenge to a specific signature. So, there may be some missing facts here, but I will be providing updates as I get more information.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jerry Johnson Down But Not Out in 30th District Civil War

This just in... Jerry Johnson has been knocked off the February 5th primary Dem ballot by the State Board of Elections. Johnson, however, has already filed in Lake County as a write-in candidate and is filing in Cook County today (because the 30th includes parts of both counties, he must file to run in each county). Johnson reportedly remains proud of his petition effort, and notes that he only had a few weeks to gather signatures, as his decision to run was last-minute. He notes that none of his petition signatures was rejected for "fraud," however.

If Link remains on the ballot, there is little chance that Johnson could defeat Link as a write-in. But, if Link also loses Johnson's challenge to his petitions, it would likely set up a "write-in war," the likes of which have probably never been seen in Lake County.

Meanwhile, more dead people keep "rising" on Terry Link's petitions. The total count is now up to FIVE, including one deceased person who signed twice (that's gotta be a first). More legal discussions in the Link challenge are scheduled for this afternoon, but no confirmed date thus far for the next installment of petition signature arguments (although it may be as early as Saturday).

Keep watching this space for the latest developments in Terry Link's Knights of the Roundtable scandal.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Will Israel Decide the 10th District Race?

Israel has been in the news a lot this week, although somewhat indirectly. The big story this week, of course, is that the intelligence gathered by the U.S. now seems to indicate that Iran gave up its quest to build a nuclear bomb back in 2003. The Dem machine wants to spin this as, at best, yet another example of flawed U.S. intelligence capability, and at worst, implies that Bush is behind yet another rush to war, this time in Iran (but thank God the faulty intelligence was exposed this time before Bush could do Iraq all over again!) Of course, even the N.Y. Times appeared to acknowledge that the other way to look at this was that the intelligence proves that we have been right to be very concerned about Iran, which up until just a few years ago was relentlessly pursuing a nuclear weapon. It also notes that Iran continues to produce enriched uranium, obstensively for its civilian nuclear program, and would likely have enough material for a bomb sometime in the middle of the next decade.

So, is it time to breathe a sign of relief? I don't think so, and apparently, neither does Israel. An Associated Press article today states:

"Israeli intelligence believes Iran is still trying to develop a nuclear weapon, Israel's defense minister said Tuesday, disputing a U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran has halted its program.
"It's apparently true that in 2003 Iran stopped pursuing its military nuclear program for a time. But in our opinion, since then it has apparently continued that program," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio."

Barak also stated, "We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the earth, even if it is from our greatest friend."

The article adds, "Not only does Israeli intelligence believe Iran is still pursuing a nuclear bomb, defense officials said this week, the Israelis are worried about the possibility that Iran might have already received ready-made nuclear material from North Korea, dramatically speeding up the process. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. In September, Israeli warplanes attacked a military target in Syria, a close Iranian ally. Foreign experts believe the installation was a nuclear facility built with North Korean assistance. Syria and North Korea have denied the charge."

So, it seems that Israel is by no means ready to let its guard down, even if many in the U.S. seem all too ready to welcome the intelligence report and are eager to embrace Iran as misunderstood 'good guys,' notwithstanding the fact that its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be "wiped off the map," as well as the fact that Iran continues to fund Islamic groups openly dedicated to Israel's destruction like Hezbollah and Hamas.

As we all know, Mark Kirk is well known as a strong advocate for Israel, but has also tried to take a stance against Iran based on rational, especially economic, action, and not fear-mongering as some have often alleged. But, Dan Seals is also a friend of Israel(!), his supporters claim. This debate is nothing new for the 10th District and was a popular subject among bloggers the last cycle. See here. Of course, Seals' clearest position on defense of Israel is the now famous video shot by 10th Dem peacenik and failed congressional candidate Lee Goodman, in which Seals famously choses "peace" over Israel in the event of an attack by Iran. Revisit this revealing video here (unfortunately, Lee Goodman apparently demanded that YouTube remove the excerpt of the video that was posted there, claiming copyright, so you have to search Goodman's "AtCenter Network" site (if you can stomach it)).

But, the new entry into the mix for 2008 is Jay Footlik. In case you didn't know by now, Footlik is Jewish. But, as Seals' Internet supporters point out, simply being a Jewish Democrat isn't the key to victory by itself, as every opponent Kirk has faced over the years besides Seals was a Jewish Democrat, and most were crushed. Many have also criticized Footlik as being a one-issue candidate, and this simply won't do it in a district where Kirk has been very successful in wooing a large chunk of the Jewish vote (for good reason).

I could go on, but that's more than enough setup for the topic tonight: What does everyone think about how the dynamics of Israel vs. Iran, the effect of the Jewish vote, and the likely result of the Seals/Footlik primary will effect the general election against Kirk this fall?

UPDATED: Hiram Wurf of Wurfwhile reports that the AFL-CIO endorsed Seals today over Footlik in the 10th Congressional race. Wurf states that "With endorsements from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Dan Seals is clearly the candidate of working people in the race." Wurf, would that be 'working people' that can hold a job, or does that include the employment-challenged folks like Seals?

UPDATED x2: Here's a quick link to the uploaded video of Dan Seals going out on a limb for Israel if attacked by Iran. Go get 'em, Dan!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dan Seals No Longer "The Point" Person

It's official, as confirmed by one of TA's cub reporters, who called The Point offices (and tracking down the phone number took a little effort, mind you), at which the receptionist confirmed that Dan Seals is no longer employed at The Point. They have no forwarding information. Our intrepid reporter asked if they knew “what he was doing,” to which the operator replied, “I think working on his campaign.”

So, there you have it. I guess Seals is now back to being an 'independent business consultant.'

Is Seals a failed marketing "executive" that can't hold a job, or is this yet another brilliant campaign move that clearly indicates his suitability to take the reins from Mark Kirk and lead us into a better tomorrow? You be the judge.

ALSO- yesterday, I posted an update link to a post from "Bored Now," who apparently has taken up the mantle of Super Seals Supporter from our friend Ellen Beth. The Footlik folks are starting to respond in the comments to the Bored Now post, so you might want to see the hissing match going on over there. Check it out here. See more vicious comments going back and forth between Seals and Footlik supporters at same Bored Now treatise cross-posted at Prairie State Blue here. And, while you're at it, over here is one of Bored Now's earlier anti-Footlik rants ("Fraidy Cat Footlik"). Great fun!