Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lake County Coroner Richard Keller Warns of Zombies

Lake County Coroner Richard Keller, M.D., who is under investigation by the Lake County State's Attorney for his involvement with a death attributed to an overdose at a private methadone clinic for which Keller used to be the medical director, took time out from his job to warn us of the dangers of zombies on his blog.

We're not sure why.

Maybe he's concerned about the antics of Dan Seals' New Media director Max Temkin, who claims to be one of the founders of the college game "Humans vs. Zombies." Max is pretty sensitive to criticism about 'Zombies,' though, so please be kind in comments, folks.

Mark Kirk Health Care Townhall Looks At Reform Alternatives

A popular line of argument among Democrats lately is that if you're not for ObamaCare, you must be against reform.


Just because we're not interested in the public option, single-payer concept, fines for non-participation, or other ill-conceived aspects of the Democrats' preferred health care overhaul doesn't mean that Republicans don't think it needs to be fixed; however, we could start with a few common sense ideas such as tort reform (shhh... don't tell the trial lawyers), streamlining medical databases and the flow of information, ending defensive medicine practices, and so on.

Enter Congressman Mark Kirk, who is trumpeting a reform plan that engages alternative approaches to health care reform that won't break the bank.

Yesterday, Kirk hosted yet another town hall (this time in Northbrook) to discuss his alternative reform plan. Reports the Daily Herald:

Kirk's plan, proposed by a group of Republicans who position themselves as moderates, focuses heavily on enhancing tax-free health savings accounts and providing tax subsidies for purchasing coverage.

Kirk also wants to allow people to buy insurance from plans anywhere in the country and impose limits on awards in malpractice cases, among other reforms.

Much of the proposal is unlikely to gain much traction in the Democrat-dominated Capitol.

But it is an alternative Kirk hopes voters will support as he has made his opposition to Democratic health care reform a centerpiece of his Senate primary bid, holding town halls across the state as well as several teleconferences.

Kirk was keen to make sure those in attendance Tuesday knew he was not against "reform," just Obama's version of it.

"I believe we should not have the quick answer on health care. We should have the right answer," he said. "We think we really ought to have reform."

Just because we don't want ObamaCare doesn't mean reform isn't a good idea. Don't make me repeat this for the slow learners.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kirk and Roskam Team Up Against ACORN and SEIU

Got this press release this evening. Watch video of Congressmen Kirk and Roskam here. The Sun-Times covers the story here.

Here's the graphic that illustrates the relationship between ACORN and SEIU:

Kirk, Roskam Urge Census Bureau to Reconsider
Using ACORN Sister Organization to Recruit Census Workers

Research reveals web of financial ties between ACORN and SEIU; SEIU Local 880 formed by ACORN, rents office from ACORN front group while another finances ACORN “election efforts”; U.S. Census recently cut ties with ACORN but partnership with SEIU remains

CHICAGO – Illinois Congressmen Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam today urged the U.S. Census Bureau to end its relationship with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a sister group to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) – a relationship intended to recruit SEIU workers for the 2010 census. Also joining Congressmen Kirk and Roskam was Congressman Patrick McHenry (N.C.-10), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives.

The U.S. Census Bureau delegated work to outside groups for the federal 2010 census. Following the release of undercover videos showing ACORN workers helping a fake pimp and prostitute illegally secure housing, the Census Bureau terminated its partnership with ACORN. The House and Senate voted to block federal funding for ACORN and ACORN-related affiliates, including SEIU. While the Census Bureau terminated its partnership with ACORN, it left its close connection with SEIU intact.

“Given SEIU’s co-location with ACORN in Chicago and SEIU’s intimate financial relationship with ACORN, we should take action to protect the public from the corruption of the 2010 census,” Congressman Kirk said. “To defend the integrity of the process, the Census Bureau should end its close relationship with ACORN’s close sister organization, the SEIU.”

"ACORN and the SEIU have a long web of connections in Chicago and around the country, and there's simply no place for a group so closely connected to ACORN to be part of something of such national importance as the U.S. Census,” Congressman Roskam said. “In this time where this Congressional Majority is running record deficits, ACORN should have no place cashing checks from the American taxpayer. We were promised a more open and honest government--that means keeping ACORN from the federal trough."

"With the decision to end its affiliation with Acorn, the Bureau has shown its desire for a census of the highest integrity,” Congressman McHenry said. “This is an opportunity to follow through on that commitment."

Official filings show that SEIU, referenced in the U.S. Attorney’s indictment of Governor Rod Blagojevich, contributed more than $4 million to ACORN and its affiliates since 2006. According to recent Department of Labor filings, the SEIU employs ACORN Founder and ACORN International Chief Organizer Wade Rathke. Mr. Rathke was recently exposed for running a cover-up of an embezzlement scheme run by his brother.

In Chicago, SEIU Local 880 and SEIU Local 1 contributed more than $230,000 to ACORN groups in Illinois and Texas since 2006 – the most recent to “support election efforts.”

SEIU Local 880, which until recently boasted it was founded by ACORN, used an ACORN e-mail address on its Web site and tax filings, was co-located with an ACORN “tax center” and employed the former president of ACORN Illinois, according to official records. Recently, the IRS terminated is relationship with ACORN tax preparation offices.

In a 2006 end-of-year report issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, SEIU Local 880 recounted working with ACORN to reelect Governor Blagojevich and referred to ACORN as its “sister organization.” A new report issued by the Committee in July reports SEIU and SEIU Local 880 are official members of the “ACORN Council,” according to whistleblower documents acquired by the Committee.

Earlier this year, SEIU Local 880 became “SEIU Health Care Illinois and Indiana”, located on the floor below ACORN Housing’s national headquarters and rents its own space from an ACORN front group called the “Chicago Organizing and Support Center” (COSC).
Official documents show COSC registered at two addresses – one in Chicago (at the same address as SEIU Local 880/ACORN) and one in New Orleans (at the same address as ACORN New Orleans). The Illinois Secretary of State’s Web site shows COSC’s incorporation status was revoked on September 11, 2009 – one day after the ACORN videos surfaced. The Louisiana Secretary of State shows the group’s status active but not in good standing for failure to file its annual report. The House Committee on Oversight’s July report also named COSC as a member of the “ACORN Council.”

Enclosed please find the congressmen’s letter to the Census Bureau along with research material on SEIU-ACORN links.


September 28, 2009
Robert M. Groves
Director, U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. 20233

Dear Director Groves:

In February 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau signed a partnership agreement with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). According to the Census, partner organizations “play an important role in making the 2010 Census successful” and “help recruit census workers.” Following the release of undercover videos showing ACORN employees helping a fake pimp and prostitute illegally secure housing, the Census Bureau terminated its partnership with ACORN.

"Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices,” you wrote to the president of ACORN on September 11, 2009. “For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership.”

On September 17, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 345-75 to prohibit federal funding for ACORN and ACORN-related affiliates, i.e. organizations that share directors, employees, or independent contractors with ACORN, have financial stakes in ACORN, or whose finances, whether federally-funded, donor-funded, or raised through organizational goods and services, are shared or controlled by ACORN.

Due to your concern for the activities of ACORN’s “many local offices” and the action taken by Congress to prohibit taxpayer funding for ACORN-related affiliates, we are writing to request that you immediately terminate your Census 2010 partnership with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

On October 15, 2008, National Public Radio reported:

ACORN's biggest union backer, the Service Employees International Union, gave more than $4 million to the community organization and its affiliates from 2006-07, according to Dept. of Labor filings. One SEIU local union, the Illinois Homecare Workers and Home Childcare Providers, sprouted from ACORN's organizing efforts and pays rent to ACORN.
On September 16, 2009, the Washington Times reported that SEIU national president Andy Stern serves on ACORN’s advisory council. According to his own Web site, ACORN Founder Wade Rathke is the “Founder and Chief Organizer” of SEIU Local 100.

According to recent filings with the Department of Labor for calendar year 2008, Rathke is employed by SEIU – a union part of the U.S. Attorney’s indictment of Governor Rod Blagojevich. Rathke was also recently exposed as part of a cover-up to conceal an embezzlement scheme run by his brother.

In Chicago, SEIU Local 880 and SEIU Local 1 contributed more than $230,000 to ACORN groups in Illinois and Texas since 2006 – the most recent to “support election efforts.”
SEIU Local 880, which used to boast it was founded by ACORN, used an ACORN e-mail address on its Web site and tax filings, was co-located with an ACORN “tax center” and employed the former president of ACORN Illinois, according to official records.

In a 2006 end-of-year report issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Local 880 recounted working with ACORN to reelect Rod Blagojevich and referred to ACORN as its “sister organization.” A new report issued by the Committee in July reports SEIU and SEIU Local 880 are official members of the “ACORN Council,” according to whistleblower documents acquired by the Committee.

Earlier this year, SEIU Local 880 became “SEIU Health Care Illinois and Indiana”, which is located one floor below ACORN Housing’s national headquarters and rents its own space from an ACORN front group called Chicago Organizing and Support Center (COSC).

Official documents show COSC registered at two addresses – one in Chicago (at the same address as SEIU Local 880/ACORN) and one in New Orleans (at the same address as ACORN New Orleans). Surprisingly, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Web site shows COSC’s incorporation status was revoked on September 11, 2009 – one day after the ACORN videos surfaced. The Louisiana Secretary of State shows the group’s status active but not in good standing for failure to file its annual report. The Committee of Oversight’s report also named COSC as a member of the “ACORN Council.”

We support your decision to terminate the Census Bureau’s partnership with ACORN to protect the public good and defend the integrity of the Census. Given SEIU’s co-location with ACORN in Chicago and SEIU’s intimate financial relationship with ACORN, you should take action to protect the public from the corruption of the 2010 census.

To defend the integrity of the process, the Census Bureau should end its close relationship with ACORN’s close sister organization, the SEIU.


Mark Kirk
Member of Congress

Peter Roskam
Member of Congress

cc: Hon. Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce

Ant Simonian Retires; Bill Cadigan Nabs Endorsements from Steve Rauschenberger, Patrick Collins, In 10th District Announcement

There was certainly a lot going on this weekend, and I have to say that I really felt some energy among the local GOP that seems to have been lacking for some time. Maybe this is a sign of better times ahead.

Lake County Republican Federation: First, the Lake County Republican Federation held its 48th annual meeting at Conway Farms Country Club in Lake Forest. I have been going to that breakfast meeting for about 10 years and it was a bigger, and more enthusiastic crowd, than I can ever remember. Of note, longtime Executive Director Antonietta "Ant" Simonian passed the ED torch to Chelsea Stanley, who will take up her duties at Lake County GOP Headquarters later this week. Ant received a long and loud standing ovation from the assembled crowd in recognition of her years of service carrying water for the elephant.

For those of you who know Ant, you know that she has been the heart and soul of the Lake County Republicans for the past decade, and earlier. But if you know Ant, you also can predict that after a bit of a rest, she will no doubt be back in Lake County politics in some capacity, so watch this space for her next move. Good luck and best wishes to Chelsea, who I know will do a great job, even though she has enormous shoes to fill.

Bill Cadigan Announces: As we noted here earlier last week, Winneka Attorney Bill Cadigan officially announced for the 10th District race to succeed outgoing Congressman Mark Kirk. Cadigan was present at the Federation breakfast meeting on Saturday, at which former Asst. U.S. Attorney (and the guy who put former governor George Ryan behind bars) Patrick Collins was the keynote speaker. Cadigan and Collins then hotfooted it over to Olive - Mary Stitt school in Arlington Heights, where he made his official announcement and received endorsements from Collins, former State Senator Steve Rauschenberger, and popular and well-respected Wheeling Township Supervisor Mike Schroeder.

Friday, September 25, 2009

8th Congressional candidate Maria Rodriguez to host a Town Hall meeting

Here's some news from the campaign of Maria Rodriguez:

LAKE COUNTY, IL - Maria Rodriguez, candidate for the 8th Congressional District will host a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, Sept. 26th at 1600 Milwaukee Ave, (Rt. 83) in Lake Villa at Noon. State Senator Dan Duffy(R-26) will join Ms. Rodriguez; State Representative Ed Sullivan(R-51) had planned to be there but told TA that he had an unavoidable family conflict for Saturday.

The purpose of the meeting is to hear the opinions and concerns of the 8th district residents regarding urgent issues including healthcare. The meeting will be an open forum for any and all concerned constituents.

Rodriguez currently serves as President of the Village of Long Grove and has worked closely with Duffy and Sullivan on various regional issues.

"I am grateful for their endorsement and look forward to many more town hall meetings to discuss federal and state issues." When asked why she chose to run for congress in this election, Rodriguez said, "I am running because members of Congress have lost touch with the people. They are not listening and that is unacceptable to me. Congress is considering legislation that will fundamentally change health care and energy and will have a major impact on job growth in the United States. These decisions should be vigorously debated and consider the will of the people. That is why I am starting my campaign with an open forum where everyone is invited and all views are welcomed."

Rodriguez was recently elected to a second term to lead the Village of Long Grove and has an economics degree from the University of Illinois.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Winnetka Attorney Bill Cadigan to Officially Announce for 10th Congressional District

Team America has learned that Winnetka attorney Bill Cadigan, whom we previously profiled here as a potential candidate to seek the GOP nomination for Mark Kirk's congressional seat representing the 10th congressional district, has decided to officially jump into the race.

Cadigan will officially announce his candidacy this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at a press event in Arlington Heights, at Olive - Mary Stitt School, which was Cadigan's elementary school when he was growing up in the district.

Cadigan joins a fairly crowded field on the GOP side, which now includes State Representative Beth Coulson and businessmen Bob Dold and Dick Green. A few other names continue to be thrown about, like attorney Jim Koch, failed mayor candidate Pat Bird, and former Deerfield police chief Pat Anderson.

I asked Cadigan what sets him apart from the GOP pack, and he responded that his Washington experience is one thing that no other GOP contender can match.

"I can start the job on day one," he explained. As a former staffer for long-time 10th District congressman John Porter, Cadigan exphasized that, "I know the job in Washington, and I know the district aspects of the job. No one needs to show me where committee rooms are."

Notably this is a similar message to what Congressman Mark Kirk (another former Porter staffer) campaigned on in 2000, which he of course won in an even more crowded primary race.

Cadigan also emphasized his deep roots and connection with the 10th District, having grown up in Arlington Heights, and now living in Winnetka, and that he believes his political views and values are very much in keeping with the voters in the 10th.

Cadigan's campaign website is now up and running, so check it out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fundraising Key For Illinois U.S. Senate Race; Q3 Reports Will Be Critical

This week, a number of blogs and news articles have revisited the issue of Congressman Mark Kirk's vote over the Cap and Trade bill and wondered whether Kirk's vote will hurt him with conservatives. I think there must have been a lull in the health care debate, since this issue seems to have sprung up again. Even the Daily Herald looked for a few local GOP opinions on the issue to supplement an AP story. I tend to agree with what Lake County GOP Chairman Dan Venturi had to say, which was:

"There's still grumbling, absolutely," Dan Venturi, Lake County Republican Party chairman, said Friday. Venturi adds, however, that Kirk has addressed the matter in a number of public forums and isn't hiding from the issue.

"I think it's the Democrats trying to revitalize a divisive issue," Venturi said. "If they can weaken him in the primary, that would be to their advantage."

Team America was also queried by the DH, and here's what we had to say:

Mettawa resident Larry Falbe, who authors Team America's 10th District blog, said the initial vote startled some Republicans.

"The shock and surprise of most Republicans has long since worn off and they've turned their attention to more pressing issues like health care," Falbe said. "He (Kirk) has worked very hard to explain his position."

This blog has always been more about politics than policy, so while others seem very interested in the debate over whether Congressman Mark Kirk can lure conservatives to his side in the primary based on his ideology, I wanted to remind everyone that a critical component of this campaign is going to be raising enough money to compete with the Democrats in the general election.

So far, it seems clear that Mark Kirk is the only Republican candidate that has any hope of raising the probably $20 million that it will take to be competitive in this race. The Q3 cutoff date for raising funds (September 30th) is coming up awfully fast, and it will be very telling as to what Kirk's GOP competitors will report on the filing deadline October 15th.

So far, from what I can tell from the FEC website (although it can be hard to navigate and I'm never 100% certain I'm interpreting it right), no other GOP candidates had raised enough money ($5,000) to have to report to the FEC as of Q2. While I suspect many of Kirk's competitors will have raised enough pittance to at least file a report, I will be shocked if anyone comes even close to the 7 figures that Kirk will no doubt be reporting.

It's a simple fact that it takes money to compete in politics and get your name and message out. Unless one or more of Kirk's competitors starts raising some serious dough, it's not hard to see where this primary race is headed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dan Sugrue Fundraises in the 59th District; Lisa Stone's Future Clouded by Proposed Recall Amendment in Buffalo Grove

Last night I attended GOP candidate Dan Sugrue's first fundraiser at Opa! in Vernon Hills. It was a good crowd for a Thursday, and Sugrue made it clear that his campaign was going to be a run against Springfield and the Democrats' culture of corruption. Frankly, I was too busy eating (man, I love those dolmades!) to remember to take pictures with my trusty Blackberry, but I hopefully will have some up later today.

Sugrue is a Green Oaks lawyer making his second bid for the 59th District seat, which until last month was held by former State Rep. Kathy Ryg before she retired to lead a childrens' advocacy group. So far, only one GOP challenger appears committed to the race, newcomer Mohan Manian, another Green Oaks resident. Sugrue would appear to have a strong advantage simply based on name recognition from his previous bid, as well as the backing of a number of local conservative and faith-based groups.

Meanwhile, on the Dem side of the 59th District race, it looks like a primary battle is shaping up between newly appointed State Rep. Carol Sente and Buffalo Grove Mayor Elliot Hartstein. It'll be interesting if the Dem power brokers try to fend off a primary and cut Hartstein out of the race. I like the prospect of a Hartstein win over Sente in the primary, which would leave a lame-duck appointee in the seat while Hartstein has to campaign as a non-incumbent, which would put him on equal footing with Sugrue.

I haven't much lately about whether Buffalo Grove trustee Lisa Stone is still thinking about the race, or under which party banner she would chose to run if she did, but it seems her political career is a bit clouded right now, as two of her fellow Buffalo Grove trustees are pushing for a recall amendment as a direct result of Stone's actions as a trustee. That kind of press can't be good for someone who wants to move up politically, but perhaps the Buffalo Grove board would be pleased to see her move on and up if they are so upset they are pushing a recall. If Stone jumps in the race as a Dem, that might open things up even more on that side of the race, leaving a Sente tenure possibly very short-lived.

Stone is defending herself, as she told the Daily Herald:

Stone said Thursday there was "no question" that the ordinance is aimed at her, calling it a "desperate and pathetic" attempt to undermine the will of the voters.

"I have shined a light in areas they don't want to be seen - so they're trying to move me out of the way," Stone said. "I'm the individual in government that's willing to stand up and tell the truth, and that's not real popular on that government board."

I'm not too familiar with the local politics in BG- anyone want to shed any light on what's going on here?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lake County Coroner Richard Keller Mum on State Report Detailing Green Dragonfly Meth Clinic Violations

In the latest development of a story we've been following with great interest, the Tribune reports today that Department of Human Services' Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse cited 43 violations during a July 21-23 inspection of the Green Dragonfly Methadone Clinic in Waukegan, while Dr. Richard Keller, the Democratic Lake County Coroner, was the clinic's medical director. The Waukegan News-Sun (which previously called for Keller's resignation in an editorial) previously reported that Keller was paid $70,000/yr as the private clinic's director, which is in addition to the salary of around $100,000/yr he draws as coroner.

Lake County States Attorney Michael Waller, whose office is investigating the actions of Keller, told the Chicago Tribune that if the clinic had not decided to close on its own, its license would have been revoked.

The clinic's operators have shown hints that they are willing to cast the blame on Keller if they have to. Keller resigned as clinic director shortly after the story broke, and he had previously announced he would not run for relection (later admitting this investigation, and not political burnout, led him to that decision).

Keller told the Tribune that he hadn't read the report and declined to comment.

Hmm... don't ya think a state report citing over 40 violations of the medical clinic you supervised would at least pique your interest?

And I know I keep harping on this, but I can't resist continuing to point out that the Lake County Democrats, led by State Senator Terry Link, initially (and loudly) claimed this is all political persecution. Of course, the last time the notoriously thin-skinned Link used that excuse was when his petition scandal broke, and he claimed that the allegations of dead people's signatures appearing on his election petition was all concocted by 'Republican operatives.' We all know how that turned out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dan Seals' New Media Strategist Sensitive About Humans vs. Zombies Criticism (UPDATED)

We noted earlier this week that Dan Seals got himself a new New Media director who likes to play a game called Humans vs. Zombies. Max Temkin, the young man in question, is apparently rather sensitive to this topic and responds to Team America on his blog:

Listen ideologues: You have to make up your mind, because I’m tired of Zombies getting attacked from the extreme left and the extreme right. If you goofballs had your way, the rest of us would never have any fun. I guess running around outside with your friends probably doesn’t stack up to blogging about the perils of ACORN from your mom’s basement.

See the whole rant here.

Congrats, Max. You only just got hired and you've already become what we call in the political world a "distraction."

Can't wait to see what Julie Hamos's team does with this.

UPDATED 10:15 p.m.: I visited Max's website tonight just for kicks. It appears he's scrubbed all references to his position as Dan Seals' New Media Director from his website. But, that blog rant I linked to above is still there. Wonder for how long.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Aaron Lawlor Passes on 59th District Race; Will Concentrate on Lake County Board and Support Dan Sugrue (UPDATED)

Turns out that statements from several quarters (including Lake County GOP Chairman Dan Venturi) that new County Board member Aaron Lawlor was going to jump into the 59th District race to replace retiring State Rep. Kathy Ryg, were a bit premature. TA learned today that Lawlor has decided against the race, and will instead concentrate on winning a full term to his 18th District County Board seat in the 2010 election. Lawlor will support Dan Sugrue in the primary for the 59th District GOP nomination.

Well, that was exciting for a weekend, but now back to business. Sugrue is still the GOP front-runner in my estimation, and given his previous run in 2008, he's well-positioned to win and meet the winner between newly-appointed Democratic State Rep. Carol Sente and Buffalo Grove Mayor Elliot Hartstein, although there's still time for others to jump in. Sugrue, a conservative, has an impressive amount of support among the GOP party base (important in the primary, of course), and anyone else thinking about jumping in after Lawlor, Mark Peterson and others have all taken a pass, will no doubt think twice about jumping in now, as the petition clock is ticking away. While I think there will be some who are disappointed in Lawlor's decision, I think party leadership would be wise to unite behind Sugrue now and put their resources into setting him up to be in the best position possible to battle the eventual Dem nominee. The 59th is winnable for Sugrue, but will be anything but a cakewalk.

We're happy that Lawlor will concentrate on defending that county board seat, as the balance between Republicans and Democrats has drifted ever more closely together. With County Board Chairwoman Suzi Schmidt running for state senate, trying to fill that seat with a different candidate was a distraction that nobody in the party needed.

As we mentioned before, Sugrue's first event is this Thursday at Opa! in Vernon Hills. I would expect even more support for Dan to come out now that Lawlor is clearly out of the race, and local GOPers don't need to be worried about choosing sides.

It's refreshing when things work out for a change around here. More like this, please.

Here's Lawlor's presser he released this afternoon:

Lake County Board Member Aaron Lawlor to run for election in 18th District

Lawlor will continue to focus on economic development, infrastructure improvements and access to quality water

Lake County Board Member Aaron Lawlor announced today that he will run for a full term on the Lake County Board to focus on economic development, infrastructure improvements and access to quality water.

"Lake County has unique opportunities and significant challenges. I look forward to working on key issues including balancing our budget and operating in a fiscally responsible manner," said Lawlor.

"I will continue to focus on measures that will create jobs, grow our economy and provide our residents with the opportunity to grow their incomes along the way." Lawlor had been recruited by the Illinois House Republican Organization to run for the 59th House District recently vacated by Kathy Ryg.

"It is an honor to be recruited by Republican lawmakers who recognize the work I have done during my six years in elected office," said Lawlor.

Lawlor will support 2008 GOP nominee Dan Sugrue in the 2010 Republican primary.

Lawlor, a Vernon Hills Republican, currently represents the 18th District on the Lake County Board which covers portions of Buffalo Grove, Hawthorn Woods, Indian Creek, Long Grove, Mundelein, Vernon Hills and unincorporated Lake County.

UPDATED 5:35 p.m.: The Daily Herald now has its story up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Would Alexi Have Voted to Defund ACORN? (UPDATED x2)

Someone needs to ask Alexi Giannoulias, Democratic U.S. Senate wanna-be, as well as fellow Dem contenders Cheryle Jackson and David Hoffman, whether they would have voted to defund ACORN, or if they would have followed the lead of current Illinois senators Dick Durbin and Roland Burris.

The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases.

The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.

If you haven't heard about the ACORN scandal before now, you must get your news (if you get it at all) from somewhere else other than FOX, which has been covering the issue for days, and yet noted the almost-complete MSM black-out on the story. As one FOX pundit stated,

The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers looking like they were giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel, is now national news. -- This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings!

Only almost no one is covering it. [snip]

The ACORN fiasco has now impacted three offices – Baltimore, Washington and New York – with laugh-out-loud videos reminiscent of the hookers and pimps from the 1970s “Starsky and Hutch” show. Huggy Bear returns! Four employees have been fired, with more likely to come. And the controversy was so laughably bad that the Census Bureau cut off all ties to the group known formally as the "Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." -- They called it the “tipping point” to shed themselves of ACORN. More nuts for someone else, I guess.

And yet. And yet it’s still been ignored by the network news. Nothing on ABC, CBS or NBC. The only thing any one of the three broadcast networks has done appeared in a blog post by ABC’s Jake Tapper. It's hardly worth noting except to show that the networks know about what’s going on. They just don’t care to report it. Only FOX News has bothered to report on the controversy.

ACORN, of course, doesn't want you to see any of the video, and is threatening to sue FOX. Wonder if they've figured out yet that such a move is about the only way to guarantee some MSM coverage, so have at it, folks.

Here in Illinois, our wonderful Democratic senators were two of only seven senators to vote against the measure to stop funding ACORN (more at Backyard Conservative, including Durbin's prior history of defending ACORN in the face of allegations of voter fraud, and vote details, as well as the Obama connection to ACORN, at Gateway Pundit).

I wonder why?

And I wonder if the Chicago news media will, #1) report on this story, and #2) ask the top Democratic contenders for Roland Burris' senate seat how and why they would have voted on this issue?

UPDATED 09/15/09 9:30 a.m.: This morning, Capitol Fax Blog has a nice look at the political skills of Congressman Mark Kirk as he turns lemons into lemonade for the political masses at a recent GOP rally. Rich Miller has video from the event with analysis. Check it out.

UPDATED 12:10 p.m.: The Hill is reporting that Emily's List is endorsing State Rep. Julie Hamos over Dan Seals.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Election Season... That Must Mean That Dan Seals Starts Doing Community Projects

As we've noted often here at Team America, two-time loser and perennial candidate for the 10th District, Dan Seals, doesn't seem to have much on his resume, especially in the area of community service and involvement.

We've never heard about him being involved with his school district, the local Rotary Club, the village park board, or really anything that would indicate he wants to get invovled with, and be a part of, the people of the 10th District. (Yes, I know he really lives in Jan Schakowsky's district, the 9th, but at least he could do volunteer for something in the 10th for a group or committee that overlaps where his house actually is.)

In fact, as we've said time and time again, Dan Seals' primary credential for running for Congress is the fact that he's run for Congress. (And, lost twice, we might point out, again).

So, imagine my surprise when I got a Google Alert the other day that noted something Dan Seals had actually volunteered for! I clicked through to the link and came upon Dan's brand-new re-designed website, which proudly touted a Great Lakes clean-up that he became involved with. Actually, this may be some kind of "astroturf" bloggy-thing, rather than his official campaign website, but since it clearly states that it's paid for by Dan Seals for Congress, it really doesn't matter.

The same page also noted that Seals recently volunteered for the "Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago," which the site explains is a year-round volunteer effort to collect food and deliver packages to the needy during Passover and Rosh Hashanah.

Hmmm. Wonder why he's touting that.

So, to make this point, I find it an appalling case of political pandering that the only time Seals volunteers for anything, or deigns to get involved in his community, is when he's running for office. Now, since he's been in campaign mode pretty much full time for five years, one might argue that there's really no distinction between his campaign life and his private life. And maybe you're right. But it occurs to me that the only kind of community involvement Dan Seals wants to be associated with is the kind that can get him a press pop. And I think the 10th District voters, as a whole, are smart enough to recognize a shyster when they see one.

Oh, I almost forgot. You simply must see the college kid that Seals hired as his "New Media Director" and website designer. His name is Max Temkin, a student at Goucher College, and claims to be a founder of a rather bizarre live-action game popular on some college campuses called "Humans vs. Zombies." Apparently the participants take on the roll of "humans" or "Zombies" and try to shoot each other with Nerf Guns. Dan, you must be very proud.

Don't know much about Goucher, but it appears that Karl Rove is scheduled to speak there in September. Boy, that's gotta hurt, Max.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Blond Ambition: New Lake County Board Member Aaron Lawlor May(?) Run for 59th Legislative District (UPDATED)

In a rather startling development, Team America hears from several reliable sources that newly-minted Lake County Board Member Aaron Lawlor is going to run for the GOP nomination for the 59th Legislative District, which is the seat recently vacated by former State Rep. Kathy Ryg. Lawlor was appointed to the Lake County Board by County Board Chairwoman Suzi Schmidt to fill the vacancy left by the departure of former board member Pam Newton. Lawlor was sworn in only on July 14, 2009, so such a move is sure to draw attention. Before being appointed to the County Board, Lawlor served as a trustee of the Cook Memorial Library Board in the Libertyville area, and was also elected as President, during which time the library board finalized plans for a major expansion of the library.

Meanwhile, two other Republicans, attorney Dan Sugrue, and business owner Mohan Manian, both of Green Oaks, have already formally announced. We spoke with Sugrue tonight, who ran an uphill battle against entrenched incumbent Kathy Ryg in 2008. Sugrue told TA that he welcomes Lawlor to the race, should he formally toss his hat into the ring.

"I believe any Republican who wants to run should be able to run," Sugrue said. "I'm running an issue-oriented campaign, and my values and beliefs are well-known. I am interested to see where Aaron is on the important issues affecting the 59th District and the State."

When I spoke with Dan, he'd been out campaigning all day, and he re-affirmed his commitment to the race. His first big fund-raising event is scheduled for Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at OPA! Estiatorio restaurant, 950 Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills.

Lawlor, who was Deputy District Director for Congressman Mark Kirk, and is involved with Kirk's U.S. Senate campaign, can be counted on to be more moderate than Sugrue on many social issues. Sugrue is a conservative, pro-life Republican, and a primary between Sugrue and Lawlor could ignite differences and cause a show-down between conservative and moderate factions in Lake County (I should note that the 59th District also includes a few precincts in Cook County down in Wheeling, as well). Already, some conservatives in Lake County have sent out an e-mail urging like-minded Republicans to support Sugrue over Lawlor.

This is sure to be the topic of the day at the annual Lake County Central Committee picnic tomorrow. I have to miss it because I'm sailing, but I can't wait for the report from readers who attend. I haven't spoken with Lake County Republican Chairman Dan Venturi about Lawlor's potential candidacy, but in the past, the party has stayed away from making endorsements in contested primaries.

The winner of the GOP primary in February will meet the Democratic nominee in the November general election. Just today, it was announced that the Democrats have chosen a businesswoman and Vernon Hills park board member, Carol Sente, will fill Ryg's unexpired term as State Rep. This came as a bit of a shock, as Buffalo Grove Mayor Elliot Hartstein has already announced he would seek election to the seat, and made no bones about his desire to be given the appointment in the meantime. It remains to be seen as to whether Hartstein stays in the race and sets up an interesting primary on the Dem side.

Buffalo Grove trustee Lisa Stone has also been mentioned as a potential candidate, although it is unclear if she would choose to run as a Democrat or a Republican.

UPDATED 5:15 p.m.: Home from sailing, and haven't got the report from the picnic yet, but the Daily Herald has an article up that confirms that Lawlor is looking at the 59th District race.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez to Jump in 8th District Race (UPDATED)

Maria Rodriguez (50), Long Grove Village President, will announce tomorrow that she will seek the GOP nomination for the 8th Congressional District, which is currently occupied by Democrat Melissa Bean. The announcement will be at 12:30 p.m. near the corner of 45 and Park Street in Mundelein, at the old Abernathy clothing store that has gone out of business.

You can view her first walk piece here.

Rodriguez says that she decided to run for Congress approximately 2 months ago, but she has kept a fairly tight rein on her decision, with only an article in the Daily Herald a short while ago that hinted that she might be considering the race. See here for a short Herald blurb on her expected announcement. Rodriguez says that in the past few months, and particularly this summer, she became disenchanted with the political figures that she saw in office.

"The arrogance and the lack of representation have reached a critical level." she stated. "More importantly though, is the lack of visibility. Our government was founded on the principal of by the people for the people, and those currently in office don’t seem to remember; they are meant to be a voice for those they represent, a focal point of all the philosophies and views of their constituents."

Rodriguez will battle in the GOP primary against Greg Jacobs of Mundelein and John Dawson of Barrington for the nomination.

UPDATED 09.10.09: Here's a Herald article on Maria's announcement today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bob Dold Gears up For 10th District Race

In the latest (but not last?) of our profiles on GOP 10th Congressional District candidates, we offer some info on businessman Robert "Bob" Dold, a lifelong 10th District resident and family man. I finally caught up with Dold for coffee this morning and got to hear some interesting bits about his past, and more about why he's running in this fairly crowded race.

40-year-old Dold grew up in Winnetka, and attended New Trier High School (like Mark Kirk). He went to Denison University in Ohio (not Iowa as I originally posted) and then worked in the Bush I White House mostly for VP Dan Quayle as an advance man, which means he was involved with setting up logistics for official (and also campaign) events. He also holds a JD from Indiana University and an MBA from Kellogg Business School at Northwestern.

Dold now lives in Kenilworth with his wife and three kids. We bonded a bit sharing stories of our experiences as Cub Scout den/pack leaders (Dold is an Eagle Scout), which is a great way to connect with and guide kids on their journey to adulthood.

Dold has spent the last six years working for the family business, Rose Pest Solutions, which is the oldest pest control company in the U.S. - in existence since before 1860. Dold will rely on his business experience to bolster his credentials for IL-10, and understands that the economy, jobs and spending issues will most likely continue to dominate the nation's attention, even after the debate over health care subsides once Congress takes action (of some kind, but it's clear that Obama can't afford to let this debate rage). According to Dold's press info,

As a small business owner and operator Bob knows the demands that have been placed on the backs of small businesses around our country by the ever-growing demands of Washington. Small and mid-size businesses have been the foundation of America’s job growth and economic prosperity. Bob firmly believes that the voice of small business needs additional representation in Washington. He personally knows the incremental demands that have been put on the small business owners as they try to maintain jobs while dealing with the downturn of the economy and the rising costs of health care. It is this concern and his concern for the future direction of our economy, which has driven Bob’s desire to seek to represent the 10th Congressional District.

Despite Dold's extensive education and Washington experience, he seemed like a pretty humble guy, and said that as a candidate, and then an elected official, "one must always keep in mind that you're working for the people of the District... many people lose sight of that fact in Washington today."

We talked quite a bit about how the race was shaping up, and it's clear that Dold must first differentiate himself from the other two male candidates, businessman Dick Green and attorney Bill Cadigan, each of whom tout some combination of pro-business platform and smarts. Then the issue will be, why that candidate and not State Rep. Beth Coulson, whom many people see as the current front-runner, as she is the only elected official currently in the race.

As Dold put it, the simple question the voters of the 10th District will have to ask themselves is, who best represents the values and principles of the people of the 10th? As someone who was born and raised here, Dold thinks he's that candidate, but it's "not a glorious thing for me" to run. For Dold, it's about serving the people, he says.

To get the chance to serve, though, he needs to get that message out, and encourage his supporters to the polls in chilly February. It's a tall order, but Dold thinks he's up to the challenge.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekend Update: Meth Clinc/Keller; IL-10: Hamos, Seals; IL Senate: Kirk, Hughes, Martin; and a Picnic!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! Get offline (as soon as you read this) and go out and enjoy. It'll be 10 degrees below zero before we know it...

DEA Finishes Probe of Green Dragonfly Meth Clinic: The News-Sun reports today that the Drug Enforcement Administration has completed its investigation of the private Green Dragonfly Meth Clinic in Waukegan, in which scandal Democratic Lake County Coroner Richard Keller is in up to his eyeballs. DEA told the News-Sun that Green Dragonfly would have to reapply for a DEA license to distribute methadone IF they reopen, which will be tough until they find a replacement for Dr. Keller, who was the only one working for the clinic who was licensed to prescribe the drug. The State's Attorney's investigation into Keller is still pending.

10th District Dem Candidates: Progress Illinois reports that (to no one's surprise), State Senator Susan Garrett officially endorsed State Rep. Julie Hamos for the 10th Congressional District, thereby joining Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in abandoning their former darling, Dan Seals. Seals seems to be getting a slow start to his campaign, and plans an official announcement at a suburban rec center this coming week.

IL Senate Dems: Senator Garrett also endorsed newcomer and former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman over State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, according to Sneed. Given recent endorsements of former Blago spokeswoman Cheryle (Robinson) Jackson by Congressman Bobby Rush and State Senator James Meeks, this means the Dem senate primary will be a lot better of a show than we had anticipated once.

IL Senate GOP: An immigrants right group is trying to make hay out of two-year old comments by Congressman Mark Kirk on unchecked population growth in Mexico relating to the problem of illegal immigration in the United States. Kirk appears to have stopped the incendiary ads from airing (featuring his face in the middle of a condom, even though his comments did not reference "condoms"), at least for now. Details at Capitol Fax Blog. Several commentors (see Mark Brown at the Sun-Times, more from Marathon Pundit) think the ad is unfair, if not outrageous. You can guess what Ellen thinks. But some wonder if this tactic might not backfire, considering it could bolster Kirk's creds amongst conservatives. Others aren't sure but not looking forward to another year of this.

Speaking of Kirk's conservative creds, newcomer Pat Hughes is betting his campaign on the proposition that he represents Republican "mainstream" principles, and Mark Kirk is too far to the left (Cap Fax has links to some video here). Remember that immigrant-rights group? They say Kirk is a right-wing radical.

Where does that leave Kirk? That's right, in the middle.

Meanwhile, speaking of extremists, perennial candidate Andy Martin attacks Hughes for failing to disclose that an obstensively objective letter of support of Hughes from several 'conservative leaders' was orchestrated by conservative activist Paul Caprio, who Martin accuses of taking $10,000 from Hughes for political work. Says Martin:

“Conservatives should strive to achieve honesty and openness in their political activity, not Daley Machine-style corruption. For Caprio to put $10,000 in his own pocket, and then seek to orchestrate an ‘endorsement’ of his employer was not far short of criminal fraud. Some would say he crossed the line. Caprio’s tactics are a disgrace to both himself and his ‘client’ Mr. Hughes.

So, while the second, third and four tier-candidates continue to snipe at each other and battle over their conservative 'creds', meanwhile, Congressman Mark Kirk continues his downstate tour, connecting with voters in Decatur at the 2009 Farm Progress Show.

Kirk stopped in 40 towns in 27 days and has raised $2 million for his campaign, he said. "It's going to be tough, but we're ready," Kirk said.


Lake County GOP Picnic: The annual Lake County GOP picnic will be hosted by the Lake County Republican Central Committee next Sunday, September 13, 2009, from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Holy Mother of God Serbian Monastery, Route 45 in Lake Villa, IL.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lineup in 59th District Continues to Evolve; Might Lisa Stone Run as a Dem or Republican? Plus, Bird Flies from 10th District Race

As we first reported here a bit ago, several fresh faces are being attacted to the upcoming race for the 59th Legislative District, now that State Rep. Kathy Ryg has announced she's moving on. One of those faces we mentioned was Buffalo Grove Trustee Lisa Stone. Though I didn't want to mention it at the time, Stone had met with the House Republican Organization (HRO) about a potential run for the seat. That has now been confirmed by the Daily Herald, but the article implies that Stone has not made up her mind as to whether she might run as a Democrat or a Republican.

When we looked at Stone last, we said:

Stone is known as a feisty activist, whom Hartstein has called a "smart, independent thinker," who is "tenacious" and "relentless." Look here for Stone's village trustee website, which is pretty darn impressive for a local candidate. State Rep. Sid Mathias and County Board Member David Stolman were Stone's honorary campaign chairmen and resoundingly endorsed her candidacy for trustee. [snip]

The question, though, is whether Stone would run as a Republican or a Democrat. TA hears from a very reliable source that Stone is considering running under the GOP banner, although her voting record suggests a Dem voting history. Given the likelihood that Hartstein will get the nod from Terry Link, and has said he will run regardless, Stone would have a decent chance of having to battle her mayor in either the Dem primary or the general election, should she and Hartstein win the respective nominations of the two parties. On the other hand, maybe this would be an opening for Stone to take over as mayor of Buffalo Grove, but I don't have much of a handle on the local scene down there, so I don't really know if that's where this may be headed.

The Daily Herald didn't have much to add, except that Stone confirmed her meeting with HRO but still hasn't made up her mind on party affiliation. Wonder what David Stolman and Sid Mathias are going to do if Stone goes Dem?

Meanwhile, GOP contenders Dan Sugrue and Mohan Manian are still going full speed ahead with their campaigns and will meet in the February primary. Others are likely to follow, and people have talked about Mark Peterson (son of former State Senator Bill Peterson), and even Roger Byrne, Mayor of Vernon Hills (who was defeated by Ryg by little more than 100 votes in her first bid for the seat), but no others have officially announced.

MEANWHILE IN THE 10TH: Former Mount Prospect mayoral candidate Patricia Bird apparently has given up on the 10th District Congressional Race to success Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for U.S. Senate. Considering she couldn't even win a local contest, no one I know took her seriously anyway, so life goes on.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meth Clinic Owner: Lake County Coroner Richard Keller "Dropped The Ball"; Keller Was Paid $70,000/yr As Clinic Director Says News-Sun (UPDATED)

As we anticipated a short while ago, the operators of the now-closed private methadone clinic, the "Green Dragonfly," which is under investigation for its involvement in the death of Lindenhurst resident Steven Vaughn from a drug overdose, has thrown their former medical director, Lake County Coroner Richard Keller, under the bus.

Keller is also under investigation for allegedly not following proper procedures in the events that may have lead to Vaughn's death from a methadone overdose (Vaughn was also taking Xanax when Keller prescribed the methadone), and he recently resigned as the clinic's medical director, though he vowed not to resign as coroner. Just before this story broke, Keller announced that he would not run for coroner again, despite just having won re-election. Keller claimed he was tired of politics and fundraising, but it wasn't hard to suspect something else was behind his decision.

Now, of course, the story of the investigation is out, and Keller admitted the investigation led him not to run again. You may recall that last week, the Chicago Tribune quoted the clinic owners' as follows:

"All along, Green Dragonfly has relied on the medical advice of Dr. Keller, who is also the Lake County coroner," the clinic said in a prepared statement. "As we continue to investigate the tragedy of the death of Mr. Vaughn, we will hold accountable the failure of anyone to follow the law and proper procedures."

Sounded ominous to us. Today, however, the News-Sun has the big story, and it quotes one of the clinic owners, Mary Olloway (not the one who also owns a Wisconsin strip club), who told the newspaper Keller spread himself too thin trying to do both jobs. "I think he dropped the ball, and we're all suffering for it," Olloway said.

Olloway also told the News-Sun that Keller put in around three hours a day (15 hours a week) at the clinic, for which he was paid $70,000 a year (which is the glaring main headline in this morning's print edition). This, of course, is on top of his salary as Lake County Coroner (around $100,000/yr), which is supposed to be a full time job.

Olloway hired Keller, whom she previously knew as a family friend, as medical director of the clinic in October 2008. The position, which paid about $70,000 a year, required him to work around three hours a day, Olloway said. [snip]

Now, as the clinic prepares to shut its doors later this week, Olloway said she's unhappy with the way Keller has handled the situation.

"He goes back to his regular life (as coroner) and we're left standing here," Olloway said, while fighting back tears. "His intentions hopefully were right in the beginning, but where is he now?"

Fabulous. The News-Sun called for Keller's resignation back on August 17, but Keller made no moves to do so.

And, of course, we'd like to keep reminding everyone that the Lake County Democrats, led by State Senator Terry Link, loudly claimed this is all political persecution. Of course, the last time the notoriously thin-skinned Link used that excuse was when his petition scandal broke, and he claimed that the allegations of dead people's signatures appearing on his election petition was all concocted by 'Republican operatives.' We all know how that turned out.

The Dems have been quite silent lately, though.

UPDATED 9:25 p.m.: Here's an odd story related to the Green Dragonfly clinic that popped up on the Daily Herald website late this afternoon:

A Lake Villa Township man denied Wednesday he gave a friend a bottle of methadone dispensed by a besieged Waukegan clinic.

Jeffrey Ranalli, 23, is charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance for passing along methadone he was prescribed at The Green Dragonfly clinic. [snip]

Assistant State's Attorney Steven Derue said the case against Ranalli began last month when Round Lake Beach police served a search warrant at a house in that community.

A resident of the house, who is not being identified because he has yet to be charged with any crime, was found to be in possession of three bottles of methadone, Derue said.

Ranalli's name was on each bottle, Derue said, and the man told police he had been given the drug used to treat heroin addiction by Ranalli.

Police interviewed Ranalli, who said he told them he had received three bottles of the drug at The Green Dragonfly every Sunday for the past three to four months. Ranalli told police he routinely took two of the three doses himself, Derue said, and gave the third to friends "whenever they were sick."

I would imagine this kind of stuff unfortunately happens all too often, and it's questionable whether Dr. Keller is at fault somehow here (was the amount given more than any individual would be expected to use personally...? I have no clue...), but it sure don't help his situation.