Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dan Seals Supports Abortion on Demand, and Wants Taxpayers to Fund It

10th Congressional Democratic candidate Dan Seals is an abortion champion, and wants you to have to pay for anyone who wants to get one, but can't afford it.

That's the gist of the Daily Herald profile today on the abortion stances of Seals and GOP nominee Bob Dold, who, while supporting the legality of abortions, favors restrictions on late-term abortions (only in cases where the life of the mother is threatened), and also supports parental notification in cases where a minor seeks an abortion.

Dold also doesn't think federal tax dollars should be used to fund abortion clinics.

Seals, on the other hand, doesn't think notifications should be required, and thinks the federal government should chip in to make sure that anyone who demands an abortion should get one, free.

Seals' campaign website offers the rather disingenuous statement that "Dan strongly opposes a constitutional ban on abortion favored by many Republicans." As we can see from the Dold position, a "constitutional ban" isn't a position espoused by Dold, so we here at Team America wonder who Seals is talking about, and question Seals' intent to mislead voters regarding Dold's position, which seems pretty clear on his website:

As Congressman, I will protect a woman’s right to choose, while encouraging that the decision is an informed one and made with knowledge of the full range of options, which is why I support parental notification laws. As a parent, I believe that our most fundamental role is to provide guidance, support, and direction to our children -- especially in those difficult times when a child needs it the most.

I oppose partial-birth abortion procedures, except in cases of where the health or life of the mother is in danger. Further, I do not believe that federal taxpayer money should be used to pay for abortion procedures.

Will north shore voters support the idea that their daughters can get an abortion without their knowledge? Will they support the idea of their tax dollars going to pay for abortions? Well, the Seals fans love to try to paint Bob Dold as a right-wing extremist, but one might suggest that Seals is the one with the more extreme views on this hot-button issue.

We'll leave it to the informed voters of the 10th District to decide which viewpoint on abortion is more in line with their views, come November 2nd.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mark Kirk Addresses Int'l Trade Issues; Picks Up CAT Exec Endorsement (UPDATED)

Mark Kirk and his opponent Alexi Giannoulias both have major campaign events scheduled today; Kirk will speak on international trade issues and is expected to pick up the endorsement of Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens; meanwhile Alexi tries to bolster his lack of any real national or foreign policy experience (oh, yeah, that's right, he visited Greece with Dick Durbin once, I forgot) with an appearance and endorsement by former Dem presidential candidate retired General Wesley Clark.

UPDATED: Kirk Campaign raises questions regarding Wesley Clark endorsement of Giannoulias:

Why Would Alexi Giannoulias Stand with General Wesley Clark?

Later this morning, Alexi Giannoulias will appear with former General Wesley Clark at a press conference downtown where Clark is expected to attack a fellow veteran who served in Operation Allied Force.

Over the years, Gen. Clark has made a series of inappropriate and bizarre statements – and has a history of attacking veterans’ service records for political gain. Given Giannoulias’ recent pledge to create a Senate Progressive Caucus and his reference to Afghanistan as a “war we didn’t need,” it’s no wonder he would stand with someone like Wesley Clark.

1. Does Alexi Giannoulias agree with Wesley Clark’s anti-Semitic statement that “New York money people” are advocating attacking Iran?

“Huffington quoted Clark as saying that the idea of bombing Iran before exhausting diplomatic avenues was ‘outrageous.’ According to Huffington, she then asked Clark what made him so sure that the United States is headed in the direction of attacking Iran, and he replied: ‘You just have to read what’s in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided, but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.’ The phrase ‘New York money people’ struck unpleasant chords with many pro-Israel activists. They interpreted it as referring to the Jewish community, which is known for its significant financial donations to political candidates.” (Nathan Guttman, “Top Dem Wesley Clark Says ‘N.Y. Money People’ Pushing War With Iran,” The Forward, 1/12/07)

2. Does Alexi Giannoulias oppose the death penalty for Osama bin Laden like General Clark does?

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “[D]o you think Osama bin Laden … should be tried here at the U.S. or in the Hague … ?” Clark: “I would like to see him tried in the Hague …” Matthews: “Well, 3,000 Americans were killed here. Do you believe he should be held exempt from capital punishment, because if you send him to Hague he will be. They don’t have capital punishment at the Hague.” Clark: “I think that’s a separate issue. …” Matthews: “No, it’s a key issue, because the sentencing limitation, they do not execute people at the Hague.” Clark: “I think that you can adequately punish Osama bin Laden, and you’ve got to look beyond simple retribution against an individual. …” Matthews: “But doesn’t life in Holland beat life in a cave?” Clark: “Not in a Dutch prison. Chris, they’re under water, they’re damp, they’re cold, they’re really miserable.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 12/8/03)

3. Does Alexi Giannoulias believe there is any contradiction between his rhetoric against federal lobbyists and General Clark’s lobbyist past?

“Wesley Clark … made nearly $500,000 as a lobbyist for an Arkansas database company after he left the Pentagon.” (Jeanne Cummings, “Clark Earned About $500,000 As Lobbyist For Arkansas Firm,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/19/04)

4. Does Alexi Giannoulias agree with President Obama that General Clark inappropriately attacked Senator John McCain’s distinguished service record for political gain?

Gen. Clark: “Well, I Don’t Think Riding In A Fighter Plane And Getting Shot Down Is A Qualification To Be President.” CBS’ Bob Schieffer: “Well, General, could I just interrupt you. I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.” Gen. Clark: “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 6/29/08)

Obama Campaign: “As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and, of course, he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark.” (Scott Martelle, “Barack Obama Slaps Down Wesley Clark – Gently,” Los Angeles Times “Top Of The Ticket” Blog, latimesblogs.latimes.com, 6/30/08)

5. Is it a coincidence that General Clark attacks veterans who are Republicans but praises veterans who are Democrats?

“This Congress has the fewest number of veterans of any Congress in recent history,” Clark said in a statement. “If there were more veterans of principled leadership and good conscience like Jon in Washington, I have no doubt this nation will have turned a corner to a brighter future.” (New York: General Clark Backing Iraq War Veteran Powers, Roll Call, November 19, 2007)

“At a time when the number of veterans in Congress is at its lowest point since World War II, we need to come together to put more common sense leaders like Tommy in Congress to help get this country back on track.” (http://securingamerica.com/node/3272)

"One man volunteered to serve his country, he volunteered to go to Vietnam, and he volunteered a third time to command a swift boat in one of the most dangerous activities in the war. The other man scrambled and used his family's influence to get out of hearing a shot fired in anger. That's the comparison.” (CNN’s “Inside Politics,” 8/17/04)

6. Does Alexi Giannoulias believe in time travel like Wesley Clark does?

“I still believe in e=mc², but I can't believe that in all of human history, we'll never ever be able to go beyond the speed of light to reach where we want to go. … I happen to believe that mankind can do it. … I've argued with physicists about it, I've argued with best friends about it. I just have to believe it. It's my only faith-based initiative.” (Brian McWilliams, “Clark Campaigns At Light Speed,” wired.com, 9/30/03)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

NRSC Pledges $3.4 Million in Campaign Cash for Mark Kirk

Politico is reporting tonight that the NRSC is committing $3.4 million to Mark Kirk's senate race against Alexi Giannoulias.

Alexi's campaign representative is quoted as responding that “All the money in the world can’t help [Kirk]."

Alexi better hope that's right, 'cause he's getting a whoopin' in campaign fundraising.

Latest Rasmussen Poll: "Leaners" Show a Tight Race in Kirk-Giannoulias Matchup; It's Senate Debate Time; PLUS, IL-10 Candidate Income Statements

The latest Rasmussen poll shows State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias with a 2 point lead over 5-Term Congressman Mark Kirk (42 to 40), although the race tightens to 45-45 when "leaners" (those who are initially undecided, but indicate they are leaning towards one of the candidates in response to a later follow-up question. After Labor Day, Rasmussen will include "leaners" in the primary stats.

So, what does this mean? Probably a few things; first, despite the hype on this particular race, large numbers of voters still don't pay attention until after Labor Day (if then). So, we will expect the numbers of undecideds to go down steadily as November 2 approaches. Which way that will break for Kirk or Giannoulias depends on which messages are resonating with voters. So far, although Kirk has done a nice job hanging the appellation "mob banker" around Alexi's neck, it hasn't enabled Kirk to break away, probably due in large part to his own negatives concerning his military record claims.

However, it has just been announced that Alexi has finally agreed to meet Kirk in a few debates (one on NBC's "Meet the Press"), although for Kirk, it's not yet enough.

In a statement, Kirk said:

“We urge Mr. Giannoulias to fulfill his campaign promise to accept our invitation for several more debates and forums starting next week in Springfield,” Kirk campaign spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said. “With unemployment over 10 percent, spending out of control and U.S. forces engaged overseas, voters deserve a thoughtful series of debates and forums to discuss the complex economic and foreign policy challenges before us. Voters should hear from the candidates well before early voting begins in October.”

I would expect that Kirk will wipe the floor with Alexi once he gets him in the debate ring, so I am hopeful that we will see some real swings in the numbers once large numbers of voters get a chance to see the two candidates head-to-head.

MEANWHILE, IN IL-10: The Chicago Tribune looks at the income statements of 10th District Candidates Bob Dold and Dan Seals. We'll have some follow-up on this soon, but for now, it's sufficient to note that, as we have said in the past, it appears that Dan Seals' claim to be an independent business consultant has been code for 'unemployed,' or at best, he's not a very successful consultant. The notion that Seals is just too busy continuously campaigning to make any money doesn't cut it for me; there have been many months of downtime between losing to Mark Kirk last November and taking the plunge a third time.

In the article, Seals points to his employment with "ThePoint.com" as one of his consulting gigs that was a success. Well, we were the ones who first happened upon that gig last cycle, and as far as we could see, it couldn't have been that big a success, as that job appears to have lasted only a matter of months. Draw your own conclusions, folks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Turelli Hits May on Campaign Finance Reform

We haven't spent a whole lot of attention on some of the "down-ballot" races, like Lauren Turelli, Dan Sugrue, Hamilton Chang and other state rep races, and of course, Suzi Schmidt, who is looking to take over from State Senator Michael Bond. But we'll be doing more on those races as we get close to the election. For now, here, is a release from State Rep. candidate Lauren Turelli who is battling long-time incumbent Karen May:



In 2009, under pressure from citizens demanding meaningful ethics reform to end pay-to-play and clean up Illinois, Democrats in Springfield passed a long overdue bill to reform our campaign finance laws. They smiled for the cameras, declared victory, and headed home, awash in self- satisfaction. There was just one problem: everyone except entrenched Springfield insiders could see the bill didn’t go far enough.

As the Chicago Tribune reported, Speaker Mike Madigan’s hand-crafted reform served to preserve his own clout because it failed to cap donations from political parties and party leaders. The twisted logic is easy to see: would we really expect the same Democrat bosses who wrote the bill to sacrifice their own arm-twisting power for the good of Illinois?

Editorial boards and nonpartisan groups like the League of Women Voters across the state slammed Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton for their half-hearted attempt at campaign finance reform. Lawmakers of both parties worked to close the massive loophole, and those efforts became HB6200 – a proposal that would do just that. To her credit, Rep. Karen May submitted HB6200 as the chief sponsor.

After two months, however, the bill hadn’t advanced. Desperate to circumvent Democrats’ efforts to run out the clock, Republicans in the committee filed a petition that would have fast-tracked HB6200 for a full hearing and an up-or-down vote. Not surprisingly, Democrats shot down the measure and the Republicans dutifully appealed the decision. That appeal was rejected on party lines and the bill was killed. Even Rep. May lined up behind Speaker Madigan and voted against the very bill she had helped to write and introduce! The 58th District deserves a State Representative who will answer to her constituents, not sell out votes on critical issues and cater to the whims of Springfield’s powerbrokers.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Will the "Top of the Ticket" Be the Key in IL-10 in November 2010? (UPDATED x1)

Here is a video segment overview from ABC Channel 7 on the Robert Dold - Dan Seals matchup in Illinois' 10th District to replace outgoing Congressman Mark Kirk. It's not bad, for a TV segment, although it doesn't get into the issues much- Dold focuses on job creation, Seals tries to portray Dold as a right-wing fanatic. If anything, I sometimes wish Bob would show a little more fanaticism, he sure seems laid back in the video clips, ha ha.

In any case, the video segment ends on the note of the mounting voter malaise that seems to be increasingly evident this cycle, mostly on the Dem side. If the "top of the ticket" decides this race based in voter enthusiasm and turnout, things bode well for the GOP, as Bill Brady is currently trouncing Gov. Quinn in the polls by a wide margin.

UPDATED: Looks like Gov. Quinn just had to can his chief of staff amid ethics concerns. It's not looking good for the 'accidental governor.'

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Poll Shows Kirk Over Giannoulias 39-32; Dold in Striking Distance of Seals; Kinzinger Crushing Halvorson

A new survey released by We Ask America shows Congressman Mark Kirk with an almost 7 point lead over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, 39% to 32%. Kirk is also taking Independents, 37% to 22% for Alexi, which voting group will be critical in this race. WAA warns that this one will be tight, though. No kidding.

Also of note are the results for the Dold vs. Seals race in IL-10 to replace outgoing Congressman Kirk, with Seals edging out Dold 43% to 40%. However, the fact that Dold is well within striking distance a number of months out from the general election should be quite heartening for Dold, whose main hurdle to overcome is the greater name recognition enjoyed by Seals, given that this is his third run for this spot. If Seals' name recognition is only worth 3 points at the end of August, Dold ought to be able to make up that ground if he works hard and stays on message, as he seems to be doing thus far.

In the 11th District, Adam Kinzinger is crushing incumbent Democrat Debbie Halvorson by 20 points, 51% to 31%. Yikes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feds Say They Will Retry Blago; Will We Hear From Tony Rezko, Giannoulias, Rahm, Valerie, Others? (UPDATED x2)

The Rod Blagojevich verdict is in and the jury was able to reach a verdict on only one count, guilty of lying to the FBI. All other counts resulted in a mistrial. The prosecution reportedly will retry Blago on the other counts.

Will we hear from Tony Rezko next time around? How about Giannoulias? Rahm, Valerie, others?

Unless there is something fatally flawed about what Rezko would say if they put him on the stand, look for the Feds to hold nothing back this time and shoot all the bullets they have, up front.

UPDATED: The Chicago Tribune, for some odd reason, tries to whitewash Alexi Giannoulias' connection between Obama and Blago concerning the Senate seat appointment, back when senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett was interested. Here's a more accurate represenation of what really happened. Remember now? We do. Let's see if this issue gets the attention it deserves in Round 2.

UPDATED x2 08/18/10 7:00 a.m.: Here's the Trib's editorial from this morning's paper, salivating for a second trial in the name of justice. In a related story, SOS Jesse White is worried about the fallout for Dems this fall:

"I just hope the people of the state of Illinois will not judge the members of the Democratic Party by the ills of the one individual," said Secretary of State Jesse White, who's running for a fourth term Nov. 2.

Yeah, Jesse. Because the Dems would never seek guilt by association by painting all Republicans as George Bush clones. Would never happen.

Senator Dick Durbin is worried for the skin of Dems, as well, especially Alexi:

“Let’s be honest, we’ve had two governors of opposite political parties who have faced prosecution for misconduct in office,” Durbin said. “And I think that most voters, although they’re probably down on most politicians, will judge candidates as individuals.”

Somebody better send Ellen of the Tenth the memo. But she apparently isn't even aware there was a trial and verdict yesterday, with more to come.

Kirk-Giannoulias Senate Race Takes on Added Significance as Lame-Duck Session Looms

We knew from Day One of this race that the Mark Kirk / Alexi Giannoulias match-up for Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat would be one of national significance. However, in a recent Washington Post article, Mark Thiessen points out that a new undercurrent of importance has arisen with the concern that a post-November 2nd lame-duck Congress could try to push through some major legislation that the Democrats were unable to finish off in the regular session. Given that we will now have a special election at the same time as the general election, to fulfill the remaining few weeks of interloper Roland Burris's term, this would give a newly-minted Senator Kirk not only greater seniority, but more importantly in the short term, give the GOP a 42nd vote in the Senate to filibuster and block any lame-duck maneuvers from the Dems.

If the Dem candidate, Alexi Giannoulias were to win the special election, that basically keeps the status-quo for the lame-duck session, so I don't see this issue being anywhere near as important to them as to the GOP.

Look to see even more national attention and money pouring into this race than ever before, campers.

MEANWHILE, what's Alexi up to? The latest is that former SNL funnyman and now Senator Al Franken is coming to yuck it up here in Illinois to raise money to combat Dem apathy at the polls. From the IL GOP, via Illinois Review:

“I’m sure Illinois residents could use a little humor right now, with double digit unemployment, skyrocketing debt and no leadership in the governor’s office,” said Chairman Brady. “The trouble is, Al Franken’s ideas on what would help our state are just ‘stinking thinking,’ as Al would say. Clearly, Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan and the other Democrats see this as one big joke.”

Well, TA thinks he knows who will have the last laugh in November.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias Pledges to Pursue Leftist Agenda

Even the Huffington Post can't quite figure this out - Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, is pledging to found a 'progressive' (a/k/a ultra-liberal) caucus in the U.S. Senate because, well, folks like those darn Blue Dog Democrats in the House are just too conservative:

The Illinois Democrat's campaign told the Huffington Post that the objective is to provide a philosophical counterweight to the sway that conservative Democratic members often have over legislation.

"Think of this proposal as a sort of 'Blue Line' caucus for the Senate -- a group of progressive leaders who will hold the line and set a minimum threshold of what we think should be at the bargaining table," Giannoulias said in a statement.

As you might expect, the uber-liberal DailyKos blog is in full support of Alexi's strategy.

Is Alexi grossly overestimating just how deep his liberal base in Illinois really is? Democrats in general are running for the hills from the failed Obama policies (especially regarding job creation), and it seems like Alexi is doubling down on a party that looks to be headed for disaster at the polling places this fall.

As we have said before, this race will be won in the middle, not at the poles.

Dan Seals Follows Alexi Giannoulias In Bailing Out on Israel Forum

Looks like 10th Congressional Candidate Dan Seals is too chicken to show up to a non-partisan forum on Israel issues without mob banker Alexi Giannoulias there to offer him 'protection':

Jewish Telegraph Reports on the Giannoulias and Seals Withdrawal From Israel Forum

Illinois Senate hopeful pulls out of Israel forum
August 13, 2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Illinois Democratic Party's candidate for the U.S. Senate withdrew from a forum on Israel.

Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer, withdrew Monday from the Aug. 22 forum, sponsored by the Protect Our Heritage public action committee and 16 other Jewish organizations. His campaign said he had prior commitments.

The nonpartisan forum is held for Senate and House candidates. Participants can question the candidates on issues related to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Giannoulias, his Republican opponent, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and other local politicians had agreed to participate in the forum months ago. Giannoulias' campaign had confirmed his availability for the forum in Northbrook, Ill., according to Protect Our Heritage.

"As Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons and terrorists threaten Israel from Gaza and Lebanon, our next U.S. Senator should not be afraid to stand up for our strongest democratic ally in the Middle East," Kirk said in a statement.

Giannoulias did not respond to two phone calls from JTA seeking comment.

The day after Giannoulias withdrew, Dan Seals, a Democratic candidate for Illinois house seat, also declined to participate in the forum.

Despite repeated assurances that House candidates would at no times share the stage with Senate candidates, according to To Protect Our Heritage Seals' campagin said "Alexi Giannoulias' decision not to attend the forum creates an event that...is inherently weighted in favor of the Republican candidates."

Seals also did not respond to JTA's request for comment.

Protect Our Heritage is a Midwestern political action committee that promotes a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.


Mark Kirk's Senate campaign applauded the decision of the forum organizers to go ahead, with or without the lame-O Dems.

The Bob Dold Campaign had this to say:

Dold: 10th District Deserves Candidates Serious on Israel

Dold Remains in Israel Policy Candidates’ Forum after Seals follows Giannoulias in Backing Out

Winnetka - Today, 10th District Congressional candidate Robert Dold expressed disappointment that his opponent Dan Seals followed Alexi Giannoulias’ lead in backing out of next week’s Israel policy candidates’ forum. Dold urged Seals to reconsider and participate in the forum so that the voters can hear the Democrat’s views on Israel and the Middle East.

The non-partisan forum, scheduled to feature U.S. Senate candidates Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias, and Congressional candidates Robert Dold and Dan Seals, has been heavily promoted for months within the pro-Israel community. Alexi Giannoulias officially withdrew on August 9th, prompting Dan Seals to pull out on August 10th.

“Given the increasing threats posed by Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, Hezbollah’s build-up in Lebanon, and Hamas’ rockets in Gaza, these are extraordinarily critical times in the U.S.-Israel relationship that require candidates committed to leadership on Israel,” said Dold. “I call on Dan Seals to participate in this candidates’ forum, rather than hide his views on Israel and this Administration’s policies in the Middle East. You can't be a leader if you don't show up."

The candidates’ forum is hosted by To Protect Our Heritage, a bipartisan group that promotes a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and sixteen other Jewish organizations. This forum was similarly held in 2000, during which both 10th District Congressional candidates at the time, Mark Kirk and Lauren Beth Gash, participated.

“The 10th District is home to one of the largest and most passionate pro-Israel communities in America and deserves candidates who recognize the special responsibility that comes with representing this District,” continued Dold. “More must be done than simply voting for pro-Israel measures; I am committed to being a pro-Israel champion in Congress who will use my voice to advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.”


Sheesh. Even Lauren Beth Gash showed up to this event, and Seals can't?

The Top Ten Reasons the Obama Presidency Is In Meltdown

I really can't say it any better than this article from the British Telegraph, so I won't even try. But I bet this Brit's viewpoint from the outside will reasonate with vast numbers of voters here in the U.S.

The Telegraph's Ten Reasons:

1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people
2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership
3. Obama fails to inspire
4. The United States is drowning in debt
5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat
6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake
7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive
8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration
9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security
10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness

You really need to read the exposition on these reasons. It's dead-on.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bob Dold Goes Up On Cable With "Back to Work" Ad

Bob Dold, GOP nominee for the 10th Congressional District, is following-up his series of get-to-know-ya radio ads with a cable TV ad, "Back to Work":

Read the Daily Herald's review here.

Kirk Campaign Releases New Web Video: “Knew Then”

From the Kirk for Senate Campaign:

Kirk Campaign Releases New Web Video: “Knew Then”

Alexi Giannoulias: “If I knew now, what I knew then, we probably wouldn’t have approved those loans.” – Fox Illinois, 2/8/10

Northbrook, Ill.– The Kirk for Senate campaign today released a new web video highlighting Alexi Giannoulias’ tired excuses with regard to Broadway Bank loans to convicted felons and mobsters.

“Knew Then” plays off a Giannoulias statement from earlier this year in which he said, “If I knew now, what I knew then, we probably wouldn’t have approved those loans.”

Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times revealed Broadway Bank loaned nearly $23 million to Tony Rezko and Nadhmi Auchi in 2006 when Alexi Giannoulias claimed to be vice president and senior loan officer. Giannoulias now claims he left the bank months before even though he told the Windy City Times in March 2006, “I’m senior loan officer and vice president, so I oversee a $600 million loan department.”

“Illinois voters are tired of Alexi Giannoulias’ excuses about loans he made to mobsters, thugs and criminals,” Kirk spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said. “Alexi Giannoulias misled the voters to get elected State Treasurer and continues to mislead voters as he runs for the U.S. Senate. After Rod Blagojevich and Tony Rezko, we won’t be fooled again.”

“Knew Then” Full Script:

Text: Alexi Giannoulias…On Broadway Bank’s Loans to Convicted Felons…

Video: Fox Illinois, 2/8/10: “If I knew now, what I knew then, we probably wouldn’t have approved those loans.”

Text: Alexi Giannoulias Made Tens of Millions in Loans to Mobsters and Convicted Felons.

Graphic: ChicagoTribune Front Page from 4/2/10

Text: Now We Learn There Are More Suspicious Broadway Bank Loans AlexiDidn’t Mention.

Video: WFLD, 8/2/10: “While under federal investigation, political fixer Tony Rezko was able to get a loan for more than 20 million dollars.

“That money came from Broadway Bank, which was owned by the family of Senate candidate, Alexi Giannoulias, and was shut down by the federal government.”

Graphic: ChicagoSun-Times from 8/2/10 p.4

Video: WICD, 8/2/10: “According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Broadway Bank loaned almost 23 million dollars to a real estate company back in 2006.

“One of the company’s owners at the time was convicted political fundraiser, Tony Rezko, who at the time was tied up in a corruption probe.”

Video: Fox News Channel, 8/3/10:“Illinois Democratic Senate candidate, Alexi Giannoulias, is facing more questions about his family’s failed Chicago bank.

“The Chicago Sun-Times reports that newly uncovered records show Broadway Bank loaned almost 23 million dollars to a development company, partially owned by developer Tony Rezko.”

Text: So, What Did Alexi Know?

Video: Fox Illinois, 2/8/10: “If I knew now, what I knew then, we probably wouldn’t have approved those loans.”

Text: Probably?

Video: CLTV, 8/2/10: “New records reveal Giannoulias’ family-owned bank lent businessman Tony Rezko nearly 23 million dollars, for a massive South Hoop development back in 2006.”

Video: WLS, 8/2/10: “The deal was made in February of 2006, at least 4 months after Alexi Giannoulias says he quit his job as Chief Loan Officer to run for Illinois State Treasurer.”

Video: Fox News Channel, 8/3/10: “However, in an article published in the Windy City Times in March of 2006, Giannoulias touted his bank experience using the present tense saying, ‘I’m senior loan officer and vice president, so I oversee a $600 million loan department.’”

Text: Alexi Has Repeatedly Said That He Worked at Broadway Bank in 2006. (Sources: “That’s exactly what I do at the bank.” - Chicago Tribune 3/16/06; “I’m senior loan officer and vice president, so I oversee a $600 million loan department.” - Windy City Times 3/15/06)

Text: He Even Took $41,000 in Salary in 2006… (Source: Chicago Tribune, 11/23/09)

Video: WLS, 8/2/10: “Still, Republicans accuse the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate of hiding information about the deal between the Giannoulias family-owned bank and the convicted political schemer, Tony Rezko.”

Video: WLS, 8/2/10: “It’s the inconsistencies, the failure to fully disclose that raise a lot of questions.”

Video: WLS, 8/2/10: “DuPageCounty’s state attorney, Joe Birkett, does not buy Giannoulias’ claim he was unaware of the deal.”

Video: WLS, 8/2/10: “It doesn’t happen without consulting with family members especially when you know that Tony Rezko is political kryptonite.”

Text: But Republicans Aren’t the ONLY Ones Who Have Problems with Alexi…

Video: WLS, 8/5/10: “A new problem cropped up during an ABC 7 interview with Southside Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush.

“Are you sold on Alexi…?

“I’m not. Right now, I’ve got to sit down and talk with him. I’m not sold on him. I mean, I don’t want just the same old stuff…

“We want a Senator who is willing to work hard on the real issues that this state is confronted with.”

Video: Fox Illinois, 2/8/10: “If I knew now, what I knew then, we probably wouldn’t have approved those loans.”

Text: Alexi Giannoulias…“If I knew now…what I knew then…”?

Text: Learn more at: RealTruthAboutAlexi.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mark Kirk Stakes Out Middle Ground in IL's U.S. Senate Race (UPDATED)


From Congressman Kirk:

“Illinois is suffering the consequences of our state’s failed leadership. These failures put the federal government in a difficult situation. When I returned to Washington for this special session, I read Leader Reid’s bill and found it spent more, taxed more and borrowed more than any of the past bills I supported. I did not support the Reid bill because it added $16 billion in new Medicaid spending and levied another $9 billion in new, permanent tax increases. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill adds over $12 billion to our deficit. As a fiscal conservative, I could not support this bill and will work to cut spending, taxing and borrowing in this and future Congresses."

Lynn Sweet has this. NBC-5's Ward Room Blog here.

Alexi's response here. He says (as usual) that Kirk lies, and the bill is completely paid for. Given the choice between Alexi and the CBO, I'll take the CBO.

[end of update]

Throughout Mark Kirk's five terms as a member of Congress, he has always been known as a moderate Republican, and for good reason. It's easy to get lost, though, in some of the campaign rhetoric that flies around during election cycles, however. It's been a couple months now since the February primary, but we all probably remember how his more conservative opponents blasted him for being too liberal, a "RINO" (Republican In Name Only) and plenty of other pejorative labels. From the other side, we hear accusations that Kirk is a die-hard conservative who will undo liberal "accomplishments" like ObamaCare, and paint electing Kirk as the closest thing available to putting George W. Bush back in the White House.

With these two extreme views, you would think the looney left and the cranky right were talking about two entirely different people. More nuanced people may start to get the impression that Kirk is a fairly centrist individual. That perception is going to matter a lot in November here in Illinois, where many people are disgusted with the hyper-partisanship and rhetoric of both parties.

Let's look at Kirk's positions as discussed in the press in just the past few weeks:

On one hand, he said he would support (now Justice) Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court. On the other hand, Kirk says he agrees with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision shooting down Chicago handgun ownership ban.

On one hand, Kirk supports President Obama for making some good choices in the war in Afghanistan, but blasts him on his Iran policy.

Kirk supports the $26 billion state bailout bill that is being debated today in the House, but says that any such legislation has to be deficit-neutral.

Kirk's enemies on both extremes can find plenty to criticize him on, but in the general election, it's going to be the middle that wins this. Conversely, I think it's pretty clear that Alexi Giannoulias is simply going to take day-to-day orders from Dick Durbin and be a spineless rubber stamp for President Obama. Let's see who the majority of voters in Illinois prefer this fall.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Residency Issues Continue to Dog Dan Seals in IL-10

For a while, I thought maybe most people had forgotten about the fact that Dan Seals, the (now) third time Democratic nominee for Illinois' 10th Congressional District, isn't a resident of the District, and can't even vote for himself. We've talked about that so many times over the past four years or so that even I decided we couldn't beat that drum anymore.

But it appears that others either have not forgotten, or are just discovering this for the first time. Check out the Chicago Daily Observer, which is hosting quite a heated debate on the issue.

For our part here at Team America, it all comes down to something pretty simple. Do you want to win an election, Dan, or not? We said years ago that simply moving into the District would take away an issue (no matter how silly an issue it may seem to you and your sycophants), so why in the world would you not do that? Things against Congressman Mark Kirk might have turned out a little differently for Dan, not to mention that he defeated a serious primary opponent, Julie Hamos, only by the skin of his teeth, earlier this year.

Instead, you are forced to endure the constant refrain of 'He can't even vote for himself' and you are forced to skate around the issue, with tortured statements on your website like:

The 10th District is Dan’s community. Dan and his wife Mia, a business executive with an MBA from the University of Chicago, have been married for eleven years. They have lived in Wilmette for seven years with their three daughters. Our district is where his children go to school and where his tax dollars are put to work. Dan is part of each community in the 10th District.

Notice what's missing? Oh, yeah, a simple statement that Seals actually lives in the 10th District. If you had fixed that issue years ago, you wouldn't have to offer up convoluted excuses for why it shouldn't matter to voters.

Sometimes I have to wonder a little if Seals really wants to be a Congressman, or if he's really more comfortable just playing perennial candidate.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Alexi's Headache: Roland Burris to Appeal Special Election Procedure

As we've anticipated for weeks, Roland Burris isn't going away quietly, regardless of the damage he might do to the Democrats, or to Alexi Giannoulias's chances to win election to the U.S. Senate.

Politico reports:

Illinois Sen. Roland Burris is moving ahead with a legal challenge to a judge’s decision blocking new candidates from filing to run in a special election for the final months of President Barack Obama’s old Senate term.

Burris filed a notice Wednesday evening indicating that he will appeal U.S. District Judge John Grady’s ruling that the parties’ nominees for the Nov. 2 general election would automatically be placed on the ballot as nominees for a special election to serve between Election Day and the start of the next Congress.

That decision would make Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Rep. Mark Kirk the major-party candidates in a special. But Burris wants the option of running for the seat himself, in order to serve an additional few weeks in his appointed office.

I guess maybe President Obama should have said a few words to Senator Burris when Obama jetted in to save Alexi's fundraising bacon. But, then, since when has Burris ever listed to anyone?

That's what I've been counting on...

h/t Capitol Fax Blog

NRSC Hits Alexi Giannoulias with New Web Ad: “Transactions”

From an NRSC Press release:

NRSC Launches New Web Ad: “Transactions”

WASHINGTON – As President Barack Obama travels to Chicago in an attempt to bail out Democrat Senate hopeful and mob banker Alexi Giannoulias’ struggling campaign with a ritzy fundraiser, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) launched a new Web ad entitled “Transactions.”

The NRSC’s new Web ad evaluates Giannoulias’ questionable record and personal scandals, including his bank loans to unsavory characters and convicted felons Tony Rezko and “Jaws” Giorango, his loss of $150 million after gambling Illinois’ college savings on risky investments, his failure to pay income taxes while demanding tax hikes for Illinois voters, and the federal takeover of his family’s business, Broadway Bank, which cost taxpayers over $390 million.

Plus, we have this:

NRSC Chairman Cornyn Responds To President Obama’s Fundraiser In Illinois For Alexi Giannoulias

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s fundraiser for Democrat Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias (D-IL) in Chicago today:

“It will certainly be interesting to hear how President Obama squares his rhetoric slamming fat cat bankers with his decision today to campaign for a candidate who loaned money to the mob, made millions of dollars without paying taxes, and whose risky loan decisions led to a government takeover of his family’s bank.

“President Obama firmly stated earlier this year that ‘bankers don’t need another vote in the United States Senate, yet less than 90 days before the midterm elections, he’s campaigning for a failed mob banker who loaned money to known criminals and lost $150 million of taxpayer dollars after he gambled away Illinois’ college savings. How times have changed for Democrats in Washington.

“After witnessing the lack of accountability and responsibility in Illinois and the reckless spending by Democrats in Washington, voters understand that they need a leader who will instill real change. That’s why we are confident that Illinois voters will elect a proven leader in Mark Kirk to the U.S. Senate this November.”

# # #

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More on the Broadway Bank--Giannoulias--Rezko Connection, and Alexi's March 2006 Statements

Fox News had a piece on the Broadway Bank-Giannoulias-Rezko loan issue, and cited the 2006 Windy City Times interview of Alexi that we here at Team America first brought to the surface this past Monday:

h/t Illinois Review.

Greg Hinz also touched on this today:

The Sun-Times on Monday had a big story about a Broadway Bank loan to a partnership including Rod Blagojevich crony Tony Rezko in February 2006. Team Giannoulias responded that he was campaigning full time for state treasurer at that time, having taken a leave of absence from the bank in September 2005.

Problem is, it turns out, Mr. Giannoulias was quoted in newspaper clips well into 2006 as talking about his work at the bank —in the present tense. And, as it turns out, the on-leave Mr. Giannoulias still got a $40,000 paycheck from the bank in the first half of 2006.

A campaign spokeswoman responds that the leave was a paid leave — from his father's bank.

Expect to hear more from Team Kirk about that one.

Yes, Greg, and from Team America, too...

Alexi Giannoulias Paid for No Work at Broadway Bank (?)

As Mark Twain, one of my favorite authors, wrote, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

How many people are now wondering if that statement applies to Alexi Giannoulias and his assertion that he was not involved with making a $20 million loan from his family's failed Broadway Bank to a company partially owned by convicted real estate investor and political influencer Tony Rezko?

Over the past few days, after the story broke in the Sun-Times, Team Giannoulias responded that he had nothing to do with making that particular loan, since the loan was made in February 2006, and he had been on a leave of absence from Broadway Bank since September 2005 in order to make a run for State Treasurer:

"Alexi left daily operations of the bank in September of 2005, months before this loan was made," says Kathleen Strand of his campaign staff. "He had no knowledge of it, and his name is not on any documents related to the loan.

Oh, okay then. Well, then it turns out that holes in that cover story were pretty obvious.

First, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Mark Kirk's team noted that: As late as December 20, 2005, Alexi Giannoulias told reporters that he was still vice president and senior loan officer at Broadway Bank. “Giannoulias noted that he currently serves as vice president and senior loan officer at the four-branch Broadway Bank in Chicago.” (State Journal-Register, “Senator announces run for treasurer,” 12/20/05)

Team Kirk also pointed out that: The Chicago Tribune reported that Alexi Giannoulias received a $41,000 salary from Broadway Bank in 2006.

After that, your very own Team America did a little digging this past Monday, and found out that Giannoulias had been interviewed as late as March 2006, and he was still contending that he was employed at the bank:

Windy City Times: What's your biggest advantage and your biggest disadvantage?

Alexi Giannoulias: That's easy. My biggest advantage is that this is a fiscal office and I'm a banker and a financial manager. The state treasurer is responsible for investing $12 billion—and you want someone who's [ invested ] before. My opponent may be a nice guy, but he's more qualified to be an attorney general.

My parents founded Broadway Bank; over the past four years, we've more than doubled in asset size. I'm senior loan officer and vice president, so I oversee a $600 million loan department. I'm also chief investment officer and invest about $150 million.

Rich Miller at Capitol Fax picked up on this ("Which Giannoulias do we believe?") the next day and questioned the Giannoulias campaign about it, as all of the above statements from Alexi sure sounded like they were in the present tense (as of March 2006, after the latest Rezko loan had closed). And what about that $41,000 that was paid to Alexi in 2006? Didn't that salary show he was still working at the bank?

Team Giannoulias responded to Miller:

It was a passing reference to his position at the bank. He didn’t resign or quit. He took leave and if he lost his election he would have resumed his job at the bank.

In comments, Miller explained that the campaign claims it was a PAID leave, so THAT'S why he shows a bank salary for 2006 on his income statements.

So, let's get this straight: Team Giannoulias claims that Alexi was on PAID LEAVE from Broadway Bank, doing no work for months (exactly when he went on this "leave" we don't know for certain, and Team Giannoulias claims they have no records because the bank was taken over by the feds), even though this seems directly contradictory to his several statements that he was STILL the bank's senior loan officer. So, Alexi gets paid a handsome salary (for no work) for months, while out campaigning for a political job, and then the bank fails? Swell.

Am I the only one who thinks this story doesn't smell right? Alexi is a millionaire. Why did he need to continue to draw a salary from the bank while he was campaigning (can I get a gig like that?) Why would the bank management agree to this (oh, yes, the bank president was his brother. How convenient).

Obviously, it wasn't Alexi's ghost payroll salary alone that sunk the bank. Risky loans and other mismanagement did that. But it sure don't add up to a good track record for a guy who campaigned on his financial management skills and experience.

And guess what? Now that Alexi has firmly painted himself into a corner on this story, all it will take is one piece of evidence that Alexi was still acting as senior loan officer at the bank any time from September 2005 on, to crater his entire campaign.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bob Dold Rolls With Third Radio Ad: "Back to Work"

Bob Dold, GOP candidate for the 10th Congressional District, rolls on with his third radio ad, "Back to Work":

"Meet Robert Dold. He is a father of three and a small business owner who was born and raised in Illinois’ Tenth District. He is running for Congress because he is concerned about the policies coming out of Washington."

"I’m Robert Dold. I’m a small business owner in the District and I can tell you that Washington D.C is taxing and spending us to the tipping point. We need to put people back to work, plain and simple. And Washington D.C. has created this cloud of uncertainty, whether it would be 'cap-and-trade,' the affect of the health care bill. Whatever it may be, small businesses are not investing back in their business and consequently we have one of the highest unemployment rates in recent memory. Added to that, Congress is about to implement one of the largest tax increases in a generation. There’s a better way. A better way to move forward, to create jobs and a better way to put us on the right path. So please join with me. I’m Robert Dold and I approve this message. So go to doldforcongress.com, and let's get back to work!"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Alexi Giannoulias Continues His Retreat From Broadway Bank Experience Claims

We've noted before how ironic it is that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias touted his banking experience at his family's Broadway Bank as a primary credential (heck, his ONLY credential) while running for State Treasurer. Then, as soon as the details on Broadway's loans to shady characters became clear, he began running from his banking past at warp speed.

We weren't the only ones to notice. The Tribune noted:

"When the family bank was flying high and Giannoulias had his eye on the treasurer's office, he was the senior loan officer, but when the tough decisions were made or the questionable characters came to call, it was almost always Alexi's day to empty the wastebaskets."

Now, details of new loans to the likes of Tony Rezko are surfacing, and Giannoulias continues to retreat from his banking ties. Today, in response to the Sun-Times story about the Rezko loan that we told you about earlier, Giannoulias' campaign team said:

"Alexi left daily operations of the bank in September of 2005, months before this loan was made," says Kathleen Strand of his campaign staff. "He had no knowledge of it, and his name is not on any documents related to the loan.

The Kirk Campaign responds:

Giannoulias Claimed to be Senior Loan Officer in Late December 2005

Misleading Giannoulias Claim: In response to the Chicago Sun-Times uncovering a Broadway Bank loan made to Tony Rezko and Nadhmi Auchi while Alexi Giannoulias was Vice President and Senior Loan Officer, the Giannoulias campaign said: “Alexi left daily operation of the bank in September of 2005.”

FACT: As late as December 20, 2005, Alexi Giannoulias told reporters that he was still vice president and senior loan officer at Broadway Bank. “Giannoulias noted that he currently serves as vice president and senior loan officer at the four-branch Broadway Bank in Chicago.” (State Journal-Register, “Senator announces run for treasurer,” 12/20/05)

FACT: The newly disclosed loan to Auchi and Rezko was completed in February 2006, which suggests negotiations began in late 2005 while Giannoulias, by his own account, was Senior Loan Officer.

FACT: The Chicago Tribune reported that Alexi Giannoulias received a $41,000 salary from Broadway Bank in 2006.

FACT: Alexi Giannoulias cannot explain why Broadway Bank would loan money to a convicted felon (Auchi) and an individual known to be under federal investigation for corruption (Rezko), especially when the latter was already delinquent on a previous loan.

FACT: Alexi Giannoulias cannot explain why he misled the Chicago Tribune when he suggested his family and Broadway Bank could not have known about Tony Rezko’s alleged criminal activities when loans to him were made.


A little Internet research reveals that Alexi was still making the claim to be front and center of the bank's loan operations as recently as a March 2006 interview with the LGBT Windy City Times:

Windy City Times: What's your biggest advantage and your biggest disadvantage?

Alexi Giannoulias: That's easy. My biggest advantage is that this is a fiscal office and I'm a banker and a financial manager. The state treasurer is responsible for investing $12 billion—and you want someone who's [ invested ] before. My opponent may be a nice guy, but he's more qualified to be an attorney general.

My parents founded Broadway Bank; over the past four years, we've more than doubled in asset size. I'm senior loan officer and vice president, so I oversee a $600 million loan department. I'm also chief investment officer and invest about $150 million.

What a short memory you have, Alexi.

Any Mention of Tony Rezko with Alexi Giannoulias Can't Be Good

The Chicago Sun-Times is about the only paper it seems that I don't get home delivery on, so when I happened to pick up a copy at work today and noticed a huge splash on the 4th page about another tie of the Giannoulias' family's Broadway Bank to convicted real estate investor Tony Rezko, I took some notice. The short version is that the Sun-Times dug up another loan made by Broadway Bank to Tony Rezko, after Rezko's tainted activities were already becoming know, and on top of being delinquent on a previous loan that Broadway Bank had made.

But so what, Team Giannoulias will ask, that second loan was made after Alexi had moved on from the Bank and became State Treasurer. Ah, but it not the crime, it's the coverup, according to Mark Kirk's campaign team:

Giannoulias Misled Voters on Loan to Tony Rezko

“For [Mark Kirk] to say that the bank should have known that Tony Rezko’s company, or that Tony Rezko would have this certain thing 5 or 6 years later, it’s a tough argument for him to make.” – Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, March 3, 2010

Chicago Sun-Times reveals Broadway Bank loaned Tony Rezko $22.75 million in 2006, when “Rezko was already politically radioactive”

Background: The Chicago Sun-Times reported today that Broadway Bank loaned $22.75 million to a company partially owned by Tony Rezko in February of 2006, well after Rezko’s corrupt dealings and connections to former Governor Rod Blagojevich were exposed by the media. Alexi Giannoulias was Vice President and Senior Loan Officer of Broadway Bank at the time of the loan and received a $41,000 salary for 2006.

Previous Giannoulias Statement: Alexi Giannoulias has excused Broadway Bank’s loans to Tony Rezko by claiming that the loans were made before Tony Rezko’s crimes were known. On March 3, 2010, Giannoulias told the Chicago Tribune: “For [Mark Kirk] to say that the bank should have known that Tony Rezko’s company, or that Tony Rezko would have this certain thing 5 or 6 years later, it’s a tough argument for him to make.”

Giannoulias Misled Voters on Rezko: Giannoulias made his March 3, 2010 statement despite Broadway Bank’s 2006 loan to Rezko – well after Rezko’s corruption was known. On February 14, 2006, when the loan papers were signed, Tony Rezko’s name had appeared in news accounts nearly 200 times in the previous year, according to Lexis Nexis. By that point, anyone in Chicago with a newspaper subscription knew about Tony Rezko’s corruption.

Giannoulias and Broadway Bank in 2006: Despite Giannoulias’ campaign statement today that “Alexi left daily operation of the bank in September of 2005,” the Chicago Tribune reported that Alexi Giannoulias received a $41,000 salary from Broadway Bank in 2006. On December 20, 2005, the State Journal-Register reported that “Giannoulias noted that he currently serves as vice president and senior loan officer at the four-branch Broadway Bank in Chicago.”

Broadway’s Prior Loans to Rezko: According to an October 13, 2006 report by Chicago Sun-Times, Broadway Bank loaned Tony Rezko $1 million in September 2002. The Chicago Tribune reported that Broadway Bank also loaned $10.9 million to a Rezko-owned company in January 2002. Today’s Sun-Times report brings Broadway Bank’s total loans to Tony Rezko to roughly $34.7 million between 2002 and 2006.

Other Giannoulias-Rezko Ties: Tony Rezko used his influence with Rod Blagojevich to help Alexi Giannoulias’ brother, Demetris. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Rezko was listed on a Blagojevich “clout list” as Demetris Giannoulias’ sponsor for an appointment to the Illinois Finance Authority.

Broadway Bank Should Have Known about Auchi: According to the Sun-Times, Rezko’s business partner in the real estate venture was Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi. In 2008, the Sun-Times reportedAuchi was convicted in France in 2003 on charges of fraud and was barred from entering the United States.


More analysis on this from Illinois Review and Backyard Conservative.