The Illinois Democratic Party filed a complaint on Friday with the Illinois State Election Council against the campaign of Republican governor candidate Darren Bailey and conservative political committee leader Bailey’s friend, accusing them of illegally coordinating efforts to oppose Democratic governor JB. Pritzker reelection offer.
The complaint comes the day after the Chicago Tribune first reported that PAC chief Dan Proft attempted to intervene in a potential legal case involving Bailey by contacting a lawyer from former Bailey politician who was at the center of a legal dispute with the campaign.
Proft of Naples, Florida heads People Who Play By the Rules PAC, an independent committee on political spending this supports Bailey’s candidacy for governor. As the PAC, by law, it is not expected to coordinate spending efforts with Bailey’s campaign, but the complaint accuses Proft of “consistently” acting in “collaborating, consulting or in concert” with the campaign.
People who play by the rules of the PAC are almost entirely funded by the national conservative mega-donor Richard Uihlein, billionaire founder of Uline, the office supplies and packaging company. Uihlein has donated $ 42 million to PAC Proft, including $ 34 million since Bailey won the GOP’s nomination for governor on June 28. Uihlein has donated $ 12 million directly to Bailey’s campaign, but only $ 3 million since the primaries.
The complaint alleges that, under state law, Proft’s communication with Bailey’s campaign amounts to improper “in kind” donations, which are not cash but services or expenses that help the campaigns.
“Mr. Proft’s widespread commitment to the Bailey Campaign indicates a certain level of coordination, such that these expenses are not independent and instead are illegal contributions in kind to the Bailey Campaign,” the complaint said. Proft has consistently operated through a “collaboration, consultation or concert” campaign with the Bailey campaign. The examples are endless. “
One such example cited in the complaint was the story of the Tribune, which highlighted Proft’s efforts to stand up for an internal dispute between Bailey’s campaign and its former politician, Brett Corrigan, on an unspecified human resources case. Corrigan served primarily as Bailey’s “flesh man”, closely following him throughout the events and assisting him when needed.
But around mid-September, Corrigan left Bailey’s campaign – according to his attorney Scott Kaspar, whether he was fired or left alone is a moot point. Meanwhile, Kaspar was involved in confidential financial settlement discussions with Bailey’s campaign on the reasons for Corrigan’s departure.
During these negotiations, Proft intervened, apparently trying to overrule the filing of a possible lawsuit in a case that could go public and harm Bailey’s chances in the November 8 general election against Pritzker.
According to the complaint to the Election Commission, “Mr. Proft’s awareness of and commitment to the Bailey Campaign’s confidential internal human resources affairs indicates that Mr. Proft is “collaborating, consulting or touring” with the Bailey Campaign, so that expenses made by PAC qualify as coordinated contributions. “
The complaint also referred to Proft’s different role as the right-wing host of a radio program that frequently hosted Bailey. In one instance, the complaint concerned a September 8 performance in which “Proft talks about the millions he spent supporting the Bailey Campaign with Mr. Bailey on the line,” going so far as to say that he “supported Darren Bailey through the super PAC I run. in primary. And I support him through a great PAC, in which I also run into a general.
Campaign Bailey said he has no knowledge of the complaint.
“The campaign has not spoken to Dan since the general election began,” Bailey campaign spokesman Joe DeBose said in the text. “This is a desperate attempt by the Pritzker and Tribune campaign to divert attention from Darren’s momentum towards the end of the election.”
Proft was unable to get immediate comment on the complaint Friday night. But in an unrelated press conference earlier that day, Pritzker suggested that the Proft and Bailey campaign could be fined tens of millions of dollars by the Election Council if they coordinated their efforts.
“Well, it looks like Dan Proft is working with Darren Bailey once again. It looks illegal to me, ”said Pritzker. “Look, this is just another example: they don’t care about the law; they don’t care about the truth. All they do is just throw, throw things away, try to coordinate actions to help Darren Bailey in any way possible, no matter how much it costs, and honestly, no matter if they break the law or not .
Tribune journalist Dan Petrell made his contribution.
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