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Illinois Politics

Saturday Late Night: Chicago GOP Party Alleges Fellow Republican Jack Roeser Launders Campaign Cash…and More

The high-powered government affairs firm Fletcher, O’Brien, Kasper & Nottage has added ex-legislative staffer to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and ex-Executive Director of Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence Thom Mannard to its government affairs lobbying team.

(Chicago, IL) – Chicago GOP Clown Car: Part I – GOP State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who is laying the groundwork for a 2014 gubernatorial campaign, on Friday jumped into the backseat of the clown car that is the Chicago Republican Party, endorsing the party’s current driver, Eloise Gerson, who is locked in a bitter primary battle against Chicago Young Republican Tom Smithburg for the booby prize of Chicago’s 42nd Ward GOP Committeeman post.

In a statement, in which Rutherford lauded his own statewide victory in 2010, he wrote, “One of the hardest working Republicans in Chicago who helped me accomplish this was Eloise Gerson, the 42nd Ward Republican Committeeman… I support her and ask you to vote for her as your GOP Ward Committeeman …”

On Monday, Gerson had sent a three-page, 1,100 word letter to Smithburg ranting bullet-point by bedraggled bullet-point about a draft of a negative Smithburg mail piece obtained by Gerson’s camp. In the letter’s introduction, Gerson wrote: “I have seen a draft, and find it vile and vicious. It is also full of outright lies.” It raves on like that for the next 1,000 words or so.

Gerson “cc’d” this missive, which dredged up sexual harassment charges lobbed between the Chicago and Cook County GOP parties in July 2011, was sent to an intimate circle of 48 national and state GOP activists, including Rutherford, the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, the ailing U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, ex-Governor Jim Thompson, ex-Governor Jim Edgar, and current Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady. Both Edgar and Brady have endorsed Smithburg.

Apparently, Rutherford may be the only one among the lucky 48 who took Gerson’s bait and climbed in for the ride. As a Downstater, Rutherford is always looking to expand his Chicago ties, because the Windy City is the primary source of campaign cash for GOP candidates with statewide ambitions.

But there has to be a better networking strategy for Rutherford than rushing for Gerson’s passenger’s seat for a wild ride in this local demolition derby.

Chicago GOP Clown Car: Part II – The Chicago Republican Party this week baldly and publicly hinted that wealthy conservative GOP activist Jack Roeser’s Republican Renaissance PAC may have allegedly laundered campaign cash from Tom Smithburg’s father, William, to help fund his kid’s 42nd GOP committeeman race.

The Chicago GOP party reported, under the headline “Is This a Campaign Violation???”, that Roeser’s PAC donated $1,000 to Smithburg the Younger on February 8, 2012 and Smithburg the Older donated $2,500 to Roeser’s group on February 10, 2012.

Just so you wouldn’t be snookered by the headline’s subtly, the Chicago GOP party wedged in this comment: “So Jack Roeser gives $1,000 to young Tommy and Smithburg’s father gives Jack Roeser’s PAC $2,500 two days later? Is that against the law?”

You can’t make up this stuff.

No Worries – Cook County Democratic Party smart-as-a-leather horse whip political director Scott Cisek, who helped engineer Toni Preckwinkle’s 2010 primary victory, has no worries while the current Chicago GOP crew is in charge.

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon made a cameo appearance on Wednesday night at a legislative reception hosted by Voices for Illinois Children at the historic Pasfield House in Springfield.

Quotable: “That American Airline flight attendant should switch to being a politician where grabbing a microphone and going on long, deranged rants seems to be a valued skill.” – State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), March 10, 2012. Facebook.

About Town: Democratic State Rep. John Bradley from Marion in deep, downstate Illinois, who is unsupportive of Chicago’s gun and gay rights laws, was spotted dining a month or so ago at the swank Cocco Pazzo restaurant at 300 W. Hubbard in Chicago. Perhaps more regular visits to the Windy City and Bradley, the well-respected Chairman of the House Revenue Committee, will view things from the Chicago Way?

Don’t Quote MeRumor and gossip that’s not quite fit to print, but, what the heck, we’re including it anyway as a public service because we’re sure you’ll find it as titillating as we do… Not Our Job – Some officials at the Illinois Department of Corrections are hoping that the budget cuts to community reentry services for ex-inmates that the department itself proposed can be restored by The John Howard Association and its army of volunteer, citizen “lobbyists” lobbying lawmakers. Oy… Helping Hands – Judge Larry Alexrood, who is fighting for a seat on the 9th judicial subcircuit on Chicago’s north side snagged on Thursday a big-name endorsement: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. More importantly for boots on the ground purposes, Alexrood has lined up top operatives of Ex-46th Ward Alderman Hellen Schiller’s formidable political organization.

Tomorrow’s News… In the Dog House – The Chicago Tribune’s Ryan Haggerty is working on story targeting the troubled tenure of Chicago Animal Care and Control Director Cherie Davis.

What’s a Weekend? Nothing Doing – Both Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have no public events… Lincoln-Douglass Rematch – Democratic Illinois 8th congressional candidates Tammy Duckwork and Raja Krishnamoorthi debate each other at the Jackson Middle School in Villa Park on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


9 Responses to “Saturday Late Night: Chicago GOP Party Alleges Fellow Republican Jack Roeser Launders Campaign Cash…and More”

  1. I thought the hardest working Republican in Chicago was Eddie Vrdolyak

    Posted by Jim Sather | March 10, 2012, 1:27 PM
  2. Jim,

    If that is true, then he should work a little harder to organize the firing squad into a straight line.


    Posted by David Ormsby | March 10, 2012, 1:42 PM
  3. Your silly hack job left out that Gerson heads the ONLY effective Ward organization in Chicago, and garnered more votes for Bill Brady than any ward: over 9500 votes and 38.94%. But you think it should be destroyed so a 23 year old rich kid with zero experience can take over.

    Posted by Steve Boulton | March 10, 2012, 10:08 PM
  4. Steve,

    Anyone who wastes the resource of time with such abandon in the production of such an absurd letter needs no help on destroying the operation. That talent is all in house, as they say.

    Thanks for reading.

    David Ormsby

    Posted by David Ormsby | March 10, 2012, 10:35 PM
  5. Facts are stubborn things, David. Enjoy your world.

    Since you don’t like facts, I will leave out that the Chicago GOP put out 200,000 pieces of literature for Brady in 2010 and ran six Republican Aldermanic candidates in 2011. That stuff might get in the way of your story line.

    Posted by Steve Boulton | March 10, 2012, 10:47 PM
  6. Steve,

    Not to place too fine a point on the topic but did anybody win out of that group?

    Facts are stubborn little buggers, indeed.

    Have a good night.

    David Ormsby

    Posted by David Ormsby | March 10, 2012, 10:52 PM
  7. Two GOP candidates went to runoffs. Garrido lost by 26 votes. We are getting closer every year.

    Posted by Steve Boulton | March 10, 2012, 11:03 PM
  8. Hilarious stuff! Steve Boulton, a so called “Republican,” turned in GOP stalwart and fabulous heavyweight Jack Roeser, his “boss?”, on his own blog to whomever would listen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Steve (“stuck on stupid”) did you go to the Feds on Roeser too? Was your blog and the State Board of Elections not enough? Brilliant strategy to turn in your “boss!” People -you cannot make this stuff up!

    BTW with respect to aldermen, you campaigned openly AGAINST the only viable GOP candidate, John Garrido. You and Pete Bella begged Jack Roeser not to give him any money. What a pity…a couple more thousand bucks might have won the race for Garrido. Maybe that is why Garrido himself KICKED YOU OUT of an event. And you say you backed him?????? Again LOL stuff!!!! Friends, ask John Garrido if Boulton and Gerson backed Garrido? What a joke!!!!!!!! He hates both of them!

    BTW Eloise as city chairman couldn’t get one GOPer to run for a citywide office this election cycle. No mayoral candidate last time either. Where’s the beef? These people are a joke.

    Posted by Concerned GOP citizen | March 14, 2012, 2:03 PM
  9. C,

    That’s pretty funny.

    Thank you for reading.

    David Ormsby

    Posted by David Ormsby | March 14, 2012, 3:34 PM

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