The Cook County GOP received $25k from the IL GOP, as did the Lake County GOP and the Will County GOP, so Illinois Review reached out to Cook County GOP Chairman Sean Morrison.
Why was $25,000 given to the Cook Co GOP? we asked. "[It is] part of the platform designed by the state party," Morrison said in an email. "I understand it to be voting population-based for dollar values."
What does the organization plan to use the funds for? we asked Morrison. "[That is] undetermined exactly as of yet," Morrison wrote, then went on to list "support for candidates, ballot challenges, etc."
Morrison said it was "unknown exactly" who decided that amount of dollars would go to the Cook Co GOP and elsewhere, but he believed voting populations were a part of that process.
Morrison, who endorsed Rauner in 2014, was one of the first to criticize the governor for signing into law a measure that requires taxpayers to fund low income women's abortions. Morrison disinvited the governor from appearing at a local GOP picnic days after the signing.
"The grant came from the IL GOP organization under the 2017/2018 election cycle plan," Morrison said.
"This is what political parties do," Morrison said.
But after checking several years back, the IL GOP has no record of writing such generous checks to local county organizations. Instead, the biggest checks were written for mailing postage, state org staff salaries and other related expenses.
It was only until Governor Rauner wrote two checks to the IL GOP in the amounts of $400,000 on November 10th and $4,000,000 on November 11th that the state party had funds to distribute in the amounts they have thus far. Rauner, with $65 M in his war chest, is being challenged in the March 20th Primary by State Rep. Jeanne Ives, who has raised $300,000 thus far.
Will County GOP received $25,000 – and Crete Township Committeeman David E. Smith told Illinois Review that he hoped the Will County GOP would put the funds to good use.
"I sincerely hope that the Will County GOP will use the resources from the IL GOP to help serious Republican candidates get elected to office — including Jeanne Ives as the best GOP candidate for governor," Smith said.
Hmmm. Dollars donated by Bruce Rauner going through the IL GOP to the Will County GOP to support Rauner's opponent? That seems unlikely.
Besides the thousands to the county groups, last month the IL GOP directed $1 M to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee and $4 M to the House Republican Organization.
Illinois Review has submitted the questions once again to the IL GOP. We will share their answers as soon as they respond.