By Illinois Review
Few people realize that the Republican Party of Illinois is registered on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website as a “not-for-profit” organization. As state political parties, both the IL GOP and the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) enjoy this benefit.
As a not-for-profit organization, the IL GOP and the DPI can exercise this status for one major perk: a postage discount on political mailers.
This discount is significant and lowers the postage rate to more than half the cost – saving a campaign tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars if it’s a statewide campaign.
Typically, this is a perk afforded to every Republican candidate in the general election – but Illinois Review has recently discovered that the IL GOP exercised this perk for their preferred candidates during the primary.
In exclusive audio recently obtained by Illinois Review, IL GOP chairman Don Tracy, during a meeting with conservative leaders in July, admits that the Irvin campaign for governor was allowed to use the IL GOP Postage discount for mailers – a perk not afforded to other candidates in the governor’s race.
Tracy acknowledges use of the postage discount in the recording, but says the IL GOP was taking its “direction from the House Caucus and the Senate Caucus.”
State Rep. Jim Durkin, the House GOP Minority leader, and leader of the House Caucus was an early supporter of the Irvin campaign and was highlighted on the original endorsement list.
State Sen. Dan McConchhie, the Senate GOP Minority leader and leader of the Senate Caucus was not on the original endorsement list for Irvin, but during an interview with WCIA reporter Mark Maxwell the day after Irvin announced his candidacy for governor, McConchie offered a soft endorsement, saying,
“He’s the only candidate that is from the suburbs….So certainly having been here gives him an advantage. Being able to talk about the issues, having grown up here, having lived and worked here, and risen from Section Eight housing to ending up in a position where he’s actually mayor of the town where he grew up very poor to a single mother, I think that’s a great story.”
In other words, the two men that decided who received the postage discount just so happened to be Irvin supporters.
Former Republican candidate for governor Gary Rabine, who ran against Irvin in the primary, just recently published an article in Illinois Review after learning of this new information in a previous Illinois Review article – demanding that the IL GOP reimburse every gubernatorial candidate for postage – including his campaign.
And just recently, Illinois Review has learned that the IL GOP’s “non-profit” postage discount was applied to a mailer sent out on behalf of IL Republican State Rep. Tim Butler’s campaign, attacking his fellow Republican primary opponent Kent Gray – who was challenging Butler in the IL House Dist. 95 Republican primary race.
Butler is a close ally of Durkin, and in 2019, Durkin appointed Butler Assistant House Minority Leader. He was reappointed in 2021.
On March 12, 2021, Durkin expanded Butler’s responsibilities, appointing him Republican Spokesperson for the House Redistricting Committee.
When Irvin announced that he was running for governor in January 2022, not surprisingly, Butler was included on the list of supporters alongside his close friend and ally, Jim Durkin.
Kent Gray is an attorney and a well known name in local and national Republican political circles. In 2015, Gray was the Multi-State Director in Illinois and Missouri for Donald J. Trump for President; in 2017 he joined the Trump White House as advance staff; and in 2020 Gray was co-chairman of the Illinois Trump Finance Committee.
Butler has since resigned his position as State Representative only days after the election and will be taking a job with the Illinois Railroad Association.
And in media interviews after announcing his resignation as House GOP leader following massive losses in November, Durkin attempted to place all of the blame on the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump.
“He’s [Trump] been harmful to Illinois and a good portion of the United States for Republicans. And I believe that he is really responsible for the underperforming on Tuesday.”
Durkin was never a fan of Trump, and so a mailer going out from Durkin and the IL GOP on behalf of Butler’s campaign attacking Trump Republican Kent Gray should come as no surprise.
Weaponizing an IL GOP postage perk to attack a fellow Republican is a new low in Illinois Republican politics. And it goes against IL GOP chairman Don Tracy’s own words, when in March he urged fellow Republicans during the primary to remember the words of Ronald Reagan and follow the 11th Commandment:
“Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”
Clearly, Don Tracy and the IL GOP need to be reminded of the 11th Commandment – because this example of attacking Gray via IL GOP mailers is not an isolated one. The IL GOP establishment exercised this postage perk to go after other non-establishment Republicans during the primary.
So yes, there are more – and they can’t wait to tell their story.