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HomeIllinois NewsInside the IL GOP’s Obsession with Money and Protecting Chairman Don Tracy

Inside the IL GOP’s Obsession with Money and Protecting Chairman Don Tracy

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By Illinois Review

UPDATED – In the movie The Skulls, Sen. Ames Levritt says,

“Our rules supersede those of the outside world.”

But more than just a movie line, it’s the mission statement for many in power, including the IL GOP establishment.

In addition to rules not applying to the establishment, there’s also an unhealthy obsession with money.

And that obsession played out in full display during Saturday’s IL GOP state central committee meeting when GOP senior official and chairman of the Finance Committee Vince Kolber offended the entire room when he asked the more than 200 grassroots activists,

“I assume all of you have donated to the IL GOP?”

And when the room yelled back,

“No!”

He replied,

“No, then what are you doing here?”

Time and Talent are much more valuable than money – and that’s something that the grassroots offers the IL GOP that they could never afford.

And since Kolber and his team could only raise $2.2 million this cycle, compared to Gov. Pritzker’s $152 million, they most certainly couldn’t afford the time and talent of the grassroots.

By comparison, the Indiana Republican Party has raised $10 million in the last two years – a state half the size of Illinois.

But the belittling and out-of-touch moment drew an immediate reaction from the crowd – still stunned that a GOP leader could say something so offensive to hardworking, grassroots conservatives.

The moment also drew a reaction from Kolber’s friend and ally of embattled chairman Don Tracy – state central committee member Jeanne Ives, who in defense of Kolber, screamed,

“Vince is not your problem! This man gave me $750,000 when I ran against Gov. Bruce Rauner!”

Once again, it’s all about money.

Following the meeting, sources confirmed to Illinois Review that despite Kolber serving as a senior IL GOP official, he’s also currently registered to vote in not one, but two states – Illinois and Wisconsin.

A trusted source also confirmed that Kolber voted in the Wisconsin general election just last month, where Republican Tim Michels lost to incumbent Gov. Tony Evers, D, by just 4 points.

In Illinois, Republican Darren Bailey was defeated by Gov. JB Pritzker, D, by 12 points.

By comparison, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, who also owns a home not far from Kolber in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – records indicate that he is only registered to vote in Illinois.

Copies of Vince Kolber’s voter registration in Chicago, Illinois and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and a copy of Gov. JB Pritzker’s voter registration in Illinois. Although Pritzker has a home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, he is not registered to vote there. (Source: State of Wisconsin Elections Commission and Illinois State Board of Elections websites)


Registering to vote in two neighboring states creates many problems for Kolber. It also brings into question his ability to represent the Republican Party of Illinois as a senior official despite being a resident and registered voter in Wisconsin and Illinois.

And according to voter registration requirements in Wisconsin, a person,

“Must have lived there [Wisconsin] for the 28 days before the election with no present intent to move.”

Again,

“our rules supersede those of the outside world.”

But there’s a pattern. The GOP establishment’s choice for governor, Richard Irvin, who pulled Democratic primary ballots in 2014, 2016 and 2020, but in 2022 ran as a Republican in the gubernatorial primary – he would not meet the IL GOP eligibility requirements to serve in a leadership role with the state party, because of his voting record as a Democrat.

Again,

“our rules supersede those of the outside world.”

Kolber remains a close friend and ally of embattled IL GOP chairman Don Tracy. And conversations amongst political circles in Illinois indicate that both Kolber and Ives have their sights set on becoming Republican national committeemen in two years, replacing Richard Porter and Demetra DeMonte.

And this could explain why Ives has yet to call on Tracy to resign, despite widespread calls from her conservative base to do so – and why she defended Kolber after he offended an entire room of hardworking grassroots conservatives for not donating to the IL GOP.

If you don’t donate, you don’t matter.

And if you are registered to vote in two states – that shouldn’t matter either.

Update #2: Senior IL GOP official and chairman of the Republican Party of Illinois Finance Committee Vince Kolber would like IR to include his statement: “I remain hopeful in this season of goodwill that more of us will appreciate the need to build IL GOP membership.”

Update: Vince Kolber has reached out to Illinois Review stating that he voted early in Illinois in the General Election. Mr. Kolber did not dispute the fact that he’s registered to vote in both Wisconsin and Illinois, where he owns homes. IR reported based on a trusted source and we will continue our investigation.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I was there and when I heard Ives’ $750,000 comment, I was so disappointed in it. Many politicians receive these types of dollars from both sides of the isle; does that make the other side of the isle good? Surely a leader of our party would discern this political maneuvering. At the least, this immediately raises the question in my mind of being bought. When she ran for Governor, Ives positioned herself as a conservative. We have to do a better job of determining if our leaders are who they say they are.