By Illinois Review
In Russia, President Vladamir Putin signed into law legislation that criminalizes news publications from reporting on anything that contradicts, or is critical of his administration.
In China, a country that leads the world in jailing reporters, there are an estimated 274 journalists currently in prison for reporting on stories that angered the ruling Communist political party – and citizen journalist Zhang Zahn sits in a Chinese prison for her reporting during the pandemic.
Zahn was sentenced to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” because she questioned Chinese officials’ decision-making process during the early stages of the outbreak.
In Iran, there are 41 journalists in prison for writing stories that exposed the corruption of Iranian authorities.
In the Philippines, former President Rodrigo Duterte routinely harassed and bullied media organizations critical of his administration and policies, and he even “rationalized the killing of journalists.”
And just recently, senior – and former IL GOP officials have sent representatives to try and intimidate the editor-in-chief and publisher of this publication – and threatening them with lawsuits in an attempt to silence and stop Illinois Review from publishing any more stories critical of the Republican Party of Illinois and its leaders – in a blatant and deliberate attack on First Amendment rights – and more specifically, Freedom of the Press.
Censoring media outlets is typical in third world countries ruled by dictators – but for Republican Party of Illinois leaders to want to censor the leading conservative news publication in Illinois because they are bothered by the facts is both sad and alarming.
Think about that – Republican leaders wanting to censure and silence a conservative Republican news publication.
Only in Illinois.
But sometimes, the truth hurts.
Is it not a fact that IL GOP chair Don Tracy’s family-owned company, Dot Foods, where he is an owner, donated to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2020?
Is it not a fact that in 2002, Don Tracy ran in the Illinois primary for the 50th State Senate District as a Democrat?
Is it not a fact that on September 4, 2020 – just months before his election as chair of the Illinois Republican Party, Tracy made a personal donation to Citizens for Judge Emily Sutton – a Democrat running for Circuit Court Judge in the 9th Judicial Circuit of Illinois?
Is it not a fact that IL GOP national committeeman Richard Porter’s law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, where he is a senior partner, donated to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in 2020, during the height of the pandemic and lockdowns?
Is it not a fact that Kirkland & Ellis also represents Pritzker family interests, including Pritzker Private Capital?
Is it not a fact that the Republican Party of Illinois weaponized their postage discount to attack conservative candidates during the primary?
It’s okay for the IL GOP to send out, and pay for mailers that are full of lies and deliberately deceive Republican voters – even photoshopping pictures of Gov. JB Pritzker and disgraced former Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan alongside conservative Republican candidates, to trick voters into thinking that they are not real Republicans – but it’s not okay for this publication to publish stories backed by evidence and facts.
What a strange world.
In exclusive audio obtained by Illinois Review, Tracy, during a meeting with conservative leaders last July, admits that the Richard Irvin campaign for governor was allowed to use the IL GOP postage discount for mailers – a perk not afforded to other gubernatorial candidates during the primary.
Tracy acknowledges the Irvin campaign’s use of the postage discount in the recording, but says the IL GOP was taking its “direction from the Senate Caucus and the House Caucus” – meaning he was re-directing the responsibility for that decision to then-Senate Republican leader Dan McConchie and then-House Republican leader Jim Durkin – the leaders of the Senate and House Caucuses.
And Illinois Review is releasing, for the very first time, a portion of that exclusive audio where Tracy shifts the blame to Durkin and McConchie for ultimately deciding which campaigns were granted usage of the postage discount, stating,
“And that goes, we take direction from the Senate Caucus and the House Caucus.”
Is it not a fact that Durkin lost seats in the House when he was Minority leader during the November election?
Is it not a fact that Durkin voted with the Democrats to ban assault weapons?
Is it not a fact that Durkin’s Western Springs home is up for sale?
Is it not a fact that the chair of the IL GOP Finance Committee, Vince Kolber, votes in Wisconsin and Illinois?
Is it not a fact that Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, who is a close ally of the IL GOP leadership, harassed and intimidated female Fire District candidates, and then followed them in his car?
Is it not a fact that Pekau routinely attacks and harasses constituents online?
Is it not a fact that Pekau honored progressive, liberal Democrat and former US Rep. Marie Newman and awarded her with a Community Appreciation Award?
Is it not a fact that Pekau rewards top campaign donors with city contracts?
And while IL GOP officials are obsessed with wanting to sue Illinois Review and silence this publication, they remain silent on matters where a lawsuit would have been helpful.
For example, Illinois Republican US Senate candidate Kathy Salvi’s name was left off the ballot in one county, and when local officials tried to fix the problem, Salvi responded by stating that their efforts did not “solve the most pressing problem of election integrity and transparency.”
Salvi went on to say that voters have “been potentially disenfranchised” because of the mistake.
And where was the IL GOP with their lawsuit?
They were silent.
Illinois Review recently learned that when a local Republican leader raised the alarm about a Democratic-controlled county clerk’s office playing games with assigning Republicans to serve as election judges, Tracy and IL GOP officials had a simple message for this concerned, local Republican leader who was desperate for some help and guidance: “Sorry, but we can’t help you.”
This is deliberate election interference – and where was the IL GOP with their lawsuit?
They were silent.
And when Gov. Pritzker signed an unconstitutional assault weapons ban, where was the IL GOP with their lawsuit?
They were silent.
When Gov. Pritzker abused his executive powers and shut down schools and businesses, and forced children to wear masks, where was the IL GOP with their lawsuit?
They were silent.
When Gov. Pritzker extended his “supreme executive power” for the 40th time, declaring that the State of Illinois is still a disaster area from the effects of the pandemic – in a blatant abuse of power, where was the IL GOP with their lawsuit?
They were silent.
But now, when this publication shines light on the many problems with party leadership—this is what motivates them to run to the court and sue?
If IL GOP leaders follow through on their threats and sue this publication, they’ll join the ranks of Russia, China and Iran.
And here at home they’ll join the ranks of Twitter, before Elon Musk, Facebook, YouTube and allies of the Democratic Party – who routinely censor conservative voices.
If there was ever a time to file a lawsuit – it would be against the Republican Party of Illinois for dereliction of duty.
It’s no wonder why Republicans always lose in Illinois – their leaders are more concerned about taking out conservative Republicans and conservative news publications than they are about defeating Democrats and winning elections.
“Silence conservative voices, but leave the Democrats alone” is the new motto of the Republican Party of Illinois.
As I’m sure Illinois Review publisher Scott Kaspar is aware, if a Cause of Action is actually filed against his publication, Kaspar’s lawyers will utilize Discovery to its fullest, and IL Republican Chair Don Tracy will know this, and will not file a lawsuit, at least not through the Illinois Republican Party.
The vote to go to litigation would have to be formally voted on by the Illinois Republican state central committee, and that will be an intersting spectacle, even if its a virtual meeting.
But something said in article caught my attention:
“Is it not a fact that the chair of the IL GOP Finance Committee, Vince Kolber, votes in Wisconsin and Illinois?”
Illinois Review, even in its linked article about Mr. Kolber, has yet to publish Kolber’s actual voting history in either state, just voter registration screenshot from Wisconsin.
We all know it’s legal to have multiple voter registrations in multiple states, as well as within a single state. Kolber isn’t the only one where political hay was made out of dual-voter registrations.
Conservative freshman Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna (R, FL-13) had this dual state registration history tried to be used against her in last year’s open-seat FL-13 Republican primary in late August, where her leading Republican primary opponent and his supporters tried to sell the lie “Luna didn’t vote for Ron DeSantis in 2018.” The opponents were looking at Luna’s voter registration in Okaloosa County, where she lived while attending college in the Florida panhandle in the mid 2010s.
The truth, Luna had moved out of Florida when her husband was stationed in the Pacific Northwest in 2017, and her and husband lived in Washington-state during her husband’s U.S. Air Force assignment. Luna’s first book, published under the name “Anna Paulina”, was published in late 2018, and the author bio clearly states she lived in the Pacific Northwest.
Luna, like nearly all voters, didn’t cancel her Florida voter registration in Okaloosa County when she moved out of state.
It was when the couple moved back to Florida, to Pinellas County (St. Petersburg), in early 2019, was Luna a Florida resident, again.
Ironically, The Washington Post earlier this year tried to say Luna had registered to vote as a “Democrat” in Washington state when she lived there, which The Post had to retract and correct, since Washington state has an open primary voter registration, opposed to Florida’s closed primary law, and Washington state uses blanket primaries to nominate its elected officials, including governor and members of Congress, in even-year elections.
So when Luna cast her 2018 ballot in the Washington primary, a political party was not recorded in her voter history like it would be in Illinois.
Back to Illinois Republican Party, sounds like a bluff, and Illinois Review Publisher Scott Kaspar will not be intimidated by the bluff.