By Illinois Review
The Illinois Republican Party remained mostly silent during the April 4th election cycle, with the exception of two social media posts encouraging people to vote – but behind the scenes, the IL GOP general counsel and top advisor to chairman Don Tracy was working as a paid legal advisor to an anti-grassroots slate of candidates, and approving mailers with the IL GOP postage discount – despite Tracy’s comments that the state party wasn’t going to get involved in the election, in another dig aimed directly at the conservative base of the party.
Tracy and the IL GOP despise the grassroots – and they’ve spent the last year proving it.
During the 2022 primary, senior IL GOP officials backed the anti-grassroots gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, who in previous elections, pulled Democratic Primary ballots in 2014, 2016 and 2020.
During the General Election, the IL GOP deliberately ignored the grassroots-preferred candidates for governor and attorney general, and even left them off of social media posts, with the exception of congratulating them on their primary victories.
At the Republican State Central Committee meeting in December, the IL GOP sent a very clear message to the over 200-plus grassroots activists in attendance that, “only rich, donor voices matter.”
And earlier this month, Tracy secretly created an Endorsement Policy Committee, which Tracy will chair – paving the way for the chairman and the state party to officially endorse their preferred candidates in primary elections, in an apparent dig at the grassroots-base of the party.
In January, Tracy floated this idea during an interview with Bishop on Air, and blamed the top of the ticket for the midterm election losses this past November – saying that the IL GOP needs to re-evaluate their primary election neutrality policy moving forward.
In other words, Tracy wants to prevent conservative grassroots candidates from winning primary elections in the future – and he’s going to ensure that by creating this committee and adopting policies that make it harder for conservatives to win races in Illinois.
But Illinois Review has recently learned that IL GOP general counsel John Fogarty, who is still paid by the state party – and continues to serve as a top aide to Tracy, was advising a slate of anti-grassroots candidates in Will County during the April 4th election cycle called Integrity for Homer Glen.
And some of the candidates on Integrity for Homer Glen were identified as Democrats, including Homer Glen Village Clerk candidate Candice Bielski, who according to records, is listed as a “soft Democrat.”
Fogarty is also one of the officials in charge of the IL GOP postage discount usage, and so it’s no surprise that Integrity for Homer Glen sent out 13 mailers targeting Homer Forward – the slate representing the conservative grassroots base of the party.
Last winter, when officials associated with Homer Forward inquired about usage of the IL GOP postage discount, IL GOP officials denied their request, stating that the postage discount was temporarily “suspended.”
But that was a lie – the IL GOP postage discount was already in use, and it was being used against their slate.
Usage of the postage discount is for official IL GOP use only. But hiring Fogarty, as Neitzke-Troike and Integrity for Homer Glen did, almost guarantees your ability to use it – even if, improperly.
In the correct example, Permit No. 64, which is associated with the IL GOP, and used in the General Election, lists the return address as,
Paid for by the Illinois Republican Party
PO Box 78
Springfield, IL 62705
But Fogarty and Integrity for Homer Glen – his client, in one example, use the IL GOP Permit No. 64, but they list the return address as,
Paid for by Citizens to Elect Christina Neitzke-Troike
13256 W Hiawatha Dr
Homer Glen, IL 60491
In another example, Fogarty uses the IL GOP Permit No. 64 – in an attack mailer leveled against conservative grassroots candidate Rose Reynders, and a member of the Homer Forward slate, but this time, they list a return address for an organization that doesn’t exist, and whose address is an empty lot.
Committee for Leadership & Fiscal Responsibility
380 E Joe Orr Rd
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Three examples with the same postage permit number, but three different return addresses. And only one is correct, and that’s the mailer paid for by the Illinois Republican Party – proving yet again, more examples of improper usage of the IL GOP postage discount.
This also proves that the IL GOP is meddling in city and township races – putting their thumb on the scale to tip it in favor of their preferred candidates and slates – slates who oppose the grassroots base of the Republican party.
And who paid for the postage of these mailers? The Illinois State Board of Elections website indicates that on March 27, 2023, Ozinga for Illinois made a $25,000 transfer to the IL GOP account.
Ozinga is the chair of the Will County GOP and a state central committeeman who voted on Saturday that he had confidence in Tracy’s leadership – and it’s no secret that he was aligned with the Integrity for Homer Glen slate.
It’s also no secret that Don Tracy and the IL GOP despise the grassroots, and sadly, this is just one of many examples. And until Tracy is removed as chairman, this type of improper behavior will only continue.
And Illinois Republicans – especially the grassroots, will continue to lose, too. And that’s unacceptable.
Village of Homer Glen, IL, population (Census 2020) 24,543
I do not know anything about the politics of Hooterville, sorry, Homer Glen. To me, it’s an obscure small town in Will County.
But as I always urge anyone and everyone, apply discernment to everything/everyone. When someone shows you a “receipt”, always ask/make sure one sees ALL receipts.
Let’s start with the “IL GOP postage discount”. There is no such thing as a “discount”. It’s a bulk/presorted 1st class permit owned by the Illinois Republican Party who paid the fees to send mailings at the reduced presorted 1st class or bulk rate. It is NOT free postage, and the winning slate of candidates in Homer Glen, the Integrity slate, paid for all their postage, per their campaign disclosure reports. There is no proof the Illinois Republican Party paid for the campaign postage. The opposition slate made up of “grassroots conservatives” could have used anyone’s bulk/presorted postage permit for the reduced postage rates. Maybe they did? I don’t know.
But the average voter does not know the New Lenox, IL Permit #64 is linked to the Illinois Republican Party.
Tim Ozinga’s $25K contribution in late March. The $25K donation was part of over $227,750 worth of donations (transfer outs) to multiple political committees from Ozinga’s state representative candidate committee made during March of 2023, per his 1st quarter campaign disclosure report. Of the $227,750, Ozinga transferred out $100K into the Will County Republican Central Committee where he is the chairman. None of the $227K+ went into any of the committees involved with the Homer Glen village election, and there’s no linkage the $25K Ozinga’s campaign transferred to the Illinois Republican Party was used in the Homer Glen election.
Yes, the 2nd quarter D2s may reveal something more, since quarterly reports only go through March 31. That said, Will County Republican Chairman Ozinga appears to have stayed out of the Homer Glen elections at least financially based on campaign disclosure reports.
The Integrity for Homer Glen political committee, per the State Board of Elections, only consisted of the slate of the clerk candidate, and the 3 trustees. The village president/mayor candidate, Christina Neitzke-Troike, had her own political committee, and looks like this Integrity slate commingled their funds legally. The Integrity for Homer Glen committee did transfer-out over $6,500 to the Neitzke-Troike committee in late March, presumably to pay for the combined mailer shown above, which was paid for by the Neitzke-Troike committee.
There are questions of accountability, like who in the Illinois Republican Party granted use of the Bulk Rate/Presorted permit, and why does this not show up as an in-kind contribution from someone?
Yes, the Chicago Heights mailer from a phony committee and vacant lot address using the same permit from New Lenox is a legitimate question. Sadly, those kinds of mailers are common in any level of electoral politics.
The winning candidates in Homer Glen, the entire Integrity slate, won by comfortable majorities last month, with Neitzke-Troike winning her mayoral election by nearly 2-1 (65% of the vote).
There are questions, but most are answered with discernment, particularly concerning Tim Ozinga cannot be linked to the Homer Glen election based on the information available to date.
There was another article that explains the postage discount, John. It brings the postage down to about 9 cents. Mailhouses can bring postage down to about 23-24 cents. So it can be a tremendous savings. There also are rules on usage of the discount – and the IL GOP continues to violate those rules. Read these: https://www.illinoisreview.com/?s=postage
Those of us in the South Suburbs know what’s going on. Ozinga is chair of the Will County GOP, but is a total RINO that despises the grassroots and is just mad at life because he’s the dumb brother. This title is all he’s got. It’s eerily similar to Don Tracy. But everyone in Will County knows Steve Balich is the Republican godfather. He runs the Homer Township GOP and is the Homer Township Supervisor. He was backing the Homer Forward slate of conservative candidates. Ozinga knew if Homer Forward won, it would be Game Over for him. He’d be ousted soon enough.
So Ozinga worked his SCC connections and got John Fogarty to rig it. He advised the opposition, a slate of mostly democrats, supported by all the unions and the IL Democrat Party. And then they layered on the mailers. Balich will tell you himself the difference in postage for each mailer is about $4,000. Each mailer. That’s a lot of coin for “Hooterville,” as you put it.
And the scheme worked – Ozinga kept his title, and Fogarty cashed another check.
By the way, look into Homer. Used to be run for years by Jim Daley of “the” Daley family. Has seen a lot of upheaval in recent years, but because of its location just over the Will County line (that is, no Cook County taxes and no Cook County crime), it is an up and coming area. People in Orland and Tinley are fleeing in droves for Homer.
No Anne Fri (and I doubt you’re the same downstate talk radio personality using the same name, but different spelling):
Conspiracy theories, like “rig” and WWG1WGA will not work, especially in the sight of the Oncoming Storm coming as announced in POLITICO this morning with emphasis added:
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Illinois Democratic Party has hired new staffers for fundraising, data, organizing and communications, making it the largest full-time staff the party’s ever had outside of an election year, according to insiders.
The new positions are permanent and will operate year-round, an indication party Chair Lisa Hernandez is sticking to her promise to pull together an organization that works beyond election season.
Republicans, including conservatives and “R.I.N.O.s” alike, are on the verge of extinction in Illinois, at ALL levels of politics, including the most obscure of local levels.
An 80+ Illinois House Democratic supermajority after the 2024 elections and NO Chicagoland Republican members of the Illinois House is a distinct and real possibility. A more bluer collar counties also in the making, as the Democrats are clearly not going to stop on November 5, 2024, but are already preparing for 2025, to build upon their success in local school board races of 2023, and expand into municipal races (look at the village of Oswego, getting completely flipped from Republican majority to Democratic majority) and the quadrennial township elections.
This kind of squable the Republicans having over Don Tracy and John Fogarty and bulk-mail permits will make the Democrats stronger.
Forget Don Tracy in the scope of 2024, he’ll be dealt with in 2026 when his term is up, as well as members of the state central committee who are doing nothing to advance the Republican Party in this state. There are no statewide 2024 races for Tracy and an “endorsement” could help, and there are enough state central committeepersons, beginning with the six who voted “No Confidence” last Saturday can keep Tracy in check.
Republicans should focus on recruiting Republican precinct committeepersons, particularly younger people for 2024, and taking over as many County Central Committees outside of Cook County. How are the current collar county Republican chairs doing? We’ve heard more then enough about Will County Republican Chairman Tim Ozinga. What about DuPage County Republican Chairman Jim Zay? Lake County Republican Chairman Keith Brin? IMHO McHenry County Republican Chairman Jeff Thorsen needs to go (you can’t win reelection in your own county board district in the only red collar county?) along with Kane County Republican Party Chairman Amdro Lerario.
Let the grassroots do what’s well within their power to do — take over local COUNTY (not just townships) Republican Central Committees in 2024 across the state.
That’s assuming, of course, the grassroots is willing to do the real work to get real results that all of us can see.
Listen “John Lopez,” I am not the downstate reporter, I am a teacher in the south suburbs and I use a pen name to keep my job. Just like you.
“In the correct example, Permit No. 64, which is associated with the IL GOP…”
This reference to Permit No. 64 from New Lenox P.O. disturbs me. Illinois Review claimed it’s “associated with the IL GOP” but doesn’t provide the receipts to prove it’s owned by the IL GOP, or simply belongs to a mail-house used by the IL GOP & other candidates.
Unfortunately since I did not receive the Homer Glen mailing directly, the USPS will not reveal to me who actually owns Permit 64.
Maybe a screenshot on USPS letterhead identifying the owner will remove any doubt who owns the Permit.
And if it’s not the IL GOP, changes everything.
Just a thought to ensure the whole truth being told.
Requests to the IL GOP to provide its USPS statements for inspection by a third-party forensic auditor have fallen on deaf ears. Currently, sources in the USPS have confirmed to Illinois Review that the Office of the Inspector General of the USPS is investigating.
Those sources at the USPS would do more than confirm, they would literally show the receipt of who owns Permit 64 of the New Lenox post office.
According to USPS.com if a recipient of the mailer with Permit 64, with proper ID, goes to a post office to inquire about ownership of the postal permit, the USPS must comply & show the receipt of ownership.
We all know how mail-houses work, so the verified ownership crucial if the permit used in the Homer Glen village election is really owned by IL GOP or simply owned by a mail-house.
Let’s all get to the bottom of this, and let’s see the receipts.
Thank you for hearing me.
Representatives of Illinois Review, along with a prominent attorney, have attempted to do exactly as you stated – get the identity of the permit owner from the local USPS office, both in the instance of these Will County mailers and in the instance of the Richard Irvin for Governor mailers. The local USPS office declined to provide the information in all of the instances.
WHO IS STRIVE STRATEGIES, LLC & ARE THEY THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF NEW LENOX POSTAL PERMIT #64?
Listening to Mark Vargas tonight, I once again heard his reference to the New Lenox PO Postal Permit #64, and again alleged (but remains unproven) the Permit #64 is owned by the Illinois Republican Party.
In a comment above, Vargas/IR shared they had not seen the “receipts” proving the Permit is actually owned by the IL GOP. The counter argument is likely the Permit #64 is owned by a mail-house vendor and it was their discount, not the IL GOP, that was applied to mailings in the village elections in Homer Glen earlier this year.
Vargas tonight brought up again, the campaign of Sean Morrison in his successful reelection to the Cook County Board last year. So, I pulled up Morrison’s State Board of Elections 4th Quarter report, and found the in-kind contributions from the Illinois Republican Party adding up to $130,200 for campaign mailings, paid for through a vendor called Strive Strategies, LLC for mailing and printing. I had seen that vendor name before from the Homer Glen election last month, but the fact the IL GOP paid for printing and postage does not rule out the legal owner of the Permit #64 could be Strive Strategies, LLC.
The Integrity for Homer Glen political committee, allegedly the anti-grassroots slate for village clerk and trustees, spent $6,162.99 on Strive Strategies’ services, including $730.66 for a mailing, per 1st Quarter State Board of Elections campaign disclosure report.
Integrity for Homer Glen also had a transfer-out of $6,162.99 to the Citizens to Elect Christina Neitzke-Troike, who was Integrity for Homer Glen village president running mate.
In the First Quarter, Citizens to Elect Christina Neitzke-Troike spent $16,635.35 to Strive Strategies, and of the amount, $11,007.16 was for mailings.
Unknown if all of the mailings paid for by Citizens to Elect Christina Neitzke-Troike all used the same Permit #64 as Illinois Review has only shared one of Neitzke-Troike’s mailings, but this goes back to who really owns the Permit — IL GOP or a vendor who does work for Illinois Republicans but also other campaigns.
So who is Strive Stratagies, LLC? It is a firm, according to the Illinois Secretary of State’s corporate database, run by Dennis W. Cook of Wilmette, who was at one time, the chairman of the Young Republicans National Federation. Strive Strategies business address has them based in Oak Brook.
So the only listed member of the Board of Managers of Strive Strategies, LLC had formal ties to a national Republican group.
This is why it’s important to see the receipts from the USPS, and not have them read verbally over the phone. After this bit of digging, I’m more convinced then ever Strive Strategies, LLC, is the real owner of the Permit #64, and not the Illinois Republican Party.