By Illinois Review
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy has made it clear, in the form of a new committee that he’s coincidentally chairing, that the state party should have the right to officially endorse their preferred candidates in primaries in a deliberate attempt to stymie grassroots candidates – and prevent them from winning in primary elections.
But there’s another motive as well – and it’s not political, but rather financial – and it benefits a select few within Tracy’s inner circle – including his close ally and top legal advisor John Fogarty, who serves as the general counsel to the Illinois Republican Party.
During the 2022 gubernatorial primary, Fogarty served, and was paid, as both the state party’s general counsel and general counsel to IL GOP-favored candidate for governor Richard Irvin – the mayor of Aurora, who last June, would lose to a grassroots-favored candidate by a shocking 43 points, despite $50 million coming in from billionaire Ken Griffin to prop up the mayor’s failed gubernatorial campaign.
In a February 22, 2022 article about the Richard Irvin campaign taking over the IL GOP, Tracy was initially not available for a comment, but shortly after the article went live, Tracy changed his mind, and offered this to say,
“The Illinois Republican Party has been neutral and will always be neutral in the GOP primary for governor. Any accusation that we are coordinating with a particular campaign is absolutely false and I find it personally offensive to suggest otherwise.”
But this statement by Tracy was a lie, and the IL GOP was never neutral during the GOP primary for governor – and Fogarty’s work with Tracy and the Irvin campaign – at the same time, is yet more proof.
Although Tracy didn’t officially endorse Irvin during the primary, his personal donation records show that he only contributed to candidates aligned with Irvin’s gubernatorial campaign.
Last May, it was revealed in first quarter campaign filings that the Irvin campaign spent over $546,000 on payroll, including staffers and political consultants.
The filings also revealed a direct connection to Tracy and the IL GOP.
From January 2020 to January 2022, Derek Murphy served as Executive Director of the IL GOP.
In January 2022, Murphy joined the Irvin campaign as Senior Political Director.
On February 9, 2021, Tracy was elected chairman of the Illinois Republican Party – meaning Murphy was his top deputy and closest confidante before resigning his position as Executive Director of the IL GOP to take an official role with the Irvin campaign.
But the one top ally of Tracy who benefits the most from a new endorsement policy that Tracy is pushing is Fogarty, as state election board disclosures reveal.
In 2022, the Illinois Republican Party, House Republican Majority, Illinois House Victory Fund, Senate Republican Victory Fund and the Irvin campaign paid Fogarty $433,363.22.
$129,250 of that total came from the Irvin campaign for “legal services.”
State Rep. Jim Durkin, the House Republican leader at the time – and another close ally of Tracy, was also a staunch supporter of Irvin – and was one of the first to endorse his gubernatorial campaign last winter.
Since the start of this year – with only school board races on the radar – which the IL GOP did not get involved in, Fogarty has been paid $81,692.47, with a majority of those payments coming from the Illinois Republican Party, House Republican Majority and the Senate Republican Victory Fund.
Illinois State Board of Elections data also reveals that while Fogarty has been profiting off of IL GOP-supported campaigns, he’s only donated a total of $500 since 2022 – and a total of $4,250 since 2010.
Not a lot of money in support of Republican candidates, considering Fogarty and his law firm’s entire practice is centered around his work with the IL GOP and associated campaigns.
And it’s no surprise that Fogarty remains a close ally and supporter of Tracy – he’s made a fortune as Tracy’s top legal advisor.
You can bet that one thing is certain – there’s no other person rooting for a change in the IL GOP’s endorsement policy than Fogarty.
Forget the grassroots and winning – it’s all about the money.
And it’s no wonder we’re always losing.