IL-14 Special Election: Thanks, Denny

[Update 12/4: The special primary will be February 5 along with the regular primary, as we thought it would be; the special general is scheduled for March 8.]

It’s funny (albeit in that kind of lip-curling way) that Denny Hastert says he resigned the way he did so we could have the special primary on the same day as the regular primary to save us taxpayers money. That’s hogwash. If he really wanted to save us money he’d finish his term. We still need to have the special general election, one more than we bargained for this year, and as far as I can tell it will cost the county about $45,000 to put on that extra show. Denny does not appear to have resigned because of health issues, which in my book is one of few legitimate reasons for packing up early; indeed, he seems miffed that the nasty partisan Congress wouldn’t let him influence energy policy. Boo hoo hoo. Continue reading IL-14 Special Election: Thanks, Denny

IL-14: Kane County Dem Forum

Last week the Kane County Democrats hosted a forum of IL-14 Democratic Congressional candidates Jotham Stein, John Laesch and Bill Foster before an audience of precinct committeemen at the Kane County Government Center in Geneva. It was not open to the public. I do not know who made the decision to restrict the audience nor why it did not occur to them to find private space for the private meeting instead of a public building, which is a no-no. Reportedly the Foster campaign requested no videotaping but FriendsofJohnLaesch, apparently believing that Laesch “won,” has uploaded audio of the forum in topic-sized pieces onto YouTube. The irony is that Laesch made the goofiest statement of the evening while addressing immigration issues, saying, “I disagree that we are a nation of laws; I believe we are a nation of hope.” Guess he got a bit carried away. Overall I think they all did all right–certainly one could get a feel for their positions–and am eager to attend the debate at NIU next week.

Disclosures: I like Bill Foster so much as a candidate for Congress that I voluntarily spent hours gathering ballot petition signatures for him. Because of people like me who are very enthused about his campaign, Foster turned in about 1900 signatures to get himself on the primary ballot, a good 1,000 more than was needed. I will be sending him money the next good payday and have not ruled out another stint at pounding the pavement. Meanwhile I will continue to post about him and other IL-14 candidates with as objective a viewpoint as I can muster while liking him best.

IL-14: Democratic Primary Debate

Mark your calendars: Democratic contenders for Denny Hastert’s House seat will debate the issues November 6 in NIU’s Altgeld Hall at 7 p.m. (Altgeld is the one that looks like a castle.) So far I’ve found out that John Laesch and Bill Foster will be participating; I hope Jotham Stein and Joe Serra will be there too but haven’t confirmed their attendance yet. All are welcome. See you there.

IL-14: Who’s Buying?

So now it’s about time for the other IL-14 candidates to start grumbling about the millionaires in their midst, Jim Oberweis and Bill Foster, and the “buying” of a Congressional seat. After a thorough read of the latest Federal Election Commission financial filings, it is evident to me that the charge has to be based on more than just one’s bank statement.

Consider these fundraising numbers for the 3rd quarter:

  • Burns: unitemized receipts of over $9,600; itemized receipts from about 80 unique donors.
  • Foster: unitemized receipts of over $38,700; itemized receipts from about 275 unique donors.
  • Laesch: unitemized receipts of $19,250; itemized receipts from about 90 unique donors.
  • Lauzen: unitemized receipts not quite $5,400; itemized receipts from about 100 unique donors.
  • Oberweis: unitemized receipts of $2,200; itemized receipts from about 50 unique donors.
  • Stein: unitemized receipts over $11,800; itemized receipts from about 85 unique donors.
  • Unitemized contributions are small contributions that don’t meet the threshold for separate reporting ($200 or less per individual or group per calendar year). They are considered a measure of popular support. Large numbers of so-called “small donors” can be an advantage because the candidate can go back to them again and again up to a limit of $2300 per candidate, per election. As you can see, Foster is that guy; his campaign claims more than 650 total donors at an average of $315 per donation, including 204 donors who each gave $14. In contrast, campaigns with a few “large donors,” such as Lauzen’s, have already reached some donor limits.

    Also this is probably a year when the “Millionaires’ Amendment” kicks in. As soon as a House candidate spends $350,000 of his own money, mechanisms for leveling the playing field, such as raised contribution limits, can kick in for eligible opponents and would apply in the primary and in the general.

    Disclosure: I’m knocking on doors for Bill Foster.

    3rd Quarter GOP Fundraising in Hastert Country

    Three of the IL-14 GOP Congressional contenders have filed 3rd quarter financial disclosures . Each candidate has a principal committee but in the case of Kevin Burns, the disclosures are listed under the candidate’s name. Total individual contributions through 9/30 for each:

    $68,259.53 Kevin Burns/Kevin Burns for Congress. What you see is what you get: no PAC money or loans.

    $215,975.00 Lauzen for Congress. Plus Lauzen picked up over $5,000 in political committee money and he loaned himself $324,750. Total receipts $545,775.

    $94,150.00 Oberweis for Congress. Add Oberweis’ personal contribution of $27,000 and a loan of $300,000. Total receipts $422, 071.

    No surprises here. As a longtime state senator and the current darling of far-right-wingers with deep pockets, Lauzen has and will continue to have plenty of cash on hand. Then there’s Oberweis, who has no problem providing infusions of his own milk money into his campaign. Continue reading 3rd Quarter GOP Fundraising in Hastert Country

    3rd Quarter Dem Fundraising in Hastert Country

    Three of the five IL-14 Democratic contenders’ main political committees have filed their 3rd quarter financial disclosures. Total contributions made to these committees:

    $45,059.38 Friends of John Laesch.

    $61,598.74 Vote Jotham Stein for Congress Inc.

    $208,935.27 Bill Foster for Congress Committee. In addition, Foster loaned himself $200,000 last quarter. The other two do not have loans listed.

    What’s surprising is that newcomer Stein outraised Laesch, the candidate who ran against Hastert in 2004. Laesch for some reason has been unable to build much name recognition and continues to underperform at fundraising. Continue reading 3rd Quarter Dem Fundraising in Hastert Country

    What’s Up in Hastert Country

    Jack Roeser of the Family Taxpayers Network, in a letter to the editor:

    While this is still unconfirmed by the congressman, credible sources are reporting that U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert may be planning to resign as early as Nov. 6, rather than finishing out his term. If Hastert does step aside early, Gov. Rod Blagojevich would get to pick two special election dates, one for a primary and one for a general election.

    The regular Illinois primary has already been moved up to Feb. 5. Not only would two new elections create considerably more confusion, but there would be significant new costs imposed on taxpayers.

    None of us should be surprised by these kinds of games.

    Games? Roeser seems convinced that someone is trying to manipulate the process to benefit one or another CD-14 candidate, but the rules are clear… Continue reading What’s Up in Hastert Country

    hastert Looks the Other Way Again

    Hastert Looks Away For A Price

    Dennis Hastert was caught looking the other way recently with the Foley scandal. However looking the other way from those who are being abused for the sake of the abusers and their power is not uncommon for Mr. Hastert. This last episode is just a time when he was caught doing so, because he has often put protecting political power above his duty to protect children.

    Take for example the May 24, 1999 ABC News program 20/20 and a report by Brian Ross. His report was on human trafficking on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory and the protection of the abusers by the Republican Leadership in Congress. Brian Ross reported on the findings of a human rights activist group, Global Survival Network, from the American island of Saipan.

    Thousands of women from across Aisa were brought through an immigration loophole to American soil to supposedly work as waitresses in restaurants or nightclubs. “Once they got there, they were told they had to do more than that.” said Steve Galster, Executive Director of Global Survival Network. He went on to say, “We’re talking about forced prostitution.” Continue reading hastert Looks the Other Way Again

    Mr. Speaker Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?

    Our 14th District Representative and Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert, must think his constituents are asleep or fools.

    On March 14th he accepts a $5,000 campaign contribution from Exxon. Then on April 26th, the Washington Post reported Mr. Hastert was leading the GOP congress in blocking legislation that would have raised the taxes on the oil companies’ huge profits. On April 27th Congress Daily reported that Speaker Hastert was one of the Top Ten recipients of campaign contributions from oil companies. So far in the 2005-2006 election cycle the FEC reports that Hastert has received a total of $92,000 from oil and gas corporations.

    Next on April 28th he tried to cover his backroom actions with a public news conference in front of a Washington gas station with plenty of photographers he tried to convince America that the House of Representatives were going to get tough on those gasoline companies and set aside money for alternatives to gasoline. To dispell any doubters he then drove off in a hydrogen powered car, only to stop a few blocks away from the cameras to get out of the hydrogen car and climb into his GMC SUV, according to an AP photograph.

    And if we weren’t already feeling insulted enough by his blatant disregard for our intelligence a few days later on May 3rd he held a closed door meeting with the biggest profiteer of them all-Exxon’s CEO Rex Tillerson. Maybe with the next FEC quarterly report we’ll see how big his payoff was from Exxon.

    This has to be the year we stop Hastert. Enough is enough.