This morning I attended a Press Conference in beautiful DuPage County, Illinois. It seems that the Republican officials aren't aware that another party exists and that their glittering "bi-partisan" image has become a little tarnished! Who would imagine that "bi-partisan" Republican officials would want to appoint and support only Republicans? It certainly doesn't happen anywhere else.
This morning, the DuPage County Democrats grew a pair.
They stood on the County Board of Elections steps and called a Press conference. Only the Daily Herald showed up.
Undaunted, they continued:
Bob Peickert, DuPage Democratic Chair read his scathing letter aloud to the public and in it he publicly whipped Robert Schillerstrom, Chair of the DuPage County Board, Mr. Patrick Bond, Attorney for the Board, and Mr. Dan Curry, Public Relations. Various newspapers will be sent copies of the letter excoriating the "bi-partisan" Election Commission.
Bob Peickert's letter pointed out that "Equal protection is a hallmark of our democracy" but that a body of evidence seems to indicate that some members of the DuPage County Election Commission has been derelict in its charge and as a consequence Mr. Patrick Bond should be replaced as attorney and Mr. Dan Curry's services to the County be terminated.
Point number one:
Most recently, the DCEC removed from the November 4th ballot an advisory question that asked voters whether or not they support recalling officials holding statewide offices.
Initially, however, in an act of "they’ll never know" style favoritism, the DCEC approved the petition that would have put this question on the ballot. This appeared in various local newspapers. The DCEC allowed this question in spite of the fact that the petitions did not have the required number of signatures, as a matter of fact it only had a mere third of what was needed even without considering possible invalid signatures which could run up to 30%. Still, without consideration for the rules or the best interest of the electorate, the DCEC ruled that this visibly inadequate stack of petition forms met the "apparent conformity" standard.
And after the Democratic Party of DuPage questioned the reason for this puzzling action, the question was removed because it did not have the required number of signatures!!!!!
DAWN (DuPage Against The War Now) submitted that an advisory question be placed on the Ballot, yet their petition, which had more than the number of signatures of the recall question above, still did not have the required number and yet was denied due to a "lack of conformity"! The question concerned whether troops should be withdrawn from Iraq. Since I attended the DAWN meeting of the Board that addressed this question and request, I remember the board members laughing about it. It all depends on your point of view.
Then there is the "arbitrary" approval and disapproval of candidates' filings for intent to run for office.
Fast forward to the 2008 primary election where the DCEC ruled that the petition from Mr. Michael Braun, Democratic candidate for county board was not in apparent conformity because Mr. Braun circled "2 year term" and not "4 year term" on his petition. Despite the fact that Mr. Braun used petitions supplied by the DCEC that still contained the "2-year" option (making the papers given to Mr. Braun, one might deduce,
outside of apparent conformity at the outset), Mr. Braun’s name was removed. I received a letter from Mr. Bond explaining the, once again, noticeably inconsistent decision of the Commission, as you will see.
Within days of this denial, The Democratic Party of DuPage County brought to the attention of the Commission the petition submitted by Mr. Grant Eckhoff, Republican candidate for the county board. Mr. Eckhoff’s petition contained the wrong date of the primary. His petition had the long past date of February 5, 2007 instead of February 5, 2008 as his primary election date. The Commission, likely at the advice of its attorney Patrick Bond, ruled that Mr. Eckhoff’s petition was in apparent conformity citing his "intention", yet the Commission failed to consider the obvious "intention" of Mr. Braun.
It is also interesting to note that Mary Dickson, a partner of Mr. Bond in his law practice, was running in the primary in the same county board district as Mr. Eckhoff. Had the Commission ruled against Mr. Eckhoff as it did against Mr. Braun, Ms. Dickson would have won the primary seat as Republican candidate in that county board district. One could reasonably conclude that the (appropriate) exclusion of Mr. Eckhoff by the
apparent conformity standard was avoided in order to avoid showing favoritism to Mr. Bond’s partner. This is a shell game at best and hardly assures the "Consent of the Governed" as promised in DCEC’s motto.
More than a little partisanship in a "bi-partisan" Commission, don't you think?
The case against Mr. Patrick Bond retaining his job as attorney for the County Board consists of 8 points:
- In the 18 months between January 2007 and June 2008. Mr. Bond has received compensation of approximately $175,000 in tax dollars to represent the DCEC, which bills itself as a bi-partisan government entity.
- Mr. Bond has contributed approximately $110,000 to the DuPage County Republican Party and the Republican candidates. We cannot find a single dollar contributed by Mr. Bond to any Democratic candidate. We recognize that these contributions are not illegal, however, they clearly demonstrate partisanship by Mr. Bond towards one political party, a glaring conflict of interest in his role as attorney for a bi-partisan Commission.
- Mr. Bond has contributed $17,500 to DuPage State’s Attorney Joe Birkett. Any complaints regarding the DCEC are processed through Mr. Birkett’s office. Again, a clear conflict.
- Mr. Bond has contributed $8,500 to Mr. Robert Schillerstrom, Chair of the DuPage County Board. Mr. Schillerstrom appoints members of the Commission and the Commission hires Mr. Bond.
- Mr. Bond has contributed approximately $7,500 to Republican County Court Clerk, Chris Kachiroubas; $3,000 to Republican Recorder of Deeds Fred Bucholz; and $1,000 to Republican candidate for the 6th congressional district, Peter Roskam. If there are any disputes, challenges, or recounts involving any of these candidates, Mr. Bond would be representing the Commission, in our opinion a conflict of interest.
- Mr. Bond contributed approximately $1,000 to Republican candidate Carole Pankau, yet was in the position to recommend to the Commission that Democratic candidate, Tom Cullerton, be removed from the ballot. Although supported by the Court of Appeals, Mr. Bond should have recused himself from this case.
- Mr. Bond was prepared to present the case against Cullerton before Judge Popejoy, even though Mr. Bond served as Judge Popejoy’s campaign manager and contributed $6,500 to Judge Popejoy’s campaign. Judge Popejoy, however, rightfully removed himself from the Cullerton case.
- Mr. Bond was also advising the Commission in the dispute regarding the destruction of public records. Only after the Illinois Attorney General ruled that the destruction of records by the DCEC did not conform to the Illinois Local Records Act did the destruction stop.
And the case against Mr. Dan Curry retaining his position in Public Relations for the Election Commission:
- Mr. Curry has been under contract with the Commission since April 2007 and has been paid $3,000 per month.
- Mr. Curry has a website, ReverseSpin.com, which obviously favors Republican candidates and Republican positions. His disclaimer that his opinions therein do not represent the work of his PR firm doesn’t pass the smell test when you examine the content of this site. His comments towards Democrats are consistently negative. We respect Mr. Curry’s right to express his concerns about political issues and candidates, but not while being paid $3,000 of our tax dollars to serve a bi-partisan board.
- Mr. Curry is the spokesperson for Mr. Joe Birkett in his bid for statewide office. Mr. Curry is free to act on behalf of Mr. Birkett, but, in our opinion, not while being paid $3,000 a month to work on public relations matters for a bi-partisan board.
- As near as we can determine, Mr. Curry has worked exclusively for Republican candidates and Republican campaigns including Jim Ryan and Steve Greenberg who is running against Democrat Melissa Bean.
Since these two individuals are obviously very Partisan in their leanings, their employment for a bi-partisan commission during an election season is unconscionable. Their continued presence does NOT inspire confidence in the Commission's ability to provide even the veneer of a "fair" election.
The entire letter can be read here
------ It gets interesting! ------
While Bob Peickert was reading his letter to the small crowd and the lone newspaper reporter, a clerk from the Commission appeared with a tape measure to make sure we were more than 100 feet away from the polling place entrance. He declared we were too close and that we were not allowed to Electioneer" there. So Peickert moved another 15 feet away and resumed. Our lawyer, meanwhile, armed with copies of the Election Code, tried to point out that we were well within the law and were Not, in fact, Electioneering.
She and the clerk go inside to discuss the law while the rest of us wait outside.
After 10 minutes, I go in only to discover that she is taking down the names of all the clerks who are supervising the Early Election Proceedings well inside the building beyond the vestibule of glass doors, over 100 feet to the opposite side of the commons area where lawyers and officials are discussing things over coffee. There are 5 clerks sitting there officiating the Early Voting. None of them are Democrats. They claim they don't have to be since they are paid by the County. They insist they are non-partisan!!!! The manager tells them that they are NOT to respond to any questions.
It just get murkier and murkier....will this election be close? You Betcha!