Written by David E. Smith
Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist from Winnetka, was asked asked by a reporter about his positions on the social issues: same-sex marriage and abortion. In the video below, Rauner dodges the question on same-sex marriage by saying that the issue should be put to the voters. On the issue of abortion, Rauner doesn’t flinch: “I am pro-choice.”
It is hard to believe that any pro-life voter would consider supporting a candidate that supports the death and dismemberment of unborn children.
With the scientific evidence we have today about the humanity of the unborn child, to proudly proclaim support of legalized abortion means that you are either 1.) lying to yourself about what abortion is and does to the unborn child, 2.) lying to the public and hiding the truth of abortion, or 3.) the only other possible explanation is ignorance. In any case, being “pro-choice” is reason enough to disqualify any candidate from getting our vote.
Watch the video interview yourself. The clip below starts at 17:19. Rauner clearly tells the reporters that he supports a women’s “right” to choose abortion:
State Rep. Ron Sandack during gay marriage rally last summer – Photo: Windy City Times
Written by IllinoisReview.com — A new group, headed by former DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom’s son Glen, filed paperwork Tuesday to set up the Illinois Unity PAC. The new PAC says it was formed to support incumbent State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) and Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) in the March 18th GOP primary.
Both Sandack and Sullivan are being challenged by Republicans that support traditional marriage. Sandack is being challenged by Keith Matune, and Sullivan by Bob Bednar. Pro-family groups set out to “primary” Sandack and Sullivan when they broke Republican ranks and voted with House Democrats to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois.
Tuesday, New York hedge fund investor Paul Singer, who had maxed out with $5,300 donations to both Sandack and Sullivan, gave $85,000 to Illinois Unity PAC, an independent expenditure group that has no limits on campaign donations or disbursements.
The investment mogul said in May he intended to support Republicans that promote gay marriage. Singer, who is straight, has a gay son that was married to another man in Massachusetts.
Written by Don Irvine, Accuracy in Media
When U.S. Senator Barack Obama campaigned for president in 2008, he criticized President George W. Bush for bringing “more and more power into the executive branch,” rather than working with Congress to meet his legislative goals:
I taught constitutional law for ten years. I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problem that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.
Considering how President Obama is now using his executive order privilege—delaying the employer mandate in Obamacare, requiring federal contractors to pay a higher minimum wage—it looks like Obama is not keeping his promise to work with Congress.
Obama promised in his State of the Union speech that this would be a year of action. What he meant was that this will be a year of executive orders to try and achieve what he has failed to accomplish legislatively.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the media to report on this latest example of Obama’s hypocrisy.
Written by Nathan Cherry
Have you ever read a voter guide or perused a legislative scorecard? Maybe you are one of the many Americans that have helped with a voter registration drive because you believe every citizen should be involved in electing their lawmakers.
The question is does everyone have the right to perform these tasks?
Putting together a voter guide or organizing a voter registration drive seems fairly mundane. Few people or organizations bother with it because it’s a straightforward activity that leaves no room for subjective opinion. A voter guide shows how specific candidates rank based on their views of certain issues. For example, a pro-life organization might put together a voter guide that shows how candidates voted on bills relating to life issues. If candidates vote in favor of defending life as sacred, the pro-life organization will rank them higher and urge support for such candidates. If a candidate votes in favor of measures that support abortion they will receive a less favorable ranking.
Legislative scorecards work the same way and are generally done by no-profit groups seeking to inform voters on how their state lawmakers voted during the legislative session. (Click here to view a legislative scorecard from a group here in Illinois.)
Again, who should be allowed to compile and distribute information like voter guides and legislative scorecards?
The logical, common sense answer is that everyone should be allowed to distribute such information. As long as the information is verifiable and true, there should be no regulation stipulating who can and cannot distribute a voter guide or legislative scorecard. Furthermore, everyone should be allowed to state who they support as a candidate and urge others to educate themselves before voting.
And yet, the IRS is now proposing new rules that would limit such activities for non-profit organizations.
The American Family Association commented on these proposed rules:
“The IRS is proposing regulations that will give them the authority to restrict voter guides, legislative scorecards, get-out-the-vote campaigns and even the voter registration activities of non-profit groups by defining such civic engagement as “candidate-related political activity…American Family Association General Counsel Patrick Vaughn says, ‘The proposed regulations are consistent with the IRS’ scandalous suppression of Tea Party applications for tax exemption. The IRS seems to have decided that it may have to process Tea Party applications, but it can render the organizations impotent.’”
To be frank, this is a blatant attempt to silence critics of the liberal, big-government social agenda that is being forced on Americans. Those who dare speak up for traditional values are being attacked and this is just the latest of a series of incidents. The IRS knows that voter guides and legislative scorecards are a threat to the liberal establishment who wish to keep legislative activities within the politically elite circles. Conservative groups who provide these voter guides are seeking transparency and seek to hold lawmakers accountable. This is unacceptable to the IRS, they are afraid of an informed electorate, for they may cease to blindly follow the establishment’s agenda.
Under these proposed IRS regulations , groups such as the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and even the Illinois Family Institute would be prohibited from letting people know how their lawmakers voted. These same groups would also be prohibited from evaluating candidates based on their positions on issues such as life, marriage, and religious freedom.
If these restrictions are put into place, how would the citizens keep the government accountable?
If the IRS can by fiat silence those seeking to keep the government transparent and accountable, how long would it be before the government, through the IRS, attempts to do the same to churches? How long before the IRS decides that teaching about marriage is considered to be “political speech” and thus illegal for a church? It seems a stretch of the imagination to think of such events, but after all that we have seen over the last few years, is it really out of the question?
This past Wednesday, U.S. Representative Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-LA), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing with IRS Commissioner John Kroskin. The hearing focused on the ongoing investigation of IRS targeting, the newly proposed regulations concerning 501C3 and 501C4 groups, the backlog of applications for tax-exempt status, IRS responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and improper payments of tax credits.
Take ACTION: Click HERE to send an email or fax to your U.S. Representative to ask them to stop the IRS from implementing new rules to severely restrict the free speech rights of non-profit organizations like IFI.
More ACTION: The government has no business telling anyone that they cannot distribute information freely. This attempt by the IRS to silence conservative groups is yet another example of government overreach. We must take action and let the IRS know they are out of bounds and interfering with the right to free speech. We encourage you to read the sample letter below and consider copying and pasting it to the IRS Comment Site where it will be logged. Let your voice be heard.
I urge the IRS to reject proposed regulations found in REG-134417-13. It would restrict good citizenship by redefining all voter registration, non-partisan voter guides, legislative records, candidate debates or forums, get-out-the-vote reminders, even the mention of any issue that has been raised by a candidate as regulated political activity.
In addition, the proposed regulation will stifle the ability of non-profit groups to inform citizens about the Administration’s judicial and political appointments by redefining those nominees as political candidates. This provision of the proposal has nothing to do with accountability for election spending. It will however reduce the Administration’s accountability to the public. Citizens have the right to hear more than the Administration’s line regarding what philosophies, policies, agendas political appointees represent.
Most concerning, REG-134417-13 gives the appearance that the IRS is trying to adopt regulations to achieve the same goals that motivated it to hold-up granting the applications of conservative organizations and launch intrusive investigations of Tea Party applicants.
Click HERE to support Illinois Family Action (IFA).
Written by David E. Smith
Treasurer Dan Rutherford is being accused of sexual harassment by a male employee in his office. This same employee suggests that Rutherford has made unwanted sexual advances on other male employees in the Treasurer’s office as well. These allegations are deeply troubling and an indictment on his character, but Rutherford continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Yet, when considering that Rutherford voted as a state senator in 2005 to make homosexuality a civil right, then voted in 2010 to pass homosexual civil unions, and is on record saying he does not support a state marriage amendment — we are led to think that the unmarried Rutherford may not be completely forthcoming about his sexual proclivities.
Read more at IllinoisReview.com.
Written by Bob Unruh
Maybe the White House and the Internal Revenue Service have vastly different definitions of “smidgen.”
After all, in President Obama’s interview with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly this past Sunday, he said there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” linked to the IRS practice of discriminating against conservative and Christian organizations by delaying their applications for tax-exempt status.
The scandal is one of several plaguing the Obama administration over the last year or so. In it, the IRS grilled applicants for 501(c)4 status about the content of their prayers, asked them to make promises not to be involved in pro-life protests and made other legally questionable demands.
Hundreds of conservative and Christian organizations were affected.
The Thomas More Society, which broke the news with evidence that the IRS was harassing pro-life organizations, expressed shock that Obama would deny there was corruption in the targeting of conservatives.
“Thomas More Society has defended six pro-life organizations whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of the groups’ dedication to the sanctity of life,” said Peter Breen, senior counsel for the Chicago-based organization. “In fact, in May and August of 2013, Thomas More Society produced two memos to the House Committee on Ways and Means, totaling over 500 pages of evidence that the IRS specifically targeted and harassed pro-life and conservative charities, illegally questioning their religious activities and withholding their tax exemptions.
“Frankly, we are shocked that President Obama would state that there was ‘not even a smidgen of corruption’ involved in the IRS scandal,” he said. “The Obama administration must stop making excuses to cover up the IRS’ illegal activity and instead deal justly with the corruption and scandal that occurred.”
Obama claimed the IRS officials who targeted Christians and conservatives were simply confused about how to implement laws governing tax-exempt groups.
Obama described the IRS problem as “boneheaded decisions.”
Thomas More, however, has generated hundreds of pages of evidence of inappropriate behavior.
The group discovered one case in which the IRS withheld approval of a tax status application until all board members of an Ohio group stated that, under penalty of perjury, “they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood.”
Attorney Sally Wagenmaker, special counsel to the Thomas More Society, worked on a long list of such cases.
She described what appeared to be the “IRS’ disturbing ability” to stall and suppress applications.
In another case, the IRS wanted the content of volunteer prayer vigils before granting tax-exempt status.
Wagenmaker told WND in an interview that she encountered incorrect responses and inappropriate questions from the IRS, all the way up to actual hostility.
“I would certainly say there’s more than a smidgeon of corruption,” she said.
Whether there are problems because of corruption, incompetence or “because of something more nefarious,” there needs to be an investigation, she insisted.
She told WND she encountered one agent following a rule that had been dropped 20 years earlier, which she said could be argued to be incompetence. But the question is, who trained the agent and left him with the belief that a long-discontinued rule still was enforced?
Or is it, she wondered, “something more hostile?”
It was last May that the Thomas More Society provided more than 150 pages of evidence to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The documents detailed IRS misconduct in the cases of just three groups represented by the organization.
“In a series of questions penned by Exempt Organization Specialist Tyrone Thomas from the California office, the IRS asked a series of unwarranted questions ordering Christian Voices for Life without any foundation, to explain its content, message and prayers as if they were engaging in highly offensive or criminal behavior,” the report said.
Other badgering was reported by Daniel and Angela Michael of Small Victories, who reported calls from the IRS every two to three weeks over the course of 2011. That investigation was closed after no illegal activities were found.
Before Congress, Susan Martinek of the Coalition for Life of Iowa said her group was told to surrender First Amendment rights of assembly, free speech and religious expression by the IRS.
“In particular, the IRS wanted our assurances that we would not bother Planned Parenthood,” she said.
Throughout 2013, the Thomas More Society provided documentation on the targeting. As recently as August, hundreds of pages of documentation were provided to Congress.
At the time, Breen said: “We have now produced irrefutable evidence of six clients whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of their position upholding the sanctity of life. Even after public disclosure of this wrongdoing, the Obama administration’s IRS has refused to cease its illegal activity. We will continue to aid Congress in its investigation until those responsible are brought to justice and the IRS is made to respect every Americans’ constitutional rights.”
This article was originally posted at the WND.com blog.
Written by Dan Proft, IllinoisOpportunity.org
This week two Chicago Democrat politicians who are farther out over their skis than Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards ever was (I’ve got Winter Olympics fever) will tell us their version of the state of United States of America, and the state of the State of Illinois.
They will explain to us that with just a few structural tax increases, and a price control or two, we could be living in a modern Utopia not even H.G. Wells could have imagined.
These two Manchurian executives will promise fairness and equality. But all they really have to offer is the fool’s gold of resentment and entitlement.
Where did those two million jobs go since President Barack Obama took office? The one-percenters are hiding them in their yachts and Swiss bank accounts. Have an Obamaphone.
Where did the roughly 250,000 people who have left Illinois during Governor Pat Quinn’s five-year tenure go? The one-percenters are storing them in cryogenic chambers in a right-to-work state. How about a game of video poker?
The magnanimity of Messrs. Obama and Quinn for the other ninety-nine percent is mainly limited to Medicaid-coverage and a buck or two more per hour for the minimum wage jobs they don’t have.
Both gentlemen will tell us that their desire is to bring the working poor to middle-income level. They use the term “class” but I prefer to remember America as a non-caste experiment in self-governance.
Whose aspirations will not be addressed? Middle-income working families clutching their current lot, and those sacrificing to move up from there.
It is easy to dismiss even to denigrate Messrs. Obama and Quinn. Their performance has been miserable and their perfidy richly deserves it.
Yet, both were reelected when they should not have been. How did they do it? They preyed on the powerlessness felt by two-thirds of Americans who believe the distribution of income in our country is unfair.
A NBC/Wall Street Journal survey conducted this week finds 59 percent of Americans feel pessimistic or uncertain about the future.
Almost every survey of Illinois residents taken during the past five years has found upwards of 80% who believe Illinois is on the wrong track. Sadly, it is the remaining 20 percent who are mistaken.
With such distaste for the status quo, how are its beneficiaries able to perpetuate it?
Why does it seem the worse the people in charge make things, the better it gets politically for them?
If people are so gloomy, why don’t our fellow citizens get outraged, and fire the current crop of politicians by voting them out?
Philosopher Eric Hoffer explained this counterintuitive state of affairs six decades ago. In Hoffer’s book “The True Believer,” he posited that two conditions must be present for discontent to turn into demand for change.
First, the disaffected must feel a sense of power. They have to believe they are in control of their circumstances and can alter the course of their lives for the better.
“Those who are awed by their surroundings do not think of change, no matter how miserable their conditions,” wrote Hoffer. “When our mode of life is so precarious as to make it patent that we cannot control the circumstance of our existence, we tend to stick to the proven and familiar.”
This, according to Hoffer, explained why there exists “a conservatism of the destitute as profound as the conservatism of the privileged.” That is what our current rulers have reduced many of our fellow citizens to: destitute people who are afraid of change and cling to the little they have.
Relating this to Illinois, most voters simply do not believe House Speaker Mike Madigan can be deposed. Many voters also believe there is no real difference between the two political parties anyway. These opinions are held by many Illinoisans who also think Illinois is on the wrong track. When people are reduced to hopelessness, they are inclined to endure the proven and familiar kleptocratic political culture, as bad as it is. So they resort to the familiar refrain, “There’s nothing I can do about it except move.”
The second essential condition Hoffer described, particularly as it relates to those in positions of power, is faith in the future.
“Fear of the future causes us to lean against and cling to the present, while faith in the future renders us receptive to change,” Hoffer observed.
Hoffer noted the Industrial Revolution as such a time. The world was being transformed by new technology at a dizzying pace, and old sources of wealth were disappearing. But the rich of those days had immense faith in the possibilities the future. They were willing to risk the comfort and stability they knew.
Thus, the conservative response locally and nationally must focus on acceptance of responsibility rather than avoidance of blame. The recognition that those two are not synonymous would be revolutionary to our politics. Dispelling hopelessness and creating hope for the future means proposing good policies, explaining how these changes can improve our quality of life, and motivating people to take action.
Conservatives must really believe that the citizens of Illinois, and America, can take control of their destiny, and have hope for the future. They must really believe that the policies they propose will work, and will make Illinois and America lands of opportunity again. Only then will conservative reformers be able to inspire others to feel hope, and transition from passive discontent to active engagement to transform Illinois and America.
This article was originally posted at the IllinoisOpportunity.org blog.
Written by Doug Ibendahl
There’s a certain long-time best-seller out there which famously claims: “No man can serve two masters . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Assuming that claim is true, Bruce Rauner strikes me as a guy who got in line for mammon, and then went back for seconds.
Full disclaimer here in the interest of not arousing the stable of attorneys Rauner Inc. likely has on retainer. I know absolutely nothing about Mr. Rauner’s religious beliefs and/or lack thereof.
No one is saying Rauner is a bad person because he’s rich. On the contrary. America became a superpower because we rightly encourage success. “A rising tide lifts all boats” and all of that. I have an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago. I get it.
But the fatal problem for Rauner’s gubernatorial ambitions is the irreconcilable disconnect between the way he made his money and the main theme of his campaign.
Rauner has declared war on the “union bosses” and talks about how public pension liabilities are bankrupting our state. That’s all well and good. Much of what Rauner says isn’t wrong. He is after all just parroting some obvious truths that a lot of people have been saying for many years.
But whether it’s realized in March or November, Rauner’s campaign is doomed because in the end there could scarcely be a worse face for pension reform than a guy who has made millions and millions of dollars from the same pension system he now bashes.
Rauner’s campaign is absurd at the core. I suspect every serious journalist knows it, but their employers want to shear the sheep, not kill it. It’s not every day a billionaire throws this kind of ad spending around.
It’s simply not credible for Rauner to criticize worker payouts when Rauner I would guess has personally made more from the Illinois pension system (via very generous management fees) than any 100 state workers combined. And that’s a conservative guess.
If you want to make a fortune managing pension funds, great, have at it. But don’t expect people to take you seriously as a pension reformer. You really can’t do both.
Rauner’s response is that his management compensation is deserved because he “did a good job” by delivering above-market returns. I’m skeptical of that claim, but in any case why wouldn’t any pensioner simply say the same thing? How does Rauner respond to the state worker who says, “I deserve my pension because I did wonderful work and provided excellent value while employed by the state?”
And while it’s certainly true public pensions are too generous for many, I’m pretty sure we’ll never find a state worker owning several million-dollar-plus homes and two large western ranches like Rauner.
Rauner is bad for the GOP because if he’s our standard bearer he’ll make all Republicans look like arrogant hypocrites.
The other big problem I have with Rauner is his documented dishonesty. Back in September we provedhow Rauner has been dishonest about the extent of his financial contributions to Democrats. In the past Rauner tried to blame his wife, a hard-core Democrat, for some of his contributions. But the reports on file with the Federal Election Commission speak for themselves. There is no ambiguity.
If Rauner can’t be honest about even the simple stuff in the public record, how can we ever trust him on the complicated stuff?
And then there are the pay-to-play concerns which aren’t going away. A company partially owned by Rauner’s firm GTCR, LLC (Rauner is the “R” in the firm name) had the now-imprisoned Stuart Levine on its payroll for $25,000-a-month when the Teachers Retirement System (“TRS”) awarded a $50 million investment contract to GTCR in May of 2003. Levine was also sitting on the board of TRS at the same time. The fact that Rauner still seems unconcerned about Levine’s obscene conflict of interest at that time is yet another red flag. (Rauner left GTCR in 2012 in advance of his gubernatorial run.)
In a curious twist, GTCR’s proposal was tabled by TRS in February of 2003 when the one GTCR representative sent to pitch the board dropped the ball under aggressive questioning by Levine. Three months later, three GTCR representatives, including Rauner, show up at the board meeting and GTCR is awarded the $50 million deal. It’s been reported that Levine was mostly quiet at this second meeting.
Rauner now says he’s never met Levine and he “doesn’t know him.”
Is this what the Illinois Republican Party needs right now, a Clintonesque standard-bearer? Are we really going to be asked to get-out-the-vote for a guy who wants to quibble over what the meaning of the word “met” is?
At a minimum we know that Levine was present as a TRS board member when Rauner made a presentation to that board in May of 2003. That is a fact, and it is undisputed.
Just last week Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Rauner still refuses to explain “how and why Mr. Levine made $25,000 a month trying to get government business for a company owned in part by Mr. Rauner.”
And serious questions about pay-to-play aren’t limited to Illinois. Rauner contributed a total of $300,000 to Democrat Ed Rendell’s 2002 campaign for governor of Pennsylvania. The contributions came after Rendell travelled to Chicago to personally meet with Rauner in 2001.
GTCR was already managing $110 million in pension funds for the State Employee Retirement System. But after Rendell became governor, Pennsylvania doubled its stake in GTCR funds to $226 million which meant at least $4 million more in management fees to Rauner’s firm.
Rauner now claims his support for Rendell was entirely based on Rendell being an education reformer.
Not only has Rendell always been publicly opposed to school choice (vouchers)(also see here), but as governor Rendell even vetoed a bipartisan education bill, solely because one of its provisions might have given a tax break to some charter-school real estate. Rendell’s stance on public education was in fact embodied by a record of throwing more money at the status-quo. Rendell is your quintessential big-city liberal. He’s proud of it and doesn’t try to pretend otherwise.
I’m guessing there will be more questions about more deals involving Rauner before this thing is over. Some Republicans may want to slack on the vetting but the Democrats certainly won’t.
No amount of money spent on cutesy ads can turn Rauner into a reformer. In fact Rauner reaches a saturation level at some point – if he hasn’t already – where every ad becomes just another reminder that this Chicago billionaire and buddy of Rahm Emanuel is trying to buy-up our Republican Party home like it was just another underpriced distressed asset for the GTCR portfolio.
Is Rauner less honest or trustworthy than the three other highly disappointing candidates in the GOP field?
But as the newbie on the Republican block who wants to use our ballot line after years of funding liberal Democrats, Rauner should be doing it twice as clean as the other guys.
Some polls have Rauner running ahead for the GOP nomination. He’s helped by having three lackluster opponents with little money and even less vision. It’s very sad that with a few million Republicans in Illinois we couldn’t field a decent leader.
It remains to be seen whether enough Republicans in this state have the fortitude to look beyond the dollar signs Rauner has put before their eyes.
But one thing is for certain, the Democrats won’t be so easily duped by a self-described travelling salesman who decided to run as a Republican this time.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.
This article was originally posted at the RepublicanNewsWatch.com blog.