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Oppo dump

Monday, Feb 11, 2013

* Robin Kelly has been making a lot of political hay over the gun issue, but she’s now taking some flak for not doing something that pretty much nobody else did in the previous decade

But is Kelly, a former state rep, as pure on the gun issue as she’s trumpeting?

Records show that when Kelly was chief of staff to then-Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, more than $7 million in pension money was invested with Alliant Tech Systems, the world’s largest ammunition manufacturer, which supplies Wal-Mart and Cabela’s with ammunition as well as a small investment into Smith & Wesson, a top gun manufacturer.

The investment is a drop in the bucket when considering the billions of dollars in Illinois pension funds, and Kelly’s campaign says she was far removed from making such a decision. […]

Another opponent, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, who changed her position on an assault weapons ban — now supporting one — asked why Kelly, who claims to have played a major role in directing policy under Giannoulias, didn’t urge against investing in weapons manufacturers when she was in a position to do so.

“Robin Kelly was the senior-most staffer in an office and . . . didn’t lift a finger to stop the state from sending millions of dollars to gun and ammunition manufacturers,” Hutchinson said. “She has repeatedly claimed to be an advocate for regular families and a fighter on guns . . . but she sent our tax dollars to the very gun manufacturers she says she’s been fighting for years.”

The Illinois State Board of Investment manages the investment of pension assets for the General Assembly, and the state treasurer is an ex-officio member of the board.

The irony of Hutchinson’s attack is more than just a little obvious.

* In other gun-related news

A Mike Bloomberg-funded super PAC is about to surpass $1 million in ads in a House special primary election in Illinois, lambasting former Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson over her high marks from the National Rifle Association.

In a new spot out Monday, the group laces into Halvorson for her A+ rating from the NRA and her opposition to an assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 and which some gun-control advocates are looking to restore.

* The ad

* Meanwhile, I doubt that this endorsement will make a huge difference, but I guess one never knows

Robin Kelly, candidate for Illinois’ second Congressional district, was endorsed by Congressmen Bobby Rush and Danny Davis at a press conference this afternoon.

“Our communities are facing an epidemic of gun violence, and we need more members of Congress who can be trusted to fight for common sense gun control measures. Robin Kelly is a woman of integrity and conviction, and President Obama, Congressman Davis and I need her as our partner in ending gun violence,” said Congressman Bobby Rush.

“Robin Kelly has the kind of pragmatism that you need to get results in Washington, while never compromising her beliefs like many do. If we are going to stop the NRA in their tracks, and make our communities safe again, Robin Kelly is the right woman for the job,” said Congressman Danny Davis.

* And the Tribune’s endorsement probably won’t have much sway, either

Of the 16 Democrats on the ballot, Robin Kelly, 56, of Matteson is best suited for the job. The Tribune endorses her in the Democratic primary.

Kelly worked for the village of Matteson, served two terms in the Illinois House, oversaw the office of former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and served as an administrative chief for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. In each role, Kelly brought integrity and pragmatism.

She is not a show-boater. She won’t dazzle you with ebullience. She doesn’t grandstand. She just works hard.

In the Illinois House, she was the chief sponsor of a bill that encourages businesses to grow and expand. That program, known as the EDGE tax credit, is one of the state’s most popular tools to give small- and medium-sized businesses incentives to stay in Illinois. She was the chief sponsor of legislation that cracked down on illegal firearm sales, and she worked on economic development issues, including construction of a third airport.

The Tribune relentlessly attacked Giannoulias for months over the way he ran his office. I guess that war is now passé since he lost to Mark Kirk.

* Related…

* Forum draws interest of airport, Illiana foes

* 2nd Congressional District primary: Front-runners attempt to set themselves apart: But the crowded stage offered little room for any of the hopefuls to distinguish themselves prior to the Feb. 26 primary, as responses were often brief and superficial because of time limits.

* Debate over guns takes center stage in Illinois special election

* Early voting begins in race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - bored now - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 9:36 am:

    how the mighty have fallen. toi out-right lies in her claim: “she sent our tax dollars to the very gun manufacturers she says she’s been fighting for years.”

    toi isn’t stupid. she knows that robin didn’t have a say in where the money was invested. those decisions were made by professionals, something that progressives not only value but promote. it just goes to show how far toi has moved away from the values *she* used to claim as she has moved closer and closer to the people, positions and tactics of the machine. smh. who would have thought that toi hutchinson would be the person who would say anything — even lie — to win…

  2. - Downstate - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 9:40 am:

    I was wondering why you haven’t covered the Republicans running for this race. Then I had an “Oh. Never mind.” moment. A quick search showed that in the Presidential election, no Republican has ever won more than 15% of the vote in this congressional district.

  3. - so... - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 9:42 am:

    Speaking as an oppo researcher, this is one of the most ridiculous hits that I’ve seen in a long time.

    Let’s follow Sen. Hutchinson’s chain of logic. Robin Kelly was the Chief of Staff to Alexi Giannoulias, who was an ex-officio member of the Illinois State Board of Investments, which made some incredibly small investments in arms manufacturers.

    Robin Kelly couldn’t tell Giannoulias what to do, and even if she could, Giannoulias was only one member of the state board that actually made the investments.

    We’re in six degrees of Kevin Bacon territory here.

  4. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 9:50 am:

    Bankrupt Tribbies citing Robin’s work for ‘Lexi is the funniest thing they have written in a long, long time…rememeber how they made a Class X felony out some car that was paid for with College Savings cash?
    Tribbie circulation has to be about 30 copies
    Wonder which edit board brainstormer penned this opus?

  5. - The Captain - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    Did the Trib call up Mark Kirk and get his OK before making that endorsement or are they breaking with tradition there too?

  6. - Montrose - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    I think Toi’s claim is the type of argument that just proves Robin is squeaky clean on the gun issue. Clearly, Toi’s research shows that focusing on guns is having an impact. If I were Robin, I would keep hammering away. With only two weeks to election day, there is not much space for any other issue to get traction.

  7. - bored now - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    i’d take it a little further, montrose. toi’s research most have shown that robin is the front-runner (or why attack her?) *and* that robin’s integrity is her greatest asset. next thing you know, toi will blame robin for the 3rd airport not being built and/or the widespread corruption in chicago heights and sauk village…

  8. - so... - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    One other thing worth noting that isn’t in the Sun Times article - The awful, horrible, no-good investment in Alliant Techsystems was made BEFORE Giannoulias took office and Kelly became his Chief of Staff.

    See the 2006 ISBI Annual Report -

    Page 63 - Alliant Techsystems - 126,700 shares, valued at $9,673,545

    If anything Hutchinson should be THANKING Kelly. Once Alexi and Kelly took office, the investment in Alliant shrank considerably.

    As of June 30, 2007 ISBI’s investment in Alliant had shrunk to 75,176 shares valued at $7,453,700 (

    As of June 30, 2008, the ISBI investment in Alliant was valued at a mere $53,585 (

    As of June 30, 2009 the investment was worth $109,292 (

    As of June 30, 2010 the investment was worth $113,384 (

    So, under Kelly and Giannoulias’ tenure, the ISBI’s investment in Alliant shrunk from $9,673,545 to $113,384 - at 98.8% reduction.

  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    Only a couple of weeks left. Is the NRA going to continue to allow their A+ candidate take this pounding unanswered?

    With a buck-twelve and an NRA A+ rating, any candidate can get a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.

  10. - walkinfool - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    “dump” being the operative word

  11. - walkinfool - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    The three-horse race seems to be getting very close.

    Who’s got the better field/GOTV set up?

  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    what do these people that support gun divestment think boeing sells?,_Space_%26_Security

  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    This is going to be interesting to watch unfold.

  14. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:44 am:

    “person who would say anything — even lie — to win…”

    And Bloomberg’s advertising blitz is truthful?

  15. - Endangered Moderate Species - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    Most of us know the claim by Hutchinson is over the top, but it does put Kelly on the defensive for the first time in this race.

    She will have to spend some energy explaining to some voters the workings of the pension investment process.

    This doesn’t hurt Hutchinson. Some of this mud may actually stick to the wall.

  16. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    After seeing so…’s research, it will not be long before the fact checks start rolling out on this one.

    I do not know what to call a 98.8% reduction, but it clearly constitutes more than lifting a finger.

    Perhaps using both hands?

  17. - bored now - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    Endangered Moderate Species: i seriously doubt that this puts robin on the defensive. unless toi puts money behind these falsehoods, it won’t change many votes in the 2nd (if the article gets printed in the southtown, it would have more of an impact)…

  18. - J - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    Will knows his stuff, this probably was the only way to try to fight the gun issue to a draw for Toi.

    I’m not saying it will work, but it’s clearly a smarter move than anything Debbie’s tossing out.

  19. - Jaded - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Kinda hard to imagine that the only important issue in a district that stretches from Hyde Park past Herscher (which is crazy in and of itself) is gun control. Maybe somebody should ask the candidates how many gun control measures they think they’ll be voting on in the next two years in the Republican controlled House.

  20. - Endangered Moderate Species - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 11:39 am:

    Jaded @ 11:35 AM This is the only wedge issue that has emerged from this race. On other issues, the candidates are nearly indistinguishable.

  21. - wndycty - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    Jaded you may also want to watch the forums where they have discussed those other issues. If the candidates are very close on the other issues the one issue where there are stark differences will get the attention.

  22. - Archiesmom - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    I think walkinfool has it pegged - who’s going to be able to get out their vote? Only Kelly and Hutchinson seem to have to money and staff to make a major push. In the past Halvorson has been able to do a great grassroots GOTV, but she’s also had a lot of union support, which this time has gone to Hutchinson. Hutchinson also has those Chicago pastors, and they may make a big difference. Kelly has endorsements, but I’m not sure they matter unless those people are motivated to go vote because of them — and Rush and Davis sure won’t help in the areas outside Chicago, which are the areas where the most vote concentrates. It’s going to be a real horse race for the next two weeks.

  23. - Responsa - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    ==This is the only wedge issue that has emerged from this race. On other issues, the candidates are nearly indistinguishable.==

    That statement alone should horrify voters, political onlookers, and the candidates themselves. This race is for a seat in the U.S. congress and to be one of 435 people whose votes help shape our nation. With the myriad domestic and international issues facing our nation –that the candidates are seen to have “indistinguisable” positions thus far is not reassuring. Perhaps the media and the candidates themselves could (and should) help some other issues to emerge.

  24. - DoubleDown - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    If anyone is interested this is a youtube video regarding the forum in Peotone on Saturday, February 9, 2013

  25. - ArchPundit - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:59 pm:

    ===Did the Trib call up Mark Kirk and get his OK before making that endorsement or are they breaking with tradition there too?

    Nah, him and Bruce Dold have a mind meld.

  26. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:23 pm:

    When is this election????? Not soon enough for most…

  27. - Just Observing - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    === “Robin Kelly… didn’t lift a finger to stop the state from sending millions of dollars to gun and ammunition manufacturers,” Hutchinson said. “she sent our tax dollars to the very gun manufacturers she says she’s been fighting for years.” ===

    Buying stocks isn’t the same thing as giving money to a company. If the stocks were bought on the open market, for the most part, only the current stock holder (which likely wasn’t the gun manufacturers) benefits.

    Additionally, these are the companies that supply our police and military… if Toi was being genuine, she would call for a prohibition on purchasing all new weapons for police and military.

  28. - wndycty - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    Daily Kos, just went there. Accused Toi of not supporting the banning of puppy mills.

  29. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    If anyone is interested this is a youtube video regarding the forum in Peotone on Saturday, February 9, 2013

    5 views as of 3:34 today.

  30. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 5:39 pm:

    Wow–some pretty hefty endorsements for Robin. Coupled with the daily TV commercial Halvorson-bashing going on with the anti-NRA SuperPacs, maybe things ARE going her way. But ya just can’t count Sen. Hutchinson, or even Ms. Halvorson for that matter yet–’cuz it’ll all be about turnout for these candidates, and if their hefty Supporters come through not only with words, but VOTERS at the Polls!

  31. - Archiesmom - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 6:10 pm:

    Kos really will do anything to try and get Robin Kelly elected, won’t he? Guess he remembers the Brady puppy killer ads. But in this case, he’s tarring Toi with a very nasty brush — not only has she voted for legislation against puppy mills, she is a huge animal lover and certainly would be a supporter of properly crafted anti-cruelty leglslation. She and her family share their home with a former shelter dog, as well. This is just a cheap shot.

  32. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 7:06 pm:

    “The Tribune relentlessly attacked Giannoulias for months over the way he ran his office.”

    The G-man deserved every shot they took and even more. I’ve never seen a more corrupt individual in Illinois politics — and this guy is only 35.

    For what it’s worth, I am a Democrat that gladly voted in every Democratic primary but not for G.

  33. - Kasich Walker, Jr - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 8:26 pm:

    CredoSuperPac is asking its supporters to kick in $$ to knock H&H.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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