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Proft busts the cap in Sandack, Pihos races

Friday, Mar 14, 2014

* I told subscribers about this yesterday. Daily Herald

Campaign spending by conservative talk show host Dan Proft’s Liberty Principles committee has exceeded $200,000 in two DuPage County Illinois House races, a huge amount in races for seats at the Statehouse.

Proft has been backing teacher Keith Matune of Downers Grove against state Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove and attorney Peter Breen of Lombard against state Rep. Sandra Pihos of Glen Ellyn.

Proft filed letters in each race Thursday saying his committee had spent more than $100,000 on mail and other advertising in each race, an amount that lets the candidates raise money above typical Illinois contribution limits.

Taking limits off with a few days before Tuesday’s primary might not matter much, but it shows how heated the two races have become.

* In related news, Eric Zorn wonders whether Proft, as a WLS radio host, should be so involved in these campaigns

WLS-AM morning co-host Dan Proft and I are mixing it up on Facebook. I started the tiff with this observation.

Does anybody else think it’s weird that WLS-AM host Dan Proft is funneling money into political races through his PAC? I realize talk hosts aren’t journalists, but neither are they supposed to have skin in these games.

Proft fired back:

This will no doubt come as a surprise to you, Eric, but I didn’t renounce my American citizenship when I became a talk show host. Therefore, I can participate in politics like anyone else and, as an American and an Illinoisan, I most definitely have skin in the game. Further, I am not sure of the talk show hosts you listen to, whether on radio or TV, but picking candidates and picking sides is a positively pedestrian occurrence on the airwaves just as it is with the Tribune editorial board.

As other readers joined the conversation, I replied:

Dan Proft can go on the air for four hours every morning and talk up his point of view about a campaign. There’s a big difference between that, in my mind, however, and being the money man for that campaign. To my mind, listeners and readers ought to demand disinterested commentators, commentators whose point of view isn’t tainted by the hint of financial conflicts. This has nothing to do with anyone’s rights as a citizen or with newspaper endorsements.

He came back:

Zorn, you not only assume facts not in evidence, the facts in evidence address your concern. I disclose any even perceived conflict and trust listeners to make up their own minds, judge the information as they see fit.

And I am not certain where this woozy dreamland of untainted, disinterested commentators with pristine points-of-views exists but I know it’s not in Chicago–and I’ll hasten to add a substantial percentage of the so-called “objective” journalists to my sarcasm for good measure.

More here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


51 Comments
  1. - Priceless... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    Proft is not a stupid person…just a duplicitous one who happens to also be a great con man.


  2. - The Bill Collector - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    Dan, there is a price to be paid for insolence. Your bill is coming due.


  3. - Bill White - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    “The Priceless is right” — Too good to pass on that one

    Anyway, Team Sandack could spend $500,000

    Totals:
    $ 9K spent 3Q 2013
    $ 16K spent 4Q 2013
    $135K cash on hand Jan 1st
    $138K raised since Jan 1st - excluding donations under $1000

    $200K spent by HRO ($168K) & IL Unity PAC ($32K)

    Unless Sandack plans to hold cash for November we are right there at $500K

    http://www.elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/CommitteeDetail.aspx?id=23792


  4. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    After reading about this race, I won’t even attempt a balanced analysis of it. The whole thing is disgusting and Mr. Proft has pushed the envelope of decency beyond my ability to do so. I won’t defend his actions, or spin them. His support of Mr. Matune discredits him completely. You don’t endorse or support a guy like that, even if he ends up winning. Mr. Proft needs to be willing to defend himself in his support of this unqualified and certified-as-a-public-nuisance individual. Proft debases politics, which needs all the help it can get.


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    Meh, Zorn shouldn’t be so worried.

    When your show is the weak sister in the lineup of the 27th-place Chicago radio station in the ratings, are you really a radio host?

    But just think of what someone who knew what they were doing could have done with that Uihlein dough.


  6. - Upon Further Review - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    I sometimes listen to WLS and the morning show with Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft. It is not my favorite because, as the most profitable radio program for the station, it is loaded with commercial interruptions. That being said, I have yet to hear Proft or Wolf mention either of these two races. Usually the discussions are about national politics or Chicago politics.


  7. - Knome Sane - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    Rest assured, gentle readers, that if there was a liberal alter ego of Dan Proft who had access to gobs of money to spend from his liberal wealthy benefactors on political races in Illinois, conservative Dan Proft would have to be hospitalized for conniption.


  8. - justsayin' - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    Proft has left himself open to attack with his candidate Matune’s lies about his criminal record. Will Matune be prosecuted now for lying on his teacher’s application. It makes one wonder how much political cash Proft brings to WLS that they would allow him to put the station in the middle of this mess and will he be allowed to continue?


  9. - justsayin' - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    Of interest is Proft’s complete backpedal with Carol Marin. After sending out the crazy mailings for Matune with the not veiled gay references he then says he is not a gay basher and has supported candidates that support same sex marriage. Has anyone asked him which candidates he was talking about?


  10. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    I think a case can be made that Proft’s airtime amounts to an in-kind donation to his candidates. I suspect that part of the understanding when Proft is hired is that he’ll be talking up his clients on air. I don’t know whether that represents any campaign finance legal issues or whether it needs to be disclosed, but it gives his candidates a big advantage.


  11. - Knome Sane - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    =Has anyone asked him which candidates he was talking about?=

    Apparently Dan Proft would prefer a thrice arrested check bouncing trespasser prone to indecent exposure to a legislator who voted for same sex marriage. Interesting.


  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    ===I think a case can be made that Proft’s airtime amounts to an in-kind donation to his candidates===

    Maybe if he talks about them. Maybe.


  13. - Walker - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Everyone seems to be focused on Matune. An easy target.

    Breen’s the dangerous one. He borrows religious credibility, while promulgating falsehoods. You can always count on him to misrepresent what is actually in a bill. I’m no Pihos fan, but she has integrity. She tells the truth as she sees it, and walks her own talk.


  14. - State employee - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    Other issues aside, kudos to both men for proper use of the word “disinterested.”


  15. - Commonsense in Illinois - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    WLS is missing some billable air time…


  16. - Bill White - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    I agree with Walker

    All this focus on Sandack-Matune has left Sandra Pihos hanging out to dry.


  17. - Knome Sane - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    =Breen’s the dangerous one.=

    With Breen, it’s caveat emptor. Voters will have to decide if they like his brand of kookieness over Pihos’ record.

    With Matune, it’s “given all his baggage, why is he even on the ballot”?


  18. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    –I sometimes listen to WLS and the morning show with Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft. It is not my favorite because, as the most profitable radio program for the station, it is loaded with commercial interruptions.–

    You have no idea what you’re talking about.

    The locally produced shows are dogs. They practically give time away on them.

    Rush, Savage and Levin are the shows keeping them in business. But WLS-AM is in a lot of trouble. Read Robert Feder and check the Abitrons.


  19. - Palm Tree - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    Zorn prints his left wing opinion in the newspaper and on a newspaper website. Proft spews his right wing opinion on the radio.

    Reasonable people shouldn’t give any weight to either one.


  20. - Frank - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    Proft surrendered every ounce of credibility he ever had the second he took dime one out of that cesspool in Cicero.


  21. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    ===Zorn prints his left wing opinion in the newspaper and on a newspaper website. Proft spews his right wing opinion on the radio.===

    As far as I know, unlike Proft, Zorn isn’t being paid by any candidates. This isn’t a case of “both sides do it” false equivalence. Proft is a hired gun who runs his own PAC. Zorn has been writing in the Tribune on a variety of topics as his primary profession for more than 20 years.

    Reasonable people understand the difference between opinion and paid political advocacy.


  22. - Oneman - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Meh….

    It isn’t like Zorn is neutral in his viewpoints.

    As for the ratings, yeah read your Feeder

    http://www.robertfeder.com/2013/11/29/radio-ratings-v103-on-top-again/

    They are tied for 5th with Lynn Brehmer on XRT


  23. - Knome Sane - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    I listen to Bruce and Dan occasionally but Proft’s nasally whiny voice and throat clearing usually grates on me pretty quickly. So I end up abandoning them after a few minutes.

    And Bruce Wolf breaks my heart. The old “Chet Chitchat” never came across as an arch-conservative on Johnny B’s show. I suspect he acts this way for a paycheck.

    Although, the good news is: Johnny B and Buzz Kilman are back on Chicago airwaves, 88.7 at the end of the dial in the 6-9 slot.


  24. - Big Muddy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Even if, and that’s a big if, Proft wins the primary battle he will lose the war in November. Matune is unelectable now. Madigan knows that and with a few Shekels he can buy himself a new seat should Matune get thru the primary. So in Proft’s march for purity he damages the overall party numbers in the caucus all while drawing the coffers down. Short-sighted, intellectually shallow thinking dope is about as kind as I can be to Proft.


  25. - Greg - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    State Sen. Dan Patrick in Houston, TX still hosts a radio show in KSEV AM in Texas. He’s currently in a run off for the GOP Lt. Gov. slot. He’s probably not the only active politically active talk radio host. I bet Abdul Hakim Shabazz (fmr. WMAY Host in Spfld. is active locally in Indy — just not to the extent of these two).

    I don’t think this that unheard of…

    FYI… Dan Patrick makes Dan Proft look moderate.


  26. - Knome Sane - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    =FYI… Dan Patrick makes Dan Proft look moderate=

    Don’t kid yourself. Dan Proft is for Dan Proft, that’s it, plain and simple. There is no real ideology behind his moves, just retribution and self interest. The rest is just for show.


  27. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    Knome Sane,

    I generally agree with you about Dan, but I do believe there is an ideological frame as well. Dan is a conservative radical who would like to blow everything up. The fact that it helps his self-interest as well is important.

    BTW, it is completely unseemly what he’s doing, but we long ago threw out the rather naive notions that Zorn is espousing. I mean, anybody watched Fox News…ever.


  28. - Knome Sane - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    =but I do believe there is an ideological frame as well. Dan is a conservative radical who would like to blow everything up.=

    I could see how you might reach that conclusion. But I firmly believe Dan Proft found an angle to exploit for his own benefit and walked a path that leads to scaring seniors, exploiting the low information voters and fleecing wealthy conservatives.

    Don’t believe me? Then why did he hook his wagon to Larry Dominick of Cicero? Larry Dominick is not known for his conservatives chops. Pork chops, maybe. Conservative chops? Not so much.


  29. - Johnny Q. Suburban - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    I know politics breeds self-righteousness, but Proft puts everyone else to shame when it comes to being self-righteous.


  30. - too obvious - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    Has Dan Proft ever won a race beyond the one for his pal Larry Dominick, the piggish Town President of Cicero? If he does win one of the current races will the winners be expected to get Dan hundreds of thousands of dollars in no-bid government contracts like Dominick did?

    Only in Illinois would a guy like Proft not be laughed off the stage. If Dan’s about good government I’m the starting center for the Bulls.


  31. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Proft’s intellect certainly puts Zorn’s to shame. I’ve dealt with both in a professional capacity. Zorn (and Marin for that matter) may share perspective with many in the scribe business, but are very unpopular with colleagues. Proft is inherently more honest than Zorn in what he advocates. Zorn is a slightly more intelligent, slightly less arrogant Judy Markey from the olden days of print and mic. Whatever your view of Proft is, don’t concede any credibility to Zorn. Mark Brown is more honest. In fact, everyone in the media is more honest than Zorn.


  32. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    === wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    Meh, Zorn shouldn’t be so worried.

    When your show is the weak sister in the lineup of the 27th-place Chicago radio station in the ratings, are you really a radio host?====
    What you’ve written here Word is absolutely false. I haven’t known you to do that before.


  33. - Tony Strupac - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    = is inherently more honest than Zorn in what he advocates.=

    Dan Proft aligns himself with that bastion of good government Larry Dominick and this makes him honest? How? “A guy” should change his handle to “an apologist”.


  34. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Tony Strupac. The point is you know enough about this to make your comment. You know everything about who Proft is, what his politics are, are where he’s coming from. Your foolish comment about the “apologist” is noted. One thing no one on here would ever argue with is “Proft does not need an apologist”. Nice visiting with you.


  35. - Tony Strupac - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    “a guy”

    I guess you and I disagree on the definition of the word “honest”.


  36. - Newsclown - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    I really want to know: does WLS pay Proft to do his show, or does Proft pay WLS for the air time? Like that guy that was on WIND or whatever.Or the guys that have shows on WLS on the weekends.


  37. - Newsclown - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Ikeep asking this but I really want to know: does WLS pay Proft to do his show, or does Proft pay WLS for the air time? Like that guy that was on WIND or whatever.Or the guys that have shows on WLS on the weekends.


  38. - Wensicia - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    ==In fact, everyone in the media is more honest than Zorn.==

    Biased much?

    This is the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever seen.


  39. - SonofSuperAbe2014 - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Dan Proft will throw Matune to the sidelines win or lose. Matune does not have the brain power to realize he was simply a useful idiot. Matune’s career and family are in jeopardy and the little devil on his shoulder telling him all is fine is Cicero Dan


  40. - shore - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    it’s not a smart career move. It’s a pretty liberal market and a lot of their “fans” are suburban griswald do-right listeners. I’m not sure mathune is in line with that.

    On the other hand, the city tv media is in the tank for the 5th floor and no one has a problem with it.


  41. - justsayin' - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Newsclown I have thought that myself. RIchard Uihlein pays for Joe Walsh’s show on WIND. Uihlein is the man who is lining Proft’s pockets - all the cash in his failed bid for office and all the $1.5 million this time and last for his Liberty Principles PAC. If memory serves, Dan was pushed up the food chain quickly at WLS from weekends. Cisco Cotto was fired and told it was not revenue or ratings. So was it money from Uihlein?


  42. - Big Muddy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Rich, any recent polls in the 81st? Haven’t seen one in a while…


  43. - Johnnie F. - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    I moderately enjoyed Don and Roma. They would at least take calls and hear opposing views. Now, the show is nothing more than an infomercial for the IPI…monologued by a couple of one-dimesionable government worker bashing harpies. I long for traffic and
    weather on the 5’s for at least some important discussion not skewed by the IPI agenda.


  44. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    ==== Wensicia - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    ==In fact, everyone in the media is more honest than Zorn.==

    Biased much?

    This is the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever seen.=====
    Not biased at all. Ask his colleagues. Especially ask his former colleagues. He’s a mook.


  45. - justsayin' - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    Johnnie makes an excellent point. Uihlein is the biggest funder of the IPI and I know IPI is a sponsor. So basically this is a time buy?


  46. - Wensicia - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 4:43 pm:

    As I said, a biased opinion. I respect Zorn’s integrity over the likes of Proft. If he’s wrong, he’s always quick to publicly recant his words.


  47. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Sure he does. He just never thinks he’s wrong.


  48. - Rhino Slider - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 4:58 pm:

    This seems strange to me because it seems like a general consensus that the main stream media has a strong liberal bias. I have always thought of Zorn as very liberal. So indeed he is not directly supporting a candidate, it seems similar.

    I think Proft will run out of Uihlein’s money soon anyway.


  49. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 5:07 pm:

    –This seems strange to me because it seems like a general consensus that the main stream media has a strong liberal bias.–

    I always ask: Who’s the mainstream media?

    Day in and day out, the Wall Street Journal is the best newspaper in the United States. They have an edge on their edit pages that doesn’t necessarily reflect their reporting.

    Are they not mainstream?


  50. - MrJM - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 5:11 pm:

    I like Zorn and loathe Proft, but I gotta credit both for attaching their names to their political points of view.

    – MrJM


  51. - Wensicia - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 5:12 pm:

    BTW,I disagreed with Zorn on this matter. My post on Zorn’s Facebook:

    “I don’t see Proft as a journalist or a legitimate representative of WLS. He’s an entertainer, a la Rush Limbaugh, so his Pac activities don’t concern me. If people are stupid enough to assume he legitimately represents the media, that’s their problem.”


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