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Question of the day

Monday, Jul 7, 2014

* From a Better Government Association investigation

Both [of Rep. Thaddeus Jones’ campaign committees] have reported dozens of expenditures – a total of 90 to be exact – at a south suburban Hooters, part of a national restaurant chain known for outfitting waitresses in tight-fitting tank tops and bright orange short shorts.

In all, Jones’ political committees have spent nearly $8,800 since 2009 at the Hooter’s in Lansing, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections, the state agency that collects data from campaign funds.

Other elected officials and political committees over the years have reported spending money at the chain, which describes itself online as “delightfully tacky” but declined comment for this story.

Recently, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin’s political committee spent a total of $158 last March on two separate occasions at a Hooters in Downers Grove.

“I can guarantee you it wasn’t me,” Durkin says. “It’s embarrassing, but I let some staffers who volunteered use my [credit] card. . . . I would hope they would go somewhere a little more wholesome.”

A Board of Elections expenditure search reveals 145 total campaign committee expenditures by all Illinois campaigns at a Hooters restaurant for a total of $16,412.89 dating back to 1999. Jesse White and Pate Philip spent money at the restaurant chain years ago.

* The Question: Do you think politicians should avoid spending campaign money at Hooters? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey services

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wndycty - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    What I want to know if $8,800 in food & beverage charged to the campaign since 2009 is out of whack, if it isn’t then this is a non controversy.

  2. - BigDoggie - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Agree with wndycty regarding the amount for Jones. But who cares if someone goes to Hooters? It’s not a strip club - there are families eating in there. In my opinion, the quality of the food there is more offensive than the theme.

  3. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    I was at a Hooter’s in Peoria last fall and they had a girl’s 10th birthday party there. they even did a hoola hoop contest and some customer tipped the birthday girl $5 for hooping the longest. I was in shock. but i guess the parents were fine with it.

    point being if I witnessed that, then a campaign spending money there does not bother me. they serve food. plenty of other sports bars have servers in limited forms of clothing as well. Golden Corral and Cracker Barrel would be just as weird to me.

  4. - Jose Abreu's next homer - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    BGA should be investigating why Chris Sale is not on the All Star roster. Who cares if somebody or a group dines at Hooters. The wings are worth it and the crab legs are very good.

  5. - walker - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    Oh the shame!
    Eating at a national restaurant chain with such a name!

    Who cares? I hope they have better places to eat in Lansing.

  6. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    It should not matter. Yet, it can come back to bite a candidate. Perceptions, perceptions.

  7. - ChrisB - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    No. I haven’t had them in a long time, but the Chicken Wings were pretty tasty.

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Yes, but not because of any moral stance, just because the food and service are usually terrible

  9. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    I voted no. Our problems are so much bigger than campaign expenditures in a place like “Hooters,” which is pretty “G” rated to me. Now if they spent cash at the “Admiral Theater” and didn’t invite me…

  10. - Stones - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    I think the amounts spent make a difference. Certainly not willing to give Jones as pass based on the large amount but I don’t hold $158 against Durkin. If it were me calling the shots I would just avoid it altogether.

  11. - Hit or Miss - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    If you are running for office you need to go to where the voters are. It all depends on which demographic you are trying to reach.

  12. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Rumor has it that many Hooters waitresses are, in fact, registered voters.

  13. - Steve - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    It’s a legitimate business. Why shouldn’t politician go there???

  14. - Belle - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    It’s tacky. Why make things difficult and look goofy?

  15. - tomhail - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    No. They can keep the money later on anyway. Who cares how he treats his workers or supporters?

  16. - Diogenes in DuPage - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Male politicians frequenting “T & A”-friendly restaurant bars? I’m shocked. Not the biggest problem in Illinois!

  17. - Archiesmom - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    It shouldn’t matter, but the hubbub resulting from the disclosure becomes a real time consumer and distraction. Many expenditures, no matter how legal, justifiable or reasonable, can be construed in a negative light and put a candidate or campaign in a negative light.

  18. - OneMan - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    Considering his other options in Lansing it kind of makes sense…

  19. - CirularFiringSquad - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    Who Cares was the best of all choices — and a winner. BTW this works out to about $33 per week.
    BTW care we have the same QOTD for all of the work by HandoutAndy and his Rauner funded posse?

    In addition to the Sale AL AS vote can we suggest HandOut do a little something on BizWiz’s 400 scams — oh we forgot BizWiz is a BGA funder

  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:26 pm:


  21. - OneMan - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    So I guess that the state doesn’t have meetings at what we used to call Conference Room H?

  22. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    Not a big deal. As an aside, two sure signs that you are getting old: 1.) Yard work becomes relaxing instead of a chore; and 2.) You realize that the food at Hooters isn’t very good (or that Hooters serves food, for that matter).

  23. - Keyser Soze - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Hooters has achieved mainstream status. Tilted Kilt? Not so sure.

  24. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Voted YES. Because it’s flat out easy to choose another place that doesn’t have any issue. Hooters, Tilted Kilt, any of those joints are out for campaign money. Who cares if it’s a national chain, so was the Playboy Club for a time. Why even let this potentially be an issue when there’s a ton of other choices? Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

  25. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===2.) You realize that the food at Hooters isn’t very good (or that Hooters serves food, for that matter). ===

    A commenter, who will go unnamed unless he admits it here, and I went to the Spfld Hooters a few years back at his suggestion. I didn’t think much of the food, and wasn’t otherwise “distracted.” I went to the Tilted Kilt with a lobbyist I’ve known for years and wasn’t tilted at all.

    Hype over reality, in my own opinion. But I admittedly have limited experience.

  26. - Steve - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Working at Hooters is a lot more honorable than spending your life promising other people money that’s not yours. I can understand if Hooters doesn’t want known politicians in their restaurants : it might be bad for business.

  27. - Bob Hicks - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    I have 7 and 12 year old daughters and they love going to Hooters. So does Dad but for the wings. this is a BGA waist of time.

  28. - Mason born - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    Shouldn’t matter. If politicians want to eat crap food go for it. I feel bad for hooters add some politicians has to lower what little class they had.

  29. - OneMan - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    I have found that the Tilted Kilt varies greatly by location both in terms of bread and circuses as it were.

  30. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    ===Hooters has achieved mainstream status. Tilted Kilt? Not so sure. ===

    Tell that to Tom Cross…

  31. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    No, who cares? Real prurient nonsense from BGA. Geez, Andy, get your head out of the gutter.

  32. - JS Mill - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Hooters is not a strip joint, it is a bar and grill. This is a non story except to the prudes and hypocrites out there. If you are an elected official you may want to think about it depending on your district, but you have my permission to go. BTW- I would aim a little higher for good food though.

  33. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    …And Bill Brady…

  34. - Steve - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    Anyone who has a problem with Hooters is a relic of the past.

  35. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    I’ve found Hooters and Tilted Kilt more hype than anything else re: the attire. I prefer BWW over either of them.

  36. - Jose Abreu's next homer - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    Titled Kilt is really awful. I’ve heard from people in my Alpharetta, GA office that Twin Peaks is pretty much a strip club restaurant. Some really bad stories about Twin Peaks. I’ve only seen their print ads in the airplane magazines.

  37. - OneMan - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    Well at least NOW has had some issues with Hooters in the past.

    As for Cross, I have driven by the Tilted Kilt in Bolingbrook a few times, might have to take my son for some research.

    You can skip the one at the Fox Valley Mall, the one in the loop has much better bread and circuses..

  38. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    VanillaWife was a Hooters girl.

  39. - lil enchilada - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    I think there are other expenditures I find more offensive - like a candidate “paying” his wife significant amounts out of campaign contributions.

  40. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    Who cares

  41. - MikeMacD - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    Is the implication that without these expenditures we would be enjoying better government?

  42. - Wallinger Dickus - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    Boy, those BGAs sure do know corruption when they sees them.

  43. - downstate hack - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    An incredible waste of time for a debate. Hooter’s is fine and pretty fair wings.

  44. - zatoichi - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Truth in advertising strikes again. They seems pretty mainstream to me with bland food you can get in any local restaurant. Nothing special.

  45. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    ===if $8,800 in food & beverage charged to the campaign since 2009 is out of whack===

    Fairly modest, actually.

  46. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    –Is the implication that without these expenditures we would be enjoying better government?–

    I think it’s just an excuse for Andy to daydream about mammary glands on the job.

    Given this “investigation,” what would the BGA and Sun-Times have us think about the women who work at Hooters? Should they be wearing Scarlet Hs?

  47. - Harp - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    I voted no, move along. Let’s get back to the important stuff, like what t-shirt Bruce Rauner wears when he’s in his backyard grilling.

  48. - DateNight - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    Given these are not taxpayer dollars who really cares how Rep. Thaddeus Jones’ spends his money, other than his donors?

  49. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    when one thinks of Hooters, chicken wings come to mind. maybe there is something in all this focus on chickens.

    i really wish Bruce was grilling chicken in that pic now.

  50. - frustrated GOP - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    They spent money at a legal business in or by their district? Ok, that’s fine.

    Besides, how are you going to get a bunch of 20 somethings to work all hours for nothing? We can’t give them a job anymore with a decent pension, give them some hope, beer and wings.
    If the donors don’t like it, maybe they will send in their donation stating it should only go to the local pancake house.

  51. - SAP - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Next BGA can investigate whether the Department of Revenue is properly collecting the Live Adult Entertainment Facility Surcharge.

  52. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    They clearly need to keep to more wholesome environments for staff meetings and dinners for out of towners, such as the bars at Gibsons or Tavern or other surrounding establishments. Nothing seedy goes on there

  53. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===Tell that to Tom Cross…===

    After 18 holes of golf, there is nothing better than…

    ===…and Bill Brady…===

    There are very few places to eat in Chicago, k?

    Voted “No”, but …

    Sometimes, reaching on your own pocket saves the headaches.

  54. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Yes, this is terrible. Not the expenditures, the hubris and hypocrisy of BGA. If they’ve nothing better to do than this, their donors should give their money to more worthwhile causes, which, based on this example, must be legion

  55. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    ===the bars at Gibsons or Tavern===

    I briefly stopped by Tavern a few weeks ago.


  56. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    –They clearly need to keep to more wholesome environments for staff meetings and dinners for out of towners, such as the bars at Gibsons or Tavern or other surrounding establishments. Nothing seedy goes on there–

    LOL, that’s very good. But it’s going to cost you a lot more than the price of a plate of wings at “respectable” places like that.

  57. - Soccermom - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    My feeling is - -never give anybody a stick to hit you with. There’s always an idiot around (the name Andy seems to ring a bell) who will feign horror that you spent money at Hooters. And it’s not going to endear you to at least some of your potential female donors.

  58. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    –I briefly stopped by Tavern a few weeks ago.

    Whew. –

    Nice to visit a real family place where a grandfather can enjoy a drink with his grand-daughter, lol.

  59. - Wumpus - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    If they had a 60% gratuity, there should be more investigation. If they went for the chicken wings, they should be impeached!

    This is 2014, Hooters is not really that bad, unless you consider the objectifying of women and poor food as bad.

  60. - Lil Squeezy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    I voted yes because there has to be better wings in Lansing. But also because why would you want to ever answer the question? Perception gets in the way of good public policy, but not overrated wings?

  61. - Lil Squeezy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    The Rasmussen comment really takes the cake. Can you imagine spitting out that garbage if you had NATO ties?

  62. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    ===there has to be better wings in Lansing===

    I just Googled it. I don’t think so.

  63. - Lil Squeezy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Even worse Rasmussen’s next tweet was calling out a downstate mayor for making charitable contributions at a Show Me’s.

  64. - Lil Squeezy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    Then I change my vote to no. Wings are necessary sometime.

  65. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    They should have picked a bar in South Holland!

  66. - Cletus Purcell - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    You stay classy Andy Shaw.

  67. - Gabe - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Sometimes you have to do what you have to do for a good wing. Seems a non-story to me. Slow day over at the BGA.

  68. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    That’s quite a non-sequitur from Kristina Rasmussen.

    Who knew public financing was on the horizon in Illinois or the United States, or that it was related to Hooters somehow?

    I guess some people are keeping the long weekend going.

  69. - Ahoy! - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Voted yes, while I have no problem with hooters, if I was running for office, I wouldn’t have my campaign fund pay for things at hooters just to avoid the story and use for the other campaign.

  70. - Lil Squeezy - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    I want to know if Mike Bost has ever ordered ribs at Applebee’s. Now that would be a story worth talking about.

  71. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    This is an easy “controversy” to avoid. Spend your money there, not the donors, and it’s not an issue. Go there for dinner with your friends and family, but not campaign staff or on official business, and it’s not an issue.

    Why even take the risk? Some people don’t care at all while some view Hooters as objectifying women.

  72. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    $8,800 since 2009 isn’t stopping by once in a while. That’s an addiction lol

  73. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    Some of the “Yes” comments are hilarious.

    What do you think actually goes on at Hooters?

    I’m not surprised that Andy thought he had a hot scoop here, but I am, once again, surprised that the Sun-Times peddles this nonsense.

    Seriously, what are you suggesting about the women who work at Hooters?

  74. - One of the 35 - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    No big deal. After all,during the most recent recession, the breastaurants were the only businesses expanding.

  75. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    Better Government, indeed.

  76. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    Odd choice of investigations for a group and leader that supports disclosure and transparency

  77. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    ==- Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    Odd choice of investigations for a group and leader that supports disclosure and transparency==

    They do believe in exposing things, indeed.

  78. - West Side the Best Side - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 4:59 pm:

    Voted yes because a politician spending money on anything more risque than a church ice-cream social will cause the BGA to get their bright orange short shorts in a knot. Why bother with their yapping about your campaign.

  79. - Sunshine - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 5:02 pm:

    No. Really, who cares. It’s a place for food and drink and to relax. I like their wings.

  80. - Cletus Purcell - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 5:24 pm:

    Good job Andy. Durkin spent $350k in Downers Grove during the month of March and all you found was $150 at Hooters? Come on! Looks like he took staff to Hooters one night.

    “I need a mic!”

  81. - Goooner - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 7:09 pm:

    No, they should stick to classy joints like Boss Bar.

    Actually, I did vote no.
    You can lose voters off it, but you are not going to gain any.

    It doesn’t bother me, but it might bother some.

    If guys want to go look at women, there have got to be better places. In Chicago at least, I can think of 10 places with waitresses better looking and not significantly differently dressed than at Hooters.

    However, nobody is going to complain about expenditures at Bull and Bear or Epic or even Boss Bar. A few might complain about Hooters. There just isn’t enough up side.

  82. - Goooner - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 7:17 pm:

    Just re-read the question.
    Didn’t see the “avoid.”
    So my vote should be yes, they should avoid it.

  83. - Robert0117 - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 8:41 pm:

    It is a sports bar with above average food. We took the kids there, we take the grandkids there. Most politicians outside the bible belt would be quite happy if staff members having lunch at Hootere was their biggest controversy.

  84. - One to the Dome - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 11:25 pm:

    I would tend not to go to a fundraiser at Hooters if someone was hosting one….but thats me

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Sunday picks: See 'Nutcracker' at Prairie Center
* How much lead is in your school's water?
* Syrian army tells rebels in Aleppo to leave or die

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Sen. Dick Durbin Unveils Protection Effort......

* SEIU leaders say planned Monday strike by ......

* Sunday mishmosh.
* Zombies in Washington (an art project).
* A Nickel's Worth of Difference
* #TBT. Los Angeles. 1963. Fighting segregation.
* Peace through fear.
* On the day Trump formally handed the U.S. government over to Wall Street Executives (and not the first time this has happened by any means).
* Get it in writing? It is in writing. It’s called the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution.
* Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts to be Trump's deputy commerce secretary
* What would you do for a plate of frog legs?
* The kingdom of heaven.

* Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Brings Lowest Fatality Rate In Six Years
* Governor Announces Appointments to Illinois Bicentennial Commission
* Stateville Correctional Center’s F House Officially Closed
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* IEMA Highlights Safety during the Holidays - Encourages holiday shoppers to give preparedness gifts this year

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