* 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.