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Benton hit with one-day suspension

Monday, Apr 25, 2016

* Federal elections have had non-coordination rules for years. Candidates get around these rules sometimes by posting tracker videos on YouTube or pics on Facebook, among other things. The idea is that it’s not their “fault” if some independent expenditure PAC watches the videos or comes across a photo. They can’t control what some random person does with their stuff.

In Illinois, doing such a thing might not bring a penalty from the Illinois State Board of elections. However, it can still get you in trouble if you happen to work for the Illinois State Police

State Trooper BRYCE BENTON of Springfield, who lost the 50th Senate District GOP primary on March 15 to state Sen. SAM McCANN, R-Plainview, was given a one-day suspension without pay because pictures of him in uniform were used in campaign materials.

Benton benefited from more than $3 million in “independent expenditure” advertising from a group called Liberty Principles Political Action Committee, and some TV ads from the group featured Benton in uniform. […]

“As part of my campaign,” [Benton] added, “my staff asked me to submit as many pictures as possible for potential use in campaign materials. I gave the campaign a multitude of pictures, including pictures of me in uniform. I advised my staff that I believed we may be unable to use the pictures due to ISP directives, and to refrain from using them pending approval.

“At some point during the week of January 18, my campaign uploaded multiple pictures to my website, including pictures of me in uniform without my knowledge or consent. I was unaware that the pictures were in the public arena until the morning of January 22, when I saw them on television in a third-party ad,” he said. “My campaign staff learned of the use of the uniform pictures the morning of January 22 and removed the pictures from our campaign website early (that) afternoon.”

“At no time did we coordinate with the third-party group on the usage of the pictures in their commercial,” Benton wrote, “and have still had no interaction or discussions with the group.”

That’s probably true about specific coordination. But why even post the pictures to begin with? Benton knew that wasn’t allowed, and his staff surely did as well.

And, man, that suspension is gonna look downright horrible if Benton ever runs for a contested seat in the future. His own people may have ruined their guy. But he was probably disposable to begin with. Maybe now he realizes that.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    Did the same type of Rauner “superstars” that run government run Benton’s campaign? Looks like it to me.

  2. - Austin Blvd - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    Dang Senate GOP staff. Dang Raunerites.
    What do they have to say about this?
    The candidate that gets whacked, and nary a staff repercussion. Guess he can fire them all now.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    === His own people may have ruined their guy. But he was probably disposable to begin with. Maybe now he realizes that.===

    This is so “choice”, it’s Grade A, center cut, grilled to a perfect medium rare with grilled veggies and a choice red wine.

    Mr. Benton, you were a patsy all along, you just didn’t know it.

    Maybe on your “day off” you can… reflect… on that.

    Horrible Crew, horrible Crew work.

    Some just lack, I guess (?)

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:30 pm:

    –But why even post the pictures to begin with? Benton knew that wasn’t allowed, and his staff surely did as well.–

    So the “uncoordinated” Proft could use them in his spot.

    Such disingenuousness from a trooper who wants to be a lawmaker is revealing and not cool.

    As far as Benton’s future in politics — has anyone heard him speak, yet?

  5. - JS Mill - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    Rauner loves some Troopers. Loves ‘em.

    I don’t for one second believe the coordination denial, and not just for Benton.

  6. - Huh? - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    He should be able to figure out how to make up for the lost wages in overtime.

  7. - SAP - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:40 pm:

    ==As far as Benton’s future in politics — has anyone heard him speak, yet?== Yes, but never while Governor Rauner was drinking a glass of water.

  8. - Slippin' Jimmy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    It looks like Tpr Benton got in a little deeper than he realized. Lesson learned, I hope.

  9. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    Obviously Benton expected that his pull would get him a new gig and he wouldn’t care about violating the policy. Did anyone hear any demands by Benton for Proft to remove the pictures? Of course not.

  10. - Smokey - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:53 pm:

    Troopers know not to post unauthorized photos of themselves in uniform. It is drilled into each troop from day one in the academy that you can only represent yourself as a trooper under the authority of the ISP. Benton should have never posted the photo to begin with—he admitted to a violation even before the photo was snatched up and used for political purposes. As for the 1 day suspension—that’s no biggie. There are many command officers who have received much longer suspensions for much worse transgressions.

  11. - Steampiper Sam McCann - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    That’s what you get when you try to run a negative campaign and fail. The real reason Benton lost was because his team had no idea what they were doing.

  12. - out of touch - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    “his own people” aren’t HIS people, they’re Rauner’s people. Rauner’s people know the rules and skirted the rules in hopes of victory, knowing that a slap on the wrist would be forthcoming.

  13. - Menard guy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:57 pm:

    I believe you will see a post by me after his very first commercial indicating that he would eventually be disciplined for this. Not only that, but he will now likely have to endure a “normal” career, which means he might actually have to get out in a squad car and write tickets. Trust me, the Homeland Security division is not where the real cops get assigned, only the politically connected ones. Benton went all in on this one. He knew what he was doing, and he knew the risks. Anyone else would have been fired. Rauner saved him with the one-day suspension, but he can’t save him from the State Police. Have a good career my friend. Remember, some who wear that uniform believe in it…

  14. - Chairman McBroom - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    Since we’re on the topic of the 50th Senate District… Has anyone taken a gander at McCann’s most recent quarterly filings? From 1/1/16-3/31/16, McCann reported $2,127.59 in expenses for ‘fuel’ and ‘auto repair.’ In 2015, he reported over $38,000 in ‘mileage.’ Are we supposed to believe that while a man was in the fight for his political life, he only spent a very small fraction of what he did in an off-year? Give me a break, brother! Someday his shenanigans will catch up with him…

  15. - A guy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    Hard to imagine there wasn’t an image of the Trooper doing his job sometime over the years that was actually published in a paper or a periodical. Haste makes waste.

  16. - G'Kar - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:06 pm:

    “Madigan and the Republican campaign team he controls.”

  17. - TDR - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:12 pm:

    Steampiper Sam McCann LOL - Guess Lyin’ Sam must have learned steampiping around the same time he learned courage in the marines.

  18. - Name Withheld - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    Benton was walking the Springfield neighborhoods the Saturday before the election, and happened to stop by my house. He struck me as sincere, but really uninformed. I engaged him in a conversation on the responsibility of the Governor to introduce the budget and how the Govenor’s own budget proposal was already unbalanced, the need for Illinois to have a progressive tax, and how the governor’s worker compensation commission reported about the reduction in claims without the corresponding reduction in rates for employers.

    In no case did he really have a response, except to say that he wouldn’t vote for a tax increase when I mentioned the progressive tax. I came away from him feeling very impressed, but also feeling like he was woefully out of his depth.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:15 pm:

    ===The real reason Benton lost was because his team had no idea what they were doing.===

    Benton’s *cough* Rauner’s pass-alongs *cough* were “Green”, ill-prepared, and overwhelmed for what Hodas, et al. threw at them with Labor playing the most significant role.

    ===His own people may have ruined their guy. But he was probably disposable to begin with. Maybe now he realizes that.===

    That’s why… “that”… is just so choice.

  20. - Name Withheld - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:15 pm:

    I feel bad for Benton. He was used like a tool and then discarded.

  21. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    === I feel bad for Benton. He was used like a tool and then discarded. ===

    It’s not like the old days when the vanquished were put to the sword. He’ll be fine so long as Rauner is in office.

  22. - Ratso Rizzo - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    - Name Withheld - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:15 pm:

    I feel bad for Benton. He was used like a tool and then discarded.

    I wouldn’t feel too bad for him. He, along with Dunkin, will be taken care of by Rauner. Watch and see.

  23. - Mama - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    ==TDR - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:12 pm:==

    This article is 100% about Benton. Your commit about McCann is not only taste-less but also clue-less.

  24. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:23 pm:

    ===not only taste-less but also clue-less===

    Meh. If the commenter is right, it’s a legit question.

  25. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:29 pm:

    Was there a question there?

  26. - Benton fan - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    Benson should have received better than 14 days with out pay. He disgraced the uniform, the position and politicized the State Police.

  27. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:41 pm:

    How much campaign cash was Benton allowed to keep?

  28. - Retired ISP - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:43 pm:

    Several people asked if I knew Trp. Benton because of my retired Illinois State Police status. I did not and told everyone that asked not to vote for him because of his soiling of the uniform for his political ads. He should have taken a leave of absence and since he did not do so, should have been suspended 10 days for further politicizing the Illinois State Police.

  29. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:43 pm:

    ===How much campaign cash was Benton allowed to keep?===

    For his “sake” at least 1 day pay…

  30. - Smokin' Jay Cutler - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:53 pm:

    Wonder when the US marines will be suspending Senator McCann for using the “courage he learned” there to campaign…oh wait they seem to have no idea who he is

  31. - Langhorne - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:55 pm:

    ouch. Add another catch phrase to the list–disposable

    Hang in there
    Starve the beast
    Necessary shakeout

  32. - illini - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    It used to be that the symbolic, disposable candidate would be rewarded with a cushy position in some State position - should we wait to see what happens here?

  33. - Steampiper Sam McCann - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    ==Guess Lyin’ Sam must have learned steampiping around the same time he learned courage in the marines.==
    I learned it there of course. No one has records of it, but trust me, I’m a politician!

  34. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:09 pm:


    This is only important to the anti Rauner people on this site. This sort of stuff happens all the time - one picture out of the thousands that are out there of the guy -big deal. With all due respect Yes a mistake, but not to the level that the comments are rising it too.

    “He disgraced the uniform”?!!!!!

    Sorry, I can think of like…100 other ways that uniform has been disgraced. This one does not even come close.

  35. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    I’m having an off day, so can someone catch me up on the meaning of “steampiper?” Unless it’s NSFB.

    This disciplinary action would have been more meaningful had it been handed down in a more timely fashion. As it is, one is left with the distinct impression that the ISP brass waited out the primary before issuing discipline.

  36. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:31 pm:

    When will people abandon the tired, misleading, and unacceptable excuse of “it was done without my knowledge or consent?”

  37. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:38 pm:

    –Hard to imagine there wasn’t an image of the Trooper doing his job sometime over the years that was actually published in a paper or a periodical.–

    Hard to imagine you read the post judging by your comment.

    Pay extra-special-reading-for-comprehension-attention to Benton’s statement.

  38. - A guy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:45 pm:

    He provided the pictures Sling. That’s what I read.
    Had there been an already published picture of him anytime in the past in a public periodical that could have been used, he wouldn’t be down for a day. These aren’t confusing rules.

    It was just lazy or more likely, hasty, production. Could have been avoided. And should have been. I’m not defending him.

    To those who say he “soiled” the uniform”. Wow, that’s overkill.

  39. - Slippin' Jimmy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 6:12 pm:

    –To those who say he soiled the uniform. Wow, that’s overkill-

    FYI, in addition to Illinois State Police the letters stand for INTEGRITY, Service, Pride..

  40. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 6:49 pm:

    I worked for the ISP 25 years. Anyone else using a photo in uniform for personal purposes would have had the book thrown at them. On the other hand I saw many instances of favored children within the department who were protected from above and pretty much got by with anything.

  41. - Sideshow Antics - Tuesday, Apr 26, 16 @ 12:35 pm:

    Since most of the comments appear to have been done yesterday, and follow-up probably isn’t forthcoming, I will add this. Benton did, from what I was told by someone who knows him, take a leave of absence (NOT vacation days) from his duties for 3-4 weeks before the election. Plus, working a schedule that allows him to be off at 3:30-4 each day gives him solid time in the evening to campaign.

    Also, someone else within ISP told me that his current position isn’t filled with “political favorites.” You apparently interview for it and its based on seniority and qualifications.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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