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*** UPDATED x3 *** Tribune claims possible evidence of alleged illegal coordination

Friday, Nov 4, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Tribune story is here. From DPI…

For months, the People Who Play By The Rules PAC, run by one-time failed candidate and Florida resident Dan Proft, has been running ads funded by Dick Uihlein to support Darren Bailey’s run for governor. By law, PACs cannot coordinate with individual campaigns, but new reporting sheds light on Proft and Bailey’s relationship that begs the question: What is Dan Proft doing for the Bailey campaign and why?

Read highlights from The Chicago Tribune’s bombshell story below.

    • The political committee is an independent expenditure PAC and, by law, is not supposed to coordinate its spending activities with Bailey’s campaign. But the apparent efforts by Proft — who also co-hosts a conservative radio show for which Bailey has been a frequent guest — to try to intercede in a potential legal matter involving Bailey indicate he may be playing a larger role than previously acknowledged.

    • Proft also is involved in political mailers disguised as newspapers that have been sent to thousands of homes across the state, disseminating disinformation to disparage Pritzker. In 2016, a similar mailing effort funded by a former Proft independent expenditure PAC was cited by the Illinois State Board of Elections for illegal coordination with candidates.

    • An internal dispute between Republican governor candidate Darren Bailey’s campaign and a recently departed Bailey political worker has raised questions about the level of involvement the conservative leader of a Bailey-aligned political action committee has had with the Bailey campaign.

    • During those negotiations, Proft weighed in, apparently in an effort to quash the filing of a possible lawsuit in the matter that could become public and hurt Bailey’s chances.

    • Asked to clarify, the campaign did not respond.

With hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans already casting their ballots and thousands more headed to the polls this weekend, Darren Bailey’s campaign must answer about his relationship with Dan Proft. With just four days to go, voters deserve to know: Why did Bailey fire Brett Corrigan and why was Dan Proft involved in an internal HR dispute?

* This is an odd story all around

Corrigan declined to comment and referred all questions to his attorney, Scott Kaspar of Orland Park. Kaspar said Corrigan attended Bailey’s private Full Armor Christian Academy in downstate Louisville, Illinois, and lived with Bailey’s family on their farm in nearby Xenia. Corrigan on the campaign trail served largely as a “body man” for the Republican governor candidate, who is also a state senator, closely following Bailey at events and assisting Bailey as he needed. Since June 2021, state campaign finance records show, he was paid $18,861 by Bailey’s campaign.

But around mid-September, Corrigan left Bailey’s campaign — whether he was fired or left on his own is a matter of dispute, his attorney said. Corrigan now serves a similar role for GOP attorney general candidate Tom DeVore, whose campaign Corrigan joined almost immediately after leaving Bailey’s.

In an interview, DeVore said he was aware of a dispute between Corrigan and Bailey’s campaign and that the two sides were trying to reconcile their differences. DeVore had no comment when asked about any involvement by Proft.

The penalty appears to be a fine.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Pritzker campaign…

The best read of the law suggests the State Board of Elections could impose a fine of as much as $28,083,000 on the [Proft] PAC should they find a violation. We haven’t found examples of fines that large, but that amount should be possible under the IE statute, as described in more detail below.

If an independent expenditure committee (in this case, People Who Play By The Rules PAC) makes a contribution to candidate committee, the State Board of Elections assesses a fine on the committee equal to the amount of any contribution received in the preceding 2 years by the independent expenditure committee that exceeded the limits a [normal, non-independent] PAC may accept in an election cycle. 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-8.6(d). For background, a normal PAC in IL may accept $12,000 per year from individuals, $24,000 per year from corporations, unions, or associations, $59,900 per year from candidate committees, $24,000 per year from party committees, and $59,900 per year from other PACS. Id. 5/9-8.5; see also IL State Board of Elections, Contribution Limits Per Election Cycle (Jan. 1, 2021), https://www.elections.il.gov/downloads/campaigndisclosure/pdf/contributionsummary.pdf. So, any contribution the PAC received in excess of those limits could be imposed against them as a fine in the event of a violation.

Because PACs may accept $12,000 per year from individuals, the excess of any individual contribution over $12k will count towards the fine. 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-8.5; see also IL State Board of Elections, Contribution Limits Per Election Cycle (Jan. 1, 2021), https://www.elections.il.gov/downloads/campaigndisclosure/pdf/contributionsummary.pdf.

Since the People Who Play By The Rules PAC was formed in March 2022, it has reported $28,095,000 in contributions from Richard Uihlein—which is $28,083,000 above the limit Uihlein could give to a normal PAC as an individual. See generally People Who Play By The Rules PAC, Committee Details, https://www.elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/CommitteeDetail.aspx?ID=meYU8YumQ1UjlydtIJRv9w%3d%3d (last visited Nov. 4, 2022). Should the State Board of Elections find that the PAC illegality coordinated with the Bailey Campaign, its fine could therefore exceed $28 million.

A $28 million fine? Whew.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The Democratic Party of Illinois has filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections, according to the Tribune, and the Dems have revised the possible penalty upwards to $42 million…

We’ve updated the figures to include all of Uihlein’s contributions to the PAC, including the one on the October A-1. Based on all contributions, the fine could exceed $42 million. Revised version below.

he best read of the law suggests the State Board of Elections could impose a fine of as much as $42,018,000 on the PAC should they find a violation. We haven’t found examples of fines that large, but that amount should be possible under the IE statute, as described in more detail below.

If an independent expenditure committee (in this case, People Who Play By The Rules PAC) makes a contribution to candidate committee, the State Board of Elections assesses a fine on the committee equal to the amount of any contribution received in the preceding 2 years by the independent expenditure committee that exceeded the limits a [normal, non-independent] PAC may accept in an election cycle. 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-8.6(d). For background, a normal PAC in IL may accept $12,000 per year from individuals, $24,000 per year from corporations, unions, or associations, $59,900 per year from candidate committees, $24,000 per year from party committees, and $59,900 per year from other PACS. Id. 5/9-8.5; see also IL State Board of Elections, Contribution Limits Per Election Cycle (Jan. 1, 2021), https://www.elections.il.gov/downloads/campaigndisclosure/pdf/contributionsummary.pdf. So, any contribution the PAC received in excess of those limits could be imposed against them as a fine in the event of a violation.

Because PACs may accept $12,000 per year from individuals, the excess of any individual contribution over $12k will count towards the fine. 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-8.5; see also IL State Board of Elections, Contribution Limits Per Election Cycle (Jan. 1, 2021), https://www.elections.il.gov/downloads/campaigndisclosure/pdf/contributionsummary.pdf.

Since the People Who Play By The Rules PAC was formed in March 2022, it has reported $42,018,000 in contributions from Richard Uihlein—which is $42,006,000 above the limit Uihlein could give to a normal PAC as an individual. See generally People Who Play By The Rules PAC, Committee Details, https://www.elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/CommitteeDetail.aspx?ID=meYU8YumQ1UjlydtIJRv9w%3d%3d (last visited Nov. 4, 2022). Should the State Board of Elections find that the PAC illegality coordinated with the Bailey Campaign, its fine could therefore exceed $42 million.

*** UPDATE 3 *** From DPI’s filed complaint

Mr. Proft has consistently acted in “cooperation, consultation, or concert” with the Bailey Campaign. The examples are endless. For example, Mr. Proft co-hosts a conservative radio show in which Mr. Bailey has been a frequent guest. In one instance, Mr. Proft talks about the millions he has spent supporting the Bailey Campaign, with Mr. Bailey on the line, saying that he “supported Darren Bailey through the super PAC that I run in the primary. And I’m supporting him through the super PAC that I run into the general too.”

From the Bailey campaign’s statement to the Tribune

“The campaign hasn’t spoken to Dan since their general election efforts started,” Bailey campaign spokesman Joe DeBose said in a text

That answer begs the question about what the campaign did with Proft during the primary.

       

30 Comments
  1. - Big Dipper - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 9:52 am:

    I bet after living in the family home Corrigan has some tea lol.


  2. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    Corrigan’s attorney lost badly to Keith Pekau in the GOP primary for the 6th congressional race. He hosted Rudy Giuliani at an event in Oak Brook in May attended by… Darren Bailey and Tom DeVore.


  3. - Homebody - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:01 am:

    PACs illegally coordinating with campaigns? I am shocked and appalled.

    Next you’ll tell me that churches are illegally encouraging political actions too.


  4. - Amy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:03 am:

    People Who Play By The Rules???? I saw Proft referred to as a “journalist” in another article recently. How does he get away with that moniker and all the avoidance of pesky transparency rules and regulations that come with that title? How many “journalists” operate political advertising PACs?


  5. - H-W - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:13 am:

    Should he lose, will Bailey return to the State Senate? If so, that’s a likely place to investigate his violations of campaign law.


  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    ===will Bailey return to the State Senate?===

    C’mon. It’s a remap year. All Senate seats are up. He’d have to run against Jason Plummer in 2024 if he wanted to go back to the Senate, which I highly doubt.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:15 am:

    ===The penalty appears to be a fine.===

    The Uihleins will pay it. No big whoop.

    ===return to the State Senate===

    Nope. He’s done.


  8. - Arsenal - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:21 am:

    What’s frustrating here is that this news is breaking too late for voters to really think about it, and one way or another, on Wednesday everyone will lose interest in investigating.


  9. - DougChicago - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:23 am:

    Regrettably Bailey is not done. He will run against Bost in 2024. That explains Bost’s insane lawsuit about not counting ballots not received by Election Day even if postmarked by Election Day. That position would disenfranchise, among many others, many military voters. That would seem to be disqualifying in a GOP primary, but in the new world order that is Trumpland such a ridiculous they-are-stealing-the-election position is the only way to stay viable.


  10. - H-W - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:27 am:

    My mistake.


  11. - Henry Francis - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:28 am:

    That is an odd story about the young Corrigan. There certainly seem to be some “dots” there, but I don’t know if any of them can be connected. I imagine the folks behind the awful, baseless conspiracies about the Pelosi attack could come up with a doozy here. But those types of people only spew one way.


  12. - H-W - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    My mistake. I meant if he is returning to the Senate this coming year, the Senate Ethnics rules might suggest an investigation this year (if he is returning in January). I should have been more clear. I was not certain if his senate seat was up for election currently.


  13. - XonXoff - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    == That is an odd story about the young Corrigan. ==

    Sounds like he pretty much went straight to working for DeVore so it’s not like he was looking for a high road.

    Sounds like a little friction somewhere. I suspect the Uihlein team has the chops to address friction.


  14. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:51 am:

    Make the fine $1 million so it hits Uihlein too. Then maybe people will think twice before hiring this grifter.


  15. - Colin O’Scopy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 10:54 am:

    The truth of the matter is this: laws governing the relationship between PACs like “People Who Flaunt the Rules” and campaigns like Bailey’s are weak.

    There are no consequences for Dan Profit’s behavior and the collaboration will continue without intervention by the Justice Department.

    (Bumped up from an earlier thread).


  16. - Lakefront - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    Politics and misgivings about potential illegal activity aside, you gotta feel bad for Corrigan. The guy is 18. A simple FB search of his name shows he’s been a Bailey fan for a long time. If he even lived with the family? Whatever it is has got to be tough. When you’ve worked for Bailey that closely DeVore is probably your only campaign option…


  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    ===without intervention by the Justice Department===

    The Justice Department? On what grounds?


  18. - Roadrager - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 11:26 am:

    ==The Chicago Tribune’s bombshell story==

    Is it, though? It’s just saying - and only around the edges, at that - what we all know to be true post-Citizens United. As long as you can present the thinnest public veneer of non-coordination between the candidate and the outside money, and you make sure there’s no paper trail anyone can get their hands on, the guardrails are all gone. Proft is hardly the only one doing this. I’d wager he’s not the only one doing this in this state, in fact.

    There will be no consequences for this that can’t be remedied by Dick Uihlein having his servants check the couch cushions.


  19. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    I’m sure Dan will do the honorable thing and rename the PAC.


  20. - XonXoff - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    == There will be no consequences for this that can’t be remedied by Dick Uihlein having his servants check the couch cushions. ==

    I believe we have a winner.


  21. - Jerry - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 12:27 pm:

    Regarding the Ewe-lines. Make sure to bring your recyclable bags to the store.


  22. - Joshua P. - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 12:58 pm:

    Pritzker gave money to the Democratic National Governor’s Association, which then paid for advertisement in the republican primary. But that was not coordinated, so pretty much nothing is.


  23. - Incandenza - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 2:29 pm:

    == Nope. He’s done ==

    Or just getting his conservative media grift/career started


  24. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 2:30 pm:

    - But that was not coordinated, so pretty much nothing is. -

    Man, you must have gotten your law degree from Harvard or something. Are you Tom Devore?


  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===Or just getting his conservative media grift/career started===

    While very likely true, and I concur, he’s out of the GA, that’s a good thing.


  26. - MisterJayEm - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 3:16 pm:

    “The penalty appears to be a fine.”

    As an unknown sage once observed, “If the penalty for a crime is a fine, then that law only exists for the lower classes.”

    – MrJM


  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 3:20 pm:

    It’s $28 million to own the libs and make Pritzker spend his money?

    The warped minds that are at issue here will grift off the fine too.

    When you lack shame and integrity…

    But… wow… $28 mil. Mercy.


  28. - MoralMinority - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 3:27 pm:

    ==I bet after living in the family home Corrigan has some tea==

    If he lived in Darren’s home I would think it would be Mountain Dep, not tea. I’m sure Darren likes to serve it whenever he can, especially to his father-in-law. Darren is so hospitable.


  29. - ANON - Friday, Nov 4, 22 @ 3:50 pm:

    would require 5 votes by the Board–aint going to happen


  30. - LN - Monday, Nov 7, 22 @ 11:08 pm:

    I can’t believe the time and word count devoted to absolute rubbish. Complete conjecture. Absurd assumptions and wild accusations based on nothing more than a text, phone call to get a comment on something that a legal journal had already reached out to Proft for comment on. Here’s a wild theory, maybe that’s how he learned about it. Are people so devoid of logic that they can’t imagine a non-nefarious reason why he might want to get a jump on a public filing? How does any rational person make the giant leap from media inquiry to “weighing in” on settlement discussions? Kasper didn’t even respond so the idea that Proft tried to “quash” anything is an exercise only in Gorman & Pearson’s rich imaginations. 🙄


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