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Former Rep. Stoneback files defamation suit

Monday, Jun 12, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Former Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback (D-Skokie) has filed a lawsuit against G-PAC and Rep. Kevin Olickal. Press release

Former State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback (D-Skokie), announced that she has filed a complaint including claims of defamation and false light, which can be downloaded at Stoneback stated:

“I have worked to reduce gun violence for the past decade. Since the Sandy Hook school shooting, I created a non-profit, a coalition, and a national working group to reduce gun violence. I also have passed gun safety legislation and stopped the largest gun shop and range in the Midwest from locating near schools in my community.

Unfortunately, my reputation as a well-known advocate and voice for gun violence prevention was severely damaged by statements in the 2022 primary election that intentionally described my record falsely, and portrayed me as an enemy to gun violence prevention.

Due to the harm these statements have done to my reputation, the distress the situation has caused me, the damages and harm I suffered, and the need to attempt to right a wrong and prevent it from occurring in the future, I felt compelled to file my lawsuit, pursue remedies available to me, and, at the same time, set the record straight.

The truth matters. The public deserves reliable facts as they make critical decisions about who will represent them. Prohibiting false statements in political campaigns in some manner is law in 27 states, but not in Illinois. In the fall of 2022, I introduced a bill to prohibit false statements, libel, and defamation in political advertising in campaigns and ensure that candidates commit to our state’s Code of Fair Campaign Practices. I encourage state legislators to pass this legislation, and I encourage all candidates for elected office to sign on and commit to observing the Code of Fair Campaign Practices.

Undoubtedly many other candidates have faced situations similar to mine. By shedding light on the facts, I hope others will join me in calling for these changes. Together we can take an important step towards improving the way we conduct political campaigns in Illinois.

I will not allow the unfortunate occurrences of the 2022 election to get in the way of progress and the work that needs to be done. Despite what has happened, I remain committed to reducing gun violence, and hope to continue my work in this area.”

* Stoneback and G-PAC both supported a Fix the FOID bill which included mandatory submission of fingerprints. The bill passed the House, but stalled in the Senate. G-PAC eventually decided to support a compromise bill for voluntary fingerprint submissions. Stoneback refused to go along, conflict ensued, yada-yada-yada, G-PAC backed Kevin Olickal in the primary. It was quite a negative campaign. Stoneback lost, then introduced a “truth in campaigning” bill before leaving office and eventually filed suit. From that lawsuit

Defendant [ Friends of Kevin Olickal], created and published a mailer flyer that included an excerpt quoting statements from Kathleen Sances, President and Chief Executive Officer of Defendant GPAC (“FOKO First Mailer Flyer”).

Specifically, the FOKO First Mailer Flyer stated that “… [Ms. Stoneback] turned her back on the people that elected her by not supporting life-saving universal background checks, fingerprinting for gun license applications, and mental health and trauma support funding for survivors.”

The FOKO First Mailer Flyer also stated that “Rep. Wang Stoneback failed to keep our children, families, and communities safe from illegal guns that have led to an increase in violence.” […]

These statements are false. […]

In June 2022, Defendant FOKO created and published another mailer flyer that falsely stated “Denyse Wang Stoneback Chose to Stand with the NRA” (“FOKO Second Mailer Flyer”).

In addition, the FOKO Second Mailer Flyer emphasized this false statement by including a photograph of Ms. Stoneback next to a photograph of the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) logo.

Additionally, the FOKO Second Mailer Flyer stated that, “[w]hile Mass Shootings Terrorized Ou[r] Country, Denyse Wang Stoneback Stood With the NRA And Ignored Victims of Gun Violence. […]

These statements are false. […]

The Defendant GPAC created and published a third mailer flyer that contained false statements about Ms. Stoneback (“Third GPAC Mailer Flyer”).

The Third GPAC Mailer Flyer stated: “Why did Denyse Wang Stoneback tell grieving mothers NO to supporting universal background checks on gun purchases? … because for politicians like Denyse Wang Stoneback it’s my way or the highway.” […]

These statements are false. […]

The Defendants knew their Defendants’ False Statements did not accurately reflect Ms. Stoneback’s record on gun safety legislation. […]

Additionally, the Defendants sought to destroy Ms. Stoneback’s reputation as a gun safety advocate. […]

As a result of the Defendants’ False Statements, Ms. Stoneback lost the primary election in June 2022. […]

As a result of the foregoing conduct of Defendants Kevin Olickal and FOKO through the publication of the FOKO Flyer Statements, Ms. Stoneback has suffered and continues to suffer damages including, but not limited to, harmed reputation, harmed standing in the community, and, loss of income.

In addition to the foregoing, Ms. Stoneback has suffered economic harm in the form of lost income as a state representative and the monies expended on her campaign.

It goes on, so go read the rest.


  1. - We've never had one before - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    Oh, Denyse, we hardly knew ya.

    It looks like both sides of the gun rights war know how to eat their own when they go off the reservation.

  2. - cal skinner - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 3:37 pm:

    Sounds similar to the suit McHenry County Clerl Joe Tirio won against Jack Franks.

  3. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 3:43 pm:

    ===Sounds similar===

    That’s a bit of a stretch. Franks accused the guy of committing actual crimes.

  4. - Principal Skinner - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 3:45 pm:

    “Ms. Stoneback has suffered economic harm in the form of lost income as a state representative and the monies expended on her campaign.”

    Thats not how elections work Denyse. You didn’t lose income, you lost your reelection and your term expired.

  5. - Change Agent - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 4:28 pm:

    This is absurd. Legislation requires compromise. When someone uses their credibility on an issue to try to undermine a compromise bill, it’s fair game for other advocates on that issue to point out that the person is trying to sink the bill. Denyse absolutely tried to say “it’s my way or the highway” regardless of how many lives a delay could have cost. At best, she was naive about the realities of legislative process. (Though given her extensive experience, she should have known full well how much harder it can be to pass gun bills in the Senate than in the House.) At worst, she’s a narcissist putting her own renown ahead of the people whose lives are at greatest risk from gun violence.

  6. - sewer thoughts - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 7:49 pm:

    looking forward to former rep. stoneback’s explanation of hiring the ex director of HR for evanston who was deemed culpable in that city’s lifeguard abuse allegations not being properly investigated too, as she seems to have time enough to attempt to litigate electoral results

  7. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 7:55 pm: we’re headed to, Wagatha Christie. vardy vs. rooney territory. be careful whom you file suit against.

  8. - Soder606 - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 8:11 pm:

    It seems to me that it was GPAC who said “my way or the highway”. The entire GVP community had supported the FIX THE FOID bill, celebrated when it passed the House and were stunned when GPAC flipped and decided to abandon mandatory fingerprints….their decision, not that of the entire GVP community.
    GPAC only wants to support legislators they can control, not legizlators who truely fight for full gun regulation. Rep Stoneback was my Rep and she was fighting for what I wanted.

  9. - Northshorenews - Monday, Jun 12, 23 @ 10:54 pm:

    As someone who used to work close to her, this is not at all surprising. She seemed to do all she could to burn bridges and destroy every legislative relationship she had. The only reason her bills saw the light of day was in spite of her.

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