McKenna Used Party Funds to Advance His Own Candidacy

Recently, I publicly criticized Andy McKenna for having used his position as ILGOP Party Chairman to advance his own political interests.   Among other criticisms, I did not think it was ethical for him to have solicited meetings with declared or prospective gubernatorial candidates and asked them to lay out their game plans without disclosing that he was considering a run for governor himself.   I am not among those who fell for it.

After offering this review, I got a note from a member of the ILGOP Finance Committee, a McKenna supporter, who said flatly that McKenna is not the type of guy to use his position to advance his own interests.

If that is the case, then I need a little help understanding why McKenna’s name was included in a list of potential GOP gubernatorial candidates (and US Senate candidates) for a survey conducted by the Tarrance Group, and ostensibly paid for by the Illinois GOP while McKenna was Chairman.  Of course, I need no help in understanding why this poll was never released for public consumption by Andy McKenna.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks that using ILGOP funds to commission a poll to serve one’s own interests is a violation of one’s fiduciary duties to the party.  And that is why, I suppose, the results of this poll found their way to me and why I will share them with you.

I’ve attached the two critical pages from the survey:  page 1 to authenticate that this was indeed the survey the ILGOP commissioned back in April; and page 11 highlighting the questions that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that McKenna was indeed using his position and ILGOP resources to advance his personal ambitions. 

Further, it is clear that Andy McKenna has not been honest with the party when he explains that he hadn’t considered running for office until a groundswell of grassroots organizers and Chicago GOP financiers begged him to run.  This is clearly untrue.

What McKenna did as ILGOP Chairman is nothing other than conversion of corporate funds for personal use.  At least, that’s how it would be viewed had he done the same thing in the business world, a world he professes to know something about it.  It is a typical insider play by a typical insider politician.

Andy McKenna is spending millions of dollars on television advertisements trying to convince himself and unsuspecting Illinois GOP primary voters that he is an “outsider”.  It is a curious argument for someone who spent the past five years as the Illinois Republican State Party Chairman to make, but this is Illinois after all where even self-styled reformers go to jail.

I ask the other candidates in the race to join me in demanding that McKenna reimburse the party for the cost of that survey and apologize to competitors of mine with whom he was not forthright.

One of my campaign themes is “Illinois Isn’t Broken.  It’s Fixed.”  In other words, the fix is in for the political class and their functionaries in state government.  Our challenge and opportunity is to “un-fix” the big-ticket systems in Springfield such that they serve the people who play by the rules in Illinois and advance their quality of life interests.

However, before we can “un-fix” Illinois, we have to “un-fix” the Illinois Republican Party.   Our ability to do both will be directly dependent on our GOP nominees this election cycle, beginning with our candidate for Governor.  The decisions GOP primary voters make on February 2 will determine if our party and our state can be salvaged.

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