In Illinois and Chicago, no less, LOL…the home of Al Capone. John Tillman at the Illinois Policy Institute writes through email that its
investigative reporter, Lee Williams, recently initiated an investigation based on a tip from the Last Honest Man Tip Line.
Everyone deserves a chance at redemption, including Rita. When we initially called him we expected a simple, logical explanation that explained why there was no material issue and thus no news. Instead, he hung up and refused to talk. This piqued our curiosity and we asked ourselves why were we stonewalled if this is all so simple and explainable?
We reached out to the Illinois Board of Elections for clarity. Based upon assertions to us from an election attorney at the Illinois Board of Elections, we reported that he was therefore ineligible to be serving as a representative.
Within hours of this story’s release on Wednesday, Speaker Madigan’s office went to work trying to discredit and crush this story and us. By some miracle, the attorney we consulted at the Board of Elections reversed his position. We stand by our original reporting on this. Representatives from Speaker Madigan’s office called the Institute disputing—without documentation—that Rita was charged with a felony.
His daughter’s office—the office of the Attorney General—attempted to derail the story by providing “on background” statements to media that a carve-out in the law had been found and this allows convicted felons to serve.
It now appears that the election attorney at the state Board of Elections may have been in error in his original opinion to us. We await his or the office’s correction and acknowledgment that the story we originally reported stating their position was accurate.
We remain baffled as to why Speaker Madigan came after us and this story with all the fury and power of the Speaker’s office when, if it is just a simple error by the Board of Elections, he just does not ask them for a correction without smearing us. If they had done so, we would have acknowledged that.
Rep. Rita and the Board of Elections can bring transparency to this issue. We are calling on Rep. Rita to release the sealed documents about the incident in Nevada that led to the bribery charge and come clean about his record. We are also calling on the Board of Elections to release any and all documents, correspondence and telephone logs regarding communication on this issue to date.
At any point where it is clear we have made an error, as opposed to simply reporting a government error, we will acknowledge it.
Be sure to read the latest blog post by Lee Williams to learn more about how machine politics and the media intersect. I’m sure you will enjoy it.
All we seek is the truth—both known and unknown. This story has shone a bright light on the culture of protection and intimidation that reigns in Springfield—one that the Institute and you as a citizen fight daily.
Truth seekers today are smeared and punished…I know this from personal experience. Kudos to Tillman and the IPI for continuing to expose the truth.