Illinois Civil Justice League: Exposing the 'Hidden Agenda' in Illinois

April 26, 2005

Exposing the 'Hidden Agenda' in Illinois

Ryan Sager of the NY Post analyzed our ICJL study of George Soros, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and the Illinois race for Supreme Court.

His assessment, which was published in a column in yesterday's NY Post:

And so one group appointed itself traffic cop: the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, the state's resident good-government watchdog. The "nonpartisan" group spearheaded a Tone and Conduct Committee — organized under the aegis of the state Bar Association — aimed at keeping advertising by outside interests to a minimum. The media bought this charade hook, line and sinker, referring to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform as "nonpartisan" and the Tone and Conduct Committee as "independent."

But, as Sager brilliantly exposed and first reported in his earlier column titled "Buying Reform," these 'independent' groups are nothing more than front groups funded by special interest foundations controlled by George Soros, among others.

But the cleanies have grander plans in mind. Specifically, they're lobbying for the state Legislature to ban all corporate and union contributions in all elections in Illinois and set up public financing of judicial elections.

"I think they would like to cut anybody out of the debate who disagrees with their agenda," says Edward Murnane, the president of the Illinois Civil Justice League.

To bolster his case, he points to the liberal foundation funding behind the Illinois Campaign Reform Coalition, an umbrella group in the state lobbying for sweeping restrictions on political speech. That funding is detailed in another report just released by his group.

It turns out that the eight groups under the umbrella (ICPR, the Sunshine Project, the Citizen Advocacy Center, Protestants for the Common Good, the Better Government Association, Common Cause Illinois, Illinois Public Interest Research Group and the League of Women Voters of Illinois) have received about $3 million in grants from George Soros' Open Society Institute and the Joyce Foundation since 1997.

Those names should sound familiar to anyone who has followed the unmasking of the campaign-finance lobby at the national level. They are two of the eight liberal foundations that spent more than $120 million between 1994 and 2004 to fake up a "grass-roots movement" to pass the McCain-Feingold law, defend it in court and lobby for further restrictions on political speech.

To borrow from another recent Sager column headline, what the "cleanies" want is "Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee." In essence, they are proposing to change the rules to limit political speech for only select groups.

These state groups are part of the same effort to restrict all political speech deemed unworthy of a hearing by a cadre of liberal foundations.

These groups exist in nearly every state. And just as at the federal level, they get almost no scrutiny from the press. "The news media in Illinois have not really done the kind of reporting that shows who's playing this game," says Murnane.

"They accuse us of being a front for big business . . . we don't hide from that," he says, referring to his group's business backing. "They're hiding, pretending they're somebody that they're not." As in neutral, nonpartisan.

If politics is war by other means, then campaign-finance reform is politics by other means. The funders of campaign-finance reform have a political agenda — as shown by the other groups they support: These foundations also fund the Earth Action Network, the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the Public Citizen Foundation . . . and they oppose tort reform.

And, if the "cleanies" get their way in Springfield this year, only one side of the debate will get an opportunity to take the field. Last I looked, independent "referees" were not in the business of keeping one team off the field.

Once again, it's the bloggers keeping free speech alive:

Once again, we see the convicted swindler, George Soros, funding groups that are deceiving all of us by claiming to be nonpartisan and only "concerned" about cleaning up campaign financing. What they are really doing, is trying to shut up their opposition, by what ever means possible.

IlliniPundit puts it best:

There’s never anything “non-partisan” about changing the rules of politics. Such changes are always designed to benefit someone – incumbents, the media, or, in this case, liberal special interest groups.

It’s clear that the Illinois campaign finance “reform” groups are being funding by national Democratic interests, including George Soros, who has spent untold millions trying to defeat Republicans across the country.

Let’s make sure that in Illinois, voices other than Mr. Soros’ can still be heard.

I wholeheartedly endorse IlliniPundit's opinion on the issue, at least while the campaign finance rules in Illinois still allow me to comment.


Blogger IlliniPundit said...

Thanks for the link. Great post today, and your study was very informative. Don't let them silence you!

7:00 AM  

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