Monday, June 26, 2006

8th CD Scheurer files and claims fraud by Democratic Party

Bill Scheurer, seeking to run on the “Moderate Party,” ticket in the 8th Cong. District, stated this afternoon that he filed petitions today with 13,000 to 15,000 signatures to place him on the ballot on November 7. Scheurer noted that he filed quite a few more signatures than the Democrat first term incumbent in that race, Congresswoman Melissa Bean [D-Barrington, 8th CD], whose total he said was about 3,000 signatures.

Scheurer acknowledged that he may be short of the requisite 13,950 “good signatures,” needed to get on the ballot. Scheurer claims that his campaign had 10,000 to 12,000 signatures fewer than it would have had, if it had not been the victim of criminal fraud. Scheurer is still suspicious of the involvement and connection of one Anthony Constantine, who works in Cong. Dan Lipinski’s office, to the activities that led Scheurer to believe someone using the name of Anthony Constantine would be providing approximately 10,000, or more, signatures to support Scheurer’s candidacy. [See here].

While in Springfield today, Scheurer visited with Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and the state Board of Elections counsel’s office to complain and discuss issues related to his view that the “Democratic Party committed fraud on democracy.” It is fraud on “the people,” not just fraud on him and his campaign, Scheurer said this afternoon in a phone interview. Scheurer plans to raise similar concerns and issues with the office of the State’s Attorney of Lake County, Mike Waller; and the office of the U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald.

Scheurer has also raised previously the possibility of civil actions and defenses to any legal challenges to his petitions that would include legal arguments of the following nature: (1) estoppel, e.g., the Democratic Party can’t involve itself in improper actions to retard his petitions and then argue the petitions are insufficient and (2) constitutional due process standards are violated by the out-sized requirement of 14,000 signatures for a third party candidate for Congress relative to the requirement of 850, or so, signatures for major party candidates.

Asked this afternoon if he had evidence tying the Democratic Party to his allegations of fraud, Scheurer said, “Yes…but [I] can’t talk about it anymore. I mean, I probably can, from time to time, in the future, as the investigations go forward and I am allowed to-- basically, cleared to-- talk about it, because I definitely want to tell this story. There are more details than I have told you before.”

Scheurer indicated that he would drop his complaints if there were no legal challenges to his petitions because “the benefits of the fraud are no longer being claimed by the people who committed it.”

Asked this afternoon if he thought the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee [Cong. Rahm Emanuel] or anybody affiliated or working with the Chairman or that Committee is involved in this fraud, Scheurer said, “Well, it [Rahm Emanuel’s organization] is a Democratic Congressional Campaign but my thoughts are really irrelevant at this point; what’s going to be relevant are the facts that come out during the criminal fraud investigation, and we have facts to give to these public servants and they certainly have ways to uncover many other facts…like I said, we believe the Democratic Party has committed fraud on democracy.”

The 8th Cong. Dist. is generally assessed by knowledgeable pols and pundits as within the Top 20 competitive races in the country. Bean’s Republican challenger is investment banker David McSweeney, who won a six candidate primary in March, with 42% of the vote. [See generally, here].

McSweeney’s May, 2006 financial disclosure form indicates he has assets totaling approximately two to eight million dollars. High net worth individuals often have trouble raising funds, with potential donors wondering why they should help finance a campaign, if the candidate can do so himself. However, candidate McSweeney managed to raise about a half million dollars during the primary and contributed about two million dollars of his own wealth to the primary effort, but virtually all of that 2.5 million dollars was spent on winning that race.

In an effort to demonstrate his fundraising ability and thus persuade donors over the next four months to hop on the bandwagon, McSweeney, like most competitive candidates, has been trying to get his numbers up for the second quarter, which pundits and donors will look at when the reports are disclosed on July 15. Vice-President Dick Cheney was featured in a McSweeney fundraiser on Friday at the Hilton Towers that had about 300 supporters in attendance and raised more than $200,000, and that followed a funder earlier this month that featured Rudy Giuliani at Mike Ditka’s Restaurant—with that event pulling in about $70,000.

Yesterday Speaker Hastert was featured in another big name funder for candidate McSweeney at a private home in Barrington Hills. The event pulled in about 150 supporters and raised another 75K, or so. Starting things off in July for McSweeney will be House Majority Leader John Boehner [R-Westchester, OH] , who will be featured at an evening event in Schaumburg [Wingate Inn] on July 6.

Democrat Bean, although not possessing quite the net worth as her opponent, has been very busy raising funds both before and since she was elected, and it is expected her July report will reveal cash on hand for the Barrington Congresswoman of more than two million dollars, and counting. Extremely popular U. S. Senator and potential ‘08 Presidential candidate Barack Obama has held several funders for Bean-- and the 8th CD is a race that Congressman and DCCC chairman Rahm Emanuel keeps a close eye on, along with the open seat in the neighboring 6th CD, and perhaps twenty-five others.

If Moderate Party, anti-War, anti-Bush tax cut Bill Scheurer does manage to get on the ballot, he will probably be lucky to have 50K to 100K available to spend on his campaign. So, the Scheurer campaign will definitely be “no frills,” relative to Bean and McSweeney.

The 8th CD was won by President Bush 56 %-44% in 2004, held by Republican Cong. Phil Crane for 35 years until he ran into Melissa Bean and it is still thought to be an oasis of Red in the predominantly Blue upstate Illinois. About half of the likely voters in the District are in west Lake County, 35% in suburban northwest Cook County and 15% in relatively rural McHenry County.