Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bob Kjellander: Berkowitz’ Friday night show. Were Kjellander and McKenna plumping for Brady to be the Republican National Committeeman? If so, why?

Below is a partial transcript of an interview Jeff Berkowitz did late in the day on Friday with Bob Kjellander, Illinois’ controversial Republican National Committeeman who is a long time friend of Karl Rove and is involved in planning the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.

Kjellander contacted Berkowitz to complain about statements included here that Kjellander claims are inaccurate. That discussion was the first part of the interview and will be reported in a later post on this blog. Also to be reported in a subsequent post will be the Berkowitz-Kjellander discussion about the assertion that Kjellander has emerged as a key figure in the on-going probe of Illinois public corruption.

The Friday Night Show:

Kjellander’s Complaint.

Jeff Berkowitz: Other than this thing about the embrace [between Pat Brady and you after Brady won the Republican National Committeeman position] that I wrote about, [and both Brady and Kjellander have denied that the embrace occurred], is there anything else that I have written that you thought was inaccurate? Also [I wrote] that Rauschenberger had claimed he had nine votes at one point, and you claim he was lucky to have four votes for Republican National Committeeman—you thought he only had three…is there anything else that I have written about this stuff that you think was inaccurate.

Bob Kjellander, Illinois Republican National Committeeman: Oh, yes, yes. This business about people’s jobs being threatened on behalf of Pat Brady-- I think that is a complete fabrication.

Jeff Berkowitz: How would you know since you just told me you don’t know anything about what Andy was doing; you don’t know what the Illinois State GOP staff were doing. You said you are completely out of it- you are up there in St. Paul,

Why Pat Brady won the RNC race?

Bob Kjellander: I was at the [State GOP] Convention on Friday [June 6] and I talked to people and I didn’t get any sense whatsoever that anybody was being threatened or that there was any overt effort because the difference here is that Pat Brady went out and worked. He called and met with members all over the state because I’d get calls from people—they’re trying to figure out what to do and I still have a number of friends in this Party despite everything else and—

Jeff Berkowitz: And, what did he tell them? What did Pat Brady tell them as to why they should vote for him instead of Rauschenberger? Your friends? The people you talked to? What did they tell you [he said]?

Bob Kjellander: Oh, that he was going to be very aggressive in raising money for the Party. That he was part of the McCain operation and hopefully McCain was going to be elected and the national committeeman is the representative of the State to the National Party and certainly having somebody who was intimately involved in the McCain Campaign be Illinois’ Representative on the National Committee is a very beneficial thing.

Did Brady do a lot for McCain?

Jeff Berkowitz: How much money had Brady raised for McCain in 2000? You know?

Bob Kjellander: I have no idea.

Jeff Berkowitz: How much money did he raise in 2008?

Bob Kjellander: I don’t know.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, isn’t that relevant because you said that was the most important thing to do and he’s telling people he can raise money and nobody asked him how much money did he raise?

Bob Kjellander: Jeff, I am not an encyclopedia. I don’t know how much money individual people raise.

Pat Brady’s record with the State GOP

Jeff Berkowitz: Has he done anything for the Republican Party that you know of in the last eight years? Pat Brady? Has he? Tell me. What has he done, eight years? He run for office? Help elect anybody? Walk a precinct? Name one thing.

Bob Kjellander: He has worked on a lot of different campaigns. I can’t remember them all. He has worked on a lot of campaigns.

Jeff Berkowitz: Give me one campaign you would say he was intimately involved in—in which he had a significant involvement to elect a Republican. Just name one.

Bob Kjellander: I don’t- I don’t know. I don’t know.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, if this guy did all this—calling people and—

Bob Kjellander: Wait a minute, but you know what, all Rauschenberger cares about is himself.

Rauschenberger’s record with the State GOP

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, I don’t know. He was a State Senator for fourteen years, so at least he got himself elected.

Bob Kjellander: Yeah.

Jeff Berkowitz: He did that. He kept getting elected. He ran for Lt. Gov. He tried to run for Governor. He ran in the U. S. Senate. He came in third out of seven candidates. He beat the guy [Andy McKenna, Jr.] who is the State GOP Chairman who you’ve told me is great in raising money and who spent 4.5 million dollars [on his own senate primary campaign including 2 million dollars of his own money]. Rauschenberger raised $800,000 and got twenty- one per cent of the Republican Senate Primary vote.

Bob Kjellander: Um um

Jeff Berkowitz: And, you’re telling me an objective guy like you Bob, and you’ve forgotten more politics than I’ll ever know…you know this if you’re objective, you’re looking at Pat Brady, you’re looking at Andy McKenna, Jr., the guy who you are spitting at is Rauschenberger and I just don’t get it. Okay? I just don’t.

Bob Kjellander: You’re in love with him and I—

Why Kjellander prefers Brady and McKenna, Jr. to Rauschenberger

Jeff Berkowitz: No, I am not in love with anybody. I am trying to understand you. I am giving you a shot. Tell me, why is it you like a guy [McKenna, Jr.] who gets fourteen per cent of the vote [in the 2004 Republican U. S. Senate Primary in Illinois, won by Jack Ryan], but not the guy [Rauschenberger] who gets twenty-one per cent? Why is it you like a guy [Pat Brady] who has never run for an office [actually he ran once and lost], never helped elect anybody that you can think of but not the guy who was a state senator for 14 years…

Bob Kjellander: Being a state senator and a failed statewide candidate on two occasions is not a good description of a national committeeman. Steve is not a team player. Steve is about Steve.

The United Republican Fund and Denis Healy—Do they count?

Jeff Berkowitz: Is he President of the United Republican Fund of Illinois? is that what his position is? Rauschenberger?

Bob Kjellander: I don’t know.

Jeff Berkowitz: I think it is. Is that an unimportant position? Would you say those people don’t count? United Republican Fund of Illinois ("URF"). What do you think of them? They made him their President.

Bob Kjellander: Did they make him President? I don’t know. The URF used to be a very important fund raising apparatus in the party. It’s been—

Jeff Berkowitz: What’s that guy’s name? Healy?

Bob Kjellander: Denis Healy, yeah.

Jeff Berkowitz: Yeah, Denis Healy, I think he is a part of that, right? Is he a good Republican? Denis Healy?

Bob Kjellander: Yeah, Denis Healy is a fine guy.

Jeff Berkowitz: If Healy likes Rauschenberger, does that tell you anything? … You don’t like Steve and apparently Steve doesn’t like you. And, I’m trying to understand that. You like Healy; Healy apparently likes Rauschenberger. Rauschenberger is a part of an organization that Healy is instrumental in. And I say, what does that mean to you and you say, “I don’t know.”

Bob Kjellander: Well, I don’t know that Rauschenberger is President of it. If you tell me he is—I don’t know. I thought Healy was head of it.

Jeff Berkowitz: I think Healy is the financial guy behind it [Healy is the United Republican Fund Chairman, Rauschenberger is the President, See here.] …

Bob Kjellander: Rauschenberger has never been able to raise any money so why they would make him head of the URF, which is a fundraising apparatus, doesn’t make much sense to me.

Jeff Berkowitz: Did Rauschenberger raise 800K when he ran for Senate in 2004… I think he did. …if that’s right, does that count for something…

Bob Kjellander: No, $800,000 in a U. S. Senate race is nothing.

Jeff Berkowitz: Okay.

Bob Kjellander: Nothing.

The McKenna fund raising magic
Jeff Berkowitz: What is it that enables Andy McKenna to raise 2.5 million dollars in that 2004 Senate Primary] race? Charm? Intelligence? Looks?

Bob Kjellander: Bob Kjellander: I don’t know.

Jeff Berkowitz: It’s money, Bob. Come on. You know that….people who have money can easily trade money back and forth… [for example] when they have benefit events, one gives to the other and the other gives back to them. Okay?

Bob Kjellander: Okay?

Jeff Berkowitz: His father has built a business and has got a lot of moneyed friends. The father’s name would be Andy McKenna, Sr. Okay?

Bob Kjellander: Yeah, Jeff.

Jeff Berkowitz: This is what you respect?

Bob Kjellander: Now, wait a minute. Jeff. Now, look. In your little diatribe.

Jeff Berkowitz: It’s not a diatribe. I am being accurate and I am being factual.

Bob Kjellander: Wait a minute, the thing that you are condemning McKenna for—

Jeff Berkowitz: I didn’t condemn him, I gave you facts.

The Gidwitz-McKenna comparison

Bob Kjellander: Is exactly what Ron Gidwitz was all about in his campaign that Steve was hooked up with and yet you refer to Gidwitz as a reformer. And Gidwitz is the quintessential rich guy trading contributions with his friends. Come on.

Jeff Berkowitz: In terms of raising money and how he does it, Ron Gidwitz [is] quite similar to Andy McKenna, Jr. If I implied anything differently, I didn’t mean to.

Bob Kjellander: Well, here you are.

Jeff Berkowitz: On that score, they’re the same.

Bob Kjellander: You say Rauschenberger agreed to run for Lt. Gov. in the Republican Primary on a ticket with reformer Ron Gidwitz, Well—

Jeff Berkowitz: You can be a reformer and still have the ability to raise money in the same way Andy McKenna, Jr. does.

Bob Kjellander: I am just pointing out that you are not being consistent. You are attacking McKenna for the very thing Gidwitz does and yet you call Gidwitz a reformer and you are attacking McKenna.

Jeff Berkowitz: Would you call McKenna a reformer?

Bob Kjellander: Pardon?

Jeff Berkowitz: Is McKenna, Jr. a reformer? I mean Gidwitz ran on a campaign of reform. He may not have won but he ran on that. I didn’t invent that term, Bob. That was Gidwitz’s phrase. And, I think he was accurate in terms of the views he was espousing. Okay?

Bob Kjellander: Okay.

Jeff Berkowitz: Maybe McKenna ran a “reform,” campaign. But, I don’t think I ever heard him say that word in 2004. He says it now… you’re mixing up things, Bob.

Bob Kjellander: No, I am not. I am pointing out that you are being very, very inconsistent.

Kjellander ready for Public Affairs?

Jeff Berkowitz: Come on our TV show [Watch Public Affairs here] this Sunday. We’ll do a show on this.

Bob Kjellander: …I am not going to be in Chicago for a while. I will do your show sometime. I’m happy to…[but] I can’t promise you when because my commitments in Minneapolis-St. Paul are very, very time consuming, so I am up here almost every week for several days.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox, this week's show in the suburbs with State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago); last week's show in the suburbs with Comm. Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago), our prior shows with State Rep. Candidate Joan Solms (R-Aurora), 6th CD Democratic candidate, Colonel Jill Morgenthaler (Ret.), State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and shows with many other pols at
Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs YouTube page include This week's show in the Chicago metro suburbs with Sen. Kwame Raoul(D-Chicago), next week's show in the Chicago Metro suburbs with Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago)- watch here; our prior shows with State Rep. candidate Joan Solms (R-Aurora), Comm. Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) on the Obama Presidential campaign and shows with many other pols