Bruce Rauner, It’s Time For You To Come Clean

August 30, 2014

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I, Brian S. Lambrecht, Chair of the DuPage Libertarians and the top volunteer signature collector in the state who personally testified at the State Board of Election this past month, am demanding that you, Bruce Rauner, come out and explain how your campaign can operate such disgusting and reprehensible tactics against another political party under your own nose without you being aware of it.

By now, we all know about the strong-arm tactics used by the GOP in their effort to throw us off the ballot. We are also aware of the armed private investigator that stalked petition circulators and visited the homes of registered voters who signed our petitions. Morrison Security, who was hired to provide the private investigators, is owned by Sean Morrison, who is also a Cook County Deputy Chairman, Palos Township Republican Committeeman and member of the Republican Party’s State Central Committee. The ties are pretty obvious to see.

Yet somehow, Mr. Rauner, you were never aware of this. After we turned in almost 43K signatures to the State Board of Elections on June 23rd, 2014, we were challenged for almost two straight weeks to defend them. When we survived that, you then went after petitioners themselves and the registered voters who signed our petitions.

You only denounced the activity after your camp had lost its battle with us at the Board of Elections and were called out by the tactics used, stating: “I’m appalled by the behavior I read about. I absolutely reject it and would never condone it. It’s terrible. I don’t know if it’s true, but I would never accept it. I’m outraged by what I’ve read.”

Your own spokesman Mike Schrimpf said that “Bruce wants as many people engaged in the political process as possible.” On that issue, we agree.

While the idea of you being oblivious to your own party’s actions is a bit hard to swallow, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. If you stand by the things you’ve said, and you expect us to honestly believe that you are appalled by the actions that were undertaken to remove us from the ballot, then step forward and explain how this all happened unbeknownst to you. Further Mr. Rauner, I call on you to publicly join the Libertarian Party in demanding a full criminal investigation of this shameful conduct by law enforcement. If you are truly “outraged” and “appalled” as you say, then joining our call for a full investigation should be easy for you.

As you’ve stated many times, you are not a career politician; you are a businessman. Being successful in business requires building solid relationships on a foundation of trust. If you want to prove that you will “shake up” Springfield and clean up the corruption, then start with your own party and your own campaign. I am opening up to you and willing to listen.

You should be forthcoming with a clear explanation of how this has happened. You owe an explanation to us, to the citizens and voters of Illinois and to anyone who ever wants to get involved in the political process anywhere in America.


Details on Our Fight for Ballot Access

August 16, 2014

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On Friday, August 15th, the Hearing Officer assigned to our case RULED IN FAVOR of the Libertarian Party, turning in her report and stating that our petitions “are sufficient and therefore the Libertarian Party does qualify as a new political party at the 2014 General Election and all of the Candidates’ names for the Libertarian Party should be printed on the official ballot at the General Election to be held on November 4, 2014.”

The fight isn’t over yet. The details laid out here should infuriate every American who believes in a fair, just system. It should anger taxpaying citizens of Illinois as well, though as Election Day results show, the anger never lasts long. Here is the basic outline of what we have gone through, including many things you may have not heard.

First, we turned in 42,986 signatures to the State Board of Elections on the morning of Monday, June 23rd, several hours before the Green Party or Constitution Party would deliver theirs. Political Division Director Lex Green handled the paperwork while I took some photos of the four candidates who joined us; Julie Fox for Comptroller, Sharon Hansen for US Senate, AJ Cummings for Lt. Governor and Chad Grimm for Governor.

Afterwards, we met up with candidates Ben Koyl for Attorney General and Matt Skopek for Treasurer at the capitol building in Springfield for more photo taking and a press conference. We knew that our petitions would get challenged by gutless Republicans terrified of competition on the ballot, and we wanted to bring that out in our press conference in advance.

The challenge came. Two Republican supporters requested copies of our petitions from the State Board of Elections and quickly had teams of hired interns go through them with a fine tooth comb, scouring them to find as many address errors and messy signatures as they could find. They challenged 23,667 of our signatures.

What followed were 7 full days (many of them ten hours in length) at the State Board of Elections in Springfield, defending signatures in a line by line defense. Libertarian volunteers came from all corners of the state – even some from across our state borders – to help us defend those signatures.

The Republicans were busing in young interns and students to challenge us. Most of these kids were decent people who had no idea just what they were doing there. Having been prompted by their bosses about us being fraudsters who wanted to steal an election from Mr. Rauner, we talked with them, made friends and eventually opened their eyes to who we really were. Many even admitted to being very libertarian in their philosophy. After the first hour or so, the majority of them stopped fighting our signatures, and most even began helping us track down a few. We won them over by being honest and real.

Of course there were a few of the dedicated, angry type who tirelessly worked to eliminate our signatures – we watched on as they berated the younger interns for not being tough enough. In the end, we were successful. They eliminated 12,789 of the signatures we had – but that left us with 30,197 signatures – more than enough to qualify for ballot access… but it didn’t stop there.

Usually, this is where the process ends. The Republicans have a millionaire candidate with a lot of money to spend to win this election. This is when things began to get ugly.

DuPage Libertarian member Warren Bent brought to our attention a visit he had from a young Republican intern who came to the front door of his home on a Sunday. The young man was carrying copies of the petitions with him, and he tried to convince Warren that he had been defrauded on a petition. Obviously, this person had no idea that he was speaking to a member of the Libertarian Party. Warren declared that he did indeed sign that petition, and then began to ask questions of this kid that made him uncomfortable enough to scamper away and drive off in his car.

That’s right. The Republicans were going door to door to confront people about their signatures and intimidate them into backing down from those signatures. They even brought affidavits and got a few people to sign them, claiming that they did not remember ever signing our petitions (did they have notaries running around with them at the time?) and wanted it legally stated so. Because the Republicans weren’t able to eliminate enough signatures in the line-by-line verification process, their new tactic was to discredit petitioners themselves in hopes of getting entire groups of our signatures thrown off at once.

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These affidavits turned up at the State Board of Elections in front of a hearing officer. One was against me, which I personally testified against. A woman claimed she couldn’t remember me, after being confronted by someone at her door with a photo of me! For those of you who have never personally met me… I am not the kind of guy you easily forget. I even made this joke while testifying, eliciting many laughs from everyone in the room, and did exceptionally well defending my standing as good, honest petitioner. In her report, the Hearing Officer stated that “the Objectors fail to meet their burden of proof in demonstrating any of their objections with regard to Mr. Lambrecht” and found “Mr. Lambrecht’s testimony credible and therefore recommend that the objection regarding Mr. Lambrecht’s petition sheets be overruled.” Damn straight.

The Republicans initially issued subpoenas against some of our biggest petitioners, but neglected to call any of them to the stand on the first day. Our lawyers, however, still brought one of them up – a girl who claimed that over the last several weeks, she had been confronted by an armed private investigator multiple times, who had made her “frightened” each time.

This girl, who was our second biggest signature collector in the state, was scared – but not scared enough. She knew the work she did was honest and legal and she refused to give in, so she testified on our behalf about the confrontations with the private investigator. That testimony helped our case..

This is what we are up against – and yet still, almost two months after turning in our signatures, we don’t have a definite answer on our ballot access. In the end, our total of 42,986 signatures had been beaten and whittled down to 25,989 at the final count. And as you can see, we survived by barely a thousand signatures – which is why every person reading this who helped collect signatures is owed a debt of thanks from the Libertarian Party of Illinois and our candidates for your hard work – because as we’ve always said, EVERY SIGNATURE COUNTS.

This still isn’t over, but it is very close to being over, and things are looking very good for us. Of course, we are Libertarians and this is Illinois, where anything can happen. Regardless, a victory is a victory. We came under intense scrutiny from a major party headed by a wealthy candidate who had endless resources to throw everything they could at us, and we lasted through it. Some of the young Republican interns bragged about how great and important it was for them to be working with Mr. Rauner’s campaign. I responded by asking them, “why?” What is honorable or worth bragging about when you are one of thousands of workers in a campaign with millions of dollars? I would think it more honorable to be defending the people who are NOT millionaires, who are not entrenched politicians – to be with the few hundred people with little to no money on our side who put up a defense against one of the hardest fought election battles in Illinois history – a battle most people will never read about – and come out victorious.

We still must wait for the actual board of directors – four Republicans and four Democrats – to vote on whether we will be printed on the ballots, but having the Hearing Officer rule in our favor will be very helpful. That vote should take place next week on Friday, August 22nd.


Red Light and Speed Cameras

August 5, 2014

900734_origPhoto from Citizens to Abolish red Light Cameras

Libertarians candidates have taken on issues big and small all across the state in their latest campaigns, and this is one of the bigger ones that most being forget about. Chicago has more red light cameras than any other city in America, currently topped out at 352. They have been wrought with fraud and abuse since their implementation, when company Redflex installed and operated the cameras.

Unexplainable spikes in tickets being issues combined with the tinkering of yellow/red lights themselves in order to generate more tickets and bribes being paid out to Illinois insiders prove that this has never been about public safety and has, as was always believed, to be nothing more than a way to extort money from taxpayers who are already stretched pretty thin.

Most people don’t think about these red light and speed cameras until a ticket shows up in the mail, and unless you have plenty of free time or the right connections, it is easier to simply pay the fine and make it go away. City officials, however, are always exempt from them and the fines that they accrue, most famously from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s personal driver who amassed a few thousand dollars worth of tickets which were then paid for with tax payer dollars.

Of course, Chicago got greedy and continued to install more of these dangerous revenue-siphoning machines, which have since appeared in the many suburbs outside of Cook County.

If you want to get involved in some protests in Chicago to help end red light and speed cameras, and eventually eliminate them from DuPage County and rest of Illinois, then consider attending one of the following protests hosted by Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras. All these protests start around 11am and run until about 2pm. DuPage Libertarians member David Kaufman is a staunch supporter of the group Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, and attends their gatherings whenever he can. Here are a couple of their next protest dates:

8/9 – Northalsted Market Days

8/16 – Gods on the Block Block Party 7800 S Indiana

Our candidate for Secretary of State Chris Michel has also made it part of his platform to support ending red light and speed cameras in an effort to end the theft of money from citizens. For more information, check out www.banthecameras.com


Petition Challenges in Springfield; Ballot Access

July 24, 2014

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The political process, for most people, is nothing more than enduring weeks and weeks of political ads before an eventual election day arrives where there will be record low-voter turnout anyways, followed by taxes being raised and maybe some politician going to jail on the nighttime news.

Of course, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that usually requires two things: endless volunteers and a boatload of cash. You can already see the problem for third party candidates. In Illinois, it is particularly bad.

First, we struggled for 90 days to not only reach the 25,000 signatures needed for ballot access, but to gain almost 43,000 because of the challenges we knew we would be hit with to knock us below the 25,000 threshold, which happened immediately.

Then we spent 7 full business workdays in Springfield defending those signatures. Volunteers from all over the state came out on their own time – missing work and using up vacation days to defend our signatures in a line by line verification process that is designed to eat up our resources.

Who challenged us? The Republican Party, worried that we take away votes from them that could cost them an election – despite the fact that we actually earn more votes from Democrats in Illinois than we do Republicans. No matter. We stepped up and brought our A game.

Of course, the Republican Party leaders themselves didn’t come down to fight in the long and tedious process – they sent kids, some of whom aren’t legally old enough to drink, to do their dirty work for them. These young and bright kids showed up ready for a fight – and we weren’t what they expected.

They were coached early on to look at us as fraudsters and thieves – as though participating in the democratic process in Illinois somehow violates some right that they feel entitled to only for them. Once they began talking to us, they liked us. We would ask them, “Why are you here today? Why do you feel it is right to kick someone off of the ballot in this manner?” We told them our struggles, showed them photos of our stack of signatures and shared stories of our petitioning. Before you knew it, these kids began to sympathize with us, and in most cases actually stopped putting up a fight or even helped us identify some of the registered voters!

The Republican “generals” in charge at these challenges began to notice this, and would lecture the kids about why they were there, ordering them to not talk to us. I made a joke about one of them being their bossy dad, gaining laughs from the kids and angering the uptight conservative.

They would bus in new kids every day, and every day we would talk to the new group and educate them on who we were and what we believed – and every day we came through. When your only strategy is to lie and deceive your volunteer supporters (some of whom we learned were paid to be there) in order to get their loyalty, then you shouldn’t be surprised when you can’t win elections. It is at points like this when you learn first-hand that the Republicans and Democrats are no different from each other when it comes to power.

By the end of the seventh day, our 42,986 signatures had been whittled down to 30,179 which is still well more than what we need to be on the ballot.

Of course, they won’t stop there. There are STILL challenges against the petitioners themselves, including the author of this article. I was accused of everything from fraud to not even living at my own address. This is laughable. I even took photos of myself at every petitioning event I did and posted them live on social media, multiple times a week.

But none of that matters. When a chance to gain political power is at stake, even conservatives who claim they love freedom of speech and think competition is a great thing will throw all of those rules out the window in a desperate gasp for winning the governorship.

The Libertarians should be on the ballot in November in Illinois. For that matter, so should the Green Party, the Constitution Party and any independent candidate who wants to peacefully take part in the political process by running for office. Everything wrong with Illinois, from corrupt politicians who rewrite district maps on the fly to support certain candidates over others to ballot access laws that prevent good people from running are at the heart of why Illinois has people and businesses fleeing the state.

Citizens of Illinois deserve better. If the state and its political parties will not provide that, then eventually there will be no one left to vote for anyone and no one to tax to help pay for all those bad ideas.


Downers Grove Independence Day Parade

July 9, 2014

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After warming ourselves up with the Memorial Day Parade in Itasca back in May, the DuPage Libertarians decided to step up our game and tackle the Independence Day Parade in Downers Grove. With our good friend Jason taking the lead with our banner, we were ready!

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Just like in Itasca, we were joined by four candidates. Candidate for US Senate Sharon Hansen rode in the back of the truck along with candidate for Treasurer Matt Skopek. Paul Clark, the Chair for the Libertarian Party of Will County and campaign manager for Sharon Hansen, was kind enough to bring his pickup truck and ferry our candidates through the parade.

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Candidate for Secretary of State Chris Michel preferred to ride his bike throughout the parade with his son Joshua, catching a lot of attention and cheers from the crowd – the beautiful American flag that waved from behind him helped a lot, too.

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Our last candidate was Ben Koyl, running for Attorney General. Ben is the local hero, living in Downers Grove and representing the hometown guy. At his own expense, he printed up a banner for himself, designed by DuPage Libertarian member Jeni, and carried by members Josh and Noah.

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We also had three gentlemen, all named Steve, carrying signs and a flag straight through the center of our crew. The flag always gets a big pop from the crowd, and we always have it carried by someone who keeps it held high.
It couldn’t be a successful parade without candy, and we had Claire, Meaghan, Nazli and Natalie passing out plenty of it to kids all along the route.

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After having taken such a long hiatus of parade marching, it seemed appropriate to keep things as simple as possible while still being effective at broadcasting our message. Our message, which I loudly orated from the front of our group, was simple: we are your local Libertarians, we have candidates on the ballot in November, we are not millionaires or career politicians, if you want change then you need to change the way you vote, and if you want to break the two-party system then we are your only third option in Illinois.

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Keep following our progress here at our blog. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved, and everyone is welcome to join us for all the fun. We hope everyone had a great Independence Day. Thanks again to the 19 volunteers who came out and helped make all of this possible.

All photos taken by Claire Ball.


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