Carpenters Union official Ronald Eck, a fervent supporter of Democratic Party McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Frank, filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections against the McHenry County Republican Party for bad campaign financing reporting.
Specifically, that the GOP should have indicated, Eck claimed, that a $1,200 check written to attorney Philip Prossnitz should have been classified as a “contribution in kind” to County Clerk Joe Tirio, who has retained Prossnitz to discover who make the scurrilous mailings from the anonymous group calling itself the “Illinois Integrity Project.”
Here’s Hearing Officer Andy Neuman’s summary of the complaint:
The Complainant alleges that the Republican Central Committee of McHenry County failed to properly identify the beneficiary of an expense paid to attorney Philip A. Prossnitz on their June 2018 Quarterly Report.
Mr. Eck believes the $1,200 payment of legal fees paid to Mr. Prossnitz wasn’t for the benefit of the Republican Central Committee of McHenry County but rather the expense should have been reported as an in-kind contribution to Citizens to Elect Joe Tirio because the payment benefited Mr. Tirio.
Eck said his source came from those who attended the April convention of the local Republican Party, but he refused to identify those presumably Republican Precinct Committeemen.
He also filed a complaint against Franks’ opponent Mike Walkup last year, but was a no-show.
A closed hearing was held in Chicago August 27th, which the Carpenters Union official attended, complete with a lawyer named Scott Erdman.
Attorney Robert Hanlon , representing the GOP, said the GOP
…conferred with his attorney Mr. Prossnitz for the purpose of attaining whether or not itwas a prudent thing for them to join in the lawsuit or not.
Therefore, they believe the $1,200 payment for attorney fees would have been appropriately reported, there was no in-kind contribution, and at the conclusion of this proceeding they will be seeking sanctions against Mr. Eck for the false statements contained within the proceedings.
After arguments, the Election Board Hearing Officer said this about the hearsay information from the Republican Party Convention presented by Eck:
…in a case such as this where the Complainant’s allegations are based upon things told to him by unidentified people, there is no way to assign such statements any credibility.
The Hearing Officer granted that Eck may
have made a logical assumption that the Republican Central Committee of McHenry County had paid Attorney Prossnitz $1,200 on behalf of Mr. Tirio assuming his informants provided him with an accurate account of what the Chairperson had said during the April 2018 meeting and the Chairperson’s words correctly summarized the situation.
He then indicated that he did not believe that Eck had met his burden of proof.
…considering Mr. Tirio testified that he was paying for his own legal fees for his lawsuit I recommend the complaint be found not to have been filed upon justifiable grounds and this matter not proceed to a public hearing. [Boldface type in the original.]
GOP Treasurer Rachael Lawrence attended the closed hearing.
Today the process concluded with the State Board of Elections accepting the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation.