McHenry County Clerk Candidate Joe Tirio Sues to Find Who’s Behind Illinois Integrity (sic) Fund

A press release from McHenry County Clerk candidate Joe Tirio’s attorney Philip Prossnitz:

Joe Tirio Files Suit to Unmask Illinois Integrity Fund

Who is the “Illinois Integrity Fund” that sent our mailers during the primary in March?

Joe Tirio wants to know.

Joe Tirio photoshopped with a mask by the “Illinois Integrity Fund.”

McHenry County experienced a March Republican primary that many felt stooped to unprecedented lows with anonymous political mailers, robo calls by people using aliases, and websites making unfounded accusations of criminal wrongdoing.

Some of these “hit pieces” were distributed by individuals hiding behind fictitious entities such as the “Illinois Integrity Fund.” The “Illinois Integrity Fund” did not register with the Illinois Board of Elections nor is it a registered Illinois company or corporation.

When Tirio drove to the Hoffman Estates address listed on the three mailers that attacked him, he found an office building with no trace of anyone or anything associated with the “Illinois Integrity Fund”.

No one has come forward to acknowledge being a member of the “Illinois Integrity Fund” or to claim responsibility for what was printed.

Voters and the general public do not know who was behind the “Illinois Integrity Fund” and Joe Tirio is concerned voters believed the “Illinois Integrity Fund” was a registered political organization making “truthful claims.” Neither is true.

The “Illinois Integrity Fund” was a mask for someone putting out false, defamatory information about Tirio.

The public doesn’t know who is behind this entity.

But Joe intends to find out. Joe Tirio is striking back.

oe left a successful career in the corporate management world to run for political office in 2015.

He successfully spearheaded the initiative to save taxpayers’ money by starting the process of merging the County Recorder and County Clerk’s offices in McHenry County.

Joe ran a winning campaign in March 2018 to be the Republican nominee for County Clerk, but not without suffering scathing personal attacks from the “Illinois Integrity Fund,” an organization working in the shadows, accusing him of committing financial crimes.

The “Illinois Integrity Fund” is an unregistered organization Tirio wants to unmask.

“I wasn’t just called names.

“I was accused of committing crimes with taxpayers’ money!

“Throughout my political career I’ve tried to make county government more efficient and responsible and save the taxpayers’ money.

“These accusations serve no purpose but to misinform a voter, rob him of his or her vote, and discourage civic-minded people from getting involved in politics,” said Tirio.

Woodstock lawyer Phil Prossnitz, who is representing Tirio reflected, “A certain amount of mudslinging is to be expected, but what was done here was unconscionable. Joe is a good man. We believe in the eyes of the law these mailers went too far.”

“If people hiding behind an alias can get away with making false accusations of crimes against an honest man like Joe, they can do it against anyone running for office.

“We need to unmask these people,” commented Prossnitz.

“The courts draw a reasonable line on abuses of free speech.

“If a statement is false and done with malice, it is defamation. Anonymous, false, malicious ‘hit pieces’ go beyond mere damage caused by fake news. This lying undermines American democracy,” said Prossnitz.

Because Tirio does not know the identity of the person or persons behind the fliers, he and his lawyer are going into court using a new Illinois Supreme Court Rule that allows limited discovery to find out the identity of the “Illinois Integrity Fund.”

The respondents in the petition are the printing company whose name appeared on the mailers and Tirio’s opponent who used language in her automated telephone call similar to the mailers.

“Politics is a rough business, but if we as a community don’t stand up to people who distributed thousand of fliers with lies claiming I committed crimes, how can we expect honest, hard-working citizens to come forward for public service?” questioned Tirio.

Tirio says,

Joe Tirio

“This lawsuit is about answering: When is lying about an opponent in a political campaign going too far?

“Should people be allowed to use aliases or hide behind fake organizations and make false accusations to gain an advantage in an American political campaign?

“Does blatant, knowing, overt lying undermine American democracy?

“Does this behavior rob you of your vote?

“In an American political campaign should we teach our children — ‘anything goes?’

“Tirio invites politicians and citizens of all backgrounds and party affiliation to say enough is enough and come forward to unmask the people behind the ‘Illinois Integrity Fund.'”

The case has been assigned to Judge Kevin Costello, 18 MR 302, and is next up May 23, 2018 at 9:00 A.M. in courtroom 204.


McHenry County Clerk Candidate Joe Tirio Sues to Find Who’s Behind Illinois Integrity (sic) Fund — 25 Comments

  1. One thing is for sure; Klaatu Barada Nikto has nothing to do with this. Long live our McHenry County sunshine blog! Stay tuned…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meow, meeeeeoooooowwwwwww…

  2. Thank you Joe Tirio.

    This action will cause more beneficial impact on Illinois politics than campaign contributions to either party ever made.

    Again Tirio is leading by example: not complaining about corrupt political practices, DOING something about them.

  3. Joe …How can we the honest taxpaying citizens of McHenry county Help?

    we need this fraud brought to public light and we can not expect to get honest reporting from the Northwest Herald….

  4. Good for you Joe, time to hold these people accountable.

    Bill Matteson is absolutely correct, if you need help just ask.

  5. ‘Frankly,’ I smell a political machine, of the type found in Chicago, behind this ‘Integrity Fund’ garbage.

    Go get ’em, Joe 🙂

  6. Four other candidates were attacked maliciously by this so called integrity fund.

    Only two survived.

    I’d like to see them all take turns suing whoever funded this phony fund when Joe discovers who it was.

    As whoever funded this ‘hit job’ spent big bucks doing it they must have pretty deep pockets.

    My guess it won’t be that difficult for the other four candidates to find some LaSalle street lawyer to take the cases on a contingency basis.

    Good luck to them all.

  7. Serious question: do they have to tell you who paid for the ads?

    It seemed like about 40% of the ads in 16 & 17 were these benign sounding groups saying awful things about candidates without ever endorsing a candidate.

    Personally, I prefer the o!d “My name is _____ and I approve this message” but these sort of ads are pretty common these days.

  8. @ Lani Murphy:

    You’re correct I wasn’t counting Joe who’s the plaintiff in this instant case.

    Wheeler and Rein both survived (Rein by a hair), and Schuster and Brettman both got crushed.

    All have a cause of action once the money source is known.

    This should be a great lead-in to the general election.

  9. We all know who the man behind the curtain is, the questions will be how well he covered his tracks, and whether or not one of his sycophants will take the blame for him.

  10. I can’t find any law that prohibits this.

    Has anyone found otherwise?

  11. If an organization spends over $10k on a political campaign, they are required by law to register with the Illinois Board of Elections.

    These mailings obviously cost a lot more than that, and the Illinois Integrity Fund never registered.

    The mailings made some accusations about Joe Tirio that were probably libelous, even when one considers the wide latitude traditionally given to political speech.

  12. Tirio won… why does he care?

    Orv and Ersel were candidates a la Trump, who’s “winning” brand is on the way out.

    Sad Prossnitz has delved into the political thicket – again.

    Guess losing to a buffoon like Gary Pack wasn’t enough.

    I had a high opinion of him until now.

    Maybe he knows something Tirio doesn’t: this is a losing case and candidate Tirio will now be milked for legal fees.

  13. Putting the words “Illinios” and “integrity” in the same title has to be one of the biggest oxymorons of all time.

  14. Besides copy and paste of national stories from left coast news organizations, the local county newspaper claims to provide stories and news about our McHenry County. Do they have anybody on their staff that could do investigative journalism? Such as Woodward/Bernstein?

  15. They are the front line of cover uppers. Have you not understood that the felons have infiltrated EVERYTHING in this once idyllic county? Bought and paid for is the agenda of the day.

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