And the state of the State Republican Party ain’t much better!

And the state of the State Republican Party ain’t much better!

In politics stupidity is not a handicap. – Napoleon Bonaparte

I’m sure the French emperor had ultra-conservative Illinois radio talk show host and self-proclaimed “political operative” Dan Proft in mind when he made that declaration. Dan’s specific claim to fame is an uncanny knack to back the loser in any given election.

It was bad enough when Proft declared himself “part owner” of those slimy far-right fake newspapers like The Kane County Reporter, McHenry Times, and DuPage Policy Journal, rags which resort to anonymous bylines and making it up as they go along.

(If you recall, they’re the publications the Daily Herald was printing on a contract basis until the rest of us caught on and exposed Paddock Publications’ unique brand of hypocrisy.)

Now the Chicago Tribune reported that Proft and those “papers” have jumped the shark by publishing voter lists complete with names, addresses, birthdays, and whether they voted in recent elections.

When various Illinois county clerks caught wind of this stupidity and brought it to the Illinois State Board of Elections, citing questionable legalities, that fine organization asked Proft and his minions to remove the information only to be rebuffed. So, now they want Attorney General Kwame Raoul to step in and force them to scrub the data from their websites.

I’m not sure what Proft’s point is, but regardless of his intent, it’ll only serve to make matters worse because that’s all Proft ever does. His PAC sunk millions into unelectable lunatic Darren Bailey’s gubernatorial run only to watch Trump-lite lose the 2022 election by a not-even-in-the-ballpark 13 points.

And you can tell just how successful those sophomoric “papers” have been by the demonstrably Republican Illinois legislature. Dan Proft has never been anything but a buffoonish slime merchant who claims to have a monopoly on some stilted truth.

But leave it to the Tribune to be even worse than that because their report left more holes in the story than a Proft hit piece on teachers who don’t exist. And I expect a lot more from the Trib than I do from someone of such questionable caliber. It’s not that I have any interest in defending Proft and his ilk, but the truth still matters on this page.

The Trib claimed the singular barrier that restrained the rabble from purchasing that voter data is the state’s requirement for the buyer to be a part of a political committee. The ISBE’s theory being, since Proft’s PAC and those papers are no longer officially connected (long story), they lost the right to hold that information.

That may be technically true, but all it takes to “be part of a political committee” is coming up with a catchy name, filling out a one-page form, and sending it off to the ISBE. There isn’t even any fee involved. The only political committee requirement is submitting quarterly finance reports, which is a scant five-minute undertaking.

That ain’t much of a “barrier,” now is it?

Worse yet, the Tribune completely omitted the possibility of a commercial Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) – a statutory right that businesses apply all the time. Put as simply as possible, anyone can FOIA any information that’s part of the public record, and unless you’re Ted Kaczynski, you’re part of the public record.

Unlike it is with journalist requests, those companies pay for that information and government entities have 21 days to respond instead of the typical five. But businesses can ask for anything from State college student particulars right on down to veteran’s home occupant data to better target their marketing efforts.

And the voter rolls are the pinnacle of that public record.

So, the vast hilarity is, we all react with horror when our “dossier” is thrust out into the digital universe, but the truth is it’s ripe for the legal pluckin’. Yes! The Russians hacked the Democrat’s Votebuilder database, but, in the end, they could’ve simply FOIAed the same information.

Silly commies!

The Trib also missed the final and more likely possibility – Proft’s lackeys purchased the data from a commercial vendor. All reasonable campaign managers are aware of the innumerable firms selling voter data for political purposes. Where do you think all of those robocalls come from?

Some enterprising companies will merge other public databases with legally obtained state voter data to provide their clients with a greater campaign edge. Considering the fake newspaper data included birthdays, a practice abandoned by the ISBE in 2018 for security reasons (they only provide the voter’s age now), that method seems to be the most reasonable possibility.

If Proft did obtain that information commercially, those “newspapers” are under no legal obligation to take the data down. There may be a social responsibility involved, but the lack of a conscience has never bothered Dan before.

Add all that up and, considering their full plates, I’d bet that the Attorney General’s Office takes a flier on this one. Though it pains me to defend slime like Dan Proft, how on God’s green earth could they possibly prove where the data came from?

While I understand the very public prospect of voter data, I can’t for the life of me figure out what Proft and his “papers” are hoping to accomplish here. If they’re trying to intimidate voters into casting a ballot their way, it will likely elicit the equal and opposite reaction. If Proft is simply trying to stir the pot, then mission accomplished, but to what purpose?

Endearing yourself to voters in this fascinating manner never helps your cause.

So, what’s the bottom line? The Tribune needs to do a much better job of reporting the whole story, and at a time when the state insists on sinking further into the fiscal abyss, the Illinois Republican Party inexorably sinks even further into their self-imposed oblivion. 

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