'Million Dollar Mike’ ads target candidates through Madigan
“Vote NO On Million Dollar Mike,” a series of video ads produced by an Illinois political action committee, has drawn the attention of constituents as it reflects on responses to the long reign of Springfield’s career politicians.
“Chicago Democrat boss House Speaker Mike Madigan combines the worst qualities of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” the voice over begins as the screen flashes a composite picture of a suit-wearing redhead sporting earrings to suggest a hybrid of all three politicians on the current American and Illinois political landscapes.
“For the last 30 years, Million Dollar Mike used his public office to enrich himself while refusing to release his tax returns,” the narrator said.
The screen shows a consecutive series of newspaper tear sheets representing several quotes in large, bold type from the June 23 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times.
“(Madigan’s) property tax-appeal moonlighting with the Madigan & Getzendanner firm could put him comfortably into the millionaires’ club,” one quote said.
“Mike Madigan should show us the money and release his tax returns,” another quote said, citing writer Dan Mihalopoulos and serving as the headline for an opinion piece he published on that date.
“Magically, Mike Madigan has transformed himself into the champion of the state's working class, maybe the last hope for us regular folks,” continued the Sun-Times writer in his lead paragraph. “Yes, we're talking about the same Magic Mike who just a few years ago supported huge tax breaks for Chicago's options and futures traders. The same Magic Mike whose law firm does a thriving trade in appealing tax assessments for many of Chicago’s biggest property owners.”
Mihalopoulos also said the public doesn’t know how much Madigan himself is worth in spite of a precedent of state and Chicago mayoral candidates revealing their assets. While not mandatory, it is customary, Mihalopoulos said.
Defending his journalistic colleagues, Mihalopoulos clarified that his curiosity was not “prurient."
“The point is to try to make sure elected leaders act in the interests of the public, instead of their pocketbooks.”
Mihalopoulos’s excerpted statement in the sponsored video was immediately followed by an additional quote attributed to the Sun-Times: “So even though he’s wielded more power than anybody in Springfield for more than three decades, the speaker has never come under pressure to release his tax returns.”
The ads also flash a dollar figure while quoting the Illinois Board of Elections, stating how much Madigan gave each legislator.
“Life is good in Illinois for million-dollar Mike,” the ad said.
Then a question pops up: “How about you?”
All of the ads end with “On Nov. 8, vote NO on Mike Madigan by voting NO” for the legislators supporting him.
The 30-second spot was financed by Liberty Principles PAC. Liberty Principles is a Super PAC based in downtown Chicago, dedicated to making independent expenditures in support of liberty-oriented policies and candidates in Illinois.
The Super PAC has allocated funds and run ads in support of numerous candidates in 2016, including Brandi McGuire, Michelle Smith, Mel Thillens, Lindsay Parkhurst, Heidi Holan, Leslie Geissler Munger, Dawn Abernathy, Rod Drobinski, Tony McCombie, Jillian Bernas, Seth Lewis, Jerry Long, Thomas Cullerton, Dale Fowler, Jeanne Ives, Allen Skillicorn, Dan McConchie and many more.
Liberty Principles has made a practice of transparency on its campaign donations, listing amounts correlated with each candidate it has supported over the last several months on its website.
The PAC is a 501(c)3 nonpartisan nonprofit group chaired by Dan Proft, who also serves as treasurer for the organization.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns the Sangamon Sun.
Organizations in this Story
Champaign, IL, United States