The Avon Twp. Newsletter That Refuses To Go Away
If you were one of the lucky ones in Avon Township to receive the March 2013 Avon Township Newsletter featuring Supervisor Lisa Rusch and her Avon Action slate running mates, consider yourself “special”. Why? Because less than half of the 25,000 Township households received one. The question has been raised as to WHY a select number of houses were fortunate enough to get one while others were less fortunate. Could it be because you didn’t vote in the last few elections? Could it be that you declared your party during the Primary Elections? Could it be that the Rusch slate had access to and were using select political mailing lists for a non-partisan campaign? These are just some of the questions being raised in a recent article in the Grayslake Patch.
For those of you who are not familiar with these special voter lists, when you have a limited campaign fund or are trying to sneak out a newsletter without having to get Board approval by using a few credit cards that may have spending limits on them, they can be extremely important. Anyone who has helped someone with their door-to-door literature handouts will know that most politicians are using these special lists that show the persons names, how many registered voters live at a certain address, what party they registered for in the primary, and what their voting record has been for the past several years. Thus, if you were walking a neighborhood for a certain candidate you might find yourself walking past many homes until you arrive at ones that support the candidates party and actually go out to vote. Many campaigns are running on small budgets and with the price of printing up nice colorful fliers, every door you knock on should be someone that you can count on to not only support you but will go to the polls. A person could even go so far as to speculate that the previous Township Supervisor, Sam Yingling, who had access to these proprietary lists for his State Representative campaign, could have provided the Rusch slate with just such a voter list since she was his hand-picked successor. If the mailing records were subpoenad it might be interesting to see if the homes that received the newsletters fell into a certain voting catagory (the use of such lists for non-partisan races may be highly illegal).
UPDATE: 8-11-13 PM
I have been informed by a reliable source that during the campaign the Avon Action slate used resources that they shouldn’t have had access to. They were using DNC provided Palm Pilots for voter canvassing and for voter data base. The use of this information in this type of election is illegal.
SECOND UPDATE: 8-12-13 @ 2:00 PM
I have just been informed that an agent with the State’s Attorney office has been assigned to investigate the latest information that has been brought to light. Stay tuned……..
Having obtained information thru the use of FOIA requests (Freedom of Information Act), the author of the article discovered that the number of newsletters mailed out doesn’t even come close to the number of households that would normally receive the Township newsletter. The author goes on to state:
Through the FOIA, credit cards statements were obtained. Sure enough on the township credit cards issued to Assessor Chris Ditton and former (<-- maybe that is why) Highway Commissioner Tom Brust are charges for a printing company to print and mail the Avon Township Newsletter.
Any person knowing this information would certainly wonder how it would be possible for Supervisor Rusch to be unaware of these expenditures since her job is to review township expenses and sign the checks. When I saw the name Tom Brust mentioned in the article I couldn’t help but recall how Supervisor Rusch very slowly mentioned his name before throwing him under the bus at the April general meeting. Rusch revealed his name less than a half hour after she continued her “I Don’t Know” diatribe during public comments.
A couple of the items the Patch author requested thru FOIA’s were denied. The author stated that:
…the township has refused, yes refused to turn over the mailing list or disclose the process they used to pick the 10,000 doors.
For those of you who did not receive the newsletter, let me give you a few details about it. In past issues the Supervisor, Assessor, Highway Commissioner, Trustees, maybe the Clerk, and maybe someone involved with the food pantry were all included. The March newsletter ONLY included the Township officials who were candidates running on the Avon Action slate! That would be Rusch, Ditton, Brust, and acting Clerk Hamilton. The two Trustees running on the Avon Action slate were left out for obvious reasons, they would then have had to include the two Trustees running against their slate.
As I posted here previously, a formal complaint was filed with the State Board of Elections regarding the newsletter claiming that it was a political mailer sent out by members of the Avon Action slate headed by township official Lisa Rusch at the expense of Avon Township taxpayers.
The complaint claimed that the mailing was produced, edited, printed, and mailed without the knowledge or consent of the two Trustees filing the complaint. Besides filing a complaint with the State Board of Elections, the two complainants also filed paperwork with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office claiming that the mailer also violated Illinois Criminal (misconduct) Code 720 ILCS 5/33 and asking for expedited handling of the matter.
You might recall me posting in early April that the decision of the Election Board was that Douglas Williams and William McNeil had no “justifiable grounds” for complaint. In that posting I included additional information as a result of the hearing:
There was no evidence to prove or disprove that Avon Action Party was involved in producing or distributing the newsletter. Suggestions made by Lowell Jaffe that the Avon Community Foundation paid for the newsletter has been proven to be false. Who has paid for the newsletter and developed the newsletter are still unanswered questions and as of today, no bill was available upon Trustee inquiry. Because as of yet there is no evidence of who wrote or developed the newsletter, we will pursue this issue once the evidence that has been requested is provided.
The following video includes portions of the April 2013 Township meeting in which Supervisor Rusch repeatedly says “I Don’t Know” when in fact she may have very well known. As the Patch author suggests, maybe now that the number of mailings has been revealed it might be time to reopen the investigation and order Rusch & Brust to provide the mailing list and how it was developed.