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updated: 3/8/2013 11:05 PM

GOP committeemen calling for Brady's ouster also contradict platform

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  • Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady

       Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady
    GEORGE LECLAIRE | Staff Photographer, 2010

  • PHOTO Fox NEWS 14.10 X 8 ///// GOP for congress Jim Oberweis at the Hampton Inn in Aurora Tuesday; February 5, 2008.

       PHOTO Fox NEWS 14.10 X 8 ///// GOP for congress Jim Oberweis at the Hampton Inn in Aurora Tuesday; February 5, 2008.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer, 2008

 
By Kerry Lester
Political Editor
klester@dailyherald.com

The Illinois GOP committeemen calling for Chairman Pat Brady's ouster say they are doing so because his support for same-sex marriage directly contradicts the party platform, its set of governing principles.

But a look at the party's 14-page 2012 platform finds some of those committeemen might have also acted in violation of those GOP standards.

Committeemen have taken actions or positions in violation of the party platform on gambling, political contributions and more. Brady, of St. Charles, could be ousted over his statements supporting same-sex marriage.

Committeemen had originally called a meeting for Saturday in Tinley Park, but late Friday night the meeting was canceled after there was concern there were not enough votes for Brady's ouster.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove, 14th District Republican committeeman and a leader in the effort to remove Brady, said Brady's situation is different from committeemen who stray from the party platform.

As chairman, Brady is "held to a very different standard," Oberweis said.

Oberweis himself, during a 2002 run for U.S. Senate, stated a position on abortion that differed from party views, though he has since refined his stance to oppose abortion.

Oberweis said on the Steve Dahl radio show shortly after 9/11 that government should stay out of abortion decisions and let people choose what to do.

"The honest answer is I've been a lifelong Catholic -- still am," he said. "However, I think that right now we're getting a very, very strong symbol in the Taliban of what can happen if we try to impose our religious beliefs on others. So I really think that that issue is a choice that government should stay out of and let people make that the way they see fit."

The state GOP platform urges the reversal of Roe v. Wade and "embraces the right to life of innocent unborn children and supports reform proposals protecting that right and limiting the practice of abortion in Illinois."

Among other committeemen who have taken stances against party standards are:

• Ninth District Committeeman Jack Dorgan, a Springfield gaming lobbyist with Dorgan-McPike & Associates. The GOP platform condemns gambling, noting it "harms Illinois families and our state's business climate and presents costly challenges for both law enforcement and social service agencies." Dorgan has not returned calls seeking comment.

• The political action committee for 5th District Committeeman Chris Kachiroubas -- DuPage 18th District Circuit Court clerk since 2003 -- has received $6,200 in donations from employees in the DuPage Circuit Court Clerk's office over the last two years, including $2,500 from Assistant Circuit Court Clerk Dewey Hartman in May 2011 and $1,000 from manager Mary Kay Lunt in May 2012, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The platform notes that "party officials must act in such a way as to avoid even the appearance of impropriety" and notes that "neither political leaders nor their emissaries may solicit campaign contributions from government employees or contractors." Kachiroubas has not returned calls seeking comment.

The committeemen calling for Brady's ouster are not alone in violations of the platform large and small.

Republican House Leader Tom Cross -- who is backing Brady in the party's internal battle -- said "the reality is that very few people probably agree with every single line and sentence in the platform and adhere to it. I think the overriding principle ought to be that we have some basics and we have to understand that if we're going to be a party that's growing and not diminishing that we're going to have variant views on a variety of topics."

Brady, through written statements and calls to lawmakers, has voiced his support for same-sex marriage. The GOP platform, however, endorses a constitutional amendment protecting the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

"The platform was never intended to be a vetting document," Brady said. "The hypocrisy of those who are trying to throw me out is pretty clear. They didn't read the whole platform."

Oberweis, who has led much of the charge for Brady's removal along with 15th District Committeeman Jerry Clarke, former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield, agreed with Brady -- to a point.

"Here's the difference. I'm sitting on the floor of the (Illinois) Senate. Two seats over is Jason Barickman, the lone Republican who voted for gay marriage. That's OK," Oberweis said Thursday.

"I think we need to be an open party, we need to welcome people. Social issues, people have different opinions on it. That's fine. The point is that as chairman of the party, you're held to a very different standard than a voter or an elected official." Or a committeeman, he added.

However, "to tell you the truth, I'd be uncomfortable if a state central committeeman tried to lobby on an issue directly against the platform. I would be a little concerned."

A three-fifths weighted vote is needed to remove him from the job of party chairman. Committeemen's votes are weighted by how many voters in each congressional district turned out in the previous primary, giving the most politically active districts the most power.

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