Al Salvi remembers run-in with IRS's Lois Lerner

  • Lois Lerner

    Lois Lerner

Posted7/4/2014 7:00 AM

As the IRS scandal continues to play out in Washington -- most recently with the revelation of the loss of former top official Lois Lerner's emails -- the saga reminds Lake County attorney Al Salvi of his experience with Lerner.

"It really brings up some really bad memories," Salvi said.


It's a story he's told over the year as the scandal revolving around the IRS's targeting of some conservative groups for extra scrutiny on their tax-exemption applications progressed.

The former state lawmaker Salvi was the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 1996 running against Democrat Dick Durbin.

During that campaign, a complaint that he'd misreported campaign contributions was lodged against Salvi's campaign finance reports, a problem that he then, as now, described as a paperwork goof.

Salvi would eventually prevail in court in 2000 when a federal appeals court dismissed the FEC's case against him -- but not before the stigma of the complaint, Salvi says, hurt both his campaign against Durbin and his 1998 bid for Illinois secretary of state.

Where does Lerner come in?

Lerner was an official with the FEC at the time and the one largely in charge of the investigation into Salvi, he says. "It ruined my political career, so I remember this pretty well," he said.

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In the process of trying to settle the lawsuit, Salvi says, Lerner told him the case would be dropped if he promised never to run for office again.

That's how Salvi remembers things, anyway. Now, he says as he watches the IRS scandal unfold, he's reminded of what he saw as Lerner's bravado, or, as he put it: "that attitude they're the ones who decide who can run."

Maybe don't wait

While Gov. Pat Quinn this week signed legislation allowing people to register on Election Day, a procrastinating would-be voter shouldn't expect to roll out of bed the first Tuesday in November and register at his or her polling place.

Suburban election officials say counties will each have a few spots where you can register on Election Day and vote.

But if you show up to your polling place without being registered, you'll almost certainly be out of luck.

Cook County Clerk David Orr's office said it is looking to add locations throughout the county but hasn't decided where all will be yet.

In Lake County, Clerk Willard Helander said state law requires locations in Waukegan, North Chicago and Gurnee. So if you live on the western end of the county, you might have some driving to do if you wait until the last minute.


Helander says she's considering setting up a place in Libertyville, but the ballot and staffing requirements for each location are taxing.

"It's a very complex thing they're expecting to happen," she said.

In DuPage County, the required registration locations are all in the southwestern corner of the county.

"They'd have a long way to go," said Bob Saar, executive director of the DuPage County Election Commission.

If you want to save yourself some trouble, you may want to avoid putting it off. The deadline for standard registration for the November election is Oct. 7.

On the water

State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat, said Gov. Pat Quinn is set to sign a trio of her boating safety proposals Saturday in Chicago.

Morrison's quest for boating safety has been controversial and personal for more than a year. Tony Borcia, a 10-year-old Libertyville boy who was killed in a boating accident on the Chain O' Lakes, was her nephew.

Tony was being towed on a tube and was hit by another boat.

His parents are expected to attend the legislation signing ceremony Saturday, Morrison said.

The plans, among other things, would require boaters who are pulling someone to display a flag and require drivers of a certain age to have a certificate.

"We're going to be creating a new generation of safe boaters in Illinois," she said.

Morrison won approval for safety legislation last year, too, but said this might be it for now.

"I think it's important to let some of these bills and changes play out," she said.

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