Suburban congressional candidate spent $18,810 of campaign money to charter jet for Giuliani

  • Top from left, Niki Conforti, Rob Cruz and Gary Grasso, and bottom from left, Scott Kaspar, Catherine A. O'Shea and Keith Pekau are the Republicans running in the 6th Congressional District primary in 2022.

    Top from left, Niki Conforti, Rob Cruz and Gary Grasso, and bottom from left, Scott Kaspar, Catherine A. O'Shea and Keith Pekau are the Republicans running in the 6th Congressional District primary in 2022.

  • Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference June 7 in New York. Suburban congressional candidate Scott Kaspar paid more than $18,000 to charter a private jet to bring Giuliani to a fundraiser in Oak Brook.

    Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference June 7 in New York. Suburban congressional candidate Scott Kaspar paid more than $18,000 to charter a private jet to bring Giuliani to a fundraiser in Oak Brook. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

  • Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, right, accompanied Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner, during a Sept. 11 memorial event in 2020.

    Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, right, accompanied Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner, during a Sept. 11 memorial event in 2020. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

 
 
Updated 6/20/2022 6:32 PM
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the Kaspar campaign has paid the Kerik Group $25,000 for consulting work so far this year, based on information in two FEC reports.

Republican 6th Congressional District candidate Scott Kaspar of Orland Park has used campaign funds to pay a prominent supporter $25,000 to serve as a consultant, financial records show.

Kaspar also paid $18,810 to charter a private jet to bring former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani here for a May campaign event.

 

The expenses are included in Kaspar's campaign reports to the Federal Election Commission.

The $25,000 in consulting fees went to the Kerik Group, a company founded by former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. Kerik served under Giuliani during the Sept. 11 attacks. He later pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud and making false statements but was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump in 2020.

Kerik endorsed Kaspar -- one of six GOP candidates for the 6th District seat -- in January and has appeared at events with him. Kerik is part of a public safety task force Kaspar has touted, and he's worked as a consultant to the campaign, Kaspar said in an email.

Kaspar for Congress made five $5,000 payments to the company between January and June, records show.

Kaspar's campaign also reimbursed Kerik about $424 for travel expenses on April 1, records show.

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As for the jet, Kaspar rented it to bring Giuliani and Kerik to the district for a $500-per-person campaign fundraiser and endorsement announcement in Oak Brook.

"Security is a concern for the mayor, and my campaign was happy to provide the mayor with secure travel accommodations in and out of the district," said Kaspar, who also was on the private flight.

Kaspar shared a photo of himself, Giuliani and Kerik on the jet on social media. He's also posted photos of himself with Giuliani, Kerik and Trump at Trump-owned clubs. Giuliani formerly served as Trump's attorney; Trump hasn't endorsed anyone in the race.

The other Republican candidates are Niki Conforti of Glen Ellyn, Rob Cruz of Oak Lawn, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, Catherine A. O'Shea of Oak Lawn and Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Congressional candidates must file financial reports with the FEC once their campaigns get or spend at least $5,000.

The latest scheduled reports, detailing fundraising and spending between April 1 and June 8, were due last week. This close to an election, candidates also must report additional contributions of $1,000 or more.

Reports can be viewed at fec.gov.

Kaspar for Congress started April with more than $25,727, and it collected $89,320 during the period, including $59,224 in loans from Kaspar. It also got $29,426 from individuals.

Kaspar's campaign spent $93,740 during the period. It finished with $21,307 saved and $203,476 owed to Kaspar.

The Grasso for Congress 6 committee started the period with $309,598 and collected $270,731. That included a $150,000 loan from the candidate, $115,231 in individual donations and $5,500 from political groups including:

• Service Corporation International, which gave $2,900.

• The campaign for Republican DuPage County Board member Grant Eckhoff of Wheaton, which gave $500.

• The political group for the Independent Bakers Association, which gave $1,000.

After spending more than $321,406 on consultants, signs and more, Grasso's committee finished with about $258,922 saved and $250,000 in debts to Grasso.

Pekau for Congress started the period with $170,092 and collected $106,188. Nearly $98,188 came from individuals, including $2,900 from GOP megadonor Elizabeth Uihlein of Lake Forest and an in-kind donation worth $686 from former gubernatorial and congressional candidate Jeanne Ives of Wheaton.

Team Pekau also got $5,000 from the National Automobile Dealers Association's political committee and $2,500 from Associated Equipment Distributors.

After spending about $219,873, the Pekau campaign finished with about $56,407 saved and no debts. It subsequently received $7,000 more.

Conforti for Congress started April with $9,371 and collected $13,515, including $4,115 from individuals and $50 each from the campaign committees for state House candidate Jennifer Sanalitro of Hanover Park and DuPage County Board candidate Paula McGowen of Glen Ellyn.

Team Conforti also borrowed $9,300 from the candidate. After spending $21,015, it finished with less than $1,871 saved and $14,300 in debts.

The Cruz for a Cause committee started April with $33,853, and it collected $11,017 -- all from individuals. After spending more than $33,593, it finished with less than $11,277 saved and $34,253 in debts to Cruz.

The Cruz campaign subsequently received an additional $1,000, a report showed.

O'Shea hasn't filed financial reports with the FEC.

The newly redrawn 6th District includes much of the West and Southwest suburbs in Cook and DuPage counties.

The Democratic candidates are incumbent U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove; U.S. Rep. Marie Newman, who now represents the 3rd District but opted to run in the 6th after new boundaries were drawn; and Chicagoan Charles Hughes.

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