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Kirk staffer tried to get Tel Aviv University president to pressure Dan Seals backer.

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BY LYNN SWEET Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief
WASHINGTON -- A staffer for Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.), in a threatening e-mail, tried to get the president of Tel Aviv University to pressure a prominent supporter of Democrat Dan Seals to back down.

The target of a July e-mail by Kirk district representative Caryn Garber was insurance magnate Robert M. Schrayer, who is the national chairman of the Tel Aviv University American Council and on the board of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Kirk said Wednesday he reprimanded Garber and warned her that she would be fired if it happened again.

Her action "does not reflect my view. When I heard about it I was upset," Kirk said.

Kirk, in his third term, is facing a stronger-than-expected challenge from Seals, who, like Kirk, is a strong backer of Israel. The north suburban 10th Congressional District has a substantial Jewish population.

Garber sent the e-mail from her personal account to Sam Witkin, who is the president of TAU's U.S. operation. Witkin declined her suggestion that he get TAU President Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, to intervene.


'DIfficult position'
In the e-mail, Garber wrote "that Itamar should call Bob and tell him his actions can have a very bad effect on the university." Kirk is a member of the House Appropriations Committee's Foreign Operations subcommittee, which handles grants to entities in Israel and other countries.
Garber added, "Revenge is a dish best served cold."

Schrayer said he took the note "as a threat in two ways," to pressure Rabinovich to get him to resign his position with the university -- which involves fund-raising for the school -- "and kind of a blind threat that because he is on the appropriations committee, that Tel Aviv University could be hurt.''


Schrayer had supported Kirk in previous contests. Kirk said, "I am in a difficult position" because Schrayer "is now a passionate supporter of my opponent."


© Copyright 2006 Sun-Times News Group

2 Comments

Typical Republican bullying tactics. The only thing Kirk is really "upset" about is that his campaign got caught.

If word gets out that Seals will be every bit as strong a supporter of Israel than Kirk (and he will), Kirk loses a voting bloc that can and will swing the election to Seals. THAT's why his campaign resorted to bullying.

Meanwhile, has Kirk really been good for Israel? Remember, Bush picked him to help WRITE the Iraq war resolution. Turning Iraq into a haven and training ground for Islamic terrorists is not necessarily in Israel's best interest!!!

Had enough of Republican bumbling and bullying? Then vote for Dan Seals on November 7. Any pretence Kirk had of being a moderate (who votes with Bush over 90% of the time) ended when he joined the Tom Delay - Dennis Hastert leadership team in the House (as Assistant Majority Whip) at the beginning of this year.

Can someone please shed some light on why Democratic strategists have not made this race a priority? We all know about Tammy Duckworth and Melissa Bean, but until very recently, very few people had ever heard of Dan Seals. Miraculously, however, this 10th district race is now extremely tight, yet it is still not getting the spotlight nor the party funding it deserves. Lynn's column yesterday certainly raised the curtain a bit, but it still remains a myatery as to why this race is not receiving the publicity it merits. Last night, at the only debate Mark Kirk agreed to, hundreds of people were turned away from the debate site, Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. There simply was not enough room for all of the nearly one thousand people trying to get into the auditorium. Overflow space was provided with a live telecast, but that was still not sufficient to accommodate everyone. People were jammed into the high school hallways, some standing in line for almost two hours, because it was the one and only time that these two candidates would be debating face to face. There is definitely something wrong with this picture!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 26, 2006 7:04 AM.

HASTERT COMPLETES TESTIMONY IN FOLEY PROBE was the previous entry in this blog.

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