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NRSC presses Giannoulias on Broadway Bank PLUS NRSC Illinois strategy memo

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Below, from the NRSC.......

Questions for Alexi Giannoulias

WASHINGTON - Democrat Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias (D-IL) announced that he will hold a press conference today in an attempt to change the subject from his role in the Broadway Bank collapse and his ties to organized crime.

"If I'm fortunate enough to make it out of the primary, we can have that conversation," the Chicago Democrat assured reporters last week.

So, will Giannoulias have the conversation today?

Unfortunately, on FOX News this morning the Democrats' Senate nominee continued to duck pointed questions about his record. To watch his interview, click here.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) issued the following suggested questions for reporters to ask Giannoulias:

· Did you authorize $15.4 million in loans to Michael "Jaws" Giorango - a crime boss that ran prostitution rings and engaged in illegal gambling?

· Did your decision to remove millions of dollars from Broadway Bank lead to the bank's now-brink of collapse? Will you help to recapitalize the bank?

· Did your father contribute $10,000 to disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich's campaign in exchange for your brother's state board appointment - and did Tony Rezko push for his appointment?

· In light of your ethical dilemmas, has President Obama promised to campaign with you? Has he called to congratulate you on your win last evening?

Learn more about Alexi Giannoulias' record by visiting the NRSC's new Web site

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To: Interested Parties
From: Rob Jesmer, NRSC Executive Director
Re: Illinois Senate Primary Results
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2010

After years of corruption and ethical lapses under the Democrats' control, the Senate race in the blue state of Illinois is suddenly one of the most competitive pick-up opportunities for Republicans in November.

Historically, the odds are stacked against Republicans in the President's home state, just as they were in Massachusetts last month. Barack Obama won the presidential election in Illinois by an overwhelming 25 percentage points in 2008. But in the wake of the Blagojevich scandal, Roland Burris' disputed appointment, continued job losses, a state economy on the verge of collapse, and out-of-control government spending in Washington, voters in the Land of Lincoln have grown weary of the failed one-party leadership.

Illinois voters are ready for real change that they can believe in this fall.

Thanks to Mark Kirk's primary victory, Republicans have a tested, ethical, independent-minded nominee running for the President's former Senate seat in 2010. Kirk has earned the voters' trust as a respected member of Congress who is committed to lowering taxes, reducing the size of government, protecting America, and restoring respect to the Senate seat that disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich attempted to sell. And while his Democrat opponents have been battling it out in their brutal primary, Kirk starts the General Election in a strong financial position with more than $3 million cash on hand.

The contrast between the Republican and Democrat Senate nominees in Illinois could not be more apparent.

The Democrats selected Alexi Giannoulias, yet another ethically-challenged candidate who was raised in the tradition of the Chicago political machine. Giannoulias' failed record of achievement has not qualified Illinois' first term Treasurer to serve in the U.S. Senate, but his tainted resume hasn't stopped the ambitious 33-year-old from seeking a promotion in November.

Alexi cut his teeth in the family business as a senior loan officer at Broadway Bank, which is owned and operated by the Giannoulias family. During his tenure, he made multiple loans to organized crime figures, and his bank engaged in shady real estate deals with convicted felon and slum lord Tony Rezko.

President Obama recently criticized bankers who line their own pockets while losing money for their investors during his State of the Union Address, yet that describes exactly how Alexi Giannoulias operated his family's bank in Illinois.

In fact, the Chicago Tribune recently noted that "Broadway Bank saw a $75 million loss for the year" and "was hit with an order by banking regulators to raise capital and to set aside more money for bad loans. It had lost $27.3 million in the first nine months of the year. The bank also charged off $56 million in loans for the year, basically deeming them uncollectable, and $186 million in loans are seriously delinquent."

Giannoulias' record as the state's first term Treasurer has not been much brighter. His crowning achievements include hiring a Wall Street bank to manage the state college investment fund, Bright Start, which proceeded to make bad bets and lose money for thousands of Illinois families. After the losses were discovered, the State of Illinois had to settle for the bank's repaying only half of the total losses.

But that didn't stop Alexi Giannoulias from buying himself a brand new SUV, courtesy of the state's beleaguered college investment fund and paid for by taxpayers in Illinois.

Giannoulias' ethical issues aren't entirely surprising, considering his family's close relationship with the state's disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich. In fact, Blagojevich appointed Alexi's brother to a state board, and the Governor counted Alexi's father as a major campaign contributor and supporter during his own campaigns.

Even Giannoulias' fellow Democrat colleagues have called his credibility and trustworthiness into question.

The Chicago Sun Times reported that former Democrat Inspector General David Hoffman attacked Giannoulias' resume and effectiveness, pointing out that he "failed at both big jobs of his life: as State Treasurer and as Vice President of his family's bank." The Chicago Reader reported that Giannoulias's candidacy "inspired little excitement in the White House. Not only was there no Obama endorsement but word started to leak out of Washington that Obama advisers and top Senate Democrats were working to recruit someone else." And in 2006, Democrat Party Chairman and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan would not endorse Giannoulias in the Treasurer's race until he explained his ties to the mafia.

What still remains to be seen is whether or not President Obama will campaign with Alexi Giannoulias in 2010, in spite of his ethical issues. With his limited and scandal-tinged background, it's clear that Giannoulias is just one more player in the culture of corruption that has plagued Illinois politics for far too long.

In contrast, Mark Kirk has a proven record of accomplishment and ethical integrity as a fifth term Congressman who has demonstrated his willingness to work across the aisle to get things done for his constituents. And as a Commander in the Naval Reserves, Kirk has served America as an intelligence officer during conflicts with Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, and Bosnia. He has spent his lifetime serving our nation, and he will fight for the families, seniors, veterans, and small business owners as the next U.S. Senator from Illinois.

Just as Scott Brown proved last month, Mark Kirk can win this race in the blue state of Illinois by talking about the issues that matter most to voters: lower taxes, smaller government, strong national security, and individual responsibility. When our candidates communicate our party's core messages in 2010, Republicans can win elections in even the bluest of states - even in the President's own backyard.

And despite the Democrats' eager attempts to demonize the Republican Party and tie Mark Kirk to national party figures, we were reminded once again in Massachusetts that this worn-out playbook simply does not resonate with voters - just as this tactic failed to resonate with voters in New Jersey and Virginia in 2009.

Voters haven't forgotten that Democrat leaders in Illinois and Washington blocked a much-needed special election to fill this seat last year. Finally, they have a clear choice and an opportunity to restore integrity to this position in November. Nine months from Election Day, the people of Illinois are looking for real leadership - not another corrupt Chicago politician. Not another rubberstamp for the Democrats' out-of-control spending agenda in Washington as Illinois is on the verge of collapse.

That will be the clear contrast in the Senate race in Illinois, and it's why we're confident that Mark Kirk will be elected the next Senator from Illinois in November.

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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 February 3, 2010 4:51 PM.

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