Chicago Sun-Times
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What Giannoulias did not want you to know: In Canada, fund-raising from U.S. trial lawyers


The Giannoulias Democratic Illinois Senate campaign confirmed Monday--after prodding from the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee--that Alexi Giannoulias was in Canada on Sunday attending a fund-raiser at a trial lawyer convention in Vancouver that would benefit his Senate campaign.

Despite my requests for Giannoulias whereabouts each day, the campaign decided not to disclose that Giannoulias flew to Vancouver on Sunday.

The campaign confirmed that Giannoulias was in Vancouver only after the NRSC sent out a press release Monday with the tip that Giannoulias was proabably in Vancouver and urging reporters to ask the Giannoulias campaign for confirmation. I am an equal opportunity hardliner on this: I've taken the Kirk campaign to task for not revealing where GOP Illinois Senate candidate Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) goes for campaign cash as well as other people I have covered, from President Obama on down.

The Giannoulias campaign revealed Giannoulias whereabouts when I called and asked about the NRSC release. At that point, a campaign spokesman said the Giannoulias was in Los Angeles today for a round of West Coast fund-raising, mainly to cultivate relationships with donors, I was told.

The Vancouver fund-raiser was sponsored by the American Association for Justice's Committee for a Better Future. The price ranged from $43,200 to $250. The haul from the event was divided between 12 Democratic Senate candidates, according to the invitation (see the text of the invite at the click.). Foreign nationals cannot contribute to U.S. federal campaigns.

Trial lawyers overwhelmingly contribute to Democrats.

Here's the breakdown on how the proceeds of the Vancouver Democratic Senate fund-raiser will be divided:

(Michael) Bennet for Colorado: 9.30%
(Richard) Blumenthal for Senate: 7.07%
Robin Carnahan for Senate: 7.07%
Roxanne Conlin for Senate: 7.07%
(Jack) Conway for Senate: 7.07%
Chris Coons for Delaware: 7.07%
(Brad) Ellsworth for Indiana: 7.07%
(Lee) Fisher for Ohio: 7.07%
Alexi (Giannoulias) for Illinois: 7.07%
(Paul) Hodes for Senate: 7.07%
Charlie Melancon Campaign Committee, Inc.: 7.07%
Friends for Harry Reid: 20.00%


this is the invite....

Paid for by the American Association for Justice as a communication to its members.
777 6th St NW Ste 200, Washington, DC 20001.
Not authorized by any candidate or committee.
Contributions and gifts to political committees and candidates are voluntary and are not deductible for federal tax purposes.
Contributions from non-US citizens and corporations are not permitted. Event not sponsored or paid for by AAJ.
I want to help protect the civil justice majority in the U.S. Senate and will make the following voluntary
contribution to the Committee for a Better Future:
 $43,200  $30,000  $20,000  $10,000  $5,000
 $2,500  $1,000  $500  $250  Other: $______
The allocations for funds raised under the Committee for a Better Future shall be as follows:
(Michael) Bennet for Colorado: 9.30%
(Richard) Blumenthal for Senate: 7.07%
Robin Carnahan for Senate: 7.07%
Roxanne Conlin for Senate: 7.07%
(Jack) Conway for Senate: 7.07%
Chris Coons for Delaware: 7.07%
(Brad) Ellsworth for Indiana: 7.07%
(Lee) Fisher for Ohio: 7.07%
Alexi (Giannoulias) for Illinois: 7.07%
(Paul) Hodes for Senate: 7.07%
Charlie Melancon Campaign Committee, Inc.: 7.07%
Friends for Harry Reid: 20.00%
The first $14,400 of a person's contribution will be considered designated for the primary election (up to a maximum of
$2,400 per Committee); the second $28,800 of a person's contribution will be considered designated for the general election
(up to a maximum of $2,400 per Committee). Notwithstanding the allocation formula above, any contributor may
designate his or her contribution for a particular participant. Please designate here if different from above: __________
The allocation formula above may change if any contributor makes a contribution that, when allocated, would exceed the
amount that the contributor may lawfully give to any participant. For contributions made after a candidate's primary
election date, a maximum of $2,400 per person will be allocated to the candidate, with all such amounts considered
designated for the general election.
Please join us during the AAJ convention at the Committee for a Better Future reception on July 11th from 4:30pm to 6:00pm
in room 306 at the Vancouver Convention Centre where you will have an opportunity to meet many of these candidates.
Contributions and gifts to Committee for a Better Future are voluntary and not deductible for federal income tax purposes.
Federal law requires the committee to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name
of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle.
Occupation______________________________________ Employer____________________________________
Phone_______________________________________ Email___________________________________________
AAJ Members with questions may contact
Jillian Cooney 202-944-2821 or
Do not mail contributions to AAJ.
By signing below, you authorize your credit card to be charged in the amount indicated. You also affirm that your
contribution is from personal or partnership funds and not from funds otherwise prohibited by law.
Name on Card_______________________________________________ Amount of Contribution $____________
Card Number___________________________________________________________ Exp. Date______/_______
 Please check here if your contribution will be made from a partnership account. We will assume that the entire
contribution will be paid from your portion of the partnership assets. If this is not the case, please state what portion will be
charged to you, as well as which partner(s) will be responsible for the remainder of the contribution.
Name(s)________________________________________________________________Amount(s) _______________________________
Contribute by credit card
Fax the below form to 202-478-2795
Or contribute online at
Contribute by check
Please make your personal or partnership check
payable to Committee for a Better Future and mail
to the registered agent:
Judy Zamore
426 C St NE, Rear Bldg
Washington, DC 20002


Wow. Alexi just plans to do the bidding of the trial lawers - the usual Democratic M.O. Disgusting.

I don't get it. We all know that Giannoulias, and many of his peers receive financial support from trial lawyers. So what's the big deal about disclosing that he will be attending a fundraiser? By hiding it, he gives the impression that there is something wrong or unseemly going on that he doesn't want the press to know about. Did he just think that no one in the media was going to pick up on it?

Kirk's media ducking issues have been well publicized. He claims that he will be more accessible and transparent. The verdict is still out. But instead of raising the bar, Giannoulias uses Kirk's missteps as cover for him to do the same thing. Ted McClelland wrote an interesting post about Alexi talking more with the Washington media than with the Illinois media as of late. Is he above dealing with the local media, or does he not find it necessary because he feels that he has certain key people under control- so whatever he does, he has no fear that he will lose their backing. So he's too good for the local media and now we find out that our money is not good enough for him and he has to go to Canada and Los Angeles for all these fundraisers. If he is ignoring us during a period when he needs our financial support (this last quarter was not up to expectations)and he needs our vote, I wonder how much time he will have for the people of Illinois when he has got his Senate seat, and we need him.

Instead of feeling empowered, Illinois Democrats and Independents (and maybe even Republicans) are feeling more like hostages. Realistically what choice do we have? Vote for "none of the above"? Don't vote at all? Hold our nose and dutifully vote for the party candidate? But before we get too cynical on Illinois politics, earlier this year we did have a real choice in the primary. To quote the Sun-Times endorsement of David Hoffman,
"In Hoffman, the voters have a candidate with a wealth of experience and integrity, who has produced in every job he has had.

Everybody talks about the need for more independence, smarter thinking and greater integrity in Washington.

Here's your chance."

Well, we blew our chance. The voters, the media and the Democratic leadership should ask themselves what happened. Let's work toward electing qualified people who we can get excited about, we shouldn't have to keep settling for the "least worst" candidate.

And, Paul Hodes expects me to believe that he'd be voting with my best interests at heart as a United States Senator from New Hampshire. Uh huh.

A US Senate candidate from the great State of Illinois is campaigning in Canada for donations for his Senate run in the US?? Way to go Chicago!!! You get what you vote for ...Daley, Obama, Blago ....

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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 July 12, 2010 3:14 PM.

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