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Illinois Republicans fund-raising to battle Democratic Congressional remap

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WASHINGTON--Top Illinois Republicans--including former House Speaker Denny Hastert and former Labor Secretary Lynn Martin-- have lent their names to help Illinois GOP House members raise money for a legal challenge to the new Illinois congressional remap, gerrymandered to heavily favor Democrats.

Concerned that Illinois Democrats--who control the Illinois General Assembly and the governorship--would try to remap Illinois GOP Republicans out of a job in the 2012 elections Republicans incorporated the "Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map" with the Illinois Secretary of State on Dec. 6, 2010. I've learned that there was a $1,000-per-ticket fund-raiser for the group on May 10 at the Capitol Hill Club here.

In addition to Hastert and Martin, a former Rockford area House member, others listed as hosts for the May reception were former Rep. Tom Ewing (R-Ill.) and Illinois business executives Alexander Stuart, Michael Keiser and James D. Pearson.

The Illinois map awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature turned out to be harsher than the GOP expected--forcing most of the 11 GOP Illinois incumbents to make hard decisions about which districts to run from and to start preparing for potentially tough 2012 elections.

A federal lawsuit is expected to challenge the Democratic lines in order to force a court-drawn revised map. Former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner at Chicago's Mayer Brown law firm is expected to reprise his 1991 and 2001 roles as the GOP map lawyer in 2011 court action.

In the fund-raising letter sent out for the "Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map," prospects were told, "While there are many different theories and rumors out there, the process is really coming down to the fact of making sure the map is fair and balanced. As expected, the process to make sure the federal map is equitable will require costly legal fees."

Patton Boggs, a law firm here, was retained to write a letter to potential donors explaining how the Committee was organized as a 501 c4 non-profit organization under the IRS Code. In the Dec. 6, 2010 memo Patton Boggs attorneys George Schutzer and William McGinley wrote "CFBM will be engaged in state-level educational activities and potential litigation" and that "CFBM's policy is to not release the names of its donors to the general public" though contributors of more than $5,000 have to be disclosed to the IRS on a form available to the public.

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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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