CHICAGO, March 14, 2012 – Christian Mitchell, Democratic candidate for State Representative of the 26th district, today called on his opponent to end his deceptive campaign of lies.
“My opponent has been spreading lies and smearing me with misleading information,” said Mr. Mitchell. “Today I issue this challenge: stop lying to the voters and start talking about the issues that matter to the people of the 26thdistrict. I have published my plans for better government and more jobs. Kenny should share his. He should tell voters exactly what he’s going to do as State Representative. And he should come clean with voters about why he hasn’t paid his taxes.”
On Thursday, March 8, some residents of the 26th district began to receive mail from Kenny Johnson that included false information about Mr. Mitchell’s experience. The mail pieces make fraudulent connections between Mr. Mitchell and companies he has never worked for and with which he has no association.
Mr. Mitchell’s campaign has focused on his experience and his ideas to improve the 26th district and the state of Illinois.
Unfortunately, Kenny Johnson’s campaign has not been centered on moving Illinois forward. Instead, his campaign is built around flimsy attacks and lying to voters. The Mitchell campaign has released two memos that lay out the truth about Mr. Mitchell’s experience in the private sector and his work with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (see below).
Mr. Mitchell’s campaign has also shared the truth about Johnson’s failure to pay more than $150,000 in taxes owed to the state and federal governments, while spending more than $350,000 to self-fund three campaigns in five years. And while Johnson is running on his experience as an entrepreneur and small businessman, his record consists of failed party promotion companies and defunct nightclubs. Additional information is available at this website and in this video.
“The bottom line is that I’ve been honest with voters and my opponent has not,” said Mr. Mitchell. “The voters deserve the truth about the misleading attacks he’s made and the taxes he hasn’t paid. What else is Kenny hiding? The people of the 26th district deserve an answer.”
Christian Mitchell’s work for Conlon Public Strategies
Kenny Johnson’s attack mail links Christian Mitchell to two companies he’s never worked with. Here are the facts:
Community Financial Services Association
- Conlon Public Strategies or “Conlon” represented the Community Financial Services Association (CFSA) in 2008 and 2009. (OpenSecrets.org)
- According to its website, CFSA is the national organization dedicated to advancing financial empowerment for consumers through small dollar, short-term loans. Now in its 12th year, CFSA was established to promote laws and regulations that protect consumers, while preserving their access to credit options, and to support and encourage responsible payday advance industry practices. (http://cfsaa.com/)
- CFSA sought federal and state regulation of the payday loan industry. (Citizen Action Illinois “Momentum for payday loan reform growing,” March 19, 2010)
- In Illinois, CFSA supported the Payday Loan Reform Act (PLRA) of 2005 (PA 94-0013/HB 1100 Lightford-Miller) and CILA Reform Act of 2010 (PA 96-0936/HB537 Lightford-Lang)
- CFSA was a member of the Monsignor John Egan Campaign for Payday Loan Reform (“Chicago Clergy Call on Senate to Pass Msgr. J.Egan Payday Loan Reform Act, HB 1100,” PR Newswire, April 18, 2005)
- Christian Mitchell was not an employee of Conlon Public Strategies when Conlon represented CFSA. He became an employee in November 2011. (Interview with Christian Mitchell, March 8, 2012)
- Conlon Public Strategies is a values-based advocacy group that fights on behalf of good causes the firm’s principles believe in. (www.conlonps.com)
- Wilhelm and Conlon Public Strategies was contracted by Trustmark from June to October 2003. (Interview with Kevin Conlon, March 8, 2012)
- Wilhelm and Conlon reported no lobbying expenditures on behalf of Trustmark. (Illinois Secretary of State Index Department, Lobbyist Expenditure Report 2003)
- According to its website, Trustmark Companies “provides health insurance and benefits administration. Life, medical, dental, managed care, disability, critical illness and accident insurance, and benefit administration services are available through CoreSource, Starmark, Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutionsand other subsidiaries and divisions.” (http://www.trustmarkinsurance.com)
- The New York Times article quoted on the mailer dates from January 2012, more than eight years after Conlon ended its relationship with Trustmark.
- The use of the NYT article is deceptive given that article did not refer to Trustmark’s actions during the period it was a client of Wilhelm and Conlon.
- Christian Mitchell was not an employee of Wilhelm and Conlon. He became an employee of Conlon Public Strategies in November 2011. (Interview with Christian Mitchell, March 8, 2012)
Christian Mitchell’s Work for Cook County
Johnson’s attacks denigrate Christian Mitchell’s work for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Here are the facts:
- Hired as Director of External Affairs for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in May, 2011. Extensive experience serving the community and in-depth knowledge of the legislative process were significant factors in the hiring decision.
- As a member of Preckwinkle’s senior staff, reported to Chief of Staff Kurt Summers.
- Primary job responsibility was to engage residents, relay their concerns to the President and connect them to services offered by the county.
- Worked with other senior staff members and President Preckwinkle to overhaul the county budget. Made the budget process more transparent and solicited feedback from residents, community leaders and business groups.
- This work resulted in two budgets that saved Cook taxpayers $800 million and allowed the Cook County Board to roll back Todd Stroger’s sales tax increase.
- Worked closely with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, pastors, community groups and other stakeholders.
- Resigned county position on November 4, 2011.
Christian L. Mitchell is the Democratic candidate for State Representative from the 26th District. Please visit www.friendsofchristianmitchell.com for more information.