On Sunday, the conservative blog The Illinois Review released the full report following a state Republican Party investigation into Andy McKenna's involvement in a poll the party paid for in 2009. Details in the report are ginning up excitement among McKenna's primary opponents.
We already know that the ethics committee found that McKenna violated the party's code of ethics when he commissioned the poll without the GOP State Central Committee's approval. We also know that the poll appeared to focus on McKenna a bit more than the other candidates, with a special graphic breaking down his own name recognition -- attention other candidates didn't receive.
"Andrew McKenna compounded one ethical misstep with another," the report said.
The McKenna camp issued a joint statement with the Republican Party Chairman on Jan. 8, in which McKenna apologized, saying he had no intention "of violating the spirit or the intent of the Party's by-laws." That statement said the state Republican Party considered the matter closed.
But what McKenna didn't specifically address in that statement is that when he presented the poll to his party's central committee in June 2009, he failed to mention to them that his name had been included at all.
"The polling information and slide graphics shared during Chairman McKenna's presentation did not include poll results and information regarding: Andy McKenna, Peter Roskam, Bob Thomas, Tom Cross, Aaron Schock, John Shimkus and Jim Durkin," the ethics committee chairman noted.
The report also seems to back up candidate Jim Ryan's assertion last week that McKenna failed, to some extent, to cooperate with the ethics committee's investigation. In the report, the committee chairman noted that on Dec. 22, 2009, McKenna's campaign manager was twice asked to clarify some questions that had come up, or even just to let them know he wanted more time to respond. He was given until 4 p.m. on Dec. 24. But when the report was printed on Dec. 28, he had done neither.
On Sunday, McKenna's opponent Bill Brady called for McKenna to reimburse the state party the $28,300 the poll cost.
"Andy has tried for weeks to cover this up and keep the public from knowing the whole truth," Brady said in a statement. "Andy should have just been up front all along."
It should be noted that the blog which posted the full report, just two days before primary voting, has been no friend to McKenna's campaign throughout this election season. The publisher of the blog, Dennis LaComb, is the executive director of the United Republican Fund -- and at least two of the URF's board members have contributed to the campaigns of McKenna's opponents.