The Illinois State Board of Elections has dismissed a campaign finance reporting complaint brought by Independent Morris Mayoral Candidate John Brooks against the Grundy County Young Republicans and its chairman and treasurer Aren Hansen.
"The Grundy County Young Republicans are elated that the State Board of Elections has dismissed John Brooks' complaint," said attorney John V. Hanson, of Hanson and Hanson Attorney's at Law, P.C., in reacting to the decision on behalf of his clients earlier this week.
"Despite his very boisterous claims to the press, Mr. Brooks did not properly serve his complaint on any of the parties," said the Morris-based attorney in a prepared statement. "He joined persons as respondent who were not officers in the Grundy Young Republicans organization, and did not personally appear at the closed hearing before the State Board of Elections hearing officer to support his claims."
Mr. Brooks never established in his complaint any basis for naming Republican mayoral candidate Drew Muffler and Grundy County Board Vice Chairman David Welter as respondents.
Neither Mr. Muffler nor Mr. Welter was ever served with a copy of the complaint.
"The complaint made to the State Board of Elections alleged five-year-old campaign finance reporting violations against the Grundy County Young Republicans and Aren Hansen as the organization's sole officer," Hanson said.
"There were no facts stated in the complaint that connected up Muffler and Welter with the alleged violations," he continued. "Joining them appears to be nothing more than a campaign tactic used in an attempt to entangle his opponent in [last Tuesday's election], and a gratuitous swipe at Welter, a successful young candidate for office."
"With all the negative attacks and comments made by Mr. Brooks about young adults acting inappropriately in the election process, I just hope that young people are not dissuaded from becoming involved in politics or from working to support candidates running for office."
The State Board of Elections upheld its hearing officer's opinion given after a closed preliminary hearing that the complaint was not filed on justifiable grounds and that no further action should be taken.
Mr. Brooks was represented by Chicago attorney Adam W. Lasker of the law firm Ancil, Blink, Diamond, Bush, DiCiannti and Krafthefer during the proceedings.
The Grundy County Young Republicans and Aren Hansen as chairman and treasurer were represented by John Hanson.
Respondents filed motions directed to the numerous defects in the complaint filed by Mr. Brooks.
After its review of the complaint, the objections to the complaint brought by the Grundy County Young Republicans and the report of the hearing officer assigned to the case, the board adopted the findings of its hearing officer and the general counsel and dismissed the complaint on the basis that it was not justifiably filed.
Its order stated: "The recommendation of the hearing officer and the general counsel is adopted, the matter dismissed and no further action is required."
In a statement, released last week, Brooks said the campaign plans to appeal the board’s decision and ask the attorney general’s office to conduct a complete investigation into the Young Republicans’ finances.
“This group of individuals is hiding their finances from the public only to masquerade their reckless conduct,” the statement read.v“It appears the group attempts to intentionally fly just under the radar so that it can participate in political activities without having to publicly disclose its financial dealings.”
Brooks said that his campaign has “gathered additional evidence” since their initial complaint, which he said they will forward to the attorney general.