Attack ad may spur formal complaint

Close race for County Board seat may have turned on negative mailing

A last-minute negative campaign mailing to Roscoe-area residents days before the Nov. 2 election may have been the difference between winning and losing for Democratic candidate and Winnebago County Board member Doug Aurand (D-3). The controversial mailing attacked Aurand and encouraged voters to elect Aurand’s Republican opponent, Dave Krienke, who won by just 347 votes.

The mailing attacked Aurand for his alleged positions on various county issues and his residency, but failed to identify what committee, if any, paid for the mailing, as required by law. Aurand said no candidate of any party should be subject such an attack without knowing who is behind the advertisement.

Krienke, a former Winnebago County Board member from 1978 to 1980 and current Illinois Tollway Authority employee, said, “I don’t know where it came from or who sent it.”

A different and positive pamphlet that encouraged voters to elect Krienke was also sent to residents before the election. That pamphlet also does not identify who funded mailing the information.

However, both the ad that attacked Aurand and the positive pamphlet that encouraged voters to elect Krienke are stamped with U.S. Postage permit No. 363. Aurand wants to know who paid for the postage permit.

Krienke said of the positive pamphlet: That one was sent by me,” and paid for by his campaign committee. Krienke added that he didn’t know who owned postage permit 363 and that his positive mailing was printed at fellow Republican County Board Member Thomas Hoover’s (R-13) business, Ideal Printing.

Hoover said he owns Permit 363 and that two female customers “from the Roscoe/Rockton area” were responsible for the mailing. However, Hoover declined to identify the women, citing client confidentiality.

“Right now, we’re in the investigation stage,” Aurand said last week. Aurand added that he has contacted attorney John Nelson to decide whether a formal complaint will be filed with the State Board of Elections. Nelson said Nov. 8 that he was still examining information.

State law concerning political communications reads: “Any political committee, organized under the Election Code, that makes an expenditure for a pamphlet, circular, handbill, Internet communication, radio, television, or print advertisement or other communication directed at voters and mentioning the name of a candidate in the next upcoming election shall ensure that the name of the political committee paying for any part of the communication, including, but not limited to, its preparation and distribution, is identified clearly within the communication as the payor. This section does not apply to items that are too small to contain the required disclosure,” the law reads.

Aurand received 5,163 votes out of 10,678 total votes. Krienke received 5,510 votes. Although disappointed with the outcome of the election, Aurand said he is not seeking to overturn the results, but to ensure that the law was not violated.

Penalties for violating the law may include a fine up to $5,000.

No information concerning Krienke’s campaign committee was available from state officials by time of publication.

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