After the state Democratic Party filed a complaint against him for failing to disclose more than $1 million in receipts to the political action committee he runs, right-wing radio talk show host and GOP political operative Dan Proft is blaming the discrepancy on a $3 million typo.
Proft on Wednesday filed a new campaign finance report for the independent expenditure PAC that he runs called People Who Play By The Rules.
In a quarterly campaign report filed Jan. 20, covering October through December of last year, the PAC reported a negative balance of $1.2 million, after raising $17.4 million and spending $18.6 million.
[ Democrats file another election complaint against Dan Proft’s political operation, alleging $1.2 million in undisclosed contributions ]
Negative balances cannot be reported unless a committee receives a loan or other receipts or lists a debt. The Jan. 20 report showed no loans, debts or other receipts, prompting a complaint to the Illinois State Board of Elections by the Democratic Party of Illinois.
In the amended report filed Wednesday, Proft showed what had been originally reported as a $3,000,078.33 expenditure for advertising on CBS-2 Chicago was in reality a $300,078.33 ad buy — $3 million less than originally reported.
As a result, instead of having a negative cash balance, the PAC reported an ending balance of $1.5 million in cash available after raising about $17.3 million and spending nearly $15.9 million in the quarter.
The complaint, filed Tuesday by Ben Hardin, the executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois, accused Proft of committing “one of his most egregious” violations of the law yet by failing to disclose all of his PAC’s financial records “completely and accurately.”
Officials with the state Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request asking if they were withdrawing the complaint now that the PAC’s amended report has been filed.
Proft’s independent expenditure PAC was almost entirely funded by conservative billionaire megadonor Richard Uihlein, the founder of the Uline office supply and packaging firm.
The PAC spent tens of millions of dollars in support of far-right GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey’s unsuccessful bid against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker in November.
Uihlein has long been Proft’s financial patron. Records show Uihlein gave the People Who Play By The Rules PAC $42 million, including roughly $34 million from the time Bailey won the GOP nomination for governor in late June up to the November contest.
Democrats previously filed a complaint on Nov. 4, just prior to the general statewide election, alleging Proft’s PAC illegally coordinated with Bailey’s campaign. As an independent expenditure PAC, People Who Play By The Rules is not allowed to coordinate spending activities with a political candidate.
[ Conservative GOP operative Dan Proft’s involvement in Bailey campaign matter raises questions about his role ]
The Tribune previously reported Proft tried to intercede in an internal dispute between the Bailey campaign and one of his former political workers over an unspecified human resources matter. The complaint noted Proft’s involvement in the personnel incident and also alleged that illegal coordination between Proft and Bailey occurred involving Bailey’s appearances on Proft’s conservative radio talk show.
The complaint also accused Proft, who lives in Naples, Florida, of “consistently” acting in “cooperation, consultation, or concert” with the Bailey campaign. It contended his communications amounted to improper “in-kind” contributions — donated services or expenses that help campaigns.
That complaint was ruled by a hearing officer to have been filed on “justifiable grounds” and the full state elections board is scheduled to hold a hearing in coming weeks.
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