Illinois establishment Republican candidate Darin LaHood is being accused of making behind-the-scenes crony capitalist deals, attempting to mask his moderate voting record, refusing to debate a legitimate opponent, and trying to cajole voters to vote before they have even heard what the candidates stand for in the 18th District special election set to replace now disgraced establishment Republican Aaron Schock.
Early voting for the July 7 special election is already underway, and LaHood’s entire campaign has been built on pushing early voting, so much so that his campaign website features a large banner saying “Vote Early for Darin,” and his Twitter feed features an icon that says, “I voted early, I voted Darin.”
But even as LaHood is pushing early voting, he is at the same time refusing to allow voters to develop an informed opinion of his and his opponent’s candidacies. In that vein, LaHood is refusing to debate his legitimate opponent, conservative Mike Flynn–a founding member of Breitbart News.
Further, LaHood is pretending to run as an “outsider” conservative, even though he has the 100 percent backing of the Illinois GOP establishment, the state’s Republican Governor, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and John Boehner and his GOP establishment edifice in D.C.
LaHood has even taken to labeling opponent Flynn as a “Washington insider,” merely because Flynn worked for Breitbart News in Washington D.C. This even though Mike Flynn is not backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as is LaHood.
David Steinberg of PJ Media recently slammed LaHood as the quintessential insider.
Darin LaHood — despite accepting the endorsement from the amnesty-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce, despite traveling to D.C. to participate in a fundraiser for his campaign with John Boehner, despite not revealing his conflict of interest in supporting a bill as state senator that won millions in work for his law firm and aided one of his most prominent donors, despite attempts to clear the GOP primary slate of all challengers and to rush this primary immediately after the July 4 vacation, despite refusing to debate Flynn, despite Flynn being disallowed from speaking at a recent GOP event, despite his insistence that people vote early before they get the chance to know his positions or debate, he is attempting to firmly run as a conservative.
If an obvious establishment candidate basing his campaign on portraying himself as the conservative when challenged from the right — when he could instead respect election integrity by honestly presenting his history as a moderate and arguing the merits of his actual leanings–sounds like the horrible advice that sunk Eric Cantor, that’s not a coincidence.
LaHood also was recently instrumental in an insider, crony capitalism deal that enriched his establishment backers and friends off the backs of the Illinois taxpayer.
As Breitbart noted on Sunday, Republican state senator Darin LaHood helped to perpetuate a cycle of crony capitalism and donor back-scratching by voting for a bill that benefited both his law firm and campaign donors at taxpayers’ expense, according to a study of his votes, law firm payments, and campaign contributions.
State Senator LaHood voted for a bill which would financially benefit his law firm, Miller, Hall, & Triggs, which represents the city of East Peoria.
On May 30, 2012, LaHood voted “yea” on a bill which established in East Peoria a new “Tax Increment District III”–a law which conveniently required the city to hire lawyers who would confirm each year that the city was in full compliance. This was the third such zone established by the city.
LaHood’s law firm has made over a million dollars off these deals, and he has been the lucky recipient of large donations from other companies who are benefiting from these deals he supports in the state legislature.
LaHood defends his crony capitalist dealing, though, insisting he is “bringing jobs” to Illinois.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com