DuPage Democrats urge election attorney's ouster

Published: 10/21/2008 4:46 PM

Democrats in DuPage County are calling on the election commission to fire attorney Pat Bond and communications consultant Dan Curry.

DuPage Democratic Party Chairman Bob Peickert said a history of campaign contributions to GOP candidates and causes over a span of several years by Bond makes it impossible for the attorney to advise the bipartisan commission fairly.

"He's paid with tax dollars and then donates to Republicans," Peickert said. "That's a conflict of interest. He's obviously going to slant his views toward the political party he favors."

He also railed against Curry's pro-Republican Web site that analyzes media reports about politics.

DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett said it's not illegal or unethical to work for the election commission and contribute to political campaigns. Birkett is a Republican himself and has employed Curry in the past.

Election commission Executive Director Robert Saar said he has no plans to fire either man.

"First of all, Pat is a fantastic election attorney," Saar said. "He has a long history of giving the right opinions to help the board make decisions. And when these opinions are challenged, the courts almost always conform with the board's decision."

Peickert complained about instances when Bond's opinions favored Republicans and hindered Democrats. He pointed to campaign paperwork issues in the 2008 primary. In one case, a Democratic candidate was thrown off the ballot because he wrote that he was running for a two-year term instead of a four-year term. However, a Republican candidate identified the primary would take place in 2007, not 2008, and remained on the ballot.

Saar said the error in the Democrat's paperwork was fatal because of its consistency, while the Republican's mistake occurred just once. He added that it wasn't Bond's decision to remove the Democratic candidate, it was his.

"I have an attorney I consult with, but these calls were my calls," he said. "I'm the one making the decision on those things."

Peickert also points to the immediate rejection of a ballot question submitted by Democrats because of insufficient signature totals on the petitions. Meanwhile a ballot question submitted by Republicans with insufficient signatures was only rejected after Democrats complained.

"They're arguing about time," Saar said. "They can politicize it because they don't like the timing of it, but the outcome was the same."

Curry refused to comment, but Bond said his personal political leanings don't sway his legal opinions.

"The law is a neutral animal," he said. "My personal views and opinions are irrelevant."

Peickert sent a letter to DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom and the election commission asking for the ousters.

"It is difficult for us to accept the bipartisan claim of the DuPage County Election Commission while they continue to employ individuals whose records show just the opposite," he wrote.