Credit card fraud is not a joke but it is the focus of the candidate backed by failed Governor Bruce Rauner in his bid to battle Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. Rauner’s pals have donated massive amounts of money to fund the candidacy of Jason Gonzales, who has a criminal record that includes convictions for credit card fraud, credit card theft and identity theft. Those are bad things to have as a candidate but it says more about the pathetic strategies of Gov. Rauner
By Ray Hanania
Credit card fraud is no joke. It certainly doesn’t look good on the resume of anyone who is asking voters to give him their backing to become a member of the Illinois Legislature.
That’s why it is a significant issue in the March 15 election battle for the 22nd District Illinois House seat, one of the most important races in the state.
Jason Gonzales, who is challenging 22nd District incumbent Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, wants you to forget about his credit card fraud past. But I can’t.
His convictions on credit card fraud is the elephant in the polling place that voters can’t ignore.
Gonzales was convicted of multiple offenses in Lake and Kane counties the 1990s. The second conviction involved a crime that took place while he was on probation for the first crime in Lake County.
I asked Gonzales about it and he responded, “Over 20 years ago, when I was a teenager, I dropped out of high school and used credit cards unlawfully that were not mine (not the crimes Madigan is saying I committed). It was wrong, I paid the price, but I learned from it.”
What did you learn? That you got caught using credit cards fraudulently and now you want to pull a new fraud on the voters?
It doesn’t matter that it happened when he was younger. It’s his baggage. He owns it and he needs to address it. And he has to accept the fact that it is the focus of his candidacy.
In all fairness, it was a choice that Gonzales made. He wouldn’t have to deal with this had he not thrown his hat into the election and started throwing mud at Madigan. Gonzales opened the door to the credit card fraud issue by running. Credit card fraud is no joke.
And most people might no care except that Madigan is the Illinois House Speaker who is battling with the state’s new governor, Bruce Rauner. And I use the title “governor” lightly because so far, Rauner has not shown much leadership since easily ousting his predecessor Pat Quinn.
As much as Gonzales denies it, the fact is most of his support has come from Rauner’s cronies. Rauner can deny it all he wants but the fact is that Rauner and Gonzales are in this together.
WMAQ-TV analyzed the Gonzales campaign contributions and found he raised more than $50,000 “with the majority of the money coming from backers of Bruce Rauner.”
There is no doubt in my mind that Rauner is behind the Gonzales campaign. The majority of the money Gonzales has raised has come from Rauner supporters. That’s not a coincidence. That’s a fact of politics.
And that is disturbing on so many levels. Why are Rauner’s pals backing a candidate against Madigan who has been convicted of credit card fraud?
Gonzales wasn’t convicted one time. He was convicted six times in the past.
What does it say about how Rauner views credit card fraud? Is credit card fraud now a part of Rauner’s strategy in dealing with the state’s issues?
I have repeatedly requested the opportunity to interview Rauner but the requests have gone unanswered. Fine. I get it. Rauner is thinned skinned like the rest of them.
Clearly, Rauner is supporting Gonzales through the backdoor by having his pals donate huge sums of money to underwrite the campaign of an unknown candidate suggests Rauner doesn’t care about – Jason Gonzales? Has anyone ever heard of him before this election?
Gonzales and Rauner may think the voters are stupid. But I don’t I think so. I think they see right through this new political fraud. Fraud that goes beyond a history of credit card felony convictions.
The Madigan campaign, according to veteran Springfield writer Rich Miller in his popular Capitol Fax Column, has three campaign signs out on the street: A Vote for Madigan Sign; a traditional Teachers Union Sign; and one that hits the nail on the head, “Vote NO on Convicted Felon Jason Gonzales.”
That last election sign says all that needs to be said.
“Vote NO on Convicted Felon Jason Gonzales.”
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Reach him at [email protected] This column was originally published in the Southwest Newspaper Group.)
Hanania covered Chicago political beats including Chicago City Hall while at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and later for the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.
The recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, Hanania was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hananiaalso received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s columns are published by the Illinois News Network every week. You can reprint his columns with full credit to the author, using the shirttail and without content edits. Hanania is also President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C. His personal website is www.TheMediaOasis.com, and www.UrbanStrategiesGroup.com. Email him at: [email protected]
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