Most of the money raised by “Democrat” Jason Gonzales, who is challenging Mike Madigan, has come from failed Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. But the biggest story is that Rauner is backing a candidate with a history of credit card fraud, credit card theft and identity theft. Is Gonzales the best Rauner can do in his personal battle against Madigan?
By Ray Hanania
Is Jason Gonzales the best that failed Gov. Bruce Rauner can find to unseat his rival, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan?
Gonzales is challenging Madigan in the March 15 Democratic primary for the 22nd Illinois House seat, and has received much of his campaign funding money from Rauner supporters.
That raises issues about Gonzales and Rauner, who asserts he cares about hardworking people. Gonzales, has an extensive criminal history that is so long and complicated I couldn’t even begin to summarize it all in one column.
Gonzales was convicted of credit card fraud. Not once. Not twice. But six times. Credit card theft isn’t just about stealing money to pay for a haircut, as Gonzales has claimed. It’s about identity theft, too.
Yet when you go to Gonzales’ website, he doesn’t talk much about that part of his life. Do you think no one is going to find out?
Gonzales asserts he doesn’t have Rauner’s backing – who’d really want it anyway. He even said he opposes Rauner’s agenda.
But, I don’t believe him. It’s the only think that makes sense. Only Rauner would be stupid enough to challenge his rival, Madigan, with a guy who has been convicted of credit card fraud.
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.”
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.”
Is the criticism too harsh? Like many, I’ve been victimized by credit card theft. I know the pain. I don’t want someone responsible for credit card theft to be elected to state office, especially someone backed by Rauner.
The issue facing Illinois is the economy. So, do you really want a guy convicted of multiple felony credit card thefts to be put in charge of making the economy better?
If it were up to Gonzales, he’d rather you didn’t know any of this. He fought hard to have his criminal record expunged last year, right about the time he slipped into the 22nd District.
Gonzales has probably spent more time in front of a judge than he has working for residents of the 22nd District. His residency is another issue. How long has he lived in the 22nd District? He told me he has lived there since 2014, but I believe he moved in there only to qualify as a candidate. It’s not about the people.
In an interview he gave to a Sun-Times columnist, Gonzales said he was just “a neighborhood kid” who grew up on Chicago’s “Southwest Side” in his dad’s home. Turns out it wasn’t his dad’s house but his grandmother’s home, who he visited occasionally on weekends. How do you trust someone like that? How do you give them your vote?
It’s not hard to believe that Jason Gonzales is not done pulling a fast one on the public. He did it with other people’s credit cards, and it looks like he’s doing it again to the the 22nd District.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at [email protected] Originally published in the Southwest News 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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