It has been a head scratching week for supporters of Democratic Governor Pat Quinn following the rather questionable "grass roots" social media campaign featuring Squezzy the Python. Now we have one more thing to ponder, why is the Democratic Governor of Illinois the headline contributor of a new conservative website apparently funded and led by a pair of Karl Rove Super PAC donors?
As reported in the Chicago Tribune and TimeOut Chicago, hedge fund managers Anne Dias and Ken Griffin are behind the recently launched conservative slanted website Reboot Illinois. The self proclaimed nonpartisan site, just so happens to be tackling conservative issues with a gusto that seem to align well with comments Ken Griffin ( a self identified Reagan Republican) made to the Chicago Tribune. According to OpenSecrets.org the power couple donated over 2.5 million dollars to outside groups including the Mitt Romney backing Super PAC Restore Our Future and Karl Rove's American Crossroads.
The site, Reboot Illinois, is actually a well designed platform with an impressive early journalistic driven staff and will likely do well in a market with few quality Illinois conservative sites. The Griffin's have the money, they have their agenda, and there is nothing wrong with them setting out to expand their message, what is troubling is who they got to headline it.
Governor Pat Quinn is one of President Obama's major supporters so it seems a little odd to see him helping get off the ground a startup from donors who funded some of the most hard hitting attack ads on the President. Equally strange, it turns out the Griffins supported Governor Pat Quinn's opponent Senator Bill Brady during the past gubernatorial election. I have heard let bygones be bygones but supporting the very people who worked hard to keep you out of office is a new one for even me. I guess a tour of Fox News talk shows for the Governor are no longer out of the question.
The holidays can't come fast enough.
Update, since posting Reboot Illinois responded with:
"@Rebootillinois: "Judge us by content. We're nonpartisan. All viewpoints welcome. Good govt, better education, more jobs. We all want those "
Ultimately their content and advocacy will be what they are going to be judged on, however the failure to identify on the site who is funding the "nonpartisan" site and who makes up the independent board of advisers (who will help set advocacy policy) brings into question the journalistic integrity of the highly qualified staff they have assembled. If they are truly nonpartisan, why the secrecy?