SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn’s pick for the state’s Human Rights Commission will get his job. But he also got a political lambasting on Thursday from Republicans in Springfield.

By Benjamin Yount

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn’s pick for the state’s Human Rights Commission will get his job. But he also got a political lambasting on Thursday from Republicans in Springfield.

Republican senators used the confirmation process for Terry Cosgrove to hammer home their opposition to the man who heads a pro-abortion-rights group and may have campaigned against them.

Cosgrove, as the head of Personal Pac, supported Quinn in the November election. Cosgrove said he applied online for the Human Rights Commission post. He said that his support of Quinn and other Democrats wasn’t the quid for an eventual pro-quo of the appointment.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that my commitment to human rights, and my educational background as a social worker, should give anyone any pause about what my intention is,” Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove has worked on human rights commissions in the past, including a stint in Champaign.

But Republicans point to Cosgrove’s work as president of Personal Pac and as a Democratic campaign supporter as his real work experience.

State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Oakawville, said Cosgrove and Personal Pac drove a lot of money to the governor’s re-election bid. Now Cosgrove is getting a $46,000 appointment. Luechtefeld said that doesn’t pass the smell test.

“Do you feel that you are being appointed because of the money you gave Quinn?” asked Luechtefeld. Cosgrove insisted there is no pay-to-play.

Personal PAC gave Quinn’s campaign for governor $10,000, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

But it was the politics of Personal Pac, not the political donations, that brought the toughest criticism of Cosgrove.

State Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Barrington, unleashed his frustration on Cosgrove for mailings and campaign messages that Personal Pac sent out.

“I adamately oppose this person to represent the state of Illinois. Based on your past, based on your experience, based on your actions, and based on the hundreds of thousands of dollars that you donated to Gov. Quinn,” Duffy said.

Cosgrove said Personal Pac does not soley support Democrats. He points to some GOP candidates that the pro-abortion-rights group has backed.

“We are a bi-partisan political action committee. And I think a fair analysis of Personal Pac’s campaign contributions would show an extraordinary amount to Republican candidates as well. One of those candidates would be the Senate minority leader Christine Radogno when she ran in the 2006 primary,” he said.

Cosgrove said Personal Pac spent $7,000 on her race.

Democratic lawmakers jumped to Cosgroves’ defense, saying he is being vetted for a spot on the Human Rights Commission, not a campaign post.

“I don’t want to get caught up too much in politics and campaigns, because I think this is inappropriate,” said Sen. Willie Delgado, D-Chicago, “It’s very personal, and in this case it’s political.”

Quinn brushed aside the GOP questions and criticism. A statement from the governor’s office reaffirmed Quinn’s support for Cosgrove.

“Terry Cosgrove will be a valuable member of the state’s Human Rights Commission. Mr. Cosgrove has made advocating for human rights his life’s work, and the Governor appointed Mr. Cosgrove to serve on the commission based on that work, as well as their shared desire to support equality for all Illinoisans.”

The final vote on Cosgrove’s appointment was 30-25.

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