An aide to U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky has denied claims by her Republican challenger that she had a hand in directing a federal stimulus grant to benefit a union that supports her.

“Instead of running for public office, Joel Pollak ought to be applying for a job as a fiction writer,” Schakowsky’s campaign manager Alex Armour says.

An aide to U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky has denied claims by her Republican challenger that she had a hand in directing a federal stimulus grant to benefit a union that supports her.

“Instead of running for public office, Joel Pollak ought to be applying for a job as a fiction writer,” Schakowsky’s campaign manager Alex Armour says.

Pollak claimed Wednesday that a $2.5 million grant made last fall to Evanston-based Indie Energy Systems Co. LLC to install high-tech geothermal heat pumps at a union office in Countryside appeared to be a reward to the union, which Pollak described as the biggest contributor to Schakowsky’s campaign.

Armour said that Schakowsky “had nothing to do whatsoever with directing the stimulus money to specific projects.”

He said that Schakowsky did support the overall stimulus bill and claimed that nationwide it will have created 3.5 million jobs by next month.

“Pollak’s statement is yet another indication that he wants to return to the failed economic policies of the Bush administration” that have cost 8 million Americans their jobs, Armour added.

But Pollak said he does favor supporting local businesses and said alternative energy research and development are a cornerstone of his economic policy.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

15 Comments

  1. Why did a union get a stimulus-backed $2.5 million heat pump?

    Are we expected  to believe Schakowsky’s aide when he claims the stimulus bill "created" 3.5 million jobs when the national unemployment rate is almost 10 percent, up from 6 percent when Obama took office? Just about every economist now say the $1 trillion Democrat-sponsored  stimulus bill was poor and ineffective legislation.

    The Democrat talking point is "saved jobs" but Armour said "created jobs."  False either way.

    Meanwhile, why did this union office get a high-tech geothermal heat pump, valued at $2.5 million, through stimulus money? 

     Why didn’t an Evanston school or the Civic Center get the geothermal heat pump?

    This union is Schakowsky’s biggest contributor and they get the expensive high-tech geothermal heat pump paid for with stimulus money. Why them?

    In other words sport fans, the taxpayers paid for the union’s new toy.

    It works like this: Democrats give the union a $2.5 geothermal heat pump through the stimulus bill and the unions donate money to Schakowsky’s campaign. In reality, the taxpayers gave money to Schakowsky’s campaign. It’s borderline extortion.

    You can thank Schakowsky and her Democrat pals for this and many other wasteful transactions paid for courtesy of taxpayers

  2. Worthy of thinking out the “box”

    I have read Mr Pollak’s book on the power of words. His book was noteworthy reading and thoughtful. It is my thought that he should be seriously considered for replacing Schakowsky. It time for change and new voices in DC…

  3. Grow up, Joel

    I see that Pollak posted these accusations in an article on biggovernment.com  ( Andrew Breitbart’s site).  Breitbart, you  may recall, is the guy who smeared Shirley Sherrod with his misleading, edited video. 

    Pollak chooses to associate with characters like Breitbart – and then pretends he is a martyr ( like Steven Biko)  when he is criticized for doing so.

    In this case, Pollak’s  accusations are lame as usual.  First, the Department of Energy did put out a notice for projects that demonstrate new geothermal heating/cooling techniques.  Thirty eight demonstration projects were funded across the country.  How does the union benefit from this?  It is the Evanston company that benefits.  Most likely the union could have gone with cheaper, conventional methods to refurbish its building if the company didn’t get this grant.

       And this is a big union – they have contributed to many candidates.  Even if a congressman was involved  (and Pollak makes this accusation with no proof), how do we know it was Schakowsky?  There would be dozens of other suspects.

     Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is typical of Pollak  –  to just throw a lot of accusations out, in hopes that some will stick, or be repeated by the media  (like here on Evanston Now) , or force his opponent to go on the defensive.   In an article in the Harvard Political Review mockingly titled "Joel Pollak Bravely Confronts Tyranny" , Sam Barr wrote:

    I guess when you’re running against an incumbent who won her last election with 75% of the vote, you need to do anything you can to stand out. Apparently, for Pollak, this includes throwing out everything he learned (or didn’t) in law school.

    In quoting Biko’s admirable maxim, Pollak isn’t being a freedom fighter. He’s being a child.

     

     

  4. Schakowsky is going to crush this clown

    Pollak is a fool. He has accused Schakowsky of all kinds of cockamamie conspiracies. I think the poor fellow has his metallic lid strapped to tightly to his noggin.

    He’s also the genius who has suggested that the U.S. should take military action against Iran.

    Great. Just what we need. Another neo-con in government. Kind of ironic that he criticizes Schakowsky on spending when he’s a military adventurist.

    Hey, Joel, after you get your rear end handed to you in November, you should join the infantry. That way, you can put your money where your mouth is.

    1. A subject, a verb, and 9/11

      I agree, Pollak is a fool.

      I saw this cheesy video  that his campaign put together  and posted on youtube.    Pollak, walking alone, takes off his sunglasses and overlooks a field with little American flags in it – interspersed with Capitol Hill staffers singing ‘God Bless America’ on 9/11. 

      Rudy Giuliani’s exploitation of 9/11 is terrible.  Joel wasn’t even there, and he tries to exploit it.  

      And what of this ‘Pack with Pollak’ that he advertises?   Sure, collecting school supplies for military families is nice – but not if you are doing it as part of a cynical partisan campaign ( as the name of the event,  ‘Pack with Pollak’ ,  suggests).

      And the website for this event says :

      "We also welcome all our 9th district military families to join us and tell their story. Joel will be sending a personal note of support to each active duty solider represented to show his respect, admiration, and appreciation for those protecting our freedom."
       

      Trying to politicize the armed forces, using military families as props for a campaign, is annoying.  I am sure that Democrats do it too.  Maybe even Jan has done it.  I don’t care – it is not right.

       

    2. Pollak

      It would be nice if everyone could stop the name calling and listen to the candidates and what they stand for, as well as examining their actions.  Schakowsky has quite a few major problems, including holding extreme left wing views, has a record of extreme spending of your tax dollars with reckless abandon, wants to put the entire health care system in the "capable" hands of the federal government and having a husband who is convicted fellon.  At a recent event she mentioned how spending millions in the federal goverment’s eyes is like "pennies". 

      Joel has spent the last few months practically going door to door in our district finding out what is on the mind of our communities and has pledged to use that as his platform.  Schakowsky’s actions tell us that SHE and her administration friends know what’s best for us whether we like it or not.

      Joel is no "fool".  If you actually listen to him and read what he has written he is sincerely interested in what is best for us, the country, and fighting for our concerns.   Just open your mind and listen without preconcieved hateful notions.

      1. Platform

         Joel has spent the last few months practically going door to door in our district finding out what is on the mind of our communities and has pledged to use that as his platform.

         

        Hey JS, Joel Pollak hasn’t stopped at my door.

        If he does, I’ll tell him that I don’t want the US to get into a war with Iran.  I also don’t like these bigots like Pamela Geller and  Rudy Giuliani inciting religious hatred.  I don’t want Paul Ryan to gut Social Security. And I don’t like the Psychic Friends Network.

        Will he put that in his platform?

  5. Schakowsky in WSJ

    I like the idea of commissions as a tool to tackle problems like the deficit with solutions that are necessary but make no one happy (e.g., most experts agree social security needs increased revenue and benefit reductions to remain solvent which will upset both the left and right). 

    As such, I was deeply disappointed to see that Jan, a member of the deficit commission, was so publicly closed minded about potential solutions. Today’s Wall Street Journal had the following entry:

    "People would rather pay more or have revenue raised than cut the benefits," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.), a commission member. She said she was fairly confident a proposal that included benefit cuts would not garner the needed 14 votes. 

    With that quote, my optimism regarding the commission vanished.  I was reminded that we’ll continue the preposturous cyclye of sending Jan back and being extremely disappointed that Congress hasn’t changed and is not getting anything done.  

    I don’t have any thoughts on Joel and would be equally anxious to replace him if he, like Jan, was a member of this Congress.  All I know is that we can’t keep sending our incumbents back and expect better government.  When many of us voted for Obama, we were not voting for a party, we were voting for change.  Whether it’s in this coming election or the next Democratic primary, I hope we choose change again, thank Jan for her service, vote for someone else (Green Party, Tea Party or no party) and send Jan home along with every other member of Congress.

    Getting off soap box now, I’d like to say that I’m not crazy enough to think things will change or this will make a difference, but it was good to vent.  Have a great weekend everyone. 

     

    1. Hello Jan, Hello !!!

      Representative Schakowsky,

      I find your following comments very troubling and not reflective of your entire constituency :

      "People would rather pay more or have revenue raised than cut the benefits,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.), a commission member. She said she was fairly confident a proposal that included benefit cuts would not garner the needed 14 votes."

      Yes, the far left liberals will just ask for more taxes. The far right conservatives will just ask to cut, cut and cut. But what about the majority of moderates who advocate for "Comprehensive Budget Reform" or in other words a "Shared Sacrifice" by ALL parties. The world has changed (anyone notice that China now has the 2nd largest economy in the world ?) Greece is on the brink of economic and social chaos. The United States is a much more mature economy today with aging demographics. The debt induced party over the last 2 + decades is over and we’re suffering a major hangover. If we don’t make the necessary changes, and that requires a "Shared Sacrifice" from everyone, our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences. What are those consequences? A LOWER STANDARD OF LIVING IN THE FUTURE – is this the legacy Representative Schakowsky wants to leave?

      Yes, revenues (i.e. taxes will have to be raised) However, benefits must change. Since people are living longer, it only makes sense for people to work longer before they retire. Just think about the recent retirement of Evanston’s former Fire Superintendent. He retired on May 28, 2010 at the age of 51 and his retirement salary is almost $ 100,000 per year, PLUS benefits, PLUS his 3% annual cost of living increase. Is that FAIR in the context of today’s environment? Does our society want to pay his pension and pensions for other people starting in their 50’s when that means that our children and grandchildren will suffocate from the debt we’re going to leave them? (I understand that the Fire Superintendant is under the State of Illinois jurisdiction, while Rep. Schakowsky serves at the federal level, but the concepts are the same) People in the private sector will be working into their late 60’s and 70’s given their financial situation.

      The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total compensation (wages + benefits) for private sector employees in December 2009 was $ 27.42 per hour compared with $ 39.60 per hour for state and local government employees – Federal employees have even higher total compensation. So government employees are getting paid more, can retire earlier, and receive guaranteed benefits. I guess there really is a tooth fairy !!

      Unemployment is almost 10%, underemployment is approaching 20%, families are struggling to make mortgage payments, the economy sucks, yet Representative Schakowsky thinks that "People would rather pay more or have revenue raised than cut the benefits”

      Hello Jan, Hello !!!

    2. “People would rather pay more

      "People would rather pay more or have revenue raised than cut the benefits," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.), a commission member. She said she was fairly confident a proposal that included benefit cuts would not garner the needed 14 votes. 

      Of course they don’t want benefits cut.  Does anyone want their pay cut ever?  I love the fact that she states "People would rather pay more or have revenue raised".  This is the same thing.  People pay for this either way. Does she think that we can have some sort of bake sale? 

  6. Joel Pollak’s new Psychic Friend

    From Pollak’s Facebook page:

    "SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The Pollak for Congress campaign is excited to welcome Hollywood actress and producer Vivica Fox to the 9th district for a very special event on Labor Day! Stay tuned for more details at facebook.com/PollakForCongress and pollakforcongress.com! "

     

    Vivica Fox?  Perhaps you remember her from ‘Independence Day’ (1996) or ‘Batman and Robin’ (1997).   

    But what has she been up to recently?

    According to Wikipedia:

    "In 2009, Fox served as celebrity spokesperson for the newly revamped Psychic Friends Network. After receiving backlash for her involvement with the network, Fox denied any involvement with the company, despite having filmed a commercial and promo video which had already gone to air.[6].. "

    Well.. .take a look at youtube ( here   ) and make up your own mind.

    It really is quite a coup for the Pollak campaign to win her endorsement.  

    Of course, Vivica Fox isn’t Pollak’s only celebrity endorsement.  He has also been endorsed by Pamela Geller  on her website ‘Atlas Shrugs’

    Who is Pamela Geller?

     According to the Washington Post:

     

    Geller has become a prominent voice in the debate despite the fact that she once promoted the view that Obama is Malcolm X’s love child. She frequently warns that Muslims are trying to impose repressive sharia law on the United States, refers to the president’s holiday message to Muslims as "Obama Ramadamadingdong" and promotes a Web site, Religion of Peace, that claims to tally the number of people killed around the world by Muslim extremists.

      Full article here.

    But you can’t believe the liberal media.   Jeffrey Goldberg ( American-Israeli journalist who supported the Iraq war) wrote a nice article,  ‘The Rise of Shrieking Bigot Pamela Geller‘ , in the Atlantic.

    Why doesn’t Pollak ‘refudiate’ the support of Geller?

        I would add, though, that I have looked at Pollak’s Facebook site and have never seen him resort to any of the crude, racist tactics that we see from the tea-partiers and his fellow neocons.  In fact, on Aug 13 he posted a message on his website " to wish the Muslim community a peaceful and meaningful Ramadan fast, and an Eid Mubarak!" – for which he was denounced by some of his supporters for ‘pandering’ (no such charges were made when he issued greetings for Jewish and Christian holidays, or Indian Independence Day.)

    I don’t think that Pollak is a bigot.  For a Republican who appears on Fox News, his views on social issues are fairly moderate – and so far he hasn’t even jumped on Geller’s  ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ bandwagon with  Newt and Rudy Giuliani .

    I do think that he has many intolerant and bigoted supporters, and he doesn’t seem to be doing anything to stop them or discourage them.

    What would Steve Biko do?

     

     

     

     

     

     

  7. Schakowsky is a union crony

    I don’t care if Geller, Fox or the Son of Sam endorses Pollak.

    All I know is Jan Schakowsky wants to raise taxes and is deep in the union’s pocket. She’s been in politics for way too long – two millennia to be exact.

    Schakowsky, a VP member of the Illinois machine, is an out-of-touch tax and spend career politician who helped us get in this mess we are in.

    We need to end the arrogance of the one-party state.

    Vote for Pollak – the Republican.

    1. Pamela Geller’s actions have consequences

      "I don’t care if Geller, Fox or the Son of Sam endorses Pollak."

      Al, the nasty behavior of the right wing does have consequences.   

      In the 60’s and 70’s, the vile rhetoric  of George Wallace, Strom Thurmond and Lester Maddox helped inspire idiots to bomb churches and carry out lynchings – even if though Wallace, Thurmond, and Maddox may have never participated in any of the criminal acts themselves.

      Other politicians were not as crude as Wallace and Maddox, but they refused to speak out against them, out of fear of alienating their conservative base.  ( Before he became president, Jimmy Carter fell  in this category)

      And then others – "liberals"  like the great Hubert Humphrey  – spoke out against the segregationists.

      I would put Joel Pollak in the second category.  He is definitely not a liberal, and he is not  crude and bigoted  like  Lester Maddox.

      Perhaps you saw the news today about the cab driver in New York who was slashed in the face by an anti-Muslim bigot?   Geller and Palin and Gingrich did not attack the cab driver, but their actions help to incite these kind of idiots.

      Why can’t Pollak be more like Senators Franken and Feingold, or Mayor Bloomberg – who forefully denounced the bigotry  – and less like Geller, Lieberman, Foxman, Palin, and Gingrich, who encourage the idiots?

      [ Speaking of Mayor Bloomberg – I read the delightful news that the City of New York approved construction of a new 67 floor Tower near Penn Station.  Certain NIMBYs opposed it, but Mayor Bloomberg and Council came through.   It just shows, once again, that the best way to fight bigotry is to build Towers. ]

      1. The Reality

        No matter who wins Schakowsky’s seat, the Dems are in serious jeopardy of losing their majority in the House.  Maybe even the Senate.

        So, on a micro level, you can support Schakowsky all you want – go for it.

        But on a macro level, the reality is that your party is going to take a serious beating this November based on the actions of the past 18 months by the hard left Obama administration and by the Pelosi / Reid led Congress. 

        It is as simple as that.

        Remember, this country is and has always been center right.

        How is your summer of recovery?

        Have a nice day.

  8. Politics isn’t packaged so nice and neat

    "Al, the nasty behavior of the right wing does have consequences…Why can’t Pollak be more like Senators Franken and Feingold, or Mayor Bloomberg – who forefully denounced the bigotry  – and less like Geller, Lieberman, Foxman, Palin, and Gingrich, who encourage the idiots."

    So by your logic Democrat Senate leader Harry Reid and our good Democrat governors Pat Quinn of Illinois and David Patterson of New York are bigoted, nasty right-wingers who are encouraging the idiots because you know they joined Gingrich, Geller and Palin in opposing the Ground Zero Mosque.

    I suppose also that the majority of liberal New Yorkers are nasty bigots since more than 65 percent oppose the Ground Zero Mosque.

    It’s good practice to form opinion based on facts and logic rather than how something makes you feel.

    Just sayin.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.