DuPage election panel consultant resigns
Updated: December 12, 2012 6:37AM
A controversial consultant and Republican strategist who has been doing work for the DuPage Election Commission for the past several years stepped down this week.
Dan Curry, co-owner of the Wheaton communications firm Reverse Spin, resigned Thursday.
“Reverse Spin sent a letter to Bob Saar yesterday, saying they would no longer be able to do work for the Election Commission, but they appreciated the opportunity,” commission Chairwoman Cathy Ficker Terrill said Friday.
Saar didn’t have many more details about the development to share.
“They had more work,” Saar said. “They do government (communications), but they also do a lot of private stuff.”
Curry, whose signature is on the letter, said one of the projects the firm is launching early in 2013 could pose a conflict with his work on the commission’s behalf.
“We have worked in government and outside it over the years, and would rank the DuPage County Election Commission staff at the top in terms of professionalism, efficiency and responsiveness to taxpayers. It truly is one of the finest election agencies in the country,” Curry wrote in the resignation letter. “And you are no doubt one of the most respected election experts/administrators in the United States.”
The working relationship dates back to April 2007, when the firm was known as Curry Public Strategies, Saar spokeswoman Donna Morrison said. The company, which operates with the credo “control the news,” has received $3,000 monthly for its services for the past 5 1/2 years, with the exception of a hiatus when Curry was managing former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan’s unsuccessful 2010 bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Saar said.
Critics, including representatives of the Illinois chapter of the Ballot Integrity Project, had questioned the propriety of a political strategist doing work for the nonpartisan commission.
Terrill had raised the issue of the ongoing expense when the commission agreed in early August, at Saar’s request, to continue having Reverse Spin do the work through Election Day.
“We are simply extending it because the director says he needs the help between now and the November election,” she said.
It was uncertain how much longer the arrangement would continue.
“The Election Commission was evaluating whether we needed to continue having the services of a public relations firm,” Terrill said.
If a decision was made to keep contracting with someone, the three-member commission had agreed that the process would begin with competitive bidding.