Brady won't return cash raised by ex-Blago aide

October 21, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The Brady/Blagojevich fundraiser connection was first reported weeks ago by Capitol Fax, a widely-read Illinois political blog. Its mention during last night's debate caused thousands more eyebrows to be raised.

With republican Bill Brady having made ousted governor Rod Blagojevich an issue in the campaign, Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn seized the opportunity during his post-debate news conference.

"I really was surprised to learn that the former deputy governor to Rod Blagojevich was hosting a secret fundraiser for Senator Brady," said Quinn.

The Brady fundraiser was hosted not only by Blagojevich's former deputy governor, Dean Martinez, but also Juan Ochoa, the former McCormick Place CEO who also raised money for the since-convicted former governor.

Senator Brady, who appeared to be caught off-guard during the debate, said afterward that Martinez and Ochoa, both Latinos, are "fine people."

"What the public should make of it is Bill Brady is reaching out to the Latino community," said Brady. "We're winning them over."

"I was disappointed from the standpoint that I think he was misled," said Lou Sandoval of the Republican "Latinos for Brady."

Sandoval issued a statement demanding Brady make a "clean break" with Martinez and Ochoa.

"Give the money back. Donate it to charity. Basically distance himself from any ties of the tainted money that they raised for him," said Sandoval.

Brady is not distancing himself from Rod Blagojevich's former deputy governor, and he will not return the money raised by Dean Martinez and Juan Ochoa.

The Brady spokeswoman wrote this afternoon that "Latinos for Brady" is not a group recognized or working directly for the campaign.

Also on Wednesday night, Brady denied that he ever said his plan to cut state education funding would lead to a rise in local property taxes to support public schools.

"I have never talked about raising property taxes, and you know it," said Brady.

Overnight, the Quinn campaign forwarded news organizations a video of Brady at the Illinois State Fair in August.

"Well, there's some natural property tax increases that will go into effect," Brady says in the video.

Brady spokeswoman Patty Schuh called her boss a "stalwart anti-tax advocate," explaining Brady's "natural property tax increases" prediction as in, "if there were a growing economy, property is obviously worth more".

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