Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois is coming under fire from Republicans in the state Senate for naming the head of a pro-abortion political action committee to a spot on the state’s Human Rights Commission.
Republicans charge Terry Cosgrove, the president and CEO of Personal PAC, which strongly supports abortions, could not be impartial enough to serve on the panel. The political action committee contributed more than $400,000 to Quinn’s gubernatorial campaign.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Republicans in the minority on the Senate Executive Appointments Committee opposed the nomination, but they could not find any Democrats willing to go along with them and Cosgrove’s nomination was approved on a 5-4 party-line vote. Democratic chairman, Sen. Tony Munoz of Chicago and Republican Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington had a heated debate and reportedly stood just inches away from each other as they talked over one another.
His nomination now heads to the full state Senate, where Democrats control a majority and are expected to approve him.
During the debate, the Tribune indicates Cosgrove stood behind his contributions to the governor, saying Illinois politics are “rough and tumble” at a time when pro-abortion former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been indicted on numerous charges, including bribery regarding an appointment related to President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.
Meanwhile, Duffy heavily criticized Cosgrove’s group, saying mailers it sent during his state Senate race concerning his pro-life position on abortion were erroneous, including one Duffy held up falsely claiming he wanted to “put women behind bars” and calling him “extreme.”
“You know that that’s not true,” Duffy said to Cosgrove. “It’s a complete lie, and I never want to put women in jail for having an abortion.”
Duffy, the newspaper, said, questioned whether Cosgrove is “an honest person with integrity and dignity, a person that we would want to represent our state?”
Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, a downstate Republican, questioned the donations, and said, “it was very hard to deny that there had to be some connection to the support and the donations made by his appointments. That is extremely clear. If it isn’t clear to everybody, I don’t think you’re really looking.”
But Quinn is defending the appointment, according to the Tribune, saying, “I’ve known Terry Cosgrove for a long time, I think anybody who has met him along the way knows that he is a passionate advocate for everyone’s rights. Everyone’s civil rights, everyone’s human rights. He’s been doing that since college and I think he’s well-qualified for that position. I only look at somebody who is qualified, honest, wiling to do things for the common good.”
Asked about the large amount of donations, the governor added, “I don’t pay any attention to that. I don’t have the faintest idea of how much or whatever they contributed. I only look at people based on their qualifications. That’s my life history.”