By Jim Bowman
. . . at Day in the Village #41, June 1, Scoville Park, where tables and booths lined the walkways and small groups dotted the meadow while bands played loud and clear and people strolled.
To the OP GOP table came Paul Schimpf from downstate Waterloo, near St. Louis, a former Marine Corps infantry officer and lawyer, answering an invitation to come and meet and greet and do a lot of handshaking on a bright, sunny, hot afternoon.
Retired a year ago from the Marine Corps after 21 years following Annapolis graduation in '93, he returned to be a father-in-residence to his and his wife Lori's two boys in Waterloo. As a Marine lawyer, among other things, he had helped in the prosecution of Saddam Hussein.
As a candidate, he opposes the well-connected and personally attractive if not similarly qualified Lisa Madigan. To voters on this Sunday at the park, one small group after another, he presented himself as an outsider prepared to contest Illinois corruption.
He did that a week ago in the State-Journal Register:
"Look, if your father is the most powerful politician in the state of Illinois, you just don't have the independent perspective," Schimpf said, referring to the fact that incumbent Democratic Attorney General LISA MADIGAN is daughter of House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago. "You're going to be inclined to give him and his political allies the benefit of the doubt."
He continued, suggesting that Madigan plays favorites:
"Lisa Madigan cannot be a loving and loyal daughter to Mike Madigan and be the independent attorney general that the state of Illinois desperately needs," added Schimpf, who lives in Waterloo and served 24 years in the Navy and Marine Corps. He was lead attorney-adviser to Iraqi prosecutors in the trial of SADDAM HUSSEIN.
He said Lisa Madigan is a "good person," but being influenced by family connections is just part of being human.
"Change is on the way!" [she said on election night 2002]. "Together we will fight corrupt corporations and corrupt public officials!"
And now running for her fourth term, Madigan lists battling corruption as a key issue on her campaign's website.
It's been hard:
But after nearly 12 years as Illinois' attorney general, critics said Madigan's only caught political minnows, while the U-S Attorney has been landing the big fish.
No fair, says Former Attorney General Roland Burris, citing "statutory limitations" of the office, which is mainly to defend the state. It's a defense lawyer, not a prosecutor, says Burris.
So what's she doing with all that corruption talk?
In any case, corruption-banging is attractive to most voters, so what's Paul Schimpf got to offer that Lisa doesn't? Those years as a Marine, for one thing.
His bio has it, offered here in reverse:
* . . . retired from Marine Corps May, 2013, returned to his home town of Waterloo . . . . is married to the former Lori Duffin from Glen Ellyn, IL. They have two boys, Ethan (7) and Garrett (5).
* . . . 2011, became Staff Judge Advocate for Marine Corps Installations Command, advising its commanding general on legal issues — from constitutionality of religious memorials on federal land to officer misconduct cases.
* . . . 2007, as Marine-appointed congressional fellow, he was Military Legislative Assistant for a Minnesota congressman, for whom he was primary advisor on defense and veteran issues. . . . then Strategist for Energy and Environment for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy . . . frequently represented the Defense department in interagency and international meetings on these issues, including as moderator of a panel discussion at UN climate change negotiations in Mexico, 2010.
* . . . 2005, as Deputy Counsel at an air station, working primarily on labor law and environmental law . . . was deployed to Iraq as lead American attorney advisor to the Iraqi prosecutors in the trial of Saddam Hussein, providing guidance enabling them to induce a remarkable courtroom confession where Saddam admitted culpability in the massacre of hundreds of civilians.
* . . . 2004, to the Army's advanced attorney training, where he received Master of Law degree (LLM ) and wrote on how the military can improve its treatment of sexual assault victims.
* He'd got his law degree at Southern Illinois U after a stint as infantry officer at Guantanamo Bay in 2000, then served as a JAG attorney in a legal assistance clinic handling matters of family law and consumer protection law for service members. As head prosecutor for the San Diego Recruiting Region, he supervised other attorneys and personally litigated drug, sexual assault, and attempted murder cases.
You think that qualifies him to be attorney general for the great state of Illinois? Sure you do, and so do I.