Campaign 2010

Jun 04, 2013

One Year Later, Davis’ Backroom Deal Comes Back to Haunt Him

FR:      DCCC Communications

RE:      One Year Later, Davis’ Backroom Deal Comes Back to Haunt Him

DT:      Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Barely one year after making headlines for being appointed as the GOP candidate in a secret backroom deal, Congressman Rodney Davis will face a primary challenge by one of his former rivals who sought the GOP nomination last year --  a sign that wounds over the shady deal that handed Davis the nomination still have not healed.

Equally problematic for Davis -- since being appointed to the GOP nomination, Davis has only taken on more ethical baggage by hiring a lobbyist to serve as his chief of staff and by refusing to cooperate in a federal investigation.

In 2013, Davis made news after it was revealed he hired a lobbyist as has chief of staff, part of a trend of “the ‘reverse revolving door’ in Congress, by which lobbyists hired as senior-level congressional staffers receive substantial exit bonuses or other financial rewards from their employers shortly before they assume their new Congressional positions.” Davis followed that up by refusing to cooperate when questioned in an ongoing investigation by the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) of possible illegal campaign fundraising by Congressman Aaron Schock, prompting OCE to recommend that Davis be subpoenaed by the House Ethics Committee. 

As he fights in a primary against former Miss America Erika Harold and works to overcome the memories of last year’s backroom appointment by party insiders, here’s a few of the headlines Davis is going to have to contend with:


Davis Received Party Nomination in “Closed Door” Meeting. In May 2012, Davis was nominated in a “closed door” meeting of local Republican party leaders to be the party’s candidate for the 13th Congressional District. The State Journal-Register reported: “Their votes were weighted based on the number of Republican primary ballots cast in their counties. […]The chairmen were mum on what gave Davis the edge over the three other finalists.” [State Journal-Register5/19/12]

  • ·         Capitol Fax: Nomination “Not Exactly Open and Transparent.” In analyzing the secret nomination process, Capitolfax’s Rich Miller wrote, "Not exactly open and transparent." [Capitol Fax, 5/21/12]

Former General Counsel for Illinois Republican Party Called Davis Deal “Shameful.In May 2012, former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party Doug Ibendahl wrote: "Today's vote was shameful, but not all that surprising given the decrepit condition of the Illinois GOP…The discredited and unqualified Davis was inexplicably chosen over Erika Harold, a former Miss America, Harvard Law School graduate, and now a highly respected practicing attorney. The good-old-boys decided to reject the potential GOP rising star in favor of one of their own." [Huffington Post, 5/22/12]

FreedomWorks Criticized Davis’ Candidacy. In 2012, FreedomWorks issued a press release highlighting some of the positions of potential Republican candidates. According to the press release, they believed that Davis would not inspire grassroots support for his candidacy. [FreedomWorks press release, 5/14/12]

Davis Needed Three Tries to Force Nomination. "Champaign County Republican Party Chairman Habeeb Habeeb declined to say how the vote went but said it took three ballots and that he proudly stuck with Harold through all three as did McLean County Republican Party Chairman John Parrott. “Sometimes you immediately recognize a wonderful opportunity. And the Republican party had that wonderful opportunity (with Harold),” said Habeeb, barely able to conceal his disappointment that she was not chosen." [News-Gazette, 5/19/13] 

Republican Blogger Blamed Davis Nomination Debacle For State Party Chair’s Downfall. "Jerry Clarke is nursing a grudge because he blames his loss to Rodney Davis on Pat Brady. This has as much to do with the gay rights bill, which I oppose, as the Man in the Moon." [Illinois Review Blog, 2/23/12]


Davis Hires Lobbyist as Chief of Staff. In 2013, Davis hired Jen Daulby, a former lobbyist, to be his chief of staff. It was reported that she received a $35,772 bonus (in addition to her 2012 bonus) in the first few weeks of January for her lobbying work. [The Nation, 5/9/13]

Office of Congressional Ethics Recommended That Rodney Davis be Subpoenaed For Failure to Cooperate in Schock Ethics Investigation. The Office of Congressional Ethics recommended in its report to the House Ethics Committee that Davis be subpoenaed in its investigation, since Davis has refused to cooperate with the probe. The OCE does not have subpoena power. [News Gazette, 2/8/11]

  • ·         OCE Concluded That “There is Substantial Reason to Believe That the Alleged Violation Occurred” Because of Davis’ Refusal to Cooperate. The Office of Congressional Ethics report said that “the OCE draws a negative inference from Mr. Davis’ refusal to cooperate with the OCE. The OCE infers that the information Mr. Davis refused to provide, taken together with the factual findings in this referral, supports the conclusion that there is substantial reason to believe that the alleged violation occurred.” [News Gazette, 2/8/11]