David Shestokas for Illinois Attorney General

David Shestokas and Illinois Governor Candidate Gary Rabine

Visit the Campaign Website: https://www.dave4ag.com/home

The Back Story on How I Became A Candidate for Illinois Attorney General

In early 2019 members of the Illinois Conservative Union (ICU) went to Springfield, IL to obtain voter data from the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) to evaluate if the Board was maintaining accurate voter rolls. The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) gives citizens legal authority to obtain voter data to check the state’s compliance with federal law. The ICU team requested the data. ISBE denied the request. The NVRA requires citizens give the offending election agency formal notice of violation and a last chance to comply.

As ICU’s attorney I sent the notice of violation to ISBE. It was ignored. In response I filed suit to enforce the law on behalf of ICU.

All we are asking in the ongoing lawsuit of ISBE is that it follow the law. Basically, ISBE says it doesn’t have to. Reading the case legal papers I noticed that the ISBE lawyer was the Illinois Attorney General.

The first duty of the Attorney General under Illinois law is to “REPRESENT THE PEOPLE”. The Attorney General was arguing in court that Illinois government could ignore the law and thus “the people”. In the past year the Governor, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education sent out myriad directives.

Businesses and citizens sued the Governor and the agencies challenging the multiple “mandates”. In each instance the Illinois Attorney General defended the Governor and the agencies, often with the same basic thought: We’re the government and we can do what we want.

David Shestokas and State Rep. Dan Caulkins

During the last ten years I have made many presentations for schools and organizations about America’s Founding Documents. In April, 2021, I spoke to the group Restore our Constitution ROC-USA in Decatur, IL. A friend, State Representative Dan Caulkins was in the audience. After the event we visited and talked politics and prospects for Illinois. Finally Dan said, “Why don’t you run for Illinois Attorney General?” I was taken back, and deferred an answer.

Ultimately, I considered how the current Attorney General was practicing “lawfare” against Illinois citizens. Rather than sit down with citizens or their counsel and try to resolve their grievances, the Attorney General just litigates, often defending the indefensible (the ICU matter is an example). The AG files many motions to make citizens spend money on their lawyers to vindicate their legitimate rights. The AG strategy is to wear out the people and make it too expensive for them to continue. Often in cases involving important rights this strategy is fruitless as, like in the ICU case, the lawyers are doing the matter pro bono (without legal fees).

I thought of my own ICU experience and the other citizens with grievances that the AG treated like annoyances rather than constituents. I thought about how often I urged people to be involved in government. It seemed that I should take Rep. Caulkins suggestion to heart and follow my own advice. On October 23, 2021 I officially became a candidate for Illinois Attorney General with a goal of being the lawyer for the people not the government.

I sought the counsel of many while deciding if I should run. During that process a moment of stands out that finalized the decision.

Among those I consulted was David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute. As the meeting with Dave concluded we bowed our heads and he offered a prayer, asking the Lord to send the people and assets I would need and that He provide me wisdom to recognize the gifts from Him as they entered my life.

Dave Shestokas and Dave Smith of Illinois Family Institute

David Shestokas and David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute

As Dave Smith prayed, the decision to run became firm, and since then it has felt like a blessing arrives nearly daily.

I believe we are all bound by shared commitment and belief with dreams and hopes for our families and our country.

Being bound that way I’m going to proceed more conversationally than as a formal formal article.

I want to share with you the journey to the IL Attorney General candidacy and hope you will join me as the journey continues.

I’m conveniently an attorney, as it’s a prerequisite for the job I’m going to be seeking.

My grandfather John Shestokas started wholesaling beer on Chicago’s south side in 1933. I delivered my first case of beer with my Dad when I was five years old. So I worked in the business growing up, on the trucks and after college.

I didn’t become a lawyer until I was 35. It’s only recently that I’ve practiced law longer than I sold beer, so I remain a beer guy at heart. I hope that fact will soften the heart of anyone with a poor opinion of lawyers.

With that, I’ll share with you how it is that I am blessed to be a candidate for IL Attorney General.

It was January 2, 2020. At about 10:45 AM I was in the Cook County Courthouse in Rolling Meadows. I had already been to court in Wheaton at DuPage County and in Geneva at Kane County.

Awaiting my case in Rolling Meadows court Deputy came up and said: “you don’t look so good.” I said I was thirsty and he said “you’re turning gray”. On his own he called for paramedics on his radio. They were there in minutes.

In another five minutes I was in the Emergency Room at Northwest Community Hospital. The team there made some quick decisions, including something I did not find out until much later.

It is about a two minute trip on a gurney from the ER to the Cath Lab, where the cardiologist works on your heart. I was prewired to be given a shock in case my heart stopped during that two minutes. My heart did stop during that trip and I blacked out. A nurse monitoring me during that trip had the switch in her hands. She did her job and kept me alive for the doctor.

I woke in the Cath lab with a huge TV screen to my right showing the catheter at work in my heart. Ultimately I would talk with the doctor for the next two hours as he cleaned up the arteries and placed two stents.
There’s much more but for now I think you’ll agree when I say I am blessed to be here.

After intensive cardiac rehab and six months later, that I was invited to travel by van from Los Angeles to Mt. Rushmore for the President’s July 3rd celebration and teach America’s Founding Documents along the way.

By that time my daily prayers asked of Him: “Why was I sent back?” And every day I seem to get part of the answer.

By September, 2020 I had completed the work of filing the lawsuit, Illinois Conservative Union v. Illinois State Board of Elections.  Much of that story is told above, and it involved Carol Davis, Jan Shaw, Loretta Savee and Nancy Hayes. That lawsuit became a major motivator of my candidacy.

In October 2020 I became part of the Pennsylvania lawyers for Trump team. During five weeks, I organized Allegheny County election observers, was the president’s representative before electoral boards, vetted whistleblowers, was in court with Mayor Giuliani and testified before the Pennsylvania Senate on the day before Thanksgiving in Gettysburg.

I left my hotel in Gettysburg early Thanksgiving Day. As the sun was rising my route caused me to pass the storied Civil War Battlefield.  I felt compelled to follow the signs onto the roads that wind through that hallowed and historic place.  On that holiday morning I was the only person on the Gettysburg battlefield.

I parked the car near a monument and got out. As I walked in the morning mist I could feel the souls of the 55,000 casualties who had fallen there over 150 years before.  During the previous five weeks I was part of a different battle, but  while it was happening there had not been time to consider the meaning of those events. In the mist on the Gettysburg field of war, it was my first moment to reflect upon what I had witnessed the past month. I said to myself: WE ARE AT WAR.

The day after Christmas 2020 I went to Georgia for the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the runoff elections.  I was in Georgia during the infamous January 6, 2021 events in Washington. While all eyes were on the US Capitol, the final counting of the Georgia Senate ballots took place in closed rooms out of public sight. The Pennsylvania and Georgia experiences with election issues are additional factors in my candidacy.

In early 2021 I continued to receive daily clues as to why He sent me back in January, 2020.

One message arrived in the spring of 2021 at an event supporting Camille Holcomb for Joliet Junior College Board. There I was telling Will County GOP Chairman George Pearson about my recent experiences with the presidential election. George asked if I’d be willing to talk about it at a meeting of his central committee.

George said: “How about ten or fifteen minutes.” I laughed and said: “I’m a lawyer, I’ll be barely getting warmed up.” I ultimately went and talked for an hour to a great group in person and a significant audience on zoom.

Judy Wooten was monitoring the zoom audience and after the meeting she told me: “State party chairman Don Tracy had watched on zoom and the whole hour.” This was my first “contact” with Mr. Tracy.

Following the Will County meeting I got other invitations to speak about the election. I accepted one from Pam Johnson of Restore Our Constitution in Decatur. In the Decatur audience was State Representative Dan Caulkins.

After the event Dan told me about work he was involved in with recruiting candidates for the IL legislature. As I recall he told me over 40 Democrats had run opposed in 2018. I told Dan that if there was an opening where I fit, I would run.

Dan paused then said: “Why don’t you run for Attorney General?” My first answer was that I would not if Erika Harold was running. He said she was not. I also said I would be hesitant without strong election integrity efforts. I told Dan I would consider it.

I began to investigate. Erika Harold had won the state outside of Cook County. Looking at the numbers closely I saw a path to victory.

Every IL Republican discussion includes a “but for Cook County” moment. Reviewing past statewide elections I noticed it was rare for the party to have a candidate with real Cook County Roots.

I grew up by Midway airport, attending St. Symphorosa. At White Sox games I sat two rows behind the first Mayor Daley. Our family sold beer for over 60 years throughout the city and suburbs. I went to John Marshall Law School downtown Chicago.

In 1990 I was the Republican nominee for Congress against Bill Lipinski. In 1994 I was appointed an Assistant State’s Attorney by the rare Republican State’s Attorney Jack O’Malley. I lived in Lemont for nearly 30 years and while there served 9 years on the Lemont Library Board.

As Larry Smith, Chairman of the LaSalle County Republican Central Committee puts it, I’m a round peg for a round hole.

Along the way, Chairman Tracy saw fit to appoint me to a committee on election integrity with Mark Hosty, John Fogarty, John Ackerman and Larry Smith. So I became part of addressing one of my concerns.

Meanwhile, the ICU lawsuit was proceeding. I noticed something. We were asking the Board of Elections to follow the law. The Board basically said they didn’t have to. The lawyer for the Board: The IL Attorney General. The Illinois Attorney General was essentially telling IL citizens in court that their gov’t didn’t have to obey the law. It was a motivating revelation.

This past year there have been lawsuits challenging the governor’s serial declarations and mandates. Senator Bailey has been at the forefront of those efforts. Guess who’s defending the governor at every turn: The IL Attorney General.

After Dan Caulkins suggestion I discussed the idea and sought the counsel of many.

As mentioned above among them was David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute. My discussion with Dave was profound and bears repeating. At the end of the meeting with Dave, at his suggestion we prayed over the decision. It was this prayer that finalized the matter in my mind.

Dave’s prayer has been with me daily as he asked the Lord to send me the people and resources needed and give me the ability to recognize them when they appeared. That moment heightened my awareness and I can truly say, almost daily a call arrives or an acquaintance is made that advances the probability of success. So I renew Dave’s prayer daily.

About the Office of Illinois Attorney General:

The Illinois Constitution established the Office of Attorney General as an independent Constitutional Office with these words:

“The Attorney General shall be the legal officer of the State, and shall have the duties and powers that may be prescribed by law.”

Additional definition is given by law in the Illinois Attorney General Act which provides:

“The duties of the Attorney General shall be–
First – To appear for and represent the people of the State”

So the IL Attorney General is not designated as the personal attorney of the Governor, nor the Bd. Of Election, Bd. of Education, Dept. of Public Health or other elements of the gov’t. The first duty is to represent the PEOPLE of the State.

If the current AG did that properly he would have worked to settle with the IL Conservative Union, and not rewritten 20 year old legal opinion that stated the Governor could not issue consecutive disaster declarations.

There are another 14 duties of the AG, some specifically related to public integrity, election law and more.

Many of those 15 duties have been ignored with the current AG functioning as the lawyer for the government and the previous AG functioning as the lawyer for the Speaker of the House.

If elected I will be guided in principle by 55 Words from the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

It is time for an IL AG dedicated to those principles.

It’s time for an AG that fulfills the First duty to REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS.

I hope you agree and will join me as I seek to become Illinois’ Next Attorney General.

I enjoy the study of and writing about the US Constitution. That has been inspired by the close connection of criminal procedure and many provisions of the Bill of Rights. My years as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney have brought me into close contact with all aspects of that work, and has taken me into a court room thousands of time.

Visit the Campaign Website: https://www.dave4ag.com/home

 

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