The Chicago Tribune
A bitter feud is brewing between Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), ex-wife Kimberly Vertolli and a one-time girlfriend of the lawmaker.The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Kirk is being accused by his ex-wife of violating campaign finance laws.
Following a divorce, Vertolli was brought onto Kirk’s 2010 campaign where she was paid $40,000 for her work.
During her tenure, she alleges that Kirk’s then-girlfriend, Dodie McCracken, received more than $143,000 in campaign payments from June 2010 to January 2011.
The allegations come as Vertolli, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asserting that Kirk and McCracken broke campaign finance laws. Vertolli claims that Kirk brought her on the campaign after she publicly criticised McCracken’s role in the campaign. She now believes the money she was paid was to “get me to be quiet about my misgivings about McCracken.”
Specifically, Vertolli says that Kirk utilized a campaign contractor — the Patterson Group — to unlawfully hide money and indirectly transfer it to McCracken. McCracken’s name does not appear in Kirk’s FEC disclosures.
A Washington lawyer who spoke with the Tribune explains that, “intentionally obscuring the actual payee of a campaign expenditure is a violation.”
Kirk’s campaign has responded to Vertolli’s FEC complaint, calling it:
“A groundless complaint consisting of bitter personal attacks and is attempting to involve a federal agency in a divorce settled 36 months ago … We are saddened that she decided to file this ill-advised complaint and abuse the FEC process to air personal grievances.”
Vertolli says that while her pay did not violate FEC rules, the campaign did not want her role in the public eye.
According to Kirk’s campaign manager Erik Elk, Vertolli was originally a strong supporter of her ex-husband’s senatorial bid, volunteering and once proclaiming that, “He’ll make a great senator.” Elk claims that she asked to have a role in legal research on the campaign. She later flip flopped and dropped her support, says Elk.
Previously serving in the U.S. House from 2001 to 2010, Kirk now occupies the Senate seat once held by Barack Obama.
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