A Republican former candidate for Illinois state representative in Cook County’s northwest suburbs has sued her Republican primary opponent and the state Republican political organization she claims backed him and helped bankroll his campaign, claiming his campaign’s attack ads illegally defamed her.
Katie Miller, of Mount Prospect, filed a complaint Jan. 9 in Cook County Circuit Court against the House Republican Organization and its treasurer, Dave Krahn, as well as her opponent Eddie Corrigan, his campaign and its treasurer, Michael Corrigan.
Miller announced a bid for the 53rd Illinois House District in September 2017. The next month, incumbent Rep. David Harris announced he was retiring from the Legislature, leaving Miller alone on the GOP primary ballot. After that announcement, Arlington Heights resident Eddie Corrigan joined the race.
Corrigan won the March 20 primary 5,832-3,647, but lost the general election in November to Mark Walker by a total of 23,792-21,580.
Republican Katie Miller, candidate for Illinois' 53rd District House seat
According to the complaint, Miller’s husband, Greg Miller, received a telephone polling call asking questions implying his wife “was a Democrat who was supported by people who support pedophiles” and “was going to take away our Second Amendment rights.” She said the House Republican Organization ran the poll and sent similar mailings in coordination with Citizens for Corrigan.
Miller said she checked with the Cook County Clerk’s Office, which she said had mistakenly reported she voted in the 2010 Democratic primary. She said the clerk’s office corrected the error, and she reported the news on her campaign Facebook page, among other places. Further such “push polls” and ads from Corrigan, however, continued to imply she was the “hand-picked candidate” of Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, and said she took hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from groups aligned with Madigan, even though she’d only raised $1,700, plus about $300 in in-kind contributions.
“Corrigan’s statement was made with actual malice as he either checked the Illinois Board of Elections website, in which case he knew his claim was false, or failed to even look at the website he was citing as his ‘source’ which would constitute recklessness as to the truth or falsity of his statement,” the complaint asserted. She further asserted references to Miller voting as a Democrat also were made with malice since Cook County Clerk David Orr certified that wasn’t the case at least 40 days earlier, a fact that was “readily ascertainable” from the clerk’s office and “prominently addressed” on Miller’s Facebook page and campaign website.
The complaint details further involvement with Corrigan’s campaign as well as the HRO, including what she said was inaccurate information about property tax appeals earlier in the decade and assertions such as “Katie Miller’s campaign is being funded by Dirty Money Chicago Interest Groups.” She said some materials cited Cook County Clerk’s Records as the source for property tax claims, although she maintained nothing in those records gives “any indication that Katie Miller’s appeal was handled any differently than any other appeal or that she engaged in any fraudulent scheme with” former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.
A March 8 mailer used the image of a check supposedly made out from “Chicago’s First Bank of Corruption” signed by “Million-Dollar Mike Madigan,” although Miller said her publicly available finance disclosures show no contributions from any group associated with Madigan. Even counting in-kind contributions, she took in only $76,508 the entire primary election cycle, she said.
Miller said mailers sent by the HRO encouraged people to vote for Corrigan and included references to his campaign website.
“Moreover, the HRO could not have paid for an advertisement promoting Eddie Corrigan’s candidacy without his permission in writing,” under state law, Miller asserted.
The complaint includes 25 formal counts of false light, defamation and civil conspiracy. In addition to a jury trial, Miller seeks at least $50,000, plus punitive damages.
Miller is represented in the matter by the Park Ridge firm of Judge, James, Hoban & Fisher LLC.