Illinois Statehouse News

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There's a new news source in Springfield, the Illinois Statehouse News, which promises "objective, non-partisan news reports" to help fill the "void" left as "cash-strapped news organizations" reduce their coverage of state government.

The managing editor is Scott Reeder, who used to cover the Illinois Legislature for the Small Newspaper Group. There are a couple of other staffers. I'd tell you more about his operation, but the Web site doesn't have a phone number.

But I can say something about the pedigree. According to the ISN, it's a "project" of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which intends to establish similar operations in state capitals across the country. The Franklin Center, founded last January, is based in North Dakota. It asserts that its mission is "to promote social welfare and civil betterment by undertaking programs that promote journalism and the education of the public about corruption, incompetence, fraud, or taxpayer abuse by elected officials at all levels of government."

President of the Franklin Center is Jason Stverak, who last year ran Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign in North Dakota. Stverak also spent six years as executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party.

And he's been regional field director for the Sam Adams Alliance, working "with state groups and associations committed to promoting the free market policies," according to his bio. The Sam Adams Alliance provided the sponsorship grant that got the Franklin Center up and running.

The three-year-old Sam Adams Alliance, based in Chicago, announces that "we are expanding our mission to serve a broad need for strategic communications among individuals and organizations who support free enterprise." According to its Wiki Website Sunshine Review, the nonprofit Sam Adams Alliance "inspires and trains allies to advance economic and individual liberty through a strategic combination of new media tools, traditional communications, and networking."

The CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance is Eric O'Keefe, a champion of term limits and author of the book Who Rules America: The People versus the Political Class. It's an organization with an agenda, and seems to have a canny sense of how to use new media — and old — to achieve it.

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