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Who is Bill Conway, candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney?

A wolf in sheep’s clothing?
By Ted Pearson |
February 9, 2020
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Chicago, IL - William Elias Conway, III is running against Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in the March 17 Democratic Party primary election. He has flooded TV airways and cable channels with commercials promoting his ‘progressive’ agenda, pledging to “defend Chicago’s marginal communities from attacks from Donald Trump.”

But Bill Conway is the son of William Elias Conway, Jr., the founder of the Carlyle Group. His father is a multi-billionaire who has donated over $4 million to his son’s campaign against incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Conway, Jr. has also strong-armed many East Coast corporations to join him in funding his son’s campaign.

Foxx has a reputation for fairness and has demonstrated a willingness to question arrests made by police officers, especially those of proven torturers and frame-up artists. This has earned her the hatred of the Fraternal Order of Police, which organized a white supremist demonstration against her outside her office last year.

Conway III is a former Cook County prosecutor who worked in the Public Corruption and Financial Crimes unit under Anita Alvarez, who Foxx defeated in 2016 because of Alvarez’ involvement in covering up police murders of Black and Latinx youth and her role in extracting false confessions under torture from Black youth. One of her most infamous cases was that of the Englewood Four, very young Black teenagers convicted of rape and murder based on tortured confessions, and later exonerated by DNA tests that proved the crime was committed by a convicted serial rapist.

What is the Carlyle Group, founded by Conway’s father? Among those who’ve been on its payroll are former President and CIA Director George H. W. Bush and Frank Carlucci (who was once carlyle board chairman). Carlucci is a former U. S. Defense Secretary and CIA operative who is credited with masterminding the 1973 overthrow and assassination of Chilean President Salvador Allende.

Wikipedia reports that “In 2015, Carlyle was the world's largest private equity firm by capital raised over the last five years, according to the PEI 300 index.” The site adds, “Carlyle's corporate private equity business has been one of the largest investors in leveraged buyout transactions over the decade 2004–2014. Carlyle has invested in Booz Allen Hamilton, PA Consulting, Dex Media, Dunkin' Brands, Freescale Semiconductor, Getty Images, HCR ManorCare, Hertz, Kinder Morgan, Nielsen, United Defense, and other companies.”

United Defense is one of the largest defense contractors, a key part of the military-industrial complex. They supply weapons systems to the U. S. military, including: Advanced Gun System (AGS) for next generation, United States Navy surface combatants, Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles family of light armored ground vehicles, the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the M3 Bradley Cavalry fighting vehicle, the M8 Armored Gun System armored gun system, the M88 Hercules armored recovery vehicle, the M109 Paladin, the M113 family, the Crusader, the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), and the 5-54 Mark 45 and 62 caliber lightweight naval gun.

What is the interest of this multi-billion dollar trans-national corporation in the Cook County State’s Attorney race? Is it only filial? Is this just a billionaire helping his son, like the late Mayor Richard J. Daley’s mistletoe approach to such things? Or is his fealty as much to the Fraternal Order of Police as to his son, related to possible purchases by the Chicago Police Department of military hardware, such as that in 2012, which included a $600,000 Oshkosh Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle?

What are the politics of the Carlyle Group, controlled by ‘progressive’ Bill Conway’s father? If its political contributions are any gauge of this, consider the following.

In the past three decades the Carlyle Group has contributed $20 million to political candidates, including over $6 million to Democrats and $9 million to Republicans. In addition, companies owned or controlled by Carlyle have donated $11.7 million to Republicans and $1.8 million to Democrats.

Carlyle has also officially established a Political Action Committee to funnel ‘voluntary’ contributions from its employees to the political campaigns of its choice.

Recent TV viewers have been inundated with Conway commercials featuring Candace Clark, a 21 year-old African-American woman allegedly treated unfairly by Kim Foxx’ office. Clark is a young Black woman who lives in Hoffman Estates, a Northwest suburb of Chicago. She was arrested in March of 2019 and charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report “regarding funds that went missing from her bank account.” Prosecutors in Foxx’ office offered Clark deferred prosecution, meaning she would have to make restitution, obtain a GED and appear in District 9 Court at 26th Street and California Avenue in Chicago monthly or biweekly over a period of time. The charges would then be dismissed.

Judge Marc Martin, a white judge who was appointed to the 11th Sub-circuit of the Cook County Court, had occasion to comment that he felt Clark’s treatment was at variance with that afforded by Foxx to actor Jussie Smollett. “I’d like to know why Ms. Clark is being treated differently than Jussie Smollett,” Judge Martin opined at length from the bench. Martin was most recently in the news as one of the attorneys for Richard Vanecko, a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman. Vanecko was acquitted.

Actually, Clark’s treatment was not much different than that of Smollett. But that hasn’t stopped Conway from “taking her case pro bono” and using it to attack Kim Foxx for showing favoritism toward Smollett, who is “rich and famous.” Actually, where there is little dispute about the charges again Clark, there was no legal basis for holding Smollett, according to the state’s attorney, who made it clear that there was no case against him that could stand up in court. Smollett insists that he was indeed attacked by a racist group, including at least one white man, and that he fabricated nothing about the attack. “I would not be my mother’s son if I ever did anything like this,” Smollett said when the charges against him were dropped by Foxx’s office.

So, the bottom line is that Bill Conway is the son of a far right-wing defense contractor and associate of assassins and war criminals, who is masquerading as a progressive. He stands against the first truly progressive State’s Attorney that Cook County has ever had, Kim Foxx. He stands with the Fraternal Order of Police and Donald Trump and he can be counted on to revive the worst practices of the state’s attorney and the police under Richard M. Daley and all his successors before Foxx.