GOP Candidates for Attorney General: Gary Grasso and Erika Harold

Written by John Biver and Dave Smith

In a previous article, we covered the crowded Democratic Party primary for Illinois Attorney General, so now we turn to the two-way race for Republicans.

As with the Democrats, the Republicans are talking a lot about using the office to combat corruption — something the 4-term incumbent Lisa Madigan has been roundly criticized for failing to do. As noted previously, the fact that her father is Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is often seen as the reason for that seeming lack of effort.

Here are the brief bios of the two Republican Party candidates for Illinois Attorney General:

Gary Grasso:

  • Georgetown University Undergraduate, Fordham University School of Law
  • Occupation Litigation Attorney, founder and owner of Grasso Bass, P.C.
  • Former Member of the DuPage County Board and former Burr Ridge Mayor
  • Chairman of the DuPage 911 Board
  • Campaign website:

Erika Harold:

  • University of Illinois Undergraduate, Harvard Law School
  • Attorney at Meyer Capel, P.C.
  • Commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission of Professionalism
  • Serves on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Equality
  • Campaign website:

State statute outlines fifteen duties of the Attorney General — you can find them here. Examples are:

  • To appear for and represent the people of the State before the supreme court in all cases in which the State or the people of the State are interested.
  • To defend all actions and proceedings against any State officer, in his official capacity, in any of the courts of this State or the United States.
  • To consult with and advise the governor and other State officers, and give, when requested, written opinions upon all legal or constitutional questions relating to the duties of such officers respectively.

As important as they might be, most of the fifteen are fodder for eyes to glaze over. Since this is Illinois, one of the hottest questions in every AG’s race is, if elected, what will the candidates do to fight corruption.

The Chicago Sun-Times asked, “What would you do as attorney general to identify and combat public corruption at the state, county and local levels?”

Erika Harold answered:

I would use the Office’s express statutory authority—whether it is through the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, the Freedom of Information Act or the Attorney General Act—to investigate and combat government corruption.

In addition, she would “help draft legislation that would strengthen Illinois’ public corruption laws” and “expand the Illinois Attorney General’s tools (such as subpoena and grand jury powers) to investigate and prosecute government corruption.”

Gary Grasso agreed that the AG’s powers should be expanded and promised to “focus the Attorney General’s office and repurpose its resources on public corruption and those in the private sector that facilitate it.” He referred to “the unfettered proliferation of corruption in Illinois,” and cited the need to “investigate the clout based, corrupt property tax assessments system”:

We must restore confidence to the people of Illinois that they are being treated equally and fairly when property taxes are being assessed. We must not tolerate the status quo and the political corruption at any level. The public should know that when elected, the powers that be, at all levels of government, should be on high alert that the Office of the Illinois Attorney General will not tolerate any form of cheating the system.

One of the largest differences between Harold and Grasso is age and experience. Harold graduated from law school just a decade ago, and Grasso posted this on his website:

Gary is the only candidate with the extensive public service and the right legal experience necessary to eradicate the clout-plagued epidemic that systemically infects government in Illinois.

His website also touts his “39 years of litigation as both plaintiff and defendants at three well known and regarded Chicago law firms at which I was a partner at each one.” Grasso told the Chicago Tribune:

My actual lengthy litigation and legal experience, and my actual governance experience with proven results, respectfully distinguishes me from my opponent at every level and dimension.

Grasso also stressed his independence, “I am not beholden to any candidate for Governor, politician, interest group or organization.”

I am the only independent Republican candidate for Attorney General. My campaign has not been welcomed by GOP party insiders, including Governor Rauner. His administration and staff are supporting my opponent and actively tried to kick me off the ballot — and deny choice to Republicans and independent voters.

After researching and speaking to both candidates, we highly recommend voting for Gary Grasso. His legal experience, independence and willingness to engage with conservative grassroots activists speaks volumes.

Unfortunately, Harold has avoided publicly answering questions from conservative organizations, including failing to respond to candidate surveys from pro-life organizations in the state. It is frustrating to observe her answer questions from liberal media sources but refuse to answer questions (and questionnaires) from pro-life and pro-family groups.

Their differences were dramatically different when they were asked about defending unconstitutional and tyrannical Illinois laws that force medical professionals to give abortion referrals (SB 1564) or ban professional therapists from helping minor children with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion (HB 217). Even after pointing out that the next Attorney General will take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and Illinois State Constitution, Harold said she would defend the laws of the state whereas Grasso indicated that he did not think those laws were constitutional.

Moreover, it is troubling to read or hear her interviews in the media (WBEZ for example) and listen to her give politically correct or even liberal responses to questions. The Chicago Sun-Times reported last month that Harold “believes Illinois should start ‘exploring’ [marijuana] legalization.” In the WBEZ interview, Harold waves the white flag of surrender, saying that she believes that recreational marijuana is “inevitable.”

Finally, the fact that Harold has aligned herself with Bruce Rauner and his campaign apparatus (taking $305,000 in donations) is indicative of the establishment politics we’ve come to loathe in Illinois.

We simply do not need another squishy establishment type in the Illinois GOP.

Please make every effort to cast your ballot on or before March 20th to ensure that the best candidates are nominated.  IFA-pac has a list of endorsed candidates for your consideration.

If conservatives fail to vote in any election, we enable the Left to take the reins of government, which means bigger government and less individual freedom.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

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