Richard Porter, a north suburban conservative activist and GOP donor, is drawing early support to replace Rich Williamson as Illinois’ Republican National Committeeman. Williamson passed away suddenly earlier this month.
An attorney, Porter served as a law clerk to conservative icon, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. He subsequently worked under the direction of legendary campaign manager Lee Atwater on the 1988 Bush campaign. He went on to serve in senior roles in the George H.W. Bush Administration, including as a special assistant to the President and as Counselor to Vice President Dan Quayle.
While in private practice, Porter was targeted by the Clinton machine in the 1990's as being part of what Hillary Clinton famously described as a "vast right wing conspiracy". The Clinton attacks culminated In their efforts to suggest Porter's relationship with both the lawyers representing Paula Jones in her law suit against Bill Clinton and with his former law partner Ken Starr was a defense against Clinton's lying under oath. However, the House brushed aside these allegations and voted to impeach Bill Clinton for committing perjury in his grand jury testimony and for obstruction of justice. Similarly, Clinton was fined $90,000 by the court in the Jones case and was subsequently disbarred for his intentionally false statements to the court.
Vindicated by these results, Porter emerged unscathed and intimately familiar with Clinton tactics of attack, distract and dissemble.
Porter went on to be active in party fundraising activities over the last decade, including serving on the Illinois finance committee for Mitt Romney and various other party committees.
With Hillary Clinton gearing up to seek the 2016 Democratic nomination, some Republicans think Richard Porter, who is both well-versed in the Alinsky tactics employed by Democrats today and a close adviser to many Chicago business leaders, may be the right person to help the GOP fight against a familiar and well funded opponent.