The Trouble with Jim Oberweis

The Trouble with


What respected sources say…

Oberweis on ABORTION:

In 2001, Oberweis was a candidate “Generally Supportive of Abortion Rights” ond compared religious individuals who are pro-life to the Taliban.

“Oberweis, 55, said he decided to make the race because ‘Sept. 11 has made a lot of us rethink our lives and what is important.’ Generally supportive of abortion rights–Cox and Durkin are not–Oberweis said, ‘The Taliban are the best reason why it is wrong for me or anyone to make religious decisions for other people.’ While the election is a year away, the deadline for filing nominating petitions for the March Illinois Senate primary is Dec. 17.” 

SOURCE: (Lynn Sweet, “GOP Seeks Heavy Hitter,” Chicago Sun-Times, 10/29/01)

Oberweis: “I think that right now we’re getting A very, very strong symbol in the Taliban of what can happen if we try to impose our religious beliefs on others.”

“But the dispute started Oct. 24 when Oberweis was interviewed on the ‘Steve Dahl Show’ on WCKG-FM 105.9. Asked if he is ‘pro-choice or anti-choice,’ Oberweis said: ‘That’s obviously a tough question, but the honest answer is I’ve been a lifelong Catholic, still am. Obviously I have concerns about that particular issue. However, I think that right now we’re getting a very, very strong symbol in the Taliban of what can happen if we try to impose our religious beliefs on others.’ In published interviews, Oberweis has also used the Taliban’s fundamentalist Islamic regime as an extreme example of religion in public policy.” 

SOURCE: Dan Mihalopoulos, “Unofficial Candidate Under Fire,” Chicago Tribune, 11/1/01

“‘We’ve never seen any pro-choice catholic go this far,’ said William Donohue, President of the Manhattan-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. ‘. . . Oberweis really crossed the line.’”

“His remarks have drawn criticism from conservative groups across the country. They said Oberweis defamed Catholicism. ‘We’ve never seen any pro-choice Catholic go this far,’ said William Donohue, president of the Manhattan-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. ‘. . . Oberweis really crossed the line.’ Cox, who announced his candidacy in January, said Oberweis would divide voters at a time when unity is needed.” 

“Oberweis Said he regrets mentioning the Taliban in the context of the abortionisue during interviews last week. But he said he stands by his position on abortion and will not apologize.”

SOURCE: Dan Mihalopoulos, “Unofficial Candidate Under Fire,” Chicago Tribune, 11/1/01


In 2019, The General Assembly Doubled Illinois’ gas tax from 19 cents per gallon to 38 cents per gallon.

“Illinoisans will be paying more for gasoline, cigarettes and annual license plate fees to help pay for the $45 billion public works plan the General Assembly passed during the final days of its spring session. Republicans and Democrats joined together in supporting the tax increases that will fund major upgrades to roads, bridges and transit, coined ‘Rebuild Illinois.’…Gas tax increase: The state’s 19-cent-per-gallon motor fuel tax doubles starting July 1 under the plan. The gas tax last was raised in 1990 and would be indexed to future inflation increases. Municipalities in Cook County could separately levy a 3-cent-per-gallon motor fuel tax.” 

SOURCE: Jamie Munks, “Fees Up For Illinois Car Owners, Smokers,” Chicago Tribune, 6/4/19

Jim Oberweis voted “PRESENT” on the gas tax increase.

SOURCE: SB 1939 Roll Call Vote, concurred in House Amendment 49-9, 6/2/19

Illinois drivers now pay a combined local, state and federal gas tax of 72.27 cents-per-gallon–the third highest in the country.

Only California – 80.45 cents-per-gallon – and Pennsylvania – 77.10 cents-per-gallon – impose higher combined gas taxes.

SOURCE: Gasoline Tax Map, American Petroleum Institute, 10/1/19

Oberweis on GUNS

Copley News Service

In 2004, Oberweis claimed he was “reasonably satisfied” with current gun laws and would “probably” extend the current ban on assault weapons. “‘

“Anybody who thinks this war on terrorism is going to be won in a short stroke is totally wrong,’ Oberweis said. He said he is ‘reasonably satisfied’ with current gun laws and would ‘probably’ extend the current ban on assault weapons.” 

SOURCE: Mary Massingale, “Oberweis Sees Ice Cream, Campaign As Good Mix,” Copley News Service, 3/2/04

Oberweis voted to require state regulation of gun stores over the objections of the NRA.

In 2018, the Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill 337, which significantly tightened regulations on gun dealers in Illinois, including requiring the installation of video surveillance equipment and paying for a $1,500 state license. “Governor JB Pritzker signed a new gun control bill into law on Thursday. Governor Pritzker, flanked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson signed the gun dealer licensing bill into law at a school on the city’s West Side. SB 337, a bipartisan plan to combat illegal gun trafficking, requires firearm dealers to be licensed by Illinois State Police instead of the state agency that regulates professions and occupations. In addition to requiring gun shops large and small to obtain the $1,500 state license, it will also require them to install video surveillance, and train employees to recognize those who try to make straw purchases where someone buys a gun for someone who can’t legally own one. ‘Today is a long overdue step to do more to prevent gun violence, to make sure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands,’ Governor Pritzker said.” 

SOURCE: Craig Wall, “Governor JB Pritzker Signs Gun Dealer Licensing Bill Into Law,” ABC Chicago, 1/19/19

The NRA strongly opposed Senate Bill 337, saying it would “shut down…local gun stores with government red tape” and would create a de facto gun registry.

“Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 337 into law.  Passed by the previous legislature in 2018, SB 337 will establish a firearm registry and shut down your local gun stores with government red tape.  Senate President John Cullerton previously made the unprecedented move of placing a procedural hold on the bill in order to avoid the possibility of a veto under the previous Governor, Bruce Rauner, and then removed the hold to send the bill to a newly inaugurated governor. Senate Bill 337, as amended by Representative Kathleen Willis (D-77), will direct the state police to create an electronic transaction form for firearm transfers, which will amount to a registry.  This solution in search of a problem will not only waste taxpayer funded resources, but it will also not improve public safety.  Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law, and acquire the vast majority of their firearms illegally such as by theft, on the black market, or by straw purchase.  A registry would not affect criminals as it could only include lawful transactions.  The only purpose that firearm registries serve is to facilitate future confiscations of firearms from those who currently own them legally.” 

SOURCE: “Illinois: Gov. Pritzker Signs Firearm Registration & Dealer Licensing Bill,” NRA Institute For Legislative Action, 1/17/19

Oberweis Voted In Favor Of Senate Bill 337. 

SOURCE:SB 337, Roll Call Vote, Concurred In House Amendment 35-20, 5/30/18, Oberweis Voted Yea


Oberweis skipped a vote on increasing Illinois’ income tax rate to 4.95 percent.

In 2017, the Illinois General Assembly voted to increase Illinois’ income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent – a 32 percent increase. “Seeking to restore stability to a state government teetering on the abyss, lawmakers on Thursday turned aside Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s opposition to a major income tax increase and a spending plan, ending a record-setting impasse. Illinois had gone 736 days without a budget, and the final seven packed in plenty of statehouse drama. Tempers flared, threats were issued, alliances shifted. A surprise tax hike vote over a long holiday weekend was met with a quick veto by a governor who’d dug in his heels. Lawmakers, though, stood their ground, with members of both parties coming together long enough to override…When the session got underway, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Democrats were joined by about one-fifth of House Republicans, who broke ranks with Rauner. As a result, the state income tax rate will rise from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, costing an extra $1,200 a year for a family with a net income of $100,000.” 

SOURCE: Monique Garcia, Rick Pearson And Kim Geiger, “Illinois House Overrides Rauner Vetoes Of Income Tax Increase, Budget,” Chicago Tribune, 7/7/17

Oberweis Skipped Voting On The Tax Increase. 

SOURCE: SB 9, Roll Call Vote, Veto Overridden 36-19, 7/4/17, Oberweis Did Not Vote

Oberweis sidles up to MADIGAN ALLIES

Oberweis has accepted THOUSANDS in campaign cash from allies of Mike Madigan.

Since 2012, Oberweis Has Accepted $12,000 from the Chicago Land Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC. 

SOURCE: llinois Board of Elections, Accessed 1/22/20

The Operating Engineers Local 150 Is Allied With Mike Madigan. “Most of the unions announcing their support for Pritzker were from the construction and building trades. They included Operating Engineers Locals 150 and 399, Carpenters Regional Council, Laborers District Council and Ironworkers District Council. Catching my eye was an endorsement from Sheet Metal Workers Local 73, a union long associated with the Daley family. Others see their common thread as unions allied with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.” 

SOURCE: Mark Brown, “Pritzker Tries To Deflate Rat With Union Support,” Chicago Sun-Times, 5/4/17


Since 2015, Oberweis has accepted $13,300 from Commonwealth Edison and Exelon.

SOURCE: Illinois Board of Elections, Accessed 1/22/20

Commonwealth Edison has held yearly fundraisers for Madigan that raised over $100,000 each. “The company at the center of an expanding federal probe into Springfield lobbying went to unusual lengths to financially ingratiate itself with a key Springfield player, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. Political insiders and official state disclosure records indicate that for at least the last five years, Exelon and its Commonwealth Edison subsidiary have hosted a major autumn Chicago fundraiser for the speaker, who doubles as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. The events rotated between the prestigious Chicago Club and the equally prominent Union League Club, but in every instance it was a ‘command performance’ for ComEd lobbyists, executives, suppliers and others, as one participant put it. The take: $100,000 or more annually—enough to, say, flood two or three House districts with mailers in the last month of an election campaign, and certainly a nice financial base to build upon.” 

SOURCE: Greg Hinz, “Mike Madigan’s ComEd Windfall,” Crain’s Chicago Business, 12/6/19

In 2012, Oberweis accepted a $200 Contribution From Mike McClain. 

SOURCE: Illinois Board of Elections, Accessed 1/22/20)

McClain s a lobbyist and longtime confidant of Madigan. “For months, federal authorities have been looking into payments made to a former political operative for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan as part of a sweeping investigation into ComEd’s lobbying practices. Now, newly obtained emails show that Michael McClain, a close confidant of Madigan, orchestrated the contracts that saw money flow from current and former ComEd lobbyists to the ex-aide…McClain, 71, has a friendship with Madigan that dates to when they both served in the House in the 1970s.” 

SOURCE: Ray Long And Jason Meisner, “‘Keep All Of This Confidential’,” Chicago Tribune, 11/21/19)

Oberweis on President Trump

Oberweis dismissed Donald Trump candidacy as a “fad that will eventually fade.”

“They agree, though, that tonight’s debate headliner and poll front-runner Donald Trump doesn’t have a visible presence in Illinois. ‘To be honest with you, I think he’s going to be a fad that will eventually fade,’ Oberweis said. Illinois Republicans say they’re trying to get their organizations ready if that happens. Oberweis said Walker’s Naperville stop was a ‘significant fundraiser’ for a candidate he says is attractive for his work in Wisconsin and his battles with public employee unions.” 

SOURCE: Mike Riopell, “As GOP Hopefuls Debate, Their Backers In Illinois Organize,” Daily Herald, 9/16/15)

In 2008, Oberweis suggested increased enforcement of existing immigration laws, while noting that the construction of bigger and longer walls was not the answer. “Oberweis said the main course of action should be to enforce the laws that already exist. Building bigger and longer walls isn’t the answer. However, the current holes in the Mexican border that allow immigrants to cross illegally must be fixed. Foster said there is no real way to plug every hole in the border, so the key is to have workplace enforcement that cracks down on companies who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. He also wants to create a faster method of human resource departments to verify someone’s legal status in the country.”

SOURCE: James Fuller, “Economy The Point Of Debate In 14th,” Daily Herald, 10/6/08


In 2019, Oberweis said he doesn’t “Like Trump’s style” but does “like his policies,” including immigration, multi-state insurance plans, and tax reform. 

“State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-North Aurora), who is running to be the 2020 GOP candidate in the 14th CD, wants it made clear: he likes the policies Donald Trump is putting into place, while he doesn’t like Trump’s style. The controversy arose on a Facebook discussion in which the question was asked whether Oberweis supported Trump. ‘I’ve asked several times, but he has never answered,’ said political activist Joe Ptak in the discussion.  Oberweis saw the discussion online and called Illinois Review to straighten any misperceptions about his support for Trump. ‘I don’t like Trump’s style, but I do like his policies,’ Oberweis said. ‘Many of his ideas are what I’ve been proposing for years – immigration, multi-state insurance plans – and I liked most of his tax plan. I support what the president is doing on those issues.’” 

SOURCE: “Oberweis: I Support Trump’s Policies, Not His Style,” Illinois Review, 4/3/19