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Kifowit alleges rival’s campaign staffers harassed her children

Stephanie A. Kifowit

Stephanie A. Kifowit

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Updated: September 14, 2012 11:32AM

In a press release and public social media posts, Democratic State Rep. candidate Stephanie Kifowit said her children were harassed by Republican opponent Pat Fee’s paid campaign staffers.

On Thursday, Fee called the accusation “foolishness.”

“It did not come out of my office,” Fee said.

Both women are vying to represent the new 84th district, which includes portions of Aurora, Naperville, Montgomery, Oswego and Boulder Hill.

Kifowit, an Aurora alderman, said male staffers, employees of the House Republican Organization, filmed Kifowit at her home. The male staffers pointed a camera at the Kifowit home, including the bedroom windows of her children, ages 10 and 14, Kifowit said.

Julie Larkin, Kifowit’s campaign manager, was at the Kifowit home when the staffers arrived, she said. The men were there for at least an hour, she said, and were asked to leave.

One of the men directly approached her daughter, Kifowit said, questioning her to a point that made the girl feel uncomfortable. Larkin said the man was asking Kifowit’s daughter about the campaign.

“If Pat Fee wants to campaign against me with an honest dialogue about the issues, I welcome it. But going after and intimidating my young children is something I won’t stand for,” Kifowit said.

Fee said Thursday that she is paying one staffer, a woman, to work on her campaign.

She said Illinois House Republican Organization staffers are not people who are working closely with her campaign.

“I have a very good reputation,” Fee said. “I think she’s just angry. (Kifowit) is very embarrassed that she didn’t answer the question.”

Kevin Artl, political director of the House Republican Organization, said the staffers, who are HRO interns, were aware that Kifowit was filming a political commercial at her house. Artl said the young men never talked to Kifowit’s daughter.

From across the street, the staffers motioned for Kifowit to come across the street, Artl said.

“She did come across the street,” Artl said. “(The staffers) were never on her property.”

In a 10-second video clip that was uploaded to the Internet last week as part of a longer video, a young man approaches Kifowit across from her house and asks her: “Do you support Gov. Quinn’s 67 percent income tax increase?”

Kifowit answered this is a “private...” before walking away from the camera.

In a 12-second video clip that Artl provided to the Beacon-News, it appears Kifowit and the House Republican Organization staffer are talking in the street. The video does not show what was said before or after that short exchange. At the end of the video, a Kifowit staffer approaches the camera-wielding HRO staffer.

An HRO staffer also approached Kifowit in City Council chambers on Tuesday.

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