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Fact check: Anderson campaign mailer misrepresents Koehler comments in WCBU interview

220818 46th Senate candidates.jpg
Joe Deacon
Democratic State Sen. Dave Koehler, left, and Republican challenger Desi Anderson

A recent campaign mailer supporting Republican challenger Desi Anderson in the 46th District State Senate race inaccurately represents comments by incumbent Democrat Dave Koehler in an interview with WCBU.

The issue centers around the no-cash bail provision of the SAFE-T Act that’s set to go into effect on Jan. 1. The ad claims Koehler “told NPR how a man arrested for beating his wife could be released,” implying a result of the no-cash bail system.

In an interview originally published Aug. 18, Koehler discussed hypothetical situations to demonstrate the inequity of the current cash bail system.

“No-cash bail doesn't mean that we just let everybody out; no-cash bail means that there has to be a reason for keeping somebody in jail other than money, and it really gives a lot of discretion to the judges,” said Koehler. “Let me give you an example. There's two situations: there's domestic violence that occurs in two families, so both husbands in this case are locked up and kept in jail overnight. Well, one gets out. Why? Because they had the money to post bail.

“So shouldn't that decision be made as to whether they're a threat to their spouse or to themselves or to the community, rather than ‘how much money do you have?’ That's the purpose of this (no-cash bail system) is to put some common sense into how we're doing this.”

Koehler made no claim about how a man arrested for domestic violence would be released under the no-cash bail system during the original interview.

“It’s obviously misleading. I guess she’s trying to confuse the issue,” Koehler said Thursday about the ad.

The mailer that referenced Koehler's WCBU interview in August. It was recently sent to voters in the 46th Illinois Senate District.

In response to a request for comment, a representative of the Anderson campaign provided a statement and said he expected it be used in its entirety. WCBU makes its own decisions regarding content.

"Desi Anderson supports law enforcement and our community. Mr. Koehler does not, and he owns his voting record that proves it. It's unfortunate he doesn't like being held accountable by his constituents for how he votes and what he says, but he did indeed tell NPR the process by which a person accused of domestic assault could be released without bail and he endorsed that as a positive outcome. The majority of his constituents likely disagree, just as they disagree with his blatant lack of respect and support for law enforcement. The SAFE-T Act represents public policy that is pro-criminal, anti-family, and anti-law enforcement. Mr. Koehler cannot deny his responsibility for this bill, despite his desperate election year attempt to revise history," said Luke Wolff, spokesperson for Desi Anderson's campaign.

Koehler defended his comments from the original interview.

“I think I was pretty clear that under the current system, if you have two individuals that are arrested for domestic violence and one gets out and one doesn’t, what’s the difference? Well, the difference is money. Perhaps neither of them should be out,” he said.

“Right now, it’s silly to think that because you have money you can be let out on the street. That’s the whole point of this.”

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.