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September 2009
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Who is David Hoffman???

Back iDavid Hoffmann 2003, people were asking ” who is Barack Obama?” Not that David Hoffman has the same political rise in store for him that our President had, but it stranger things have happened– well actually, no they haven’t.

Two weeks ago, David Hoffman announced he was running against Alexi Giannoulias in the democratic primaries for the United States Senate seat vacated by President Obama. So seriously, Who is he?

His website describes him as:

David H. Hoffman, 42, is a former federal prosecutor, reform leader, and corruption fighter who will bring a distinguished record of 16 years of public service and independent, effective advocacy for Illinois taxpayers to the U.S. Senate.

As Inspector General for the City of Chicago for the past four years, Hoffman transformed the Inspector General’s Office into a fiercely independent and highly professional anti-corruption office. Hoffman directed a 60-person staff of attorneys, investigators, and auditors that exposed bribery, fraud and theft schemes, contracting corruption, illegal employment practices, ethics violations, and extensive waste. His joint investigations with the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies led to federal charges against numerous city employees and contractors and uncovered widespread corruption in Chicago’s system of building-safety and zoning inspections.

In January 2009, Governor Pat Quinn appointed Hoffman to the 15-member Illinois Reform Commission, which was charged with recommending anti-corruption and ethics reforms in the wake of former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s arrest. While participating in the Commission’s hearings and town meetings around Illinois, Hoffman and the other Commission members heard extensive testimony from citizens about their frustration with Illinois’ history of corruption and their desire for reform. He drafted substantial portions of the Commission’s proposed legislation regarding criminal law and contracting reforms, and testified at a number of legislative hearings on behalf of the Commission’s recommendations.

Hoffman served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago from 1998-2005, and was appointed Deputy Chief of the Narcotics and Gangs Section by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In this post, he led a newly created gang unit, supervised all federal gang investigations and prosecutions, and helped create a new federal-local gang investigation strategy that Justice Department officials used to train gang investigators around the country. He also served as co-leader of the office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) anti-gun violence program, which helped reduce gun violence in some of Chicago’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods. Hoffman was one of the leaders in creating and running a highly-praised program in which law enforcement and community organizations worked together in high-crime neighborhoods to persuade felons convicted of gun crimes not to carry guns.

While an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Hoffman investigated and prosecuted all types of federal crimes, including drug trafficking and money-laundering cases against street gangs and international drug cartels, and white-collar crimes including health care fraud, bank fraud, and tax fraud. He received the Director’s Award in 2002 for his prosecution of 48 defendants who “rented” babies to smuggle liquid cocaine in baby-formula cans from Panama to Chicago and other cities.

Earlier in his career, Hoffman served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Federal Judge Dennis Jacobs. He also served as Press Secretary and legislative assistant for foreign policy to U.S. Senator David Boren (D-OK), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Hoffman, whose great-grandfather moved to Chicago in the 1890’s, is a native of Chicago’s North Shore and graduated from New Trier High School in 1984. He received a B.A. in History in 1988 from Yale University, where he captained the rugby team. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1995, where he was Articles Editor of the Law Review and received the university’s President’s Award for Volunteer Service for founding Neighbors, a neighborhood-based community service program.

Hoffman lives in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, Monique, who hails from Downstate Alton. They have a two year-old son, Grayson, two dogs, and two cats.

Hoffman will be teaching a course in Public Corruption and the Law at the University of Chicago Law School next April.


Cool, he lives in Wicker Park and has two cats!

Seriously though, I wonder whether Mr. Hoffman’s first run at public office he might have put himself in a little over his head? I think its great that he’s “anti-corruption”, but as these races heat up, everyonewill portray themselves as anti-corruption in the wake of Rod Blagojevich. Unless Mr. Hoffman can be a self-funded candidate, like his primary opponent, Alexi Giannoulias (who has over $1.2 million in his campaign fund as of September 1st, without yet touching his family’s money), its going to be a tough battle– with or without help from his two cats.

Looking for information, I initially emailed Hoffman’s campaign website in late August and received an email back from him September 1st– the thank you for signing up email. September 10th, I received an email officially putting himself in the race. It provided a link to his website. Since then, nothing. Nada. Zero.

At this juncture, I’d like David Hoffman to be able to compete with Alexi Giannoulias. Although I’m trying to keep an open mind, I just don’t particularly care for the Boy Wonder and if the election were held today, I’d vote for Republican Mark Kirk over Giannoulias. To that end, I’d like to see a viable alternative to Giannoulias, but maybe Hoffman just isn’t that person.

I’d like to know what David Hoffman is about other than just an “anti-corruption outsider” My mail carrier is an anti-corruption outsider as well, that doesn’t make her fit for the Senate. What does he think about the Wall Street bailouts, where is he on health care reform? A woman’s right to choose? Gun laws? There are a host of international issues he’ll have to tackle as our senator. So, there should be a little more out there on him other than being the former Mayor Daley watchdog– in and of itself, that sounds like a lot of work. But we need more. There’s less than five months to the primaries, David, you must give us some information on what you’re about, before we open our pocketbooks to assist in your run for the United States Senate. Please, for our sake, get on it!

That said, please visit his website and make up your own mind:

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Comment from Dan O’Neil
Time September 18, 2009 at 8:10 am


Thanks for your post. My name is Dan O’Neil, and I work for David’s campaign. I have to say that it’s on me that no one has written you back, save for the email we sent when David formally announced.

Lara Sanders, our Director of Online Organizing, just joined the campaign. She is reaching out to you and every other person who has raised their hands, saying they’d like to help us turn the page on politics as usual in Illinois. It’s not a small amount of people. We really can do this. And that’s why it’s up to us who are close to the campaign to earn the trust of people like you. Sorry for messing up; we won’t do it again.

On the issues, I know that we’re working on getting more information up on the Web site about that, too. You call out the Wall Street bailouts and health care reform. David spoke about both of these topics pretty extensively with Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight this week:

Don and Roma on WLS also asked about Wall Street when they interviewed David this week:

Thanks again for your post– we’re on it.

–Dan O’Neil

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