Jesse Sullivan announced his candidacy for Illinois Governor earlier this year, turning the Republican Gubernatorial race, as well as Illinois politics, upside down.
Sullivan is a picture-perfect, father of four who says all the right things. He’s straight out of Hollywood central casting, always sticking to a perfectly manicured, seemingly poll-tested script.
But just who is Jesse Sullivan?
Sullivan is an ambitious venture capitalist from San Francisco, boasting Master’s Degrees from Oxford and Stanford.
He is a political newcomer, though he did work for a Democrat running for Congress during the 2008 campaign.
Sullivan’s wife, Monique, is a former Barack Obama Presidential campaign staffer.
Before attending Stanford and Oxford, Sullivan attended St. Louis University, where he founded a controversial, Anti-Israeli magazine called “One World.”
According to the university newspaper, who wrote about the debut of One World:
“A group of socially conscious Saint Louis University students will launch a new campus publication early next month. Dubbed One World, the magazine will focus on global issues and promote social justice.
Organizers hope that One World will inspire students to take action and to fight poverty and oppression throughout the world.
“[The magazine] is a call to action. It is centered on the notion that every person, regardless of national boundaries or cultural or religious differences, is linked together by our common humanity,’ said Jesse Sullivan, the founder of One World.”
The Washington Free Beacon revealed One World was funded by radical leftist organizations like The Center For American Progress, and One World’s purpose was to counter Conservative groups on campus.
The Free Beacon also noted Sullivan was the CEO of One World until 2011, headlined the magazine’s 10 year anniversary party in 2016, where he was the featured speaker, and has his name featured on the masthead as the publication’s “visionary.”
Since his departure as CEO, One World has defended riotors in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, as well as abortion rights in 2018.
Most troubling though, are the multiple pieces of Anti-Israeli propaganda published during his tenure as Editor and CEO, including an article he wrote personally.
The third issue of One World was published in spring of 2007, while Sullivan was a Senior at the school, and Editor-In-Chief of the magazine.
The issue included photographs of The West Bank in Israel that had been taken By Brendan Kottenstette, from “SLU Solidarity With Palestine.”
One caption says: “The Wall Has Completely Cut Some Off From Their School. For Others, The Many Hours At The 316 Checkpoints In The West Bank Has Become An Obstacle That They Cannot Overcome. Some Even Lose Entire Semesters Because Of Absences Due To Checkpoint Closures.”
Another caption says Israelis view all Palestinians as terrorists: “On Their Side Of This Wall, As Their Entire Lives Are Controlled By Martial Law, All The Palestinians See Of Israel Are The Soldiers, Tanks And Guns… All The Israelis See Are Terrorists.”
The magazine viciously attacked Israel yet again In Spring 2009, when One World published an article titled “Obstructing Freedom In The Occupied Territories,” by Saint Louis University student Sharifa Barakat.
Barakat attacked Israel’s “occupation” of Palestine, and called for boycott and divestment campaigns targeting Israel.
Barakat wrote that her Aunt was born in 1967, the same year “Israel militarily occupied the West Bank and Gaza,” which was “Illegal according to international law.”
Barakat wrote that the “biggest obstacle to peace” in the region was “the physical and military occupation of Palestine by Israel.”
Barakat complained that Israelis had illegally confiscated Palestinian land for settlements In The West Bank.
Barakat alleged that security checkpoints In The West Bank “control and oppress the Palestinian people.”
“Wherever you turn in the West Bank, you’re bound to find a checkpoint. Under the guise of safety, hundreds of checkpoints are strewn throughout the West Bank. Rather than ensuring the security of Israel, restrictions on movement have instead contributed to humiliation and abuse of civilians by soldiers, unemployment and poverty, and a deteriorating economy. People who need to go to school, work, and even hospitals have to endure long lines at checkpoints and hope that they will be allowed through,” she wrote.
Barakat attacked Israel’s security wall in the West Bank as allowing “llegal annexation of more Palestinian land.”
“Checkpoints and obstructions already restrict movement, and the wall being built along the West Bank border only takes away more freedom of movement,” she wrote. “This Wall Violates International Law And Is Another Infringement On The Rights Of Palestinians. The UN Has Repeatedly Demanded That Israel Ceases Construction Of The Wall And Dismantles What Has Already Been Built, But Israel’s Government Has Ignored These Demands.”
Barakat opposed U.S. Aid To Israel because it “essentially funds the occupation and attacks against Palestinians.
“Why does all this matter? The US provides billions of dollars of military aid to Israel every year, which essentially funds the occupation and attacks against Palestinians,” she wrote.
Barakat also praised Hampshire College for divesting from corporations that do business with Israel, and called for others to follow suit and boycott Israel.
Sullivan himself was the in charge of the paper at that time, also published an article in the same edition.
Sullivan’s piece, “What Does It Mean To ‘Live OneWorld?” discusses goals And principles of the “Live OneWorld” Organization.
“To Live OneWorld then, means to break these barriers down- in our own hearts and in society. How should we go about fighting these ‘isms?’ The following are principles that The Live OneWorld Organization has adopted in its quest to create a better world,” Sullivan wrote. “Engagement: show what you stand for rather than what you stand against…Dialogue: Have the humility to realize that you don’t corner the market on truth…Action: Havethe courage to act on your potential; the move from beliefs to charity to justice.”
Sullivan also faces a number of unanswered questions about his time working in Palestine.
What group or groups was he working with – where was he working – and can he provide additional information on dates of work, activities, meetings and travel in the area during this time period? Anything whatsoever?
Shocking Anti-Israeli rhetoric and questionable Palestinian connections aren’t Sullivan’s only problems as he campaigns to win the gubernatorial nomination, his stolen valor scandal isn’t going away anytime soon.
Sullivan claimed during his announcement that he led combat patrols in Afghanistan.
However, Sullivan was a civilian contactor, never active duty, and not a veteran. He only assisted operations in a non combat role, which is applaudable, so why he lies isn’t really clear.
According to syndicated political columnist Rich Miller:
“Jesse Sullivan has peppered his campaign website and announcement with photos of himself in military uniform.
“I proudly served our nation in uniform doing counterinsurgency work in Helmand Afghanistan with the US Department of Defense,” Sullivan declared in his campaign announcement speech near Petersburg.
Sullivan was part of what was known as the Army’s Human Terrain System, which recruited civilians with social science backgrounds to help military commanders understand the local populations.
A 2012 profile of Sullivan in the State Journal-Register mentioned that his team, “left the British military unit stationed in the area with recommendations for strengthening the local police force and reopening a school.”
When (Miller) questioned Sullivan’s campaign about this seeming rhetorical contradiction, they acknowledged that he was an Army civilian without veteran status who nevertheless “led and participated in combat patrols in Afghanistan.”
The Army’s unclassified handbook on the Human Terrain Team says its leaders were active duty or retired military officers. So…how could Sullivan have “led” combat patrols?
Sullivan’s campaign responded with a 300-word background statement which claimed Sullivan’s Army team leader never left the base…To (Miller), the long-winded explanation looked more like Sullivan had led a small group of advisers alongside soldiers in combat areas than actually leading what most would consider “combat patrols.” That still took courage, so why embellish it?
(Miller) sent Paul Schimpf everything… from the Sullivan campaign along with (his) own self-directed research.
Schimpf was initially reluctant to say anything about Sullivan, but eventually issued this response:
“Although Jesse Sullivan, who is not a veteran and has never been on active duty, should be commended for having worked in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor, his claim to have led combat patrols flies in the face of Department of Defense regulations and established practices.
While civilian contractors may be armed and act in defensive roles such as providing security, the use of contractors in contingency operations is specifically limited in DoD Instruction 3020.41 to support operations ‘in a non-combat role.’
If Mr. Sullivan wants to claim unprecedented combat leadership experience as a civilian contractor, he should identify the officer that he directly reported to while in theater in order to verify this extraordinary assertion.
Otherwise, he should correct the misleading language on his website, Schimpf concluded.”
Will Sullivan identify the officer, and stop this stolen valor scandal from impacting the race?
Sullivan’s announcement has been plagued by other controversies too, like $3,200 in unpaid tax bills in California, and his nonprofit being designated as “delinquent” in the state since early 2020.
Sullivan will have to answer for these scandals and controversies regardless of how much money he raises, no campaign fundraising statement will make these issues disappear.
And Sullivan’s pockets are deep: $5 million from prominent Nancy Pelosi donor Chris Larsen, a San Francisco billionaire who just gave Pelosi $250,000, and another $6 million to Sullivan from just 3 other California donors.
In the end, Sullivan’s fetish for globalism may be the issue he just can’t spend enough money to get past.
Writing for his local rotary club after a trip to England in 2008, Sullivan made outrageous comments reminiscent of Barack Obama’s famous attack that same year on rural, midwest Christian voters who “cling to guns and religion,” degrading the very people Sullivan is now depending on to vote for him, essentially calling them stupid:
“Studying in England has revealed to me that Americans (for the most part) do not have a global outlook and are quite insulated in their exposure to issues facing other parts of the world,” Sullivan wrote. “This is a view held by many Europeans, and it was openly expressed to me during my Rotary club visits. I made it a mission of mine during my club visits to show that some Americans from the heartland can have an intelligent, open, and global outlook on the world.”