CHICAGO

Alexi Giannoulias' Broadway Bank Problem: New Website, Newspaper Meetings Seek To Clear The Air

05/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

US Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias is hoping to clear the air about his role at his family's Broadway Bank, as he faces increased criticism from opponent Mark Kirk.

On Wednesday, Giannoulias announced the launch of a new website, truthaboutalexi.com, to try and combat what he describes as "smears" surrounding his time as the senior loan officer at Broadway, as well as his oversight of the Bright Start College Savings Fund.

He also began a tour of meetings with the media to discuss the Broadway Bank issue. In the first such meeting, with the Sun-Times editorial board, Giannoulias said it was "quite likely that the bank will not be around" by the time the November elections roll around. But he denied making any "reckless or risky loans," saying that the bank's troubles came because of the collapse of the housing market.

Giannoulias will meet with the Tribune's board later in the day. His campaign promised that "Alexi will be answering every question posed to him by the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune editorial boards today."

These new efforts come as his Republican opponent, Rep. Mark Kirk, has stepped up the heat on Giannoulias's involvement with the bank. On the day after Alexi and Kirk won their respective primaries, the National Republican Senatorial Campaign released an ad saying that his connections at the bank, which allegedly include affiliates of the mob, "would make Tony Soprano proud." Just Tuesday, the Kirk campaign released a memo entitled, "Mounting questions surrounding Alexi Giannoulias' risky lending practices take center stage in Illinois Senate race."

But while he defends himself, Giannoulias continues to deliver his own campaign message, painting Mark Kirk as an out-of-touch Washington insider. Meanwhile, he reminded supporters in a recent memo, public polling gives him a consistent edge in the race.

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