The troubles surrounding Alexi Giannoulias' family bank have put a dark cloud over his campaign in recent weeks, but during a Monday press conference, he shifted the discussion toward Mark Kirk, accusing the Republican Senate candidate of being "obsessed" with Broadway Bank and having nothing of substance to say about policy.
During a luncheon speech to about 300 people at the City Club of Chicago, Giannoulias accused Kirk of protecting corporate interests and campaigning on Broadway Bank woes alone:
"[Kirk] protected the taxpayer-funded bonuses of Wall St. CEOs," Giannoulias said, according to a transcript from the event. "And he refused to enact serious financial reform in D.C. That's why he won't talk about policy. That's why he won't talk about the issues. That's why he's obsessed with talking instead about Broadway Bank and sensationalized stories about former clients and campaign contributors."
The Giannoulias camp has continued to stress that the recession and housing collapse--not criminal activity--is to blame for Broadway Bank's problems, but Kirk has continued using the bank's imminent failure for political gain.
According to the Associated Press, Giannoulias said he "takes responsibility for the less than 9 percent of nonperforming assets that were put on the books when he worked at Broadway Bank before becoming Illinois state treasurer four years ago."
"Congressman Kirk has failed the people of Illinois," Giannoulias said. "He's campaigned on one thing only -- Broadway Bank. Just about every sentence Kirk utters is a noun and a verb and Broadway Bank."
Giannoulias also mentioned Kirk's ties to corporate special interests, his anti-Obama stance on issues and his record of cheering for "every single one of George W. Bush's irresponsible, failed budgets that doubled our national debt."
The Monday speech followed a rough few weeks for Giannoulias, with a recent poll showing Kirk with a slight lead. Just over a week ago, the Chicago Tribune's front page story claimed that during his tenure as senior loan officer at Broadway Bank, it made $20 million in loans to Michael Giorango and Demitri Stavropoulos, even as the two were preparing to serve federal prison sentences.
"When I decided to run I knew it wouldn't be easy, but putting your family in the line of fire is another thing," Giannoulias said Monday, according to NBC Chicago. "I am running for the U.S. Senate because I wake up every single morning worrying about Illinois' future."
Watch part of Giannoulias' talk here: