As maybe the largest-ever gathering of Tea Partiers commences in Illinois this week, congratulations are due to Mr. Steve Stevlic, the activist without whom TeaCon 2011 would be impossible. Stevlic is the head of the Chicago Tea Party, one of the con's primary sponsors. In the words of radio host and National Review columnist Mark Levin, Stevlic's "terrific." According to CBS, he's the "Democrats' nightmare."

But if you're heading to the festivities this weekend and see Stevlic in person, there's one thing you probably shouldn't bring up with the activist and family values man: his arrest for soliciting a prostitute last summer.

Stevlic describes himself as an ordinary guy; a good, decent family man with a wife, two kids, and no pretensions. His humility and ideological fervor have earned him friendly profiles at CTV and the Guardian, and quotes on Fox News and The Hill. At TeaCon, he'll spend the next two days shaking hands, buddying up with Herman Cain, Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart and the other assorted big guns flying in for the revelry, and making nice with the hundreds of Tea Partiers who've spent hundreds of dollars to come and be trained in grassroots Tea-Party-foo. It'll be awesome.

Since this is gonna be such a high-profile occasion, perhaps this would be a good time for Stevlic to take the opportunity to apologize for his rank hypocrisy last September, when he took to his Twitter feed to mock and condemn Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., for his two-year-old extra-marital affair. Perhaps because of Twitter's character limit, Stevlic neglected to mention that, two months earlier, he'd been arrested for soliciting a prostitute. See that pic up there? That's his mugshot. It was featured for a few weeks on the Chicago PD website and then removed. Nobody reported on the arrest, and when Stevlic took to his Twitter feed to mock Jackson, Jr., he must've thought nobody noticed.

Surprise, Stev-O!

Last September, as a result of the Blagojevich kerfluffle, the world learned that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., had conducted an affair with a D.C. restaurant worker in 2008. The world also learned that Jackson, Jr., had long ago confessed his misdeeds to his wife, and that the pair had entered therapy and moved on. How nice! How Christian! In response, Stevlic Tweeted:

Jesse Jr. secured Tiger Woods' endorsement today


Jesse Jr. should use the, 'hey, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree' defense

...and this takeoff on the Shaft theme song, retweeted from a friend:

Who's the congressman who's a sex machine to all the chicks in D.C. restaurants? JESSE!

Stevlic tweeted those tweets on September 22nd and 23rd. He'd been arrested less than two months earlier, on June 25th, for soliciting a prostitute at 1600 South Killborn Avenue. Whether he did the decent thing, like Jesse, and apologized to his wife and sought therapy is anybody's guess.

When confronted about his behavior yesterday morning, Stevlic told us to direct subsequent questions to his lawyer. He did insist that he'd never tweeted anything about Jackson being a sex machine, which is ridiculous, because, well, see for yourself on the right. (Click the image to expand.)

Oh, well. Stevlic also told us that he'd been convicted of nothing, which is true. According to the Chicago DA, all charges against Stevlic were dropped when Stevlic agreed to participate in a rehab program for johns called "Unhooked," which he did. Stevlic also told us, guilt or innocence aside, that he feels compassion for Jackson, and we're sure he was telling the truth about that one, too. We bet he feels tons of compassion, especially now. It's no fun to have your dirty laundry aired in public. Anyway — Happy TeaCon!