Monday, February 28, 2005

Legislation Update

News on legislative fronts.

Voters Guides: SB187, sponsored by Sens. Ira Silverstein and Dave Sullivan, advanced to the Senate Floor from the Local Government Committee. The measure would require the State Board of Elections to post an on-line voters guide on its website, including information about candidates and offices on the ballot, and also balloting procedures.

Supreme Court Campaign Reform: Sens. Kwame Raoul and Kirk Dillard have filed SB 1955, to reform the way supreme court races are financed. This bill is identical to legislation that passed the Senate in 2003, and to HB 671 (Delgado), filed earlier this year. The bill would create a clean money/public financing option for high court candidates to let them opt out of the donor-litigant trap that judicial elections often create.

Campaign Contributions: Sen. Rick Winkle has filed a couple of contribution bills. SB 1641 addresses political giving by state contractors, much like the previously-filed SB 39 (Sen. Miguel Delvalle), which was endorsed by four of the six statewide officers. Sen. Winkle also filed SB 1939, to ban giving by casino and horsetrack interests.

And that’s all in the Senate. Their filing deadline was last Friday. Today is the filing deadline in the House; we’ll watch to see what crops up there.

Friday, February 25, 2005

ICPR Applauds Contractor Contribution Restrictions

ICPR applauds the efforts of a coalition of statewide and legislative officials to stamp out abuses inherent in political giving by state contractors. At a press conference today, organized by Comptroller Dan Hynes and also attended or supported by AG Lisa Madigan, Secretary of State Jesse White, and Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (as these officials post statements to their websites, I'll update with links), ICPR issued the following statement:

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) applauds Comptroller Hynes and the legislative sponsors of SB 39, Senator DelValle and Representative Fritchey, for taking steps to strengthen public trust in state government by establishing prohibitions on campaign contributions from state contractors. The public deserves to know that its money is being spent wisely and that state contracts are being awarded based on merit rather than political connections. Unfortunately, our state's unregulated campaign finance system too often gives the appearance that "pay to play" is the reality in Illinois. We hope that the Executive Order signed today by the Comptroller will encourage all elected officials to do more to limit the influence of campaign contributions from special interests. ICPR encourages the General Assembly to adopt SB 39 and expand the important provisions in the Comptroller's Executive Order to all state Constitutional Officers.

Absent from the event was a representative from Senate President Emil Jones' office, who could have explained why SB 39 is still bottled up in Rules. As the Senate President posts a statement to his website, I'll update that link, too.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Giles Files

Citizens for Calvin L Giles has filed the disclosure report for the last half of 2004. He shows $34,350 in receipts, no in-kinds, and $18,528 in expenditures. As of the end of the year, he shows $2,175 in debts, and $53,548 cash on hand. The Committee also filed a pre-election report for the upcoming municipal elections noting receipts of $1,235 and no expenditures. There are a few minor inconsistencies, but nothing that other committees haven't gotten wrong; it's all stuff that may be cleared up with amendments.

Which brings to mind this story:

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New Legislation

The deadline for filing legislation isn’t until the end of the month (the 25th in the Senate, 28th in the House) but already there are a number of interesting political reform proposals in the hopper. Sen. Miguel delValle (D-Chicago) filed SB 39, which would bar campaign contributions from state contractors and prohibit public officials and their families from profiting from any bonding measure. Rep. Elizabeth Coulson (R-Glenview) filed HB 743, which would limit campaign contributions, including transfers from leadership PACs. Rep. Delgado (D-Chicago) is sponsoring HB 671, which would clean up campaign finance in Supreme Court elections (did you see last year’s Fifth District race?). And voters’ guides are popular in both chambers: Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) has HB 113, and Senators Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and Dave Sullivan (R-Mt. Prospect) have filed SB 187. Plus, there are a slew of shell bills that are worth tracking, if not cheering on. The session is starting and, at this time of year, hope springs eternal.

Waiting for Giles

There are 177 sitting members of the 94th General Assembly. 175 of them have filed campaign disclosure reports for last year’s campaign season in a timely manner. One, new State Rep. Michelle Chavez (D-Cicero) doesn’t have a campaign committee. Apparently she won election against an incumbent without raising or spending over $3,000 (which is quite a feat in Illinois, but is theoretically possible). The other: State Rep. Calvin Giles, who currently owes $143K in fines for late filing of disclosure reports in the past. Voters have a right to know who is funding political campaigns, and every other member of the General Assembly with a committee, every incumbent who lost, and challengers who have never held office and lost have all filed, but Rep. Giles is now over one week late with his semi-annual disclosure reports. [Nor has he filed non-participation for the upcoming municipal election period, meaning that if he raises any money now, he could find himself on the hook for the total amount of what he raised for failing to file a timely A-1 report.]

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

D2: The Day After

If you’re looking for the meat of the D2 summaries, scroll down to D2: Deadline Day, and then scroll up a bit to D2: Deadline Day, the sequel. This is more of an odds and ends summary.

As of 12:30 am, Pat Welch still hadn’t filed Based on what Welch had reported raising as of Election Day, that race could be around $1.8 million, maybe a bit higher. But of the Senate candidates who have filed, here’s a preliminary Top Five:

Setting a new record for spending in a Senate race: Forby /Summers in the 59th. They combined for $2,3236,537. A not so close second, and behind the old record for Senate races: Althoff/Ouimet at $1,871,704. Third is Sullivan/Ernst at $1,706,146. Fourth is Garrett/Bryant at $528,819 (notice the steep fall-off. Garrett/Parker set the old record just two years ago, at more than three times that amount.) And Welch/Dahl is probably in there somewhere.

Also as of 12:30, Citizens for Calvin Giles hadn’t filed. Maybe it’s on paper, and just isn’t on the Board’s website yet.

I’m struck by the party spending. Most of the expenditures of Friends of Michael J. Madigan were transfers to DPI; the Speaker’s personal PAC spent just $175K that didn’t go to the Party PAC. But the Party spent a ton: $7,054,603 in the last six months of 2004. If Democratic candidates looked well-fed, it’s because they were. Citizens for Tom Cross and the House Republican Organization combined for $2,761,262, net of internal transfers. The Senate Dems (counting Citizens for Emil Jones and the Il Senate Democratic Fund) spent $3,929,621, and the Senate Republicans (Citizens for Frank Watson and the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee) spent $2,970,186.

The Illinois Republican Party spent $3,123,160. Most of that was pass-through money from the U.S. Chamber to the Karmeier campaign. Both parties played that game, but only the Republicans will really have to pay for it; look for the Illinois Republican Party to change its name to “Illinois Republican Party/U.S. Chamber” in the coming days. Unless there's a loophole in the sponsoring entity rule I don't know about...