Monday, December 04, 2006


Local TV news viewers are the big losers in 2006 elections

Local tv newscasts devoted little time to candidates in the recent election, and we have the research that proves it.

In the 30 days leading up to the November election, the typical evening newscast on WLS-TV in Chicago included just over three minutes of election coverage, and most of that was devoted to stories about candidate strategy and polls.

Even though those numbers look low, the three other network stations in Chicago had even worse numbers.

WBBM-TV was at the bottom. The typical evening newscast on WBBM-TV had just two minutes and nine seconds of election coverage, and the average sound bite clocked in at eight seconds.

But WCIA-TV in the Springfield-Decatur-Champaign market had the dubious distinction of the least amount of election coverage in comparison to the other 35 tv stations studied in five Midwestern states.

WCIA's time spent on election coverage averaged just 78 seconds in the typical evening news broadcast. Stories about policy took a back seat to news reports on the "horse race" aspects of strategy and polling, which accounted for 73 percent of WCIA's election coverage.

Of the four stations studied in that market, WRSP-TV had the greatest amount of time attributed to election coverage. The typical WRSP newscast had 2 minutes and 36 seconds of election coverage.

ICPR Director Cindi Canary is featured now on the Illinois Channel discussing these findings and their implications for elections and government -- see her interview by going here and scrolling down.

Monday, November 20, 2006

With a Capital C

Robert Sorich, the number two guy in Mayor Richard Daley's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, was sentenced today to 46 months in jail. His conviction last Spring made the point that tying public jobs to political performance is illegal all by itself; there is no need for the feds to show that anybody took a bribe or other personal payment to encourage trading public quid for private quo. And now his sentencing shows that judges take this kind of crime seriously, too. Judge David H. Cour noted that "The offense is corruption - corruption with a capital C," adding that "for people to owe their jobs to political advancement rather than performance on the job stinks."

The verdict should also be a warning to anyone else considering or currently tying public benefits to political actions. What's striking about the Hired Truck scandals that have, so far, culminated in this sentencing is that the underlying criminal acts took place at the same time that Operation Safe Road was convicting people of nearly identical acts at the Secretary of State's office. Some of the allegations in Hired Truck indictments even took place after other City employees had been indicted. Some day soon, we hope, insiders everywhere, at the state and local levels, will get the message that it's just not worth it, that no one is immune, and the feds are looking for this stuff. And, so far, the feds' record is better than the Bears'.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

2006 Judicial Contests: Same Interests, Different Result, Same Outcome?

Fundraising in the Fifth District Appellate Court race, as in the last Fifth District Supreme Court race, was dominated by tort interests. In both races, the Republican drew most of his resources from national tort reform organizations, often funneled through the state Party, while the Democrat drew most of his resources from personal injury plaintiff's lawyers, sometimes funneled through the state Party. Unlike in 2004, this time it appears that the Democrat won. But once again, voters in the area were subjected to an aerial barrage of negative attack ads that ultimately undermine the stature of the judiciary. And tort cases make up only a small part of the Court's docket.

Illinois' campaign finance laws require disclosure only; there are no limits on how much interests can give. In reaction to the 2004 Supreme Court race, the legislature changed the laws about giving by non-profits. But this race makes plain that donors can continue to mask their identity. The American Justice Partnership gave $305K directly to one candidate without disclosing where they raised that money. Unless the AJP discloses its donors, these contributions may be in violation of Illinois law. But giving by the Institute for Legal Reform and plaintiff's lawyers to the state parties, most of which quickly made its way to the candidates, apparently broke no state rules, even though it effectively shielded the original source of the money. Illinois law does not provide adequate oversight of conduits to make disclosure work in a timely manner.

Other judicial contests fit the pattern, though we're still crunching the numbers. Below are preliminary tallies for the Fifth District Appellate Court race; final counts won't be available until early next year. Late contributions, some of which may include pass through money, might not be reported until early next year. Several pass through donors, including the state parties and JUSTPAC, were involved in more than one judicial race.

Top Contributors to McGlynn from posted Pre-Election Reports and A-1’s
$10,000 or More 7/1/2006 – Midnight 11/7/2006

Total Reported Fundraising by McGlynn: $2,239,808

Top Donors to McGlynn

Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $1,204,000 Illinois Republican Party
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $305,000 American Justice Partnership
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $201,000 JUSTPAC
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $120,000 American Tort Reform Association
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $40,000 Illinois Chamber of Commerce PAC
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $15,805 Illinois State Medical Society PAC

Money Available for pass through to McGlynn (these donors were also active in other judicial races)

IL State Rep Party $1,875,000 Institute for Legal Reform

JUSTPAC $140,000 American Tort Reform Association
JUSTPAC $100,000 American Justice Partnership
JUSTPAC $60,000 Illinois Chamber Political Action Committee
JUSTPAC $25,000 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
JUSTPAC $25,000 Caterpillar Inc
JUSTPAC $20,000 Pfizer Pac
JUSTPAC $17,000 Reagan Club of Illinois
JUSTPAC $11,000 Cassens Transport
JUSTPAC $10,000 Peoples Energy PAC
JUSTPAC $10,000 Allstate Insurance Company

Top Contributors to Stewart from posted Pre-Election Reports and A-1’s
$10,000 or more 7/1/2006 – Midnight 11/7/2006

Total Reported Fundraising by Stewart: $1,047,221

Top Donors to Stewart

Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $314,366 Democratic Party of Illinois
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $58,290 Southern & Central Illinois Laborers
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $32,000 M & R Testing Company/Ronald Osman
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $16,050 Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Power Rogers & Smith PC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Corboy & Demetrio PC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Cooney and Conway
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Clifford Law Offices PC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $12,500 Market Street Bancshares Inc.
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $12,075 12th CD DemState Central Com Fund
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,916 Womick Law Firm Chartered
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,660 Keefe, Jr., Thomas Q
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 IL State AFL CIO COPE
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Callis, Lance
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Anesi Ozmon Rodin Novak & Kohen Ltd
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 AFSCME Illinois Council 31
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Foote Meyers Mielke & Flowers LLC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Simmons-Cooper

Money Available for pass through to Stewart (these donors were also active in other judicial races)

Democratic Party of IL $50,000 Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. PC
Democratic Party of IL $50,000 Diab & Bock
Democratic Party of IL $50,000 Simmons Cooper LLC
Democratic Party of IL $25,000 Korein Tillery LLC
Democratic Party of IL $15,000 Freed & Weiss LLC
Democratic Party of IL $15,000 ILTrial Lawyers Association PAC

It's time to stop collecting campaign cash. Time to lead by example.

A coalition of eight reform organizations challenged Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday to work as hard at passing sweeping campaign reforms as he did at winning reelection.

The coalition called on Blagojevich to dissolve his campaign committee as quickly as possible and to impose a moratorium on his own campaign fundraising until the General Assembly passes the campaign finance reform legislation proposed by Blagojevich 18 months ago.

"The election is over and Gov. Blagojevich should turn his attention immediately to bringing fairness to the state's election system and honesty to government," said Cynthia Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR). "Creating ethics commissions and inspectors generals was an important reform in his first term, but Gov. Blagojevich's pledge to 'rock the system' with campaign finance reform proved to be nothing but empty rhetoric."

In addition to ICPR, the coalition includes the Better Government Association, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, Protestants for the Common Good, Illinois Common Cause, Citizen Advocacy Center, Illinois PIRG and the Sunshine Project.

"During his first campaign, Gov. Blagojevich ran on a reform agenda," said Terry Pastika, Director of the Citizen Advocacy Center. "During his second campaign, Gov. Blagojevich defiantly stated his 'campaign practices are by the book.' Unfortunately, playing by the book offers no reassurance to voters when the system is broken. By dissolving his campaign committee and imposing a political fundraising moratorium on himself, until he passes his proposed campaign finance reforms, Gov. Blagojevich can lead by example."

"It is time for him to put the Blagojevich fundraising machine in storage and to put the full force of his persuasive powers behind convincing legislators to enact the campaign financing reforms he says he favors," said Rev. Jennifer Kottler, Deputy Director of Protestants for the Common Good. "If trust in our system is to be restored, and it must, the Governor must lead by example. Our elected officials must be seen as moral public servants; the perception cannot be that they are bought and paid for by special interests."

"For more than a year, the governor has told voters he backs legislation that would end 'pay to play' in state government by banning all campaign contributions by corporations and labor unions and setting limits on how much individuals can contribute to campaigns," said Jay Stewart, Executive Director of the Better Government Association. "The Governor's proposal mirrored much of what the reform community has advocated for years. Unfortunately, he didn't do anything to try to pass it in the General Assembly."

"At the time, the Governor was sitting on a $10 million campaign treasury, and legislators viewed his plan as disingenuous and a buffer against scandals that have become the focus of federal investigations," said Kent Redfield, Director of the Sunshine Project. "But by dissolving his campaign committee and imposing a moratorium on his own fundraising, the playing field will be leveled, and there can be a legitimate opportunity to change the rules of campaigning in Illinois."

"If he should decide to run for a third term in the 2010 election, he and all the candidates should do so under a new system," said Paula Lawson, President of the League of Women Voters of Illinois. "If Illinois enacts these sweeping reforms, he could end the moratorium and begin raising funds under the new rules, like all other candidates."

Here are some of the key elements of the Governor's 2005 proposal (SB1822):

Prohibit campaign contributions by corporations and labor unions, a ban already in place at the federal level and in most states.
Limit contributions by individuals to $2,000 per candidate in each election and $5,000 to political action committees and political parties.
Place a ceiling of $40,000 on the aggregate of contributions by an individual in any election cycle.
Limit contributions by political action committees to $5,000 per candidate in each election.
Increase the detail of personal financial information to be made public by state officials.
Increase public information about lobbyists' contracts and activities.
Require a one-year wait before retiring legislators and former state employees could become lobbyists.
Increase enforcement powers of the State Board of Elections, require audits of campaign finance reports filed by candidates and PACs, and require quarterly disclosure of campaign contributions by candidates.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today's the day - UPDATED

All of the ads, all of the fundraising, all of the campaign speeches and policy papers and soundbites and debates all come down to one thing: Election Day. If you haven't voted already, and media reports suggest that thousands of Illinoisans have voted early this time, the polls are open now until 7 pm this evening. The State Board of Elections' website can help you get in touch with your local election authority, who can help you find your polling place.

NOTE: Sporadic problems in polling places in Cook and Kane counties have resulted in at least two court orders that polling places be held open beyond the statutory 7 pm closing time. It is highly unusual for polling places to remain open beyond 7 pm, and most polling places will likely close at the regular time. However, if you think you might be late to the polls, contact your local election authority, to see if your polling place is among those that will stay open late.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fundraising Update 11/6

Recent campaign finance reports show that, as of 4pm today, a 10th legislative contest has crossed the $1 million threshold. With the addition of the 101st District contest between incumbent Bob Flider and challenger Dick Cain, five contests for House seats and five for Senate seats have candidates with combined fundraising in excess of $1,000,000. Previous elections have seen no more than 7 contests cost that much. The expensive races are:

52nd Senate (Myers/Frerichs/Parnarauskis): $1.9M
49th Senate (Richey/Demuzio): $1.6M
34th Senate (Syverson/Lewandowski): $1.2M
42nd Senate (Wintermute/Holmes): $1.1M
22nd Senate (Roth/Noland): $1.1M

107th House (Granberg/Cavaletto): $1.7M
92nd House (Spears/Schock): $1.4M
91st House (Smith/Dagit): $1.4M
71st House (Boland/Haring): $1.3M
101st House (Flider/Cain): $1.1M

The 5th District Appellate Court race continues to grow. Appointed incumbent Steve McGlynn holds a 2:1 fundraising advantage, but Circuit Court judge Bruce Stewart reported $50K over the weekend. Combined, the race stands at $3.3M since the candidates declared. So far, the Illinois Republican Party has given McGlynn $1.2M, while spending just $300K on Judy Baar Topinka, their nominee for governor. The McGlynn spending came in two donations, each made within days of receiving comparable infusions from a U.S. Chamber organization, the Institute for Legal Reform.

Other observations:

* Most legislative leaders seem to have put a little money behind each of their candidates. House Republican Leader Tom Cross is the exception: he put two really big bets on challengers ($200K to Steve Haring and $138K to John Cavaletto) rather than give middling amounts to all of the candidates he's been supporting. We'll see tomorrow how that worked for him.

* Rep. Mike McAuliffe reported $719.49 from the House Republican Campaign Committee for "payroll." Former House Republican Leader Lee Daniels shuttered the old HRCC last January; HRCC showed no expenditure that would account for this listing. It's probably HRO giving to McAuliffe, who just got nostalgic about the name.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Updated Numbers 11/3

Couple of new reports since yesterday and seeing as it's the final weekend, we thought we'd run a quick list of races. If totals are unchanged from yesterday, we wont' list them here; this is for new totals only. We're also listing some races we didn't list yesterday; there are a bunch of legislative races that aren't in the top five but are still getting a fair amount of media interest. For the first time, we're also posting numbers for the Cook County Board President's race.

Here're the updates, as of 2:30pm today. We'll mark candidates with new totals with an *asterix*.

Contested Appellate Court Races
(Fundraising totals from formation of the PAC through November 3 2:30pm)
3rd District Central IL = $484,000
Michael Powers* (R) $304,000
Vicki Wright (D) $180,000
5th District/ Southern IL = $3,199,000
Stephen McGlynn (R) $2,215,000
Bruce Stewart* (D) $984,000

In legislative races, the biggest gainers since yesterday are Michael Bond at $58K, Aaron Schock at $44K, and Kurt Granberg at $41K. Most of the big money at this point in the race comes in transfers from the legislative leaders.

Senate Races
(Cash on hand June 30 plus fundraising totals from July 1 through November 3 2:30pm)
22nd Senate - NW Suburbs = $1,061,000
Billie Roth (R) $475,000
Michael Noland (D) $577,000
31st Senate - N Suburbs = $788,000
Suzanne Simpson * (R) $412,000
Michael Bond * (D) $376,000
33rd Senate - NW Suburbs = $883,000
Cheryl Axley (R) $367,000
Dan Kotowski (D) $516,000
34th Senate - Rockford = $1,191,000
Dave Syverson * (R) $698,000
Dan Lewandowski * (D) $494,000
46th Senate - Central IL = $703,000
Ernie Russel * (R) $477,000
David Koehler (D) $225,000
49th Senate - Central IL = $1,646,000
Jeff Richey (R) $274,000
Deanna Demuzio * (D) $1,372,000
52nd Senate - Champaign/ Urbana = $1,893,000
Judith Myers * (R) $856,000
Michael Frerichs (D) $1,035,000
Joseph Parnarauskis (S) $1,000

House Races
(Cash on hand June 30 plus fundraising totals from July 1 through November 3 2:30pm)
44th House - W. Suburbs = $491,000
Terry Parke * (R) $386,000
Fred Crespo (D) $105,000
71st House - Quad Cities = $1,146,000
Steven Haring * (R) $387,000
Mike Boland * (D) $758,000
75th House - Eastern IL = $595,000
Jason Briscoe (R) $223,000
Careen Gordon (D) $372,000
92nd House - Peoria = $1,403,000
Aaron Schock * (R) $928,000
Bill Spears * (D) $475,000
101st House - Decatur = $966,000
Dick Cain * (R) $360,000
Robert Flider (D) $606,000
107th House - Centralia = $1,666,000
John Cavaletto * (R) $578,000
Kurt Granberg * (D) $1,087,000

Topinka reported $200K in transfers from the Party, while Blago reported $25K from the "Michael Bloomberg Org" of New York City. Rich Whitney isn't showing new income, but his running mate, Julie Samuels, activated her political committee yesterday.

Gubernatorial Candidates
(Cash on hand June 30 plus fundraising totals from July 1 through November 3, 2:30pm)
Governor = $22,569,000
Rod Blagojevich (D) $16,621,000
Judy Baar Topinka (R) $5,919,000
Rich Whitney (G) $29,000

Even on top of his apparently unsecured $500K loan, Todd Stroger continues to pull in large contributions, including $50K from DPI.

Cook County Board President
(Cash on hand June 30 plus fundraising totals from July 1 through November 3, 2:30pm)
Both Candidates = $2,829,000
Todd Stroger (D) $1,713,000
Tony Peraica (R) $1,116,000

Blago on the Tube

Think you've seen a lot of TV ads lately for Gov. Blagojevich? You're not alone. Nielsen Media Research yesterday released a national survey that found that our governor has run more ads than most candidates for governor this year. He's #3 on the list, with 11,388 spots aired between August 1 and October 15, a time frame that ignores the 3,582 spots he ran last April, May, and June in Chicago, and any downstate Springtime ads that may have run. By contrast, Republican Topinka has run just 4,096 spots, according to Nielson, and none last Spring, according to our research.

As ICPR reported earlier, TV news stations have largely abdicated coverage of campaigns and elections, devoting less time to candidates than to intros and teasers in a typical half hour broadcast. TV ads fill that void, and Blagojevich has used his enormous campaign warchest to define the terms of the campaign with these spots.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Downstate Judicial Races Leave Records in the Dust

Note - We put this release out earlier this morning, which is to say the numbers are a tad stale by now. Many of these candidates have since filed A1s, including Democratic Appellate Court candidate Bruce Stewart for $125K, Republican House candidate John Cavaletto for $20K, and Sen. Judy Myers and House candidate Dick Cain for $14K each. So it goes with moving targets! Check back to for regular updates.

Downstate Judicial Races Leave Records in the Dust
9 Legislative Contests Pass $1M Mark

With one weekend left in Campaign 2006, fundraising in judicial and legislative races is off the charts. Spending by two candidates battling to fill a vacancy on the 5th District Appellate Court in southern Illinois has obliterated the $567,000 record for General Election spending in an appellate court race in Illinois, and quite possibly the national record for appellate contests. The fight over one Circuit Court seat in the Metro East area also seems headed for record-breaking spending.

In addition, five Senate races and four House races have crossed the $1 million mark, and at least three others are poised to break that threshold. Large contributions from labor unions, especially teachers, and tort reform organizations are driving the totals. Previous election cycles have seen no more than 7 legislative races break the $1 million mark.

Among judicial races, two stand out for their fundraising: the 5th District Appellate race in southern Illinois and the race for the Kardis vacancy in Third Circuit, also in southern Illinois. Both look to be replays of the 2004 5th District Supreme Court race: a proxy war between tort reform advocates and trial lawyers. The race in this Appellate Court district, which stretches from the Metro East area to the Indiana border, already appears to have broken the record for spending in a state Appellate Court contest. Most of the money in the race is going for TV attack ads. Surveys taken right after the 2004 Supreme Court race in the same area found that judicial elections conducted this way do severe damage to popular confidence in the judiciary. (See ICPR’s website for the surveys)

Contested Appellate Court Races
(Fundraising totals from formation of the PAC through November 2 9am)
3rd District Central IL = $476,000
Michael Powers (R) $296,000
Vicki Wright (D) $180,000
5th District/ Southern IL = $3,063,000
Stephen McGlynn (R) $2,215,000
Bruce Stewart (D) $847,000

The Circuit Court race in Madison and Bond counties between Don Weber and David Hylla has surged past half a million and will likely break a record for Circuit Court races in Illinois. Circuit Court races rarely draw this kind of interest from financial donors. With no guarantee that the winner will even be assigned to hear personal injury cases, both candidates for the Kardis vacancy are drawing heavily from personal injury interests, plaintiffs for the Democrat and defendants for the Republican. The race for the Moran vacancy in the same Circuit is far more typical of Circuit Court races.

Third Circuit Court Races (Madison and Bond Counties)
(Fundraising totals from formation of the PAC through November 2 9am)
Kardis Vac / Madison & Bond Co. = $629,000
Don W. Weber (R) $233,000
David A. Hylla (D) $395,000
Moran Vac / Madison & Bond Co. = $210,000
James Hackett (R) $61,000
Barbara Crowder (D) $149,000

Some of the legislative races in the targeted districts are expected to break state records. What all of these expensive legislative races have in common is gigantic transfers from the legislative leaders. Indeed, the four legislative leaders have raised a combined $17.6 million for the General Election, and to date have transferred $11.2 million to aid their candidates. While these numbers are floating targets, ICPR estimates that Senate President Emil Jones retains the highest balance going into the final weekend, with $2.2 million in cash available; followed by Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson at $1.6 million; House Republican Leader Tom Cross at $1.4 million, and House Speaker and Democratic Party Chair Michael Madigan at $1 million.

Top Legislative Races
(Cash on hand June 30 plus fundraising totals from July 1 through November 2 9am)
52nd Senate - Champaign/ Urbana = $1,879,000
Judith Myers (R) $843,000
Michael Frerichs (D) $1,035,000
Joseph Parnarauskis (S) $1,000
49th Senate - Central IL = $1,629,000
Jeff Richey (R) $274,000
Deanna Demuzio (D) $1,355,000
34th Senate - Rockford = $1,155,000
Dave Syverson (R) $682,000
Dan Lewandowski (D) $473,000
42nd Senate - Aurora/Plainfield = $1,111,000
Terri Wintermute (R) $501,000
Linda Holmes (D) $610,000
22nd Senate - NW Suburbs = $1,039,000

Billie Roth (R) $475,000
Michael Noland (D) $564,000
107th House - Centralia = $1,605,000
John Cavaletto (R) $558,000
Kurt Granberg (D) $1,047,000
92nd House - Peoria = $1,356,000
Aaron Schock (R) $884,000
Bill Spears (D) $471,000
91st House - Peoria = $1,329,000
Daryl Dagit (R) $482,000
Mike Smith (D) $847,000
71st House - Quad Cities = $1,101,000
Steven Haring (R) $368,000
Mike Boland (D) $773,000
101st House - Decatur = $952,000
Dick Cain (R) $347,000
Robert Flider (D) $606,000

In contrast to the hyper-expensive, targeted contests, most legislative races throughout the state are dominated by a single candidate who will far outspend any opponent they may have. Almost half of all House races are uncontested, meaning that voters have no choice when they arrive at the polling booth. Many of those that are contested are not seriously challenged, as Illinois’ legislative map, drawn by a partisan Commission, discourages competition. The vast majority of incumbent legislators will be returned to office with little or no opposition.

In statewide races, Democrats continue their financial dominance. Even as one poll shows the gubernatorial race to be a dead heat, Gov. Rod Blagojevich enjoys a three-to-one fundraising advantage. Most of the money raised by statewide candidates has come in very large increments from donors who gave more than $10,000. Contributions of this size are banned in most other states and for all federal candidates. Because Illinois law places no restrictions on giving, some candidates have become reliant on very large donors.

Statewide Candidates
(Cash on hand June 30 plus fundraising totals from July 1 through November 2 9am)
Governor = $22,315,000
Rod Blagojevich (D) $16,572,000
Judy Baar Topinka (R) $5,714,000
Rich Whitney (G) $29,000
Atty General = $3,029,000
Lisa Madigan (D) $2,935,000
Stewart Umholtz (R) $94,000
David Black (G) No committee
Secy of State = $3,335,000
Jesse White (D) $2,414,000
Dan Rutherford (R) $920,000
Karen “Young” Peterson (G) No committee
Comptroller = $1,445,000
Dan Hynes (D) $1,265,000
Carole Pankau (R) $179,000
Alicia Snyder (G) No committee
Treasurer = $3,678,000
Alexi Giannoulias (D) $2,808,000
Christine Radogno (R) $869,000
Dan Rodriguez Schlorff (G) No committee

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization conducting research and advocating reforms to promote public participation in government, address the role of money in politics and encourage integrity, accountability and transparency in government. The late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon founded ICPR in 1997.

The Sunshine Project is based at the University of Illinois at Springfield and is funded by the Joyce Foundation. Its goal is to increase public awareness and understanding of the role of money in Illinois politics.

# # #

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's Not Over Until...

If you’ve been watching the A1’s come in, you’ve seen a lot of money changing hands lately. Illinois’ disclosure system provides an almost-realtime viewing opportunity for campaign money. But each report is just one snapshot of one brief set of transactions. Want to keep track of the bigger picture? ICPR and the Sunshine Project have tabulated the biggest races and the biggest donors. They’re posted to our website. Check back for regular updates between now and Election Day.

And if you’re looking for a reason to be glad when it’s over, look no further. Two days after the Election, on Thursday, November 9th, ICPR welcomes former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who will talk about how Patrick Fitzgerald became U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois. If concerns about corruption are motiviating your vote one way or another, you owe it to yourself to come find out how we got the current crime fighter. But let us know soon; reservations are $75, and we need to hear from you by Friday the 3rd.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fundraising Update 10/26

As the 2006 election season heads into its final two weeks, campaign fundraising by legislative and judicial candidates appears to be hotter than ever. Statewide Democrats enjoy significant financial advantages over their opponents, while Republican donors seem to be focusing on a small handful of contests in the House, Senate, and Appellate Court where they see heightened chances for victory.

Most of the money raised by statewide candidates has come in very large increments from donors who gave more than $10,000. Contributions of this size are banned in most other states and for federal candidates. Because Illinois law places no restrictions on giving, candidates have become reliant on a tiny number of very large donors.

Legislative races are hotter than usual, and have heated up earlier than usual. Only three House races in 2004 saw combined spending of $1 million or more. So far this year, three House races report total fundraising in excess of $1 million, and several more are poised to break that barrier in the next two weeks.

Half of the four Appellate Court races are uncontested. The race in far southern Illinois looks to be a replay of the 2004 Supreme Court race: a proxy war between personal injury plaintiffs on the one side and personal injury defendants on the other. The Fifth District race, stretching from the Metro East area to the Indiana border, already appears to have broken the record for spending in a state Appellate Court contest.

A copy of this report is (or will be) available for download from the ICPR website.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Trickle Down Record Breaking

The judicial race in Madison County between appointed incumbent Don Weber and challenger David Hylla proves the adage that everything old is new again. What’s old is that the vast majority of the funds come from either personal injury plaintiffs or personal injury defendants, just like the 2004 race between Gordon Maag and Lloyd Karmeier. Indeed, at least 67% of the money raised since July 1 by David Hylla came from donors who gave to Gordon Maag, while at least 81% of the money raised by Don Weber came from donors who gave to Lloyd Karmeier. What’s new is that Weber and Hylla aren’t fighting over a Supreme Court seat. They’re running for a seat on the trial court. So far, they report a combined $533K for the General Election, which is still two weeks away.

Lest there be any doubt that the same pattern continues to play out in other judicial races, witness the Appellate Court race in far southern Illinois. 91% of the funds raised since July 1 by Republican Stephen McGlynn can be traced directly to personal injury defendants and their associations. Democrat Bruce Stewart draws at least 27% of his funds from personal injury plaintiffs; adding the unions whose members are liable to get injured and he gets 44% of his funds from the other side of the tort issue from McGlynn’s donors. The Illinois Republican Party reported paying $567,125 for TV ads on behalf of McGlynn, within a week of receiving $575,000 from the pro-tort reform Institute for Legal Reform. The Party, which now hasn’t enough money to run ads on behalf of its gubernatorial candidate, could not have paid for those McGlynn ads without the infusion from the Washington, DC, based organization. This race just set a record for fundraising in appellate court contests, and it’s personal injury plaintiffs and defendants that are driving the cash.

Personal injury cases matter a lot to tort interests, but that’s not what drives court dockets in southern Illinois, and it’s not the only issue voters need to think about when electing a judge. Circuit and Appellate Court judges are far more likely to hear cases about family law, including divorces and custody battles; criminal law; commercial litigation, including contract disputes and intellectual property; and Probate, including wills, trusts, and division of property. Judges have to be expert at a wide range of legal matters. But the money in these contests increasingly comes overwhelmingly from one area; an area that accounts for a small part of the cases filed in Illinois.

Fundraising Update

Pres came in last night (or this morning) for just about all candidates, giving us the first full look at fundraising for the General.

Hot races:

In the senate the top races seem to be the 52nd (Myers/Frerichs), where the candidates are evenly balanced financially; the 49th (Demuzio/Richey), where they’re not; the 22nd (Roth/Noland), the 33rd (Axley/Bond), and 46th (Russell/Koehler). In the House, it’s the 107th (Granberg/Cavaletto), the 92nd (Schock/Spears), 91st (Smith/Dagit), 71st (Boland/Haring), 101st (Flider/Cain), and 75th (Gordon/Briscoe). Not counting the 112th, where Hoffman has a ton and Kugler does not.

Not races:

11 of the 39 Senate seats are uncontested, meaning that one out of six voters won’t really have a choice for the state Senate. In the House, 56 of 118 contests are uncontested, meaning that almost half of all voters won’t have any choice there. And it’s worse in judicial races, where fully half of the Appellate Court seats and 36 of 57 Circuit Court seats give voters no choice on the ballot. Some seats are won with money; others, by lack of opposition.

Killer Donor

Killerspin has emerged as a reliable Democratic donor. In the last two years, not only have they sponsored championship table tennis teams (ping-pong to novices) around the globe, but they’ve given $58K to candidates, all of them Democrats, including $27K to Todd Stroger, $15K to Rod Blagojevich, $10K to Alexi Giannoulias, and $2.5K to David Miller.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Preparing for the Pres

Campaign disclosure reports tell you who gave, how much, to whom, and when. What they don’t tell you is why, and yet, why is often the most interesting part of the story. With that in mind, here are some donations we’ve spotted in recent weeks that strike us as interesting. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Tony Peraica is getting a serious look by many big donors. Not that there’s blood in the water, but Republicans are far more interested in him than in … that guy who ran in 2002. (The answer to this trivia question is Christopher A Bullock, who spent $4,476.58 on his losing effort). Peraica reports donations of $1K or more from prominent Republicans like Roger Claar, Don Stephens, Tyrone Fahner and James B. Pritzker. He also shows $20,000 from Sam Zell, who usually gives to Democrats (and who gave $75K to Forest Claypool’s primary run). Todd Stroger hasn’t filed his Pre-Election yet, but he’s showing far more traditional Democratic money, including Daley & George, the carpenters, the pipe trades, and SEIU. And (go figure) The Dynasty Group.

Richard Duchossois and his family have been reliable Republican donors for years. Between 1993 and June 30, 2006, they and their companies gave $3.6 million to Republicans and just $400K to Democrats. Any idea why Arlington International Raceway, which they co-own, just gave $50,000 to Senate President Emil Jones?

The Coalition for Jobs, Growth, and Prosperity PAC reported raising $15K since July 1. Where’d they get it? Why, from the Coalition for Jobs, Growth, and Prosperity. No, really; where’d they get it?

Chicagoans the world over cried when the White Sox missed the playoffs. But there was a silver lining for some Democrats, as it meant that Friends of Michael J. Madigan got their ticket deposit back.

Dan Hynes is running statewide for re-election against Republican Carole Pankau. But he’s giving a lot of cash away in the process. So far, reports indicate that he’s given $22,750 to other politicians since July 1, including Democratic challengers in the 27th, 33rd, and 46th Districts, and embattled incumbents Sen. Demuzio, Rep. Granberg, and Rep. Smith. Republican Pankau, meanwhile, hasn’t even reported raising that much over the same period (she hasn’t yet filed a Pre); she shows $14,250 in receipts so far. Reports do show $3,025 in transfers out from Pankau, all to Collar County Republican organizations.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Power Surge (Updated)

As of 8 am this morning, electric companies fighting legislation to freeze rates have given at least $201K to legislators’ PACs since July 1, on top of the $1.3 million they gave between January 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. These figures may increase as additional legislators, including the Four Tops, file their Pre-Election reports between now and tomorrow night. And, electric company giving will likely increase further through Election Day.

Senate President Emil Jones and Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson are the top two recipients, at $41,200 and $23,000 respectively. This is consistent with the earlier identified pattern of giving heavily to the upper chamber, which is typically done with an eye to killing legislation.

Two-thirds of the giving to President Jones since July 1 came in the last three weeks, after House Speaker Michael Madigan called for a special session to consider a rate freeze. Likewise, 60% of giving to Leader Watson came after the Special Session call. House Republican Leader Tom Cross got 44 % of his $17,200 after the call; significantly, Speaker Madigan’s PAC received at least $20,000 before the call, but not a dime since. The Democratic Party of Illinois, which he chairs, currently shows no electric receipts since July 1.

Top industry donors to legislators include Exelon and subsidiaries at $98K, Ameren at $54K, Dynegy at $20K, and Midwest Generation at $14K. While some of the funds come from employees, much of this giving would be illegal in other states and at the federal level, where direct corporate contributions are banned.

Other recent recipients of electric company giving include trade associations. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce reported receiving $20,000, while the Illinois Merchants PAC, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, and the Illinois Manufacturers each report $10,000. As with giving to Senate Leaders, this non-candidate giving is consistent with an effort to mute calls for modifying the 22% - 55% rate hikes due in January.

Check back to ICPR’s website later this week for fundraising updates in the hot statewide, legislative, judicial, and Cook County races.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Third Time's a Charm?

Today's Tribune reports on a leaked report from the governor's Inspector General, this one finding that a state employee engaged in political work with taxpayer resources. This is the third time that a report of the governor's IG has been leaked to the press. News coverage of the report give the strong impression that the IG investigated this instance thoroughly and reached a reasonable determination. However, for reasons we find totally indefensible, the law requires these reports to be confidential.

Since the IG's office was created in 2004, the office has concluded over 685 investigations. The Ethics law allows the IG to announce only the number of investigations it has conducted. The public, by statute, is kept in the dark unless and until the IG sends a complaint to the Ethics Commission. To date, the Commission has received only one report, out of over 2500 allegation filed, and that one has not yet been resolved.

ICPR believes that the public has a right to know more about investigations undertaken by the Inspectors General. We shouldn't have to rely on leaks to determine whether our government is working or not. The General Assembly should amend the Ethics Act to allow for sunshine in ethics.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rezko, Campaigns, and Government

Although he doesn't have an "official" role, Tony Rezko emerged as a powerful figure in the Blagojevich Administration. It appears he became such a trusted advisor that many of his associates were placed in a variety of important positions within the bureaucracy.

Did he become that influential because of his expertise in government? No.

Because he helped raise huge sums of contributions that fueled the Blagojevich campaign operation? Most likely.

In most states, candidates would be prohibited from accepting contributions as big as Rezko made to Blagojevich and as big as Rezko apparently brought to the Blagojevich campaign from other sources.

Our campaign finance regulations are so wide open that Illinois campaigns breed -- there's that petri dish again -- corruption.

Laws will not stop elected officials from trusting their "friends," who may use that friendship for their own profit. But limiting campaign contributions will make it less likely that some contributors will rise to positions of power.

Like most other states, Illinois should enact strict limits on how much money can be contributed to campaign committees, and also like most other states Illinois should only allow individuals and political action committees to make contributions -- not corporations, labor unions, non-profits or associations.

Power Surge

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan last week asked Gov. Blagojevich to call a special session to address the consequences of last month's power auction and the threat of large increases in residential electricity costs. ICPR most recently addressed political giving by electric companies about a year ago in our issue briefing, Power Markets.

In light of Speaker Madigan's announcement, here are updated giving figures for the legislative leaders and gubernatorial candidates, along with their top industry donor, for the period January 1, 2005 - June 30, 2006:

Gubernatorial Candidates:

Gov. Blagojevich: $66,775, including $25,775 from Exelon and subsidiaries
Treas. Topinka: $126,500, including $110,000 from Indeck Energy Services
Rich Whitney: None reported

Legislative Leaders:

Senate President Emil Jones: $162,455, including $93,855 from Exelon and subsidiaries
House Speaker Michael J. Madigan: $85,600, including $28,000 each from Exelon and subsidiaries, and Dynegy
Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson: $127,210, including $52,000 from Exelon and subsidiaries
House Republican Leader Tom Cross: $113,000, including $47,500 from Exelon and subsidiaries

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What we know, and when we know it

People watching A-1s today would have seen the largest transfer in Illinois history, when Citizens for Frank Watson transferred $1,000,000 to the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee. And we know that because Illinois has one of the best campaign finance disclosure websites in the nation. If you count ICPR’s website, we have two of the best campaign finance websites in the nation, but the official State Board of Elections website is a terrific resource. Visitors to the SBE website can now watch A-1s come in. A-1s are reports of contributions of over $500 received in the last 30 days before an election, filed within two days of receipt.

It’s often assumed that campaigns plan for the A-1 period by pulling in big checks earlier, so as to gain that last two weeks of anonymity, but not every campaign follows this bit of thinking. Donors have given amounts larger than Watson's transfer to recipients in direct giving before, especially self-funders, and PACs have given larger cumulative amounts before as a series of smaller transfers from one PAC to another, but today’s transfer from Watson to the RSSCC is the biggest single transfer ever.

ICPR will be monitoring the A-1s and Pres as they come in. Check out our 2006 elections page for information on hot races and top donors as we get closer to Election Day.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Will Cook Shake and Bake Shakman?

On September 20, FBI agents raided the Cook County Human Resources Department , carting off caseloads of materials in an on-going investigation into corrupt political hiring. They returned on Monday, October 2, focusing on the county Highway Department. And on Friday, October 6, lawyers for Cook County went into federal court to ask that anti-corruption monitoring be stopped . With so many investigations, now is not the time for Cook County to do away with the Shakman Decree.

Just like the City of Chicago, the County of Cook is now facing serious and credible allegations of illegal political hiring while simultaneously seeking to end judicial oversight designed to monitor and curtail political hiring. Over the past three decades, the Shakman Decree has emerged as the key tool to ensure that political and electoral considerations do not dictate hiring and the handing out of taxpayer-funded jobs. Efforts by the City and the County to do away with Shakman at the same time that they are facing such far-reaching and credible allegations of corruption throughout their hiring processes are absolutely shameful.

Monday, October 02, 2006

And Now, the Debate(s)

If you’ve tuned in for the new Fall TV lineups, you’ve probably also seen a bunch of political campaign ads. It’s that time of year again: the weeks before the election is when candidates want to define what you think of them. But what happened to debates? Remember when the candidates for office used to face off with each other, taking questions from voters and saying what they believed? Gov. Blagojevich and Treasurer Topinka announced months ago that they wanted a dozen debates; now, after tonight’s radio debate in Decatur, we’ll be lucky to see a direct conversation between the two main candidates (let alone one with Rich Whitney, or broadcast on TV in prime time). But those TV ads will run nonstop until Tuesday, November 7. If you’d like to know more about the candidates than what they tell you in a completely scripted, controlled ad, give’em a call and tell them to debate. For more on this topic, see Cindi Canary’s op-ed in today’s Crain’s.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Makes Me Want to Puke"

A pair of articles in today’s New York Times takes a hard look at how campaign donations are changing the dynamics of state high court races, and court rulings, too. The focus of the first is on Ohio , where judges of both political parties vote with their donors over 70% of the time. A sidebar looks at West Virginia and Illinois , where the paper also draws lines between large donations to winning candidates and subsequent rulings in favor of those donors. Justice Larry V. Starcher of the West Virginia Supreme Court sums it up thusly: “It makes me want to puke to see massive amounts of out-of-state money come in and buy a seat on our court.”

Giving by litigants and their representatives has be a growing practice in judicial races. As long as Illinois allows unlimited giving to candidates for the bench, donors will be tempted to use judicial elections as just another way to achieve their policy goals. And it doesn’t matter if the donations sway the thinking of individual jurists or merely wins victories for lawyers who already think the way that donors want, the end result is the same: court rulings that favor donors on the winning side.

There’s another casualty when litigants try to buy results: public confidence in the courts is eroded. A recent survey sponsored by ICPR and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU found that 85% of Illinoisans believe that court rulings are influenced by campaign contributions. As a result, Illinoisans are more likely to think that jurists are “political” (70.4%) than “fair and impartial” (51.6%) or “honest and trustworthy” (53.6%). Even highly qualified jurists are splattered by the mud thrown up by the campaigns that get them on the bench.

ICPR believes that the solution is in ending the arms race and allowing candidates to opt into a clean money program. Legislation has twice passed the Senate with bipartisan support (though, to be clear, it has never been assigned to a House Committee) that would address this problem at the Supreme Court level. This year, there are no Supreme Court seats on the ballot, though we’ll be watching the two contested Appellate Court seats to see if those races aren’t facing the same issues. The Third Branch of government deserves protection from the kind of beating campaign contributors are delivering.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Seek and Find

Since 1998, Illinois election law has required that candidates disclose the occupation and employer of individuals who contribute more than $500 to their campaigns. ICPR used to issue report cards that graded candidates on their compliance. Initially, campaigns were spotty in their reporting, but after we handed out a few D’s and F’s, they recognized the value of this kind of reporting. We had a few rounds where pretty much everybody got A’s, and then we moved on to other issues.

Occupation and employer is back in the news with Gov. Blagojevich insisting that the Topinka campaign is in violation of the law, as in L-A-W, for failing to report occupation and employer for some of her donors. We took the bait, and sure enough, Topinka’s disclosure reports fail to include occupation and employer for some 85 of the 512 individual contributions to her campaign of more than $500. Then again, Blago’s D2s are also missing this information for a few of his donors; his campaign shows 486 individual contribution that ought to have occupation and employer, and that data is missing for four of them. We hope both candidates will C-O-M-P-L-Y with the L-A-W and amend their reports to include this information.

Some individuals can be hard to find, even after they’ve given you a big check. They must be, or both campaigns would have filed amended D2s with the information. But since they both seem to be too busy preparing for the debates, maybe our loyal blog readers can help us out. Here’s a list of the 77 people who are missing occupation and employer data (some gave more than once). If you know who there folks are, drop us a line and we’ll add it to the Sunshine Database, even if the candidates can’t get it filed with the State Board of Elections.

Note: If you should see yourself on this list, know that a candidate you donated to needs to talk with you in order to fully fill out their disclosure reports. Please get in touch with them.

Jeffrey Benjamin
2902 King James Ave
Saint Charles IL 60174

Joanne Bloom
5490 S South Shore Dr
Chicago IL 60615

Gary Bollier
0N456 Prescott Dr
Winfield IL 60190

Leonard Bucaro
17 Blossom Ct
South Barrington IL 60010

Gregory Carlin
900 N Michigan Ave Ste 1900
Chicago IL 60611

Vivian Carnes
330 S Michigan Ave Apt 1511
Chicago IL 60604

Leslie Carpenter
3709 Cabeza De Vaca Cir
Irving TX 75062

Alan Chu
16459 Newbury Ct
Crest Hill IL 60435

Katherine Combs
100 E Huron St Apt 2803
Chicago IL 60611

Gary & Kristy Danielson
10112 Magnolia Bnd
Bonita Springs FL 34135

Patti Davidson
7 Stoney Ct
Bloomington IL 61704

Margarita Dejesus
5731 W Eddy Street
Chicago IL 60634

Sherry Denise
2626 N Lakeview Ave
Chicago IL 60614

Terry Diamond
1 N Franklin St Ste 900
Chicago IL 60606

Robert Disilvestro
445 E North Water St
Chicago IL 60611

William Froelich
18321 Kickapoo Ln
Hudson IL 61748

Nick Gakhal 57
Yorkshire Woods
Oak Brook IL 60523

Danny Gallagher
134 S Young St
Columbia IL 62236

Maria Teresa Galvan
10515 Nevada Ave
Melrose Park IL 60164

Robert Geras
55 E Erie St Apt 2905
Chicago IL 60611

Nick Giannakopoulos
1418 Redbud Lane
Glenview IL 60025

Lawrence Gill
2130 N Lincoln Park W Apt 15N
Chicago IL 60614

Jill Gruchot
4457 N Springfield Ave
Chicago IL 60625

Abdul Halani
4404 Hammersmith Ln
Glenview IL 60026

Steven Harfield
700 Carriage Way
Deerfield IL 60015

Dorothy Hawkins
62 Bluestone Dr
Saint Charles IL 60174

Robert Hedges
9462 Cascade Rd
Rochester IL 62563

Lawrence Hickey
1030 W Wrightwood Ave Apt E
Chicago IL 60614

Charles Izzo
1052 Mayfield Dr
Glendale Hts IL 60139

Thomas Jacob
35 Sunset Rd
Bloomington IL 61701

James Jedynak
2222 Bracken Ln
Northfield IL 60093

Joan Kelly
9516 Hamlin Ave
Evanston IL 60203

James Kemp
8 Norris Dr Burr
Ridge IL 60527

John Korolis
1700 Pheasant Trail
Mt. Prospect IL 60056

Samrajya Kuchipudi
18 Hamilton Ln
Oak Brook IL 60523

Sucheta Kulkarni
15W700 90th St
Burr Ridge IL 60527

Eloise Landa
PO Box 11223
Chicago IL 60611

Annabelle Lim-Greene
1360 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago IL 60610

Lela Lindsay
1851 Grove Ave
Quincy IL 62301

Cory Lipoff
1050 Julia Ct
Glencoe IL 60022

Cheryl Lulias
1456 W Norwood St
Chicago IL 60660

Owen Macbride
302 Park Ave
Wilmette IL 60091

Ted Martin
35 Park Ln
Park Ridge IL 60068

Jacquelyn Martin-Currie
88 E 89th Pl
Chicago IL 60619

Wayne Massey
27 Muirfield Cir
Wheaton IL 60187

Dino Mazza
1940 Witt Ct
Lombard IL 60148

Michael McDonald
222 Springcreek Dr
Springfield IL 62702

John Michael
2933 W Gregory St
Chicago IL 60625

Michael Monterubio
35 Oak Ln
Lemont IL 60439

Esther Morales
328 S Stewart Ave
Lombard IL 60148

Patrick Nash
66 Indian Hill Rd
Winnetka IL 60093

Jerry Nerad
420 E 4th St
Hinsdale IL 60521

Gerald Niedert
PO Box 28
Wheaton IL 60189

Kimberly Oelze
PO Box 325
Nashville IL 62263

Peter Paleczny
1104 S Broadway Ave
Park Ridge IL 60068

Michael Peck
233 S Wacker Dr Ste 6600
Chicago IL 60606

Valera Peterson
3129 Lochridge Ln
Springfield IL 62704

George Podzamsky
2135 Maple Ave
Berwyn IL 60402

Richard Robb
17 Woodley Rd
Winnetka IL 60093

Joanne Shea
547 S La Grange Rd
La Grange IL 60525

Virginia Sikora
c/o 5420 N. Harlem Ave.
Chicago IL 60656

Deborah Sowa
5528 W Cornelia Ave
Chicago IL 60641

David Speer
410 Cedar St
Winnetka IL 60093

Ellen Straebel
635 Persimmon Dr
Saint Charles IL 60174

Philip Suess
121 W Forest Ave
Wheaton IL 60187

Walter Szczubelek
784 Lindsey Ln
Bolingbrook IL 60440

Yu Tai
10 Hibbard Rd
Northfield IL 60093

Christopher Townsend
1667 Constitution Dr
Glenview IL 60026

H.E. Vogelsinger
1314 Crown Ct
Bloomington IL 61704

David Walsh
None Listed

David Warren
70 W Burton Pl Apt 406
Chicago IL 60610

Bruce Weisenthal
2239 Sheridan Rd
Highland Park IL 60035

William Williams
3055 Saint Michel Ln
Saint Charles IL 60175

John Wilson
626 W Fullerton Pkwy
Chicago IL 60614

Scott Yelvington
1531 N Highland Ave
Arlington Heights IL 60004

Sona Youkhana
480 Edgewood Ln
Winnetka IL 60093

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Just Report It

As the Sun-Times reports this morning, the Chicago Crime Commission has created a statewide hotline for reporting government corruption. (Don’t let the name fool you – Chicagoans apparently care about corruption all over the state). The hotline is (888) EYEONGOV or (888) 393-6646. The Web site is www.888eye [The SJ-R is reporting it, too, but their story isn’t on-line].

The Commission promises to deliver complaints to the appropriate authorities for investigation and possible prosecution. They also say that they will accept anonymous complaints, even though the statewide Inspector Generals and the State Ethics Commission cannot accept anonymous complaints; perhaps the Commission will refer those directly to the appropriate U.S. Attorneys or local State’s Attorneys.

Corruption reporting seems to be a cottage industry these days. Perhaps now would be a good time to review your contact options when you see corruption:

* In August, Jim Burns, one of the Inspectors General at the Secretary of State’s office, announced a website to accept complaints about unethical activities in state government. Burns, a former US Attorney for Northern Illinois, can now accept complaints through the web.

* The Governor’s Inspector General, James Wright, also maintains a webpage, but their procedure is for complainants to download a form, fill it out and fax it back.

* The State Ethics Commission itself is also on-line. The Ethics Commission is the only place to get summaries of all five executive branch Inspector General quarterly reports, which to date are the only reports available to the public about the work of the Inspectors General. These can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Politics, Pirates and Cook County Candidates

Yesterday was the first day for candidates in the 2007 Chicago elections to circulate petitions. It was also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Coincidence? Certainly, that was enough for one day.

So today, ICPR unveils our new Cook County wing of the Sunshine Database. The new Cook County Database does for the state’s largest county what the Sunshine Database does for state candidates: makes it easier to search for donors, lists top donors and vendors for all candidates, and helps the public understand where campaign funds come from and where they go.

Want to know how your Cook County candidates built their warchests? This page will tell you who gave and how they spent it if you know what office they’re seeking. Go here if you know the candidate’s name. And if you want to search for all money given to Cook County candidates by a particular donor, look here.

Pirate talk aside, we hope this resource helps voters to better navigate campaign records of Cook County candidates. And check back in a few weeks for more additions to the database. As attention moves to municipal elections, the Sunshine Database will grow to include a Chicago wing as well.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why They Give (Donors' Perspectives)

Ever wonder why donors give to candidates? Plenty of news stories focus on the connection between contributions, contributors, and candidates, but what do the donors themselves say? WBEZ's Ben Calhoun got curious and asked a few donors what motivated them to pony up. Listen to his story here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hopeful yet Discontent

Voters around the Midwest, and especially in Illinois, rank concerns with money in politics on par with concerns about schools, taxes, and the economy, according to a new survey. But rather than throw in the towel, voters also say they believe reform is possible and look to candidates to spell out how they will fix the system.

Honesty is the most important value Illinoisans want in state government, the survey found. And voters believe that these policy reforms are the path to re-instilling honesty in Illinois government:

* 73% of Illinois voters agreed (45% strongly, 28% somewhat) with the statement, “Unless we limit the influence of money in government, elected officials will not be able to keep their promises on issues that are important to people like me”

* 86% of Illinois voters believe that “public financing of campaigns which would give each candidate the same amount of money and limit spending by each candidate” would make a difference in making government work better, including 60% who think it would make a big difference and 26% who think it would make somewhat of a difference.

* 87% of Illinois voters believe that “requiring lobbyists to fully report their lobbying activities such as their clients, what issues they are working on, and the money they spend lobbying lawmakers” would make a difference in making government work better, including 61% who think this would make a big difference and 26% who think it would make somewhat of a difference.

*80% of Illinois voters believe that “changing the way legislative district lines are drawn so that it is easier for a candidate to run against current office holders and so new candidates from the community have a chance to win” would make a difference in making government work better, including 40% to think this would make a big difference and 40% who think it would make somewhat of a difference.

The survey was conducted in five Midwestern states, including Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. For details of the survey, including the press release, Illinois data, a survey summary and survey charts (all in pdf format), please visit our website.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Where They Stand: Candidates and Reform

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform now allows voters to learn where candidates stand on important campaign and government reform proposals.

We asked a handful of direct questions about limiting campaign contributions, policing the campaign finance system, giving citizens more information about investigations of ethical conduct in state government, and other important reform proposals. Now, voters can learn what candidates for office want to do to change the system.

Nearly all of the statewide candidates, including the three gubernatorial candidates, answered the questions, but the majority of candidates for the General Assembly dodged the issues.

Despite repeated requests over the past 8 months, only 89 of the 250 men and women running for election to the General Assembly were willing to tell us their positions. Some of those running without any opposition told us they don’t feel any need to tell voters where they stand on these issues. Some incumbents even had the brass to say their record speaks for itself, when many of the issues have not come before the General Assembly for debate or a vote.

With an ex-governor headed to federal prison and federal investigators working overtime on more investigations of state and local governments, voters are questioning the honesty and fairness of government. Every candidate should tell voters how government and elections can and should be improved.

A listing of all responses by candidate is here.

A listing of all candidates by the office they're seeking is here.

A copy of the questionnaire is here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Statement on the Sentencing of former Gov. George Ryan


Today, former Governor George Ryan was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison. The length of time George Ryan spends behind bars matters only to George Ryan and his family. To the rest of us, he will forever be enshrined in the Illinois Government Hall of Shame for betraying the trust of the people of Illinois.

Illinois’ politics didn't have a good reputation before Ryan’s trial, which brought us months of testimony about sweetheart contracts, trips to Jamaica and Las Vegas, cover-ups, deceit, tax evasion and on and on. The Ryan trial put it all at center stage for us to see once again. What is it about Illinois that breeds politicians like Ryan and scores of others who have gone to jail for using the power of public office to enrich themselves and their campaign contributors?

Unfortunately, George Ryan's use of government for personal gain is not a freak occurrence in Illinois. It is precisely why everyday citizens have so little trust in their government and believe big campaign contributors have an unfair advantage.

Instead of debating how many years George Ryan should serve, our elected leaders ought to be debating what needs to be done to restore the public's trust in government. Their answers should include restrictions on how much can be contributed to candidates and a ban on direct contributions by corporations and labor unions. Decisions about state employment and contracts should be based on merit and not decided by contributions and politics. We need reasonable restrictions on how campaigns are financed and a strong regulatory system that will enforce those laws. And we need more disclosure about lobbying practices, as well as increased sunshine on all levels of government.

Voters and candidates can - and will - disagree on important issues, like funding education, selling the tollway and the licensing of new casinos. But all of us want a government that is fair, a government where those issues are debated and decided by honest people. Voters don't think the system is fair now.

As long as candidates can get unlimited campaign cash from special interests, we won't have fairness, and voters know that.

It has been too easy for a government office to become an arm of a campaign. . . where all decisions are made with an eye toward the next election and who provides the money to buy the TV ads and mass mailings. If we're going to sever that connection, we need limits on how campaign funds are collected. Only then will we have a chance at achieving fairness in government -- a place where real people are heard, where all issues get a fair hearing and decisions are made by honest men and women who are not influenced by campaign cash.

The U.S. Attorney and the Federal courts have made it abundantly clear that elected officials have a duty to uphold the public trust and those who don’t will be tried and convicted. Voters in this state have been let down far too many times. It’s long past time for politicians who have talked the talk about changing business as usual, to actually start walking the walk. Illinois citizens deserve fair and honest government. And they have the right to demand it.

At the end of his prison sentence, I hope George Ryan returns to a changed Illinois, one that welcomes honesty in government and merits the trust of Illinoisans.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Blago's Back

Team Blago is back on the air this week with another flight of ads. The buy started Wednesday, August 23rd and runs at least through Monday the 28th. In placement it appears much like the waves of ads they ran in April, May, and June before taking most of July and August off: heavy on news and public affairs with a few prime time spots thrown in for good measure. But these spots are 30 seconds long, and are not bookended. These also seemed intended to prod his positives upward, touting his role in the Amber Alert system, rather than just drive his opponents’ lower.

And there are a lot of them. He’s spending $400K in Chicago for this buy, and it’s only 6 days long – that’s $65K a day on TV spots. For our analysis of ad spending earlier this year, click to Don’t Touch that Dial.

Blago’s the biggest thing going in Chicago TV these days, at least as far as political ads, but while he’s alone on the air right now, he won’t be alone for long. The U.S. Chamber had spots up in support of Democratic Congresswoman Melissa Bean, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has bought time in October and November (presumably for both Bean and Duckworth, though the contracts don’t say). The National Republican Campaign Committee matched that buy, and those federal commitments are already approaching $8 million in the Chicago area. Melissa Bean has reserved time for her own campaign in October in addition to the DCCC buy on her behalf.

Already, about as much ad time has been reserved for the General Election as for the Primary Election, and most candidates for state office have yet to jump in. Stations we spoke with expect the Governor's campaign to extend their buy beyond next week.

A book to be published next month raises some interesting questions about all this ad spending. What Sticks is an analysis of several large commercial advertising accounts. It concludes that 37.3% of the $1 billion (with a “b”) spent by 36 of the nation’s biggest advertisers was wasted on campaigns that didn’t achieve what they set out to do.

The book looks at commercial advertising, and political ads are a very different animal. But political ads across the nation are likely to hit $1 billion this year, and Illinois could easily see a fall campaign season as busy as or busier than the Primary. Is it really all worth it?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Who has money and where did they get it?

ICPR has answers.

The “go to” web site for information about who is funding political campaigns in Illinois just got a whole lot better.

The Sunshine Database at the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has been updated with new research about major contributors and thousands of new contributions made this year to the statewide candidates, as well as the candidates for legislatives seats and the judiciary.

Here is just some of the new information you’ll find at
• The identity of the biggest contributors in the political careers of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and all other top state officeholders and their challengers. The top 13 contributors to Topinka combined don’t even match the $1.7 million given by Blagojevich’s number one career patron.
• Names and background information on the people who have given the largest amounts of money to candidates in this election cycle. Frederick A. Krehbiel, who fell off the Forbes magazine list of the nation’s 400 wealthiest citizens, is at the top of the list of the top individual campaign contributors in Illinois.
• The most generous special interest lobbies – labor unions, law firms, and associations lobbying Springfield for hospitals, doctors, phone companies, beer distributors, horse racetracks, cable television and more.
• The candidates who spent the largest amounts of their personal funds on election campaigns this year. Only three of the top 10 won their primary elections.

The Sunshine Database is a powerful search tool providing information about the most powerful people and special interests in Illinois. It is the only database that has standardized the names of all donors to Illinois candidates, and the only one to code receipts and expenditures by industry.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization conducting research and advocating reforms to promote public participation in government, address the role of money in politics and encourage integrity, accountability and transparency in government. The late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon founded ICPR in 1997.

The Sunshine Project is based at the University of Illinois at Springfield and is funded by the Joyce Foundation. Its goal is to increase public awareness and understanding of the role of money in Illinois politics.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Have Wallet, Will Travel

We’re almost done with the new disclosure data; check back in bit for the grand unveiling. But in the meantime, here’s some observations on campaign receipts from out of state during the first six months of this year.

Illinois, as is widely recognized, has the loosest campaign finance regulations in the country. Where most states limit individuals and ban corporations and unions, or rely on targeted limits as between a regulated company and the public official who regulates it, Illinois’ law is anything goes. Since the laws apply to the candidates’ PAC and not to the donors, Illinois candidates can take far more money from donors in other states than those states’ officials can take from those donors.

For instance, Gov. Blagojevich raised $1,139,674 in itemized giving from outside of Illinois. Much of this giving would have been illegal if the donors had tried to give it to their own governors. Donors in California gave $117K, including $25K from ACC Capital Holdings. Donors in California can’t give more than $20K to their own gubernatorial candidates. Wisconsin accounted for $92K in giving, including $39K from Bulk Petroleum, $25K from Edison Liquors (a Wirtz company), and $20K from Miller Brewing. All of that giving would be illegal under Wisconsin law, which bars direct contributions from corporations to candidates. Likewise the $50K from Chess Financial in Ohio, the largest donor from that state, where direct corporate giving is barred. Indiana-based Bernardin Lochmueller and Associates gave the governor $25K. Of that, $7,500 came directly from the corporation, which is $2,500 more than Indiana law would allows corporations to give to its own candidates. The rest came from individuals, in amounts allowed under Indiana law for Indiana candidates.

There’s less to write about in Treasurer Topinka’s reports because she raised far less money: only $195K from outside Illinois. Very little of her giving would have been affected by limits elsewhere, were she running elsewhere. She reports $5K each from Ameren and Anheuser Busch, both Missouri companies, where companies are limited to $1,175 in giving to gubernatorial candidates. But the comparison does reveal something else about her donors – many of them actually gave more to her opponent. Ameren gave Blago $15K, while Anheuser Busch gave him $26K. She reports $5K from Teamsters DRIVE, headquartered in DC; Blago got $55K from the same group. She got $4.5K from Barnes and Thornburg, an Indiana company that also gave Blago $5K.

Donors from out of state are bound by the laws of Illinois, not the laws of their own states. It’s perfectly legal for them to give as much here as they want to, since our laws allow that. Why they would want to give here is, of course, another matter.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Legislators at Risk?

Elections serve as a check on power – public representatives have to face the voters from time to time, and the public gets to decide if they want to retain the official or not. Today’s Primary Election in Connecticut has the nation wondering if Sen. Joe Lieberman will secure nomination to another term. But how often to voters actually reject a sitting office holder? ICPR looked at Primary Elections in Illinois and found the answer: Not often.

Indeed, most often, sitting legislators seeking nomination for another term are not opposed in the primary. Our report on Primary Elections, All in the Family, found that even when they are opposed, they win more than three times out of four. Appointed legislators do even better, winning every time since 1998.

Perhaps these results aren’t so surprising. These are primary elections, after all, and the voters are all of the same party as the incumbent. But when we looked at General Elections, as we did last Winter, we found the same results: sitting legislators are rarely challenged, and win most of the time when they are challenged.

This week we release the second part of our study of election competitiveness. Look for the final part, looking at how often sitting legislators are turned away from another term, after the November general.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Big Money

We're still refining the data from the recently-filed campaign disclosure reports so that we can post it to the Sunshine Database -- check back in a week to 10 days for that -- but in the meantime, I looked at how reliant statewide candidates are on large contributors. Donors who give more than $10,000 to a candidate represent a tiny fraction of all donors, but can account for a huge chunk of that candidate's total receipts. In 2002, most of the candidates for statewide office got most of their funds from these large donors (read our report, Attack of the Gigantic Campaign Contributors, for the figures from the last election).

We're not done standardizing the names of the donors, so it's possible, likely even, that I'm missing some cash here, but I took a preliminary look at how much money comes from large donors this time around. Remember, checks of this size are illegal in most states, and in most instances in all federal elections. How did our statewides do?

Gov. Blagojevich reported $6.7 million in receipts in the first half of the year. Of that, at least $4.2 million came from large donors -- 64% of his total take. About a fifth of his haul came from donors who gave more than $100,000. His Republican opponent, Judy Baar Topinka, reported $3.4 million in receipts, of which 42% came from large donors. Green candidate Rich Whitney, if you're wondering, reported $1,757.40 in total receipts, and none if it, obviously, came from large donors.

For AG, Lisa Madigan reported $1.3 million in receipts. Just oover half (54%) came from large donors. Challenger Stu Umholtz reported $108,000 in receipts, none of which came from large donors. Secretary of State Jesse White shows $581,000 n receipts, 36% from large donors, and Dan Rutherford reports $356,000 in receipts, 7% from large donors. The Green candidates did not report committees.

Campaign disclosure reports can be read in several ways: to see who's trying to curry favor with whom, who draws support from where, who knows people who give them money. An over-reliance on a small group of donors can be troubling because it calls into question the candidate's ability to put voters' interests ahead of their contributors'.

Report It Now (dot net)

Jim Burns, one of the Inspectors General at the Secretary of State’s office, has launched a website to accept complaints about unethical activities in state government. Burns, a former US Attorney for Northern Illinois, can now accept complaints through the webpage. The homepage is here and the on-line complaint form is here:

While Burns works in the Secretary of State’s office, state law allows him to accept complaints about activities under any of the statewides for referral to the appropriate IG or to the Ethics Commission.

The Governor’s Inspector General, James Wright, also maintains a, webpage but their procedure is for complainants to download a form, fill it out and fax it back. To my knowledge, the other IGs don't have webpages.

While we’re at it, the Executive Ethics Commission itself is also on-line. The Ethics Commission is the only place to get summaries of all five executive branch Inspector General quarterly reports, which to date are the only reports available to the public about the work of the Inspectors General. These can be downloaded here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Injudicious Fundraising

The 2004 Supreme Court race in far southern Illinois smashed state and federal records for fundraising. The early signs suggest that the 2006 Appellate Court race in the same District may follow the same path. While another $10 million race is unlikely, the same financial interests are lining up behind the candidates, and a new Appellate Court record may be set.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests, the two Appellate Court candidates have already raised more money between them than the two Supreme Court candidates did at this point in 2004. That’s partly because one candidate faced a primary. But it also shows that financial interests are paying attention to this race.

Indeed, many of the same donors who gave to candidates in 2004 are giving again in 2006. Bruce Stewart, the Democratic nominee for Appellate Court, reports $49,000 in receipts from donors to Gordon Maag, the losing nominee for Supreme Court. Republican candidate Stephen McGlynn reports $90,000 from donors to Lloyd Karmeier, who won the 2004 Supreme Court contest.

For Democratic candidates, support comes largely from personal injury plaintiffs and labor unions. Republicans rely on personal injury defendants and insurance companies. Both parties’ candidates have come to rely on different sides of the same issue for the bulk of their funding, even though that issue has no bearing on the majority of cases the Court hears and decides.

This pattern has significant implications for the administration of justice. You could be a brilliant contracts lawyer, an expert at wills, trusts and probate, or a skilled family attorney, but if you hope to be a judge, you’d better have good relationships with personal injury interests. Even more particularly, if you’re a Democrat, you’d better get along with the plaintiffs side; if a Republican, the defendants. That’s where the money comes from.

No matter how big the spending in the race gets, litigants with interests before the court control the purse strings. And the more money that flows into these races, the harder it will be to break the cycle. It’s time to give judicial candidates a way to opt out of the fundraising rat race, and the Supreme Court Public Financing bill (SB 1955) is a start.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Stragglers (D2 Day)

Stragglers are showing up.

Tom Cross is in. He shows $576K in receipts, $306K spent, and $1.4M available, in Citizens for Tom Cross. The caucus PAC House Republican Organization shows $481K in, $485K out, and $60K available. Top donors include Rep. Skip Saviano, who ponied up $90K from his PAC, while the big recipients include Jason Briscoe, Sid Mathias, and a late (June 29) expense for advertising for Raymond Poe. The Illinois House Victory Fund, which seems to serve as a clearing house for caucus members, reported $30K in receipts from 5 House Republicans (led by Rep. Patricia Reid Lindner with $12.5K), nothing spent, and $53K available. All told, the House Republicans have $1.5M , which is appreciably more than the $1.2M between Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois.

In the 5th Judicial District, all three candidates are in. In the Democratic Primary, Bruce Stewart, who must have Scottish ancestry, reports $145K in, $184K out, and $18,528 available. He also shows $22K in-kind. He defeated Bill Berry, who never drummed for REM but raised $167K, mostly from himelf, spent $167K, and ended with $125.20. He owes $170K, mostly to himself. Winner Stewart now faces appointed Justice Stephen McGlynn. Without a primary, McGlynn reported $142K in receipts, $103K spent, and $48,317.60 available. He also shows $40K in-kind. The race shows the same financial dynamic familiar from the Karmeier/Maag race: donors to the Democrat include a lot of the top personal injury plaintiffs' lawyers with a smattering of labor money, while the Republican shows support from personal injury defendants. SimmonsCooper, Lance Callis and Womack all gave to Stewart, while the Illinois Civil Justice League is McGlynn's top donor.

In the First Judicial District (aka, Cook County), Joy Cunningham reported raising $370K, spending $434K and ending with $68K available. A ton of money for an appellate court seat, but (1) she had it (she appears to be her own top donor), (2) she won a razor thin margin, and (3) she's unopposed in the General. She shows smaller, four-figure receipts from personal injury lawyer Bob Clifford and the Illinois Chamber, which is a pattern you probably won't see in the Fifth District. The candidate she eeked by, David Erickson, showed $91K in, $105K out, $21K in-kind, mostly from the Haymarket Group, and an ending balance of $2,068.85.

Citizens for Calvin Giles has filed. Rep. Giles lost the primary to challenger LaShawn Ford. Giles shows $141K in receipts, $225K spent (including $25,275 to the State Board of Elections for fines on January 10), and he ends the period with $200.25 available. Giles got a lot of late help from Speaker Madigan, the two big Teachers Unions, and $2K from Citizens for Todd Stoger. Nominee Ford raised $189K, spent $186K, and ended with $3,699.94. Most of his funds came from himself personally or from Ford Desired Real Estate, his realty brokerage.

Claypool (D2 Day)

While I wait for a few stragglers, let's look at Forest Claypool's report. He shows $2,402,068 in receipts, $2,754,928 in expenditures, and $21,904.11 available. But what's interesting about his report is how he uses investments, and how that can inflate his totals. I don't mean to suggest he's deliberately inflating his totals, but his investment strategies result in somewhat inflated figures. For instance, $800K of his receipts are actually investmentsn rolling out of bank accounts. After that, his top donors (and it's odd to count investments as receipts, though for very valid reasons, that's how the Board of Elections wants to do it) include Fred Eychaner ($300K), Richard Dennis ($200K), $100K each from Bruce Rauner and Richard Dreihaus (who has his own honorary street designation in Chicago), and $75K from Sam Zell. On the expenditure side, $150K of his spending is actually money going into investments. So a more accurate statement of receipts would be $1.6M in and expenditures would show $2.6M spent.

The reason investments counts as an expense, and selling the investment scores a receipt, is that some investments lose money. And some PACs have lost funds by investing. Friends of Lee Daniels lost a bunch of money on a stock called Photogen Technologies, and Citizens for Lou Lang used to invest in penny stocks, most of which went up but some of which went down. If investments weren't counted as an expense, it would be harder to account for money lost that way. So funds invested are scored as an expense at the purchase cost, and when the investment is sold, or matures, it's listed as a receipt at whatever the PAC recoups. While that makes good sense to me, it also makes some PACs, including Claypool's and Gidwitz's, both of whom regularly rolled excess funds into and out of short-term investments, look a little odd.

D2 Notices

While we wait for Tom Cross, let me make a few observations. Today marks our last look at campaign disclsoure reports until Monday, October 9, when the A1s start coming in. Then we're in this odd two-week window where we know what came in yesterday but not what came in last month. Pre-Election forms are due by Monday, October 23, and that's when we'll have the fullest sense of how much campaigns have raised since June 30. (Recall, too, that these reports do not include fundraising in the month of July, even though many of these candidates have had major fundraisiers with big-name draws; undoubtably, many of these candidates have far more available to them now than they are reporting).

ICPR hopes to update the Sunshine Database in the next few weeks, with fully standardized and coded data on receipts and expenditures, career patrons and top donors, and contributor profiles. Check back to in about two weeks and we hope to have it ready. Also, we're working to add data on Cook County candidates; including all the candidates for Board President, County Clerk, Sheriff, and County Board.

Mop Up (D2 Day)

Just a few more, I hope. Giannoulias has filed both of his committees, finaling one out. Citizens for Giannoulias, his main committee, shows $2.4M in receipts, $2.1M spent, and $519K available. Top donors seem to share his surname, although he also shows $120K in-kind for billboards from Mark IV Realty. His other committee, Alexi for Illinois, shows nothing but $2,550 in-kind for printing walk pieces on March 13. Given the date, that maybe should have triggered an A-1, though whether the donor filed on time isn't clear from the D2. In any event, this committee is finaled out and gone.

Blago, and some others (D2 Day)

The Governor has Filed. Just like AP suggested, he shows $6.7M in receipts, $9.8M spent, and $12.3M on hand. He spent more than he took in, but he can afford it. He shows 1,372 donations since the primary; of those, top donors appear to include the Democratic Governor's Assn ($200K), the Laborers ($150K), and the Hospitals, Pipe Trades, Teamsters, and Painters ($100K each). He shows $75K from three liquor distributors owned by William Wirtz, all given on the same day. He's showing at least $80K in horse track money, from the Racing Association and the Egyptian Trotters. There's at least $60K from IUOE. And lots more. I haven't even glanced at his expenditures, though we know he's spent $5M on Chicago TV ads (see the earlier blog post, or ICPR's report at

In Treasurer candidates, Republican Christine Radogno shows $345K in, $156K out, and $263K on hand. Top contributors appear to be the Hospital Association at $26K, the Gidwitz-funded Rauschenberger Turnaround Team at $10,550 (plus another $5K from Gitwitz direct), and $10K from Gerald Forsythe (he of Indeck, previously mentioned in relation to Topinka's filings).

The Anti-Anti-Gay Marriage group Fair Illinois Committee filed with $87K in, $28K spent, and $60K on hand. If they succeed in knocking the gay marriage ban off the ballot, that's a bit of change to go looking for a new home. They report $11,528 in payments to election lawyer Michael Kasper as reimbursement for petition copies, and another $1,400 to Kasper for legal services.

Both candidates from the Dem primary in the 33rd Senate District are in. Dan Kotowski reported raising $159K, spending $198K, and ending with $56K on hand. James Morici raised $160K, spent $373K, and ended with $216.70. Kotowski won, showing that you don't have to spend the most to win. Kotowski raised $20K from JB Pritzker, and a lot of labor (plus $5K from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, natch). Morici now owes himself $302K.

Still waiting on Tom Cross, and a few others. Maybe hitting send will work again.