Saturday, March 11, 2006

Tea Leaves

Tea Leaves, or What’s $25,000 Between Friends?

Disclosure reports list the name of the donor, the amount of the contribution and the name of the recipient. They do not explain why the transaction occurred, though that is often the most interesting piece. Often we are left to speculate, deduce, infer, or guess as to why the donor donated to the donatee.

With that in mind, here are some recent donations to ponder:

RJ Reynolds gave $25K to Friends of Ryan. Does the tobacco giant know that this is not Former Gov. George Ryan’s fund, but that of former State Rep. Bob Ryan now running for Cook County Board? Maybe they do.

Friends of Michael J. Madigan gave $25K to Citizens for Stroger. That’s almost 10% of all the new money John Stroger has brought in this year.

AFSCME gave $25K to Citizens for Judy Baar Topinka. Many ways to interpret this.

The Illinois Civil Justice League gave $24K worth of printing to Citizens for Judge Michael J Powers. Powers is running unopposed for the Republican nomination to succeed Justice Kent Slater in the 3rd District Appellate Court.

Gerald Gidwitz gave Ron Gidwitz for Governor $500,000. That’s a different scale than the $25K checks we’d seen, but so it goes. Gidwitz for Gov also reports another $50K from Wassendorf & Associates.

Sitting This One Out

PACs have to file Pre-Election and A1 reports in the weeks before an election, unless they’re not participating in that election. In that case, they have the option of filing a Non-Participation statement. That shields them from the normal disclosure requirements, until the next Semi-Annual reporting period ends. Some big name PACs are apparently sitting out the Primary, including the Illinois Senate Democratic Fund, and the Illinois House Victory Fund (a House Republican PAC). Cook County Sheriff candidate Tom Dart has two committees and one, Citizens for Dart, has filed NP.

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