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.

Topinka's in (D2 Day)

The governor filed a hope-lifting letter/correspondance, but it wasn't the D2. Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka filed her report, and while I don't have both sides, I'll summarize it anyway. She shows $3.2M in receipts, $3.0 spent, and $1.5M available. The report lists 1,168 itemized receipts since March 22, totalling $1.8 million, and I can't wade through all of them now, but the top donors since the Primary appear to be James Pritzker at $125K, the Illinois Chamber at $100K (plus $25K from the Chicagoland Chamber), the Realtors at $102,500, and Gerald Forsythe of Indeck at $100K.

Well, I took a dinner break and Blago's still not in. Maybe hitting Send will prompt them to file.

Comptroller Candidates, plus Docs (D2 Day)

Reports are in for the Comptroller's race, but the same pattern: Dem candidates are well fed, while Republican candidates will need to look for low-cost campaign tactics.

Comptroller Dan Hynes reports $600K in receipts, $116K spent, and $868K available. Trade unions dot his receipts pages: $40K from the Laborers, $40K from the Pipe Trades, plus $27K from the Plumbers and Pipefitters, plus another $10K from the Sprinkler Fitters; $29K from IBEW, $25K IFT (plus anotherh $20K from the CTU), $22K IUOE. Republican challenger Carol Pankau reports $74K in receipts, $37K spent, and $44K on hand.

Not that mountains of money are necessary; top spenders lose regularly, and winning candidates are often outspent. But the pattern here nonetheless shows that statewide Republicans will have to address a resource deficit in contrast with their opponents.

Also, the Illinois State Medical Society has filed, showing $328,506.73 in total receipts, including $150,000 from its insurance subsidiary, the Illinois State Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange. Up until the 2004 cycle, ISMIE gave exclusively to the ISMS PAC, never more than about 25% of the PACs total receipts. In the 2004 cycle, though, ISMIE began giving directly to candidates, and I assumed the reason was that the Society was leery of triggering the sponsoring entity rule. Any donor who gives more than a third of the funds must be acknowledged in the name of the PAC. By giving directly to candidates from the insurer, the Society could avoid changing the name of the PAC. But this report shows ISMIE giving at 45% of total receipts. Perhaps they've become comfortable with the sponsoring entity rule?

Still waiting for Treasurer candidates. And the Goobs.

More Statewides (D2 Day)

More of the statewide candidates have filed. As with the legislative caucuses, the Dems seem to have more money, though the margins here are bigger.

* Stu Umholtz made national news with his filing last week (USA Today ran a blurb on his receipts and campaign strategy in their state-by-state digest on Thursday), and his opponent, sitting AG Lisa Madigan has now filed, giving a contrast. She reports $1.2M in receipts, plus $104K in-kind; just $287K spent, and $2.2M available for the fall campaign. She is in a position to follow a very different strategy than her opponent, who says he will rely on association newsletters to get the word out.

* SoS Jesse White reports $574K in receipts, $351K spent and $2.0M available. His opponent, State Senator Dan Rutherford, filed earlier today showing $339K in receipts, $272K spent, and $592K available. He has another PAC; I'll have to look to see what that's been doing.

More later.

Senate in Session (D2 Day)

The four big senate PACs are in, and the Dems have most of the money. That's the short summary. The details? Citizens for Emil Jones reports $231K in, $76K spent and $2.5M available. The Illinois Senate Democratic Fund raised $719K, spent $273K and retained $809K in cash. Combined, the Senate Dems have $3.3M available for the fall. Citizens for Frank Watson, across the aisle, raised $752K, spent $350K, and had $1.9M. The Republican State Senate Cacmpaign Committee reported $653K in receipts, $535K in expenditures, and $1.0M available. Combined, the Senate Republicans have $3.0M on hand.

More later.

Party Time (D2 Day)

The two major parties have filed. The Democratic Party of Illinois, which proudly includes all but one statewide officials and the leaders of both legislative chambers, shows $109K in receipts, $700K spent, and just $166,044.60 available. Not to worry, Democrats; the party chairman has additional funds. Friends of Michael J. Madigan shows $781K in receipts, $540K spent, and $1,009,329.95 available. Still, that's just shy of $1.2 million available to the party in power. The other major party, the Illinois Republican Party, shows $691K in receipts, $447K spent and $254,530.17 available. Their chair is not an office holder with another PAC.

Some Republicans who wanted to lead the party in the fall elections, but won't be, have filed. Bill Brady reported $866K in receipts, mostly loans that appear to be from himself; $1.2M spent, and $12,254.88 available. He owes $400K in loans, some to himself and some to banks, though I'd tend to assume he personally guaranteed those; otherwise, should the PAC default, the banks could find themselves unwitting contributors, as it were. Too, Ron Gidwitz filed with $7.0M in receipts, mostly from himself, $7.2M spent and ending with $2,690.04 cash on hand. He owes himself $4.0 million. A related fund, the Illinois Turn Around Team, reported $365K in receipts (including $250K transferred from the main Gitwitz PAC), $811K spent, and $54K available.

Other interesting PACs: Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley showed $63K in receipts, nearly all of that interest payments; $329K spent and $1.9M available. The Illinois Civil Justice League's JUSTPAC reports $63K in, $142K out, and $58K available.

And the reports keep coming.

Got Debt (D2 Day)

Disclosure reports are starting to come in; nothing too interesting yet, but some bits of note:

Jim Oberweis filed showing $16K in hand as of June 30. The dairyman reported raising $2.2M, mostly loans from himself, spending $2.6M, and ending the period owing himself $2.0M. The others haven’t filed yet, as of this writing.

Sandy Cole (R-62) filed showing $22K in receipts, $10K in-kind, and $22K spent. She reports 8,406.15 cash on hand. Top donors include Personal PAC (most of the In-Kinds), herself, and Tom Cross for $2K. Her opponent in the primary, the Robert Churchill-backed Barbara Oilschlager, reported $18K in receipts, $18K spent, and $4.75 cash on hand.

John Stroger has some book balancing to do, which maybe he can’t manage right now between visits to the hospital. Most of the re-election campaign was run through Stroger for President, but he had two other committees that helped out. His 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, which despite the name lists its purpose as supporting John Stroger for office, reports $36K in receipts, $238K out, including $150K to Stroger for President, and an ending balance of minus $144,099.30. Apparently, there’s some loaning going on, or maybe the bank will just hit the PAC with a NSF letter. Citizens for Stroger reported very little raised, transferred $1.5M to Stroger for President, and ended with $258K on hand, which is more than enough to cover the debt in the 8th Ward Regular PAC. Stroger for President saw most of the real action; it started with $14K, raised $2.3M, mostly transfers from the other PACs, spent $2M, and ended with $349,236.50 on hand.

On the judicial front, the two winners from the 3rd Appellate District have filed, though the two primary losers have not. Michael Powers, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination, shows $47K in receipts, $45K in-kind, $40K spent, and $21,438.83 on hand. His in-kinds were nearly all from the Illinois Civil Justice League, who picked up the cost of a communications consultant. The League played a big role in the 5th District Supreme Court race last time, and this Appellate Court race is in the same District where Justice Tom Kilbride will face retention in 2010, so this is something to watch. Democrat Vicki Wright rasied $18K, including a $2K refund; spent $22K and ended with $613.07. She also shows $5.5K in-kind, mostly from herself

Thursday, July 27, 2006

On the Air in Chicago

Gov. Blagojevich has spent $5.2 million on TV ads in the Chicago market during the first half of 2006, including $1.8 million before the primary and $3.4 million afterwards. His campaign reported having $18.3 million available for the Primary, including cash on hand and funds raised before March 20. Looking only at the pre-Primary numbers, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Gidwitz spent the most on Chicago market ads, at $2.4 million. Disclosure reports for all candidates for the first half of 2006 are due to be filed with the State Board of Elections by Monday, July 31.

All told, candidates have spent some $15.2 million for TV ads broadcast in the Chicago, including $14 million by candidates for state office and $1.1 million by candidates for federal office.

Governor Blagojevich’s re-election campaign is the only campaign that has been running ads since the March Primary. The first wave of these ads, from the day after the Primary through April 10, included 453 30-second spots in the Chicago market, at a cost of $732,000. The second wave, which switched to bookended 15-second spots but otherwise retained the same apparent placement strategy, ran from April 20 to May 10 at a cost of $1.2 million for 1,365 total spots. The third wave ran from June 2 through July 3, including 1,764 15-second spots at a cost of $1.5 million.

The governor’s campaign has not aired spots since the Independence Day holiday, but they have told Chicago TV stations that the ad flights will resume in August. ICPR has updated its analysis of these ad broadcasts here. ICPR has also teamed with reform groups in other states around the Midwest to monitor news broadcasts in the weeks leading up to the November general; read the press release here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lobbyists Everywhere (Cook Co. Edition)

Who’s the biggest lobbyist in Illinois? Many of us could guess, but there’s no way of knowing exactly. Illinois does not require lobbyists to disclose their billings, nor what actions they take on behalf of their clients. But some parts of Illinois do, and those can be interesting.

Cook County, for instance, requires disclosure of billings by lobbyists. The top lobbyists in Cook County are probably familiar to statehouse denizens: Michael Kasper and Courtney Nottage report the highest lobbyist billing in Cook County. But those figures reflect only billing for lobbing in Cook, not statehouse work, or other levels of government.

Today’s Trib reports on these numbers, courtesy of Cook County Clerk David Orr. It’s past time for Illinois to consider this kind of reporting for state lobbyists. And a measure like HB 5765 would be a good place to start.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Win Me a Seat

Kudos to the editorial board at the Decatur Herald & Review for recognizing the risks of redistricting as it's practiced here in Illinois. Noting the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Texas case, the paper writes, " The last time [Illinois' congressional] boundaries were redrawn, there was only one purpose in mind: protect incumbents."

We couldn't agree more, and hope that Illinois will find ways to minimize the monkeying around with mapmaking. As it is, most candidates for state legislative office don't have opponents in the general election, depriving voters of a choice in the "election."

The H&R also notes that "there is scant chance Illinois will change the way it redraws its political maps." They may be right, but once voters realize that their officials are choosing them rather than letting voters choose their officials, the chance for change will improve.

Monday, July 10, 2006

President Bush Comments ... sort of ... on Patrick Fitzgerald

When President Bush was in Chicago on Friday, July 7th, Rick Pearson, the Chicago Tribune's political writer, asked about Patrick Fitzgerald, whose office just the day before had won convictions in the trial of Mayor Daley's patronage chief and three others.

Fitzgerald's official term as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois has expired, and - like some U.S. Attorneys in other parts of the country - he is continuing to serve until the President either reappoints him or names someone else.

Pearson asked the President if he planned to reappoint Fitzgerald. Around these parts, Fitzgerald is best known for his work rooting out corruption in state and local government, but the President knows him best for his work as special prosecutor in the White House/CIA leak investigation.

His answer was a bit confusing. Local news media reported Bush said he hadn't given the reappointment idea any thought.

Writing from Washington, Tribune senior correspondent Michael Tackett reported Bush "seemed knocked back a bit" by the question. That's a nice way to put it.

Here is the Bush-Pearson exchange as transcribed by the White House. You be the judge.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think we had a reasonable chance of shooting it down. At least that's what the military commanders told me.

Rick. Let's get a little local here, Ricky. Do you consider yourself local or national? Hybrid? Are you a hybrid?

Q It seems trendy --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very trendy. You're kind of a trendy guy. Got the gray shirt.

Q Thank you very much. Mr. President, the work of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in prosecuting alleged corruption is well-known here in Chicago, as well as nationally. It's my understanding that technically, he hasn't been reappointed to his position, and serves at your pleasure. Do you have any plans to formally reappoint him to the post, or any position at Department of Justice?

THE PRESIDENT: As a special prosecutor?

Q And would you give us your assessment of the job that he's doing?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't have any plans to reappoint him because I haven't thought about it. I will now think about it, now that you brought it up.

The only -- I can give you an assessment of how I thought he handled the case in Washington. I haven't been following the cases here. I thought in Washington he handled the case with professionalism, he was very professional about it. You didn't see a lot leaks, you didn't see a lot of speculation, you didn't see a lot of people kind of dropping a little crumb here for the press to chew on. And I really thought he handled himself well.

But as far as reappointing him as a special prosecutor, I don't know whether the Attorney General is going to do that, or not. That's his choice to make."

For that and more, here is the complete White House transcript of the July 7 press conference in Chicago.

If you agree with us that Fitzgerald should be reappointed, here's the address for your heartfelt letter:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Or send an e-mail to

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Patronage is Still Wrong

Cynthia Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, released the following statement in reaction to the convictions of Robert Sorich, former director of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and his three co-defendants:

A U.S. Supreme Court decision, newspaper exposés, and angry taxpayers have not been able to stop corrupt hiring practices in Chicago City Hall. Some long prison terms should help clean up City Hall. The men convicted today were not merely “playing the game” the way it has always been played. Government isn’t a game. Public funds and the health and safety of the public were at stake. The schemers who treat government as a game should be drummed out of City Hall and we’re confident U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and the scores of prosecutors and investigators working with him will remain vigilant.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Forgotten Penalties

Most of the attention recently about public corruption has been focused on trials and the possibility of criminal penalties. Federal prosecutors have sent dozens off to prison at the state and local levels in recent years.

But that’s not all that wrongdoers face. If they’re licensed professionals in some capacity, they could lose their livelihood. Many professions, including law, have provisions that allow the professional authority to revoke a license if the licensee brings disrepute to the profession, are convicted of crimes or exhibit unethical behavior. James Laski isn’t only going to jail, losing his job and forfeiting tens of thousands of dollars; he has also lost his law license, meaning that when he gets out of jail, he’ll have to look for a whole new way to earn a living.

Even the retired can lose their future incomes. Word came this past week that Dean Bauer, one of the early poster-boys for all that was wrong with George Ryan's Secretary of State’s office, is losing his pension. His disservice to the taxpayers earned him 366 days behind bars plus two years of supervised release, and it will also now cost him his retirement pay for years to come.

Whether in the public or private sector, workers with corrupt bosses sometimes feel pressure to participate in illegal schemes or to look the other way. Although some government employees have a hard time resisting the pressure from above, awareness of the punishment received by those who have been caught -- including jail time and lost pension benefits -- may be all the incentive some need to behave ethically and even to report the ethical lapses of their bosses and co-workers.