A new national survey of state campaign finance disclosure systems ranks Illinois tops in the nation for its electronic filing program,. The same survey, by the Campaign Disclosure Project of the California Voter Foundation based at UCLA, gave Illinois low marks for the campaign disclosure law, ranking us 29th in the nation. The report is here; press coverage is here and here.
The findings mirror similar reports in 2005 and 2003, that the State Board of Elections does a fantastic job of letting the public know what's in the disclosure reports, but that the underlying disclosure law leave a lot to be desired. We still have no rules on the size and source of donations, allowing corporations, unions, and associations to give unlimited amounts; allowing unrestricted transfers between committees, even tolerating donations from regulated industries and state contractors. All of these are regulated in nearly every other state in the country. Legislation to address these failings, including HB 1 and HB 3497 languish in the Senate and House respectively.
The report is right to praise what we do well, but it also serves as another reminder of the work we have yet to do.