Friday, December 14, 2007

Chris Kelly's Campaign Contributions

Most of the search for meaning in yesterday's Chris Kelly indictment on income tax evasion charges has rightly focused on his close personal relationship with Gov. Blagojevich. As we noted in yesterday's post, the indictment calls into question how the governor vetted advisors; who was bending his ear is worth examining, and the facts alleged in the indictment, if true, suggest that Kelly should not have been a Special Government Agent on behalf of the governor in internal meetings at the Gaming Board.

As a sidebar, the indictment also appears to be a jumping off point to revisit Kelly's campaign donations to the governor. For consistency's sake, here's our accounting of campaign donations from Kelly and associated entities, based on reports filed with the State Board of Elections and included in the Sunshine Database.

The governor's campaign fund reports $688,500 in donations and loans from Kelly affiliates These include $337K from CGK Consulting, including $250K in loans; $125K from BCI Roofing; $109K from Castle Construction, including a $2,500 donation from Anthony Blum, an employee; and $117,500 from MBB, including $100K in loans. All of those were reported in 2000-2002. In 2004, Blagojevich's campaign fund repaid the $250K loan from CGK, and in 2005, they repaid the $100K loan from MBB. Net of those loan repayments, Friends of Blagojevich reports $338.5K in receipts from entities affiliated with Chris Kelly.

Friends of Blagojevich also hired Castle Construction to do work on the Blagojevich campaign headquarters at a cost of $236K during the 2004-2005 winter. But that was payment for actual services, not debt service.

Kelly's affiliates haven't given much lately. The great bulk of their giving was to Blagojevich, and all of that was during 2000-2002. Other top recipients include Chicago Alderman Patrick Levar (including $9,540 directly and $5,600 to the 45th Ward Regular Democrats), Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch ($11K, all in 2006 and 2007), and former Attorney General candidate John Schmidt. Smaller receipts were reported by legislators ($3K by Lee Daniels, $500 each by Jay Hoffman and Susan Mendoza), Chicago Aldermen ($9K by Ed Burke or the 14th Ward Ad Book Committee, $3K by Danny Solis, $2K by William JP Banks, $1.5K by Carrie Austin, $500 by Patrick O'Connor) and other assorted officials ($2K by Tom Dart, $1.5K by Richard M Daley, $1K by Dan Hynes) and some others.

That John Schmidt contribution was made in December, 1997; it was the second reported donation from a Kelly-affiliate. The first reported contribution by a Kelly-affiliate was a $400 donation from BCI in May, 1997 to then-Secretary of State George Ryan.

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