Monday, February 26, 2007



Since the start of 2007, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s campaign has collected more than $3 million in contributions – a rate of more than $54,000 per day or $2,250 each hour.

In the first 56 days of 2007, the Daley reelection committee has received just about the same amount of money as it collected in the prior two years, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) and the Sunshine Project.

Daley, who is seeking a fifth term, received $3,058,556 in campaign contributions between Jan. 1 and Feb. 25. In the 2005-2006 election cycle, his campaign committee reported $3,226,870.

Information about contributions to Daley and other candidates in Tuesday’s election are now available at

The Sunshine Database has been updated with more than 36,000 individual contributions to the election campaigns of every candidate for citywide office, all 50 aldermen and their opponents, and the wealthiest political ward committees. The database has complete records for the 2005-2006 cycle. Large contributions in 2007 are being tracked and noted on the web site, and the complete documentation will be added after the election.

New information added to the web site on the eve of the city election includes Daley’s top 20 individual contributors from Jan. 1 through Feb. 25, 2007; the top 20 union and corporate contributions to the Daley campaign in the same time period; and top 20 contributors to aldermanic campaigns in 2007.

Judd Malkin, Chairman of JMB Realty, so far is the top 2007 individual contributor to any candidate. He has contributed $200,000 to the Daley campaign.

The political action committee controlled by the Illinois branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is by far the biggest single contributor to any of the campaigns. Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 25, the SEIU Illinois Council PAC Fund contributed $780,000 to aldermanic campaigns. SEIU represents more than 165,000 Illinois workers in government, health care and building services. SEIU gave nearly $1.2 million to Illinois candidates in 2005-2006, the largest of all contributors in the 2006 campaigns.

Below are downloadable files of top donors to the Daley campaign and fundraising totals for aldermanic and citywide races as of 9 am the day before the election.


Friday, February 23, 2007

$16M for Contested Chicago Council Races

Candidates for contested seats on the Chicago City Council have raised at least $16 million for their 2007 election campaigns, and only a handful of challengers have been able to match the fundraising success of the incumbent aldermen, according to an analysis by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR).

Fundraising totals vary wildly from one candidate to another. One candidate reports a six-figure total, but others have raised just a few thousand dollars. Nine candidates are unopposed and are not included in these figures.

14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke once again is the fundraising king of the City Council. Burke, a long time council veteran, reported more than $5.8 million in contributions. His opponent, his first in years, has yet to form a fundraising committee. By comparison all 12 candidates running for an open seat in the 15th Ward have a combined total of less than $250,000.

Citywide candidates report $8 million, though incumbent Mayor Richard M Daley holds the lion’s share of those funds: $7.1 million, while all other citywide candidates, for all three citywide offices, combine for $850K.

Among the more interesting Aldermanic campaigns:

* In the 2nd Ward, three candidates report raising over $100K, with a fourth close behind. From a fundraising perspective, this race appears to have the most well-funded candidates.

* In the 7th Ward, appointed Ald. Darcel Beavers and opponent Sandi Jackson have both raised more than $100K;Jackson reports the most, at $227K, while Beavers shows $136K. No other candidate reported over $10K in funds for next Tuesday’s election.

* In the 12th Ward, incumbent Ald. George Cardenas reports $149K, giving him a slight financial lead over challenger Carina Sanchez, at $129K. Only one of the other four candidates, Jesus Salazar, reports raising over $10K; Salazar stands at $12K.

* In the open 15th Ward, Toni Foulkes reports $196K; all 11 other candidates combine for about $50K.

* In the 19th Ward, incumbent Ald. Ginger Rugai shows $142K, more than both challengers combined. Repeat challenger John Summerville shows $58K, while newcomer Tim Sheehan shows $26K

* In the 20th Ward, indicted incumbent Arenda Troutman shows just $33K for Tuesday’s election. She still holds a strong fundraising lead over both challengers, one of whom, Willie Cochran, shows $17K and the other of whom, Edward Chaney, has failed to file timely campaign disclosure reports.

* In the 21st Ward, Leroy Jones reports $206K in receipts, $200K in recent money. He's facing incumbent Howard Brookins, who reports $50K in receipts; two other challengers, Sylvia Jones and Dwayne Belle, have yet to form fundraising committees.

* In the 25th Ward, Ald. Danny Solis shows $290K, most of which was raised since January 1. Challenger Juan Soliz shows $70K, nearly all of which came in since January 1, while Martha Padilla reports $53K. Three other candidates combine for another $70K.

* In the 42nd Ward, challenger Brendan Reilly reports$335K for the race; more than most incumbents. The incumbent he is facing, though, Ald. Burton Natarus, reports more than twice as much, at $684K.

* In the 43rd Ward, incumbent Vi Daley holds a strong fundraising edge, at $315K, but two opponents, Michelle Smith and Tim Egan, have raised over $100K. Of the other two candidates, one, Rachel Goodstein, shows $1K, while Peter Zelchenko hasn’t filed timely disclosure reports.

* In the 50th Ward, Ald. Bernie Stone and challenger Naisy Dolar both show $130K available, while Greg Brewer shows $91K. A fourth candidate, Salman Aftab, reports $15K.

Figures for all races are available for download here (.xls). Totals are based on disclosure reports filed with the State Board of Elections, including cash on hand on December 31, 2006 and reported funds raised since then as of 9AM on Friday, February 23.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Action Heroes

In this week's Crain's Chicago Business, ICPR Director Cindi Canary lists governors from around the nation who have identified corruption problems in their states and taken bold and clear steps to address the problems: Connecticut's M. Jodi Rell,. New York's Elliot Spitzer, and Wisconsin's Jim Doyle. Where does out governor rank on the list? Read more in Crain's.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Let the Searches Begin

In the last two years, more than $29 million has flowed into campaign funds controlled by Chicago city officials and their challengers, and now it’s easy for voters to identify the big contributors and see where the money is going.

The Sunshine Database at has been updated for the Chicago elections, with more than 36,000 individual contributions to the election campaigns of every candidate for citywide office, all 50 aldermen and their opponents, and the wealthiest political ward committees.

“The Sunshine Database has become one of the handiest and most popular investigative tools for journalists and everyday voters,” said Cynthia Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR). “Once limited to statewide, legislative and judicial campaigns, the search tool has been expanded to include every candidate vying for a piece of the power in Chicago’s City Hall.”

“Visitors to the web site will find the names of the top 50 contributors to the reelection of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, as well as who is contributing to Dorothy Brown’s and Dock Walls' campaigns to unseat Daley,” said Kent Redfield, Director of the Sunshine Project and a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “It is now easy to find information about the contributors, how much they gave, and what other candidates received money from them. The web site also reports how the campaigns have been spending their money."

“Because contribution reports prepared by the candidates have a variety of name spellings and even nicknames for the same contributor, it is impossible for some web sites to provide an accurate account of who is funding campaigns,” Redfield said. “But we have standardized all of the names and done additional coding to make searches far more complete.”

The extensive update of the Sunshine Database was accomplished with the assistance of an investigative journalism class at Columbia College in Chicago and college interns working at ICPR.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow Jobs

Suppose for a moment that you've got a really great snowplow. And your fondest wish is to clean your driveway, and your neighbors' driveways, and the street in between. Suppose your neighbors all know you have this great plow, and they call to ask if you've done the job yet. Now suppose you can't tell them. You can take the phone calls, but you're not allowed to tell them what you've done. And when they look out their windows…

Well, that's where the analogy breaks down. Because your neighbors can look out their windows and see if the snow's been plowed. But with our Executive and Legislative Ethics Commissions and Inspectors General, it's not so easy to look out the window and see if they've ferreted out corruption. We know how many complaints have been filed, and we know how many investigations the IGs have undertaken. We don't know what happened with those investigations, but we do know that most of them have been concluded without going to the Ethics Commission for final resolution. In fact, nearly all investigations have been concluded by the IGs without oversight from the Commissions. So what's going on? Is the ethics process working?

A bunch of great stories on this problem have come out recently. ABC 7 Chicago did a story you can read and watch here. The Tribune has a story, as does the Daily Herald.

The 2003 Ethics Act made great strides in creating the mechanisms necessary to clean up Illinois government. What it did not do is let anyone else know what's going on or, even, if anything is going on. A little disclosure, a little sunshine in ethics, would go a long way, to clean up government, to educate public employees about what's allowed and what's not, and to assure the public that their interests come first.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Clean, or no?

It's a week before Valentine's Day in a non-election year and already events are putting a spotlight on public financing of campaigns, as candidates for President are announcing whether or not they will take clean money and the spending limits that come with them. US Sen. Hilary Clinton says no, she'll eschew public funds and instead rely on private and special interest donors. US Sen. John McCain, chief sponsor of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, says he's not sure. And Illinois' own US Sen. Barack Obama is asking the Federal Elections Commission if he can take special interest funds now and change his mind later.

USA Today offers a good overview of why public financing is worth supporting. Candidates may be able to raise hundreds of millions in voluntary donations from private interests, but at what cost? As the paper asks, "will these folks expect access and favors for themselves and their clients? Does anyone really think otherwise?"

Here in Illinois the focus for public financing has been on the judiciary. Judicial elections really are different from legislative or executive elections, and in a state where litigants and their representatives have ponied up over $9 million for one seat on the Supreme Court, justice really is at stake. Today's Daily Herald declares public financing "a sound proposal." They might prefer merit selection, but, they continue, "merit selection is not on the near horizon. With the introduction of this bill, public financing and donation limits are. Lawmakers would do well to adopt this, if only as an intermediary step."

To be sure, we shouldn't give the impression that enacting public financing is a one-shot vaccine. The federal public financing system hasn't been overhauled in decades and deserves tending to. And a similar system here will need on-going care to ensure it meets the goal of providing adequate resources to credible candidates. But the alternative -- of letting special interests determine which candidates have the resources to mount a credible campaign -- is too damaging to our polity.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Judging the Elections, Electing the Judges

The 2004 Fifth District Supreme Court race set of alarm bells around the country by shattering campaign spending records. That $9M record - nearly all of it from tort interests - is likely to stand for some time; early reports indicate that none of the 2006 races elsewhere in the country reached that high.

The 2006 Appellate Court race in the same District became a replay of the same proxy war. Tort plaintiffs gave heavily to the Democrat, while tort defendants gave to the Republican; average citizens, non-litigants and those interested in other kinds of cases didn't give much.

The total dollar amounts weren't quite as high in the Appellate Court race, but you wouldn't expect them to be. Republican Steven McGlynn spent $2.3M on the race, more than all candidates combined in previous appellate races. He lost to Democrat Bruce Stewart, who reported spending $1.1M.

The dollar amounts are still absurdly high. They serve to scare qualified candidates away from running, especially Democrats who don't have the support of personal injury plaintiffs and Republicans who don't have the support of personal injury defendants.

If there's a silver lining, it's that Judge Stewart proved that candidates can win without matching their opponent dollar for dollar. In the Third District, too, the winner prevailed despite being heavily outspent. Potential candidates leery of running against better-funded opponents can rest assured that financial parity is not necessary for victory.

Stewart still took a lot of plaintiffs' money, though, and regardless of what sort of jurist he proves to be, he will likely face allegations that his donors bought a victory, just as Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier has faced such allegations. Regardless of who wins, the current system ensures dissatisfaction. So that candidates don't have to rely on special interest donations, ICPR supports public financing for judicial candidates, but we acknowledge that there are other ways around this thicket and we hope others are willing to explore alternative ways of funding these campaigns.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Richard Daley and the City Lites

Mayor Daley's fundraising got plenty of ink in this morning's papers, but a few other observations are worth noting. He's out-raised his opponents, yes, But more than that, he's raised more than all other city-wide candidates combined; 15 times more than the other citywides. Which says something. He can blanket the airwaves with 30-second spots, defining his opponents before they can define themselves. If he decides that someone he wants to win is in trouble, he's in a position to help them. He can include them in his TV spots, at very little cost to himself. He's got options.

He has options because he has money: $4.2M. It's worth noting who is giving to him and who isn't. Who isn't is people who give small checks. Donations under $150 are not itemized on the disclosure reports, and he shows only $375.00 in non--itemized giving. Which means that perhaps only 3 people have him small checks. (maybe as many as 375 people gave him $1.00 each; with over 6 million people in the region; same diff).

Who is giving is a curious bi-partisan combination. Andy McKenna Sr. is not the chair of the Illinois Republican Party; that's his son, but Sr. has given Mayor Daley $25K. Fred Krehbiel is a long-time Republican donor at the state and federal levels; he's given Daley $100K. Craig Duchossois comes from a Republican family; over the last decade 89% of his family's giving has been to Republicans; he gave Daley $100K. Some Democrats gave, too. But the point is, Daley is already well funded, and press reports suggest he's planning one fundraiser a day until February 27.

Challenger Dorothy Brown has $118K, about what she had before she announced. Dock Walls shows just $4K. Daley filed reports yesterday showing $134K raised on January 30th. He refunded $27,250 of that, but if the guy can raise more in one day than his opponents have on hand, that's making a statement.

In the clerk's race, Miguel Del Valle reports $70K available. Most of the money came in before Daley announced his selection as City Clerk; he shows only $25K raised in the final weeks of the year. Challenger and former Daley Aide Jose Cerda reported $56K available. Diane Jones doesn't appear to have formed a committee yet.

New City Treasurer Stephanie Neely is unopposed in her first race for political office. She has $32K, but being unopposed, she won't really need it.

Top Legislative Races in the 2006 General

We hope to have numbers for city and judicial races soon; in the meantime, here are our counts of the top legislative races. Haven't quite got all the kinks worked out of New Blogger; sorry for the formatting.

A few observations: The top spending Senate race was an open seat, though Sen. Judy Myers had represented part of the district under the previous map. Note that in House races, the winner of these top races was always the incumbent. The House race that flipped was the 44th between incumbent Terry Parke and winner Fred Crespo. Parke reported spending $383K, to Crespo's $133K; not only was their combined spending less than half what the #5 House race spent, but the winner was outspent nearly 3:1.

Top Senate Races:

52nd - Michael Frerichs (Winner) $1,192,455
Judy Myers $962,316
Joseph Parnarauskis $620

49th - Deanna Demuzio (Winner) $1,163,580
Jeff Richey $274,696

34th - Dave Syverson (Winner) $779,875
Dan Lewandowski $524,903

22nd - Mike Noland (Winner) $609,291
Billie Roth $602,281

33rd - Dan Kotowski (Winner) $661,302
Cheryl Axley $491,319

42nd - Linda Holmes (Winner) $671,129
Terri Wintermute $499,396

Top House Races:

107th - Kurt Granberg (Winner) $880,914
John Cavaletto $733,570

71st - Mike Boland (Winner) $786,106
Steve Haring $633,805

91st - Mike Smith (Winner) $900,716
Daryl Dagit $515,223

92nd - Aaron Schock (Winner) $860,568
Bill Spears $476,661

101st- Bob Fidler (Winner) $645,337
Dick Cain $475,238

Wierdness with the Strogers

Last fall, the story about Todd Stroger was that he needed money, and that the $1.1 million that his father had raised was not available for the son's campaign. Rumors were that the cash was gone. Turns out that wasn't exactly true, but the reports filed yesterday don't entirely clear things up.

John Stroger had three committees: Citizens for Stroger, Stroger for President, and the 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, which John Stroger chaired and which supported one and only one candidate: John Stroger. Citizens for Stroger filed yesterday showing $266K available; they spent only $9K last fall. Stroger for President filed with $344K available, after spending $86K last fall.

It's in the 8th Ward RDO that it gets weird. The committee reported last July that they had $503,502 cash available on June 30. Yesterday's report, by contrast, claims $0 cash on hand on July 1. Poverty wasn't a problem; they spent a ton over the next few weeks, including buying a $440K CD on October 26th and giving $12K to "Friends of Todd Stroger for Pres of the Ck Cty" on November 17 (after the election, which means that transaction probably didn't violate their Statement of Non-Participation). They reported ending the year $426K in the hole.

This is just weird. Claiming a zero balance on July 1 makes no sense. If they'd shown the $503K that they claimed on June 30 as a starting balance, they'd end the year with $440K in CDs and $77K cash available. Which would show the three committees with $1.1M available; about what they reported on June 30. That would show that Todd Stroger's claims of poverty were inaccurate, and maybe that's the concern. Instead, we have to ask, where did the money go? What's going on with the Stroger funds?

Continuing with the weird theme, Friends for Todd H. Stroger for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners didn’t report receiving a $12K check from the 8th Ward RDO, or any check from any of John Stroger's funds. Maybe the check got lost in the mail? Maybe somebody has answers.

Not that it affected Todd Stroger. Friends for Todd H. Stroger for President of the Cook County Board reported spending $1.8M during the general election and ended the period with $247K cash on hand (and $525K in debts, including an apparently unsecured $500K loan from Amalgamated Bank). Friends for Todd H. Stroger, his older aldermanic fund, spend $36K and ended with $3K cash on hand. His opponent in the race, Tony Peraica, reported $1.25M in spending and a $1.4M debt to himself.