Rauner Adds $50 Million to Campaign Fund

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As we put the 2016 election behind us and look toward 2018 and the Governor’s race in particular the parlor game of trying to speculate how expensive the upcoming election will be has heated up. Today Governor Rauner contributed an eye-opening $50 million to his campaign fund.

In the 2014 cycle Rauner contributed almost $38 million to his own campaign fund, but $10 million of that came after the election and was actually used in the 2016 cycle to help the Republican legislative effort. This fall when it was reported that the Governor’s personal earnings had reached $188 million, up from a pauper-like $58 million the year before, there was speculation that the Governor would spend even more this cycle. This $50 million reported today is listed as a contribution, not a loan, and while he could always refund part or all of it at some point in the future it certainly sent a message.

But in addition to the political ramifications of an influx this size the timing is also relevant. You may recall that the Governor gave his campaign fund $2 million in February of this year and another $5 million in September, in fact $7,750,000 prior to today for this cycle, however the contribution limits have not been lifted for the upcoming Governor’s race even though these amounts are greater than the $250,000 in personal funds that would normally lift the caps. Here’s why from the relevant section of the law, relevant emphasis mine:

5/9-8.5 Limitations on campaign contributions.
(h) Self-funding candidates. If a public official, a candidate, or the public official’s or candidate’s immediate family contributes or loans to the public official’s or candidate’s political committee or to other political committees that transfer funds to the public official’s or candidate’s political committee or makes independent expenditures for the benefit of the public official’s or candidate’s campaign during the 12 months prior to an election in an aggregate amount of more than (i) $250,000 for statewide office or (ii) $100,000 for all other elective offices, then the public official or candidate shall file with the State Board of Elections, within one day, a Notification of Selffunding that shall detail each contribution or loan made by the public official, the candidate, or the public official’s or candidate’s immediate family. Within 2 business days after the filing of a Notification of Self-funding, the notification shall be posted on the Board’s website and the Board shall give official notice of the filing to each candidate for the same office as the public official or candidate making the filing, including the public official or candidate filing the Notification of Self-funding. Notice shall be sent via first class mail to the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate’s committee. Notice shall also be sent by e-mail to the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate’s committee if the candidate and the treasurer, as applicable, have provided the Board with an e-mail address. Upon posting of the notice on the Board’s website, all candidates for that office, including the public official or candidate who filed a Notification of Self-funding, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limits imposed by subsection (b). If a public official or candidate filed a Notification of Self-Funding during an election cycle that includes a general primary election or consolidated primary election and that public official or candidate is nominated, all candidates for that office, including the nominee who filed the notification of self-funding, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limit imposed by subsection (b) for the subsequent election cycle. For the purposes of this subsection, “immediate family” means the spouse, parent, or child of a public official or candidate.

We are still more than 12 months away from the next election, the 2018 primary, so this action will not remove the contribution limits. The Governor and any candidates who file against him still have to abide by contribution limits, even though the Governor has a $50 million head start and even though had this $50 million contribution come in April instead of today it would lift the contribution limits for all candidates of both parties.

Eventually there will be no contribution limits in the Governor’s race, we repeatedly saw the threshold achieved in so many state legislative races that it will certainly happen in the Governor’s race. But we’re in a bit of a loophole in the language of the contribution limit law allowing the wealthy self-funders to stockpile large amounts of campaign cash without triggering the fairness mechanism that would lift the caps for the other candidates while they attempt to even the playing field. On the Democratic side some wealthy potential candidates have been rumored to be interested in the race, it will be interesting to see if they stockpile early cash in the next few months to get ahead of their less wealthy potential rivals.

The other interesting question is whether or not the Governor would have an advantage if the caps were lifted? There are numerous potential Democratic candidates but so far no rumored Republican primary challengers. If at any point the Governor decides he wants an expensive bloodbath on the Democratic side he only has to add $250,000 more, assuming that none of the Democrats do what’s necessary to lift the caps first.

Contribution limits in Illinois have done nothing to limit money in the political system, there is more money than ever, but the rules are so convoluted that they keep creating these odd situations. With divided government that isn’t likely to change any time soon.

How the Money Moves, Part 3

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In yesterday’s installment, How the Money Moves, Part 2, the last thing I wrote was “Also, it’s unlikely that this is our last unexpected development before the election. Stay tuned.” It took less than 20 minutes for that to come true.

Last night the Governor’s Independent Expenditure committee, Turnaround Illinois, filed a B-1 disclosing independent expenditures totaling $101,843.15 for radio ads supporting House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who is unopposed this fall. When an IE committee makes independent expenditures supporting or opposing a candidate in a race in amounts greater than certain limits ($250,000 for a statewide race, $100,000 for all other races) the contribution limits are lifted for all candidates in that race. Section 5/9-8.5 (h-5) and (h-10) of the election code govern this process, neither specify that an opponent is necessary in order to lift the caps and I could find no other section of the election code that made an opponent a requirement to lift the caps. It appears that even though Leader Durkin is unopposed, this action will lift the caps in his race and his campaign committee will be able to raise unlimited funds for the rest of the year. As we’ve mentioned before in a general election candidate committees are allowed to make unlimited transfers to party committees who can then make unlimited transfers to candidate committees so leader Durkin will be able to transfer unlimited amounts to either the Illinois Republican Party or the House Republican Organization (HRO is registerd as a party committee) who can then spend or transfer that money in unlimited amounts on other legislative races as they wish.

Turnaround Illinois was created in April of 2015 by the Governor and his allies. Its chairperson is the CFO from the Governor’s campaign and its treasurer is his campaign’s chief legal counsel. Since inception the committee has raised $6.25 million, $4 million from former Chicago Tribune owner Sam Zell and $2.25 million from Bruce Rauner’s personal funds. The Governor spent the last few months touring the state in support of term limits which was accompanied by a television campaign, those TV ads were paid for by the Turnaround Illinois independent expenditure committee.

If the sole intention here was to lift the contribution limits for Leader Durkin they chose the more expensive of two available routes. The caps can be lifted either due to independent expenditure spending or self funding, Leader Durkin could have loaned his campaign $100,000 and then paid it back the very next day and those actions would have been sufficient to lift the caps in this race. However in this instance Turnaround Illinois spent $100,000 on radio ads supporting Leader Durkin, who is unopposed, so that $100,000 spent will likely have very little ancillary benefit.

This may be the most direct example to circumvent the contribution limits so far but it’s probably not the strangest. In the 2015 Chicago Mayor’s race William Kelly loaned himself $100,000 and filed a Notification of Self Funding which lifted the caps for the Mayor’s race, but then he never even filed the paperwork to run for Mayor so the caps were lifted for a race he didn’t even officially participate in.

If the contribution limits are lifted for Leader Durkin’s campaign committee his would be the only one of the four legislative leaders’ campaign committees that can raise unlimited funds, but this isn’t the first time that has happened either. During the 2016 Democratic primary Speaker Madigan had three opponents for his 22nd district House seat. Former 2004 Democratic US Senate candidate Blair Hull and some of his wealthy allies funded an IE committee Illinois United for Change and that committee eventually made more than $100,000 in independent expenditures opposing Mike Madigan or supporting Jason Gonzales (their preferred candidate) and for the final two weeks of the primary Speaker Madigan’s campaign committee, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, was legally allowed to accept unlimited contributions. The odd thing is that during those two weeks the Speaker did not receive any contributions that were above the standard contribution limits.

Update: The contribution limits for Leader Durkin have been officially lifted.

 

Automatic Voter Registration

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In late May Senate Bill 250 passed both chambers and will soon be sent to the Governor for signature.

The key feature of the bill is to allow for the automatic registration of eligible voters (or updating the registration for voters who have moved) after interacting with one of the five state agencies that currently participate in the “motor voter” program: the Secretary of State, Department of Aging, Department of Employment Security, Department of Human Services and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. These new provisions are to be implemented no later than January 1, 2018. The bill allows for the State Board of Elections to allow other agencies to participate as well, for example the Department of Revenue.

After interacting with one of the participating agencies the agency will electronically send all of the relevant information to the State Board of Elections who will review the information and then send it to the local election authority who will make the final determination for properly registering the voter. The bill lays out the procedures for validating eligibility, notification when a participant is not eligible and there are explicit protections in place so that a previously registered voter may still vote a full ballot in the event that an automatic change in that voter’s registration causes an error in their registration.

Here are a few of the bill’s other features:

  • The State Board of Elections and participating government agencies must implement policies and procedures to protect the privacy and security of the data being transmitted between agencies.
  • The agencies are directed to adopt practices to protect the information of individuals, such as domestic violence survivors, who have order of protection or otherwise need to keep their personal information off of a publicly available voter list.
  • The State Board will submit an annual report specifying the number of various types of transmittals and registrations specified by the bill.
  • State agency and election authority websites will be updated to include information about the new registration procedures.
  • The State Board of Elections is required to hold at least one public hearing by January 1, 2017.
  • If an ineligible voter is accidentally registered automatically through no fault of their own they are not deemed to have committed a crime.

 

Thank you to Abe Scarr of Illinois PIRG for sharing your bill analysis with me.

General Election Candidate Filing

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For offices where no candidate was nominated by an established political party that party can appoint someone to the ballot for the General Election so long as they submit petitions and their candidate filing papers by May 31st. For example in the 1st State House District the Democrats nominated incumbent Dan Burke, he won his primary with no opposition but no Republican candidate filed so the party could appoint someone to appear on the fall ballot so long as they submit the required paperwork. That is true for every such situation.

Here are the relevant sections of the election code which explain this process. I had to look it up so I figured others might find it useful as well.

10 ILCS 5/7-61
If the name of no established political party candidate was printed on the consolidated primary ballot for a particular office and if no person was nominated as a write-in candidate for such office, a vacancy in nomination shall be created which may be filled in accordance with the requirements of this Section. If the name of no established political party candidate was printed on the general primary ballot for a particular office and if no person was nominated as a write-in candidate for such office, a vacancy in nomination shall be filled only by a person designated by the appropriate committee of the political party and only if that designated person files nominating petitions with the number of signatures required for an established party candidate for that office within 75 days after the day of the general primary. The circulation period for those petitions begins on the day the appropriate committee designates that person. The person shall file his or her nominating petitions, statements of candidacy, notice of appointment by the appropriate committee, and receipt of filing his or her statement of economic interests together. These documents shall be filed at the same location as provided in Section 7-12. The electoral boards having jurisdiction under Section 10-9 to hear and pass upon objections to nominating petitions also shall hear and pass upon objections to nomination petitions filed by candidates under this paragraph.

In the proceedings to nominate a candidate to fill a vacancy or to fill a vacancy in the nomination, each precinct, township, ward, county or congressional district, as the case may be, shall through its representative on such central or managing committee, be entitled to one vote for each ballot voted in such precinct, township, ward, county or congressional district, as the case may be, by the primary electors of its party at the primary election immediately preceding the meeting at which such vacancy is to be filled.

 
 

10 ILCS 5/8-17
In the event that a candidate of a party who has been nominated under the provisions of this Article shall die before election (whether death occurs prior to, or on, or after, the date of the primary) or decline the nomination or should the nomination for any other reason become vacant, the legislative or representative committee of such party for such district shall nominate a candidate of such party to fill such vacancy. However, if there was no candidate for the nomination of the party in the primary, no candidate of that party for that office may be listed on the ballot at the general election, unless the legislative or representative committee of the party nominates a candidate to fill the vacancy in nomination within 75 days after the date of the general primary election. Vacancies in nomination occurring under this Article shall be filled by the appropriate legislative or representative committee in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-61 of this Code. In proceedings to fill the vacancy in nomination, the voting strength of the members of the legislative or representative committee shall be as provided in Section 8-6.

Weekly Roundup – March 5th, 2016

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I’ve been tweeting a lot of interesting updates from recent disclosures and I thought I’d do a weekly roundup to try to summarize the week’s interesting news and organize these developments into a format you can follow. Here is last week’s roundup.

Reminder:
  • A-1 reports are for contributions received by the committee of $1,000 or more.
  • B-1 reports are for independent expenditures made independent of the candidate (cannot be coordinated).
  • Regular expenditures (not independent expenditures) are not reported until the quarterly filings are due, next on 3/31.

What follows is not every development in each of these races, only the big and/or notable ones. For comprehensive coverage of all the campaign finance data subscribe to either or both of our Racing Forms, updated daily. The Illinois Racing Form covers all the General Assembly races, the Cook County Racing Form covers all the county candidates, MWRD, judges and committeemen races.

The big news this week was that the independent expenditure committee, Illinois United for Change, spent enough money in the 22nd House supporting Jason Gonzales/opposing Mike Madigan that it exceeded the threshold needed to lift the contribution limits for this race. Until election day on March 15th both candidate committees will be able to raise unlimited funds. Full coverage of that potentially significant issue can be found here.

5th House (D) – Ken Dunkin (i) vs. Juliana Stratton
  • IllinoisGO continues to spend heavily in this race. Last weekend they filed a B-1 for $18K on mail opposing Juliana Stratton, on Monday they filed a B-1 for $145K for TV ads, on Tuesday the B-1 was for $18K for mail and on Wednesday the B-1 was for $113K for mail and TV ads, all opposing Stratton.
  • Last weekend Juliana Stratton added $39K including in-kinds for mail from both the 42 Ward Organization and Personal PAC. On Tuesday she added $200K including $79K from the IEA, $50K from the Operating Engineers and $25K from the Teamsters. On Wednesday she added $32K including $30K from the AFT. And on Thursday she added $31K including $25K from the pipe trades and some in-kind mail from Personal PAC.
  • On Friday night Ken Dunkin added another $300K from Dan Proft’s Illinois Opportunity Project. Of the $809,500 that Dunkin has reported raising so far this quarter $800K of it has come from the IOP.
 
6th House (D) – Sonya Harper (i) vs. Darryl Smith vs. Kenyatta Nicole Vaughn vs. Genita Robinson
  • On Wednesday the Illinois Network of Charter Schools filed a B-1 for $8K for mail supporting Genita Robinson.
  • On Friday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for $18K for mail supporting Genita Robinson.
 
22nd House (D) – Michael Madigan (i) vs. Jason Gonzales vs. Joe Barboza vs. Grasiela Rodriguez
  • Throughout the week Jason Gonzales filed seven A-1’s totaling $94K, including $25K from Robert Hirsch and $7,250 from Blair Hull.
  • Illinois United for Change had a busy week, including spending enough money to meet the threshold to lift the contribution limits, as mentioned above. On Monday they added $100K, at least $50K of which came from Blair Hull, on Tuesday they added $175K including a $170K loan from Hull and on Friday they added $25K from Richard Dennis. They also spent some of that money, filing a B-1 on Tuesday for $45K for printing, a B-1 on Wednesday for $202K for TV, radio, production and printing and a B-1 on Friday for $15K for printing.
 
26th House (D) – Christian Mitchell (i) vs. Jay Travis
  • Because of the large spending by Chicagoans United for Economic Security PAC (mentioned in last week’s roundup) the contribution limits have been lifted for this race.
  • Last Friday Chicagoans United for Economic Security PAC filed a new B-1 for $34K for mail opposing Christian Mitchell. On Friday they filed a new B-1 for $33K for mail opposing Christian Mitchell and they also added $100K from CTU.
  • The 42nd Ward Dems have been supporting Jay Travis with mail and last weekend she reported another in-kind for $15K. On Thursday she filed a new A-1 adding $40K including $30K from the American Federation of Teachers and $10K from United Working Families.
  • On Monday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for $21K for internet ads and mail opposing Jay Travis. On Wednesday IllinoisGO filed another B-1 for $9K for mail opposing Travis. On Friday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for $9K for mail opposing Jay Travis.
  • On Tuesday Christian Mitchell added $17K including $12,500 from Stand for Children.
  • Very early Wednesday morning (4:45am, really?) Christian Mitchell added $49K including $15K from the IEA. CTU has been heavily backing Jay Travis so this race features two of the main teacher organizations spending money against each other.
  • On Friday the Illinois Network of Charter Schools filed a B-1 for $11K for mail opposing Jay Travis.
  • Christian Mitchell added $96K including $20K from the Operators and $17,500 from Stand for Children.
 
66th House (R) – Paul Serwatka vs. Daniel Wilbrandt vs. Allen Skillicorn vs. Carolyn Schofield
  • Last Friday Carolyn Schofield added $53,900 from the IEA. On Wednesday she added $45K including $40K from Pam Althoff and $5K from incumbent Mike Tryon.
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $40K for TV supporting Allen Skillicorn. On Thursday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $9K for postage and graphic design supporting Skillicorn. On Friday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $153K for TV supporting Skillicorn.
 
72nd House (D) – Jeff Jacobs vs. Michael Halpin vs. Katelyn Hotle vs. Glen Evans
  • Democratic Majority, the leadership committee of the House Dems, has been filing B-1’s for spending opposing Katelyn Hotle and this week they continued to do so. Last weekend they filed a new B-1 for $4K for postage and then on Monday they filed B-1s for $4K for postage and for $4K for printing.
  • On Thursday Mike Halpin added $20K from AFSCME.
 
72nd House (R) – Brandi McGuire vs. Jordan Thoms
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $6K for TV supporting Brandi McGuire. On Friday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $51K for TV supporting McGuire.
 
95th House (R) – Avery Bourne (i) vs. Dennis Scobbie vs. Christopher Hicks
 
99th House (R) – Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (i) vs. Kent Gray
  • On Monday the Illinois Republican Party filed a B-1 for $100K for TV ads supporting Sara Wojcicki Jimenez and on Wednesday they spent $22K on telephone polling.
 
102nd House (R) – Brad Halbrook vs. Randy Peterson vs. Jim Acklin
  • On Monday Jim Acklin added $60K in mostly labor money.
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $2K for TV supporting Brad Halbrook. On Wednesday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $90K for TV and radio supporting Halbrook.
 
110th House (R) – Reggie Phillips (i) vs. Jonathan Kaye
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $2K for TV supporting Reggie Phillips. On Wednesday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $17K for TV supporting Phillips. On Friday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $12K for TV supporting Phillips.
 
2nd Senate (D) – Angelica Alfaro vs. Omar Aquino
  • Last Friday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 spending $14K on internet ads opposing Omar Aquino. On Wednesday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for $12K for mail opposing Omar Aquino. On Friday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for $12K for mail opposing Aquino.
  • On Monday the Stand for Children IE filed a B-1 spending $25K on digital ads supporting Angelica Alfaro. On Tuesday the Stand for Children IE filed another B-1 for $45K supporting Alfaro, opposing Aquino.
  • On Tuesday the Illinois Network of Charter Schools filed a B-1 for $11K for mail supporting Angelica Alfaro.
  • On Wednesday Omar Aquino filed an A-1 for $20,500 including $15K from the IFT, $3K from the Cook County College Teachers Union and $2,500 from UFCW. On Friday he added $30K from the AFT.
  • On Friday Chicagoans United for Economic Security spent $18K on mail opposing Angelica Alfaro.
 
5th Senate (D) – Patricia Van Pelt (i) vs. Bob Fioretti
  • Last weekend Patricia Van Pelt added $59K including $48K from the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund.
  • On Wednesday the Illinois Network of Charter Schools filed a B-1 for $8K for mail supporting Bob Fioretti.
  • On Friday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for $17K for mail opposing Bob Fioretti.
 
26th Senate (R) – Dan McConchie vs. Casey Urlacher vs. Martin McLaughlin
  • On Monday Casey Urlacher added $22,500 including a $20K personal loan.
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $65K for TV and mail supporting Dan McConchie. On Thursday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $12K for postage and graphic design supporting McConchie. On Friday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $51K for TV supporting McConchie.
 
50th Senate (R) – Sam McCann (i) vs. Bryce Benton
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $5K for phones supporting Bryce Benton. On Friday they filed a B-1 for $570K for TV supporting Benton. On Friday Liberty Principles filed a B-1 for $20K for mail supporting Benton.
  • On Tuesday Sam McCann added $305K including $200K from the IEA and $100K from the Illinois Lunch Pail Republicans PAC who were funded by the Operating Engineers.
 
Cook County State’s Attorney (D) – Anita Alvarez (i) vs. Kim Foxx vs. Donna More
  • Last weekend Kim Foxx added $127K including $20K from Senator Heather Steans, $15K from John Rogers and $14K from Eric Whitaker. On Monday she added $30K including $10K from Robinson Holdings Trust and $5K from the Democratic Party of Oak Park. On Tuesday she added $284K including $250K from Toni Preckinkle. And on Thursday she added $5,500.
  • Last Friday Anita Alvarez filed an A-1 for $15K that included $10K from JMR Trust and $1,500 from former Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine. On Monday she filed an A-1 for $214K including a $200K personal loan. On Tuesday she added $5K, on Wednesday she added $17,500, on Thursday she added $35K including $30K from the IBEW and on Friday she added $19K including $3K from Laura Ricketts.
  • Last Friday Donna More filed an A-1 for some small in-kinds that included one for Van Rental for “More Mobile”. On Wednesday she filed an A-1 for $206,500 including a $200K in-kind from herself to pay for a media buy.
  • Illinois Safety and Justice, the IE supporting Kim Foxx continued to make news. On Wednesday they filed an A-1 for $380K including $300K from the Civic Participation Action Fund and another $80K from George Soros. On the spending side they filed a B-1 on Wednesday for $36K for direct mail and also on Friday for $32K for direct mail.
 
Other Notable Contributions Received
  • The Decatur PAC for Education added $53,900 from the IEA.
  • Mel Thillens added $15,400 including $10K from himself (not a loan) and $5,400 from prominent conservative donor Richard Uihlein.
  • The Intl Union of Operating Engineers added $100K from their international in D.C.
  • On Monday Kate Cloonan added $55K including $50K from the IEA.
  • On Monday vocal Ken Dunkin supporter Maze Jackson added $10K to his PAC.
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC added $50K including $25K from Cubs owner Todd Ricketts who lists his address as 1060 West Addison which unlike Elwood Blues is not a falsified renewal.
  • Mike Smiddy added $94K including $54K from AFSCME, $15K from SEIU and $12K from the IBEW.
  • On Tuesday Reclaim Chicago PAC added $10K from a Massachusetts donor.
  • Lisa Madigan added $30K including $15K from the Laborers and $10K from the Operating Engineers.
  • On Wednesday the funds controlled by President John Cullerton each had a nice haul. The Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund added $155K, Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate adds $31K including $25K from Grosvenor Capital Management.
  • A day after giving the Foxx campaign $250K Toni Preckwinkle added $27K including $10K from SEIU and $1K from Taxpayers for Quinn.
  • SEIU Illinois Council added $100K in member dues.
  • On Friday the House Republican Organization added $108K including $45K from the Illinois Republican Party.
  • On Monday the Illinois Chamber created an IE and on Friday they seeded it with $10K.
  • Gary Forby added $46K including $25K from the IFT and $10K from the Laborers.
Other Interesting Developments
  • On Monday Governor Bruce Rauner personally added $2 million to his IE Turnaround Illinois. The IE had $2.6 million on hand as of 12/31/15 and the funds cannot be given directly to candidates so there must be a plan in the works.
 

You can find the complete list of all the funds available, every A-1 filed, every B-1 filed and a complete listing of all the candidates and districts in our Racing Forms. The Illinois Racing Form covers every General Assembly race while the Cook County Racing Form covers all the countywide, judicial, MWRD and Chicago committeemen races, full details below.

The Illinois Racing Form
  • District profiles for every General Assembly race including district map, current candidate listing, candidate headshots and past electoral performance.
  • Current financial status for each candidate’s campaign committee as well as other relevant committees, such as the Governor, legislative leaders and IE’s.
  • Latest candidate filings.
  • Candidates’ social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Cook County Racing Form
  • District profiles for every countywide, judicial, MWRD and Chicago committeeman race including district map, current candidate listing, candidate headshots and past electoral performance.
  • Current financial status for each candidate’s campaign committee as well as other relevant or related committees.
  • Latest candidate filings.
  • Candidates’ social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.

Contribution Limits Lifted in the 22nd House (Mike Madigan)

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With this latest independent expenditure disclosure Illinois United for Change has now spent more than $100,000 in the 22nd House race supporting Jason Gonzales/opposing Mike Madigan thereby exceeding the threshold needed to lift the campaign contribution limits for all candidates in this race for the remainder of the primary election cycle. This means that the Speaker’s candidate committee, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, can now raise unlimited funds, an advantage not shared by the candidate committees of any of the other three legislative leaders.

The affected timeframe may be brief, the primary election cycle ends in two weeks, but the impact of this may be significant. Candidate committees can make unlimited transfers to party committees and during the general election party committees can make unlimited transfers to candidate committees. For the next two weeks the Speaker can raise unlimited funds into his candidate committee, he can then transfer as much of that as he’d like to the State Party (which he also controls) and come fall he can then use those State Party funds to either make expenditures on behalf of his candidates in targeted races or make unlimited transfers to those candidate committees.

The Governor took advantage of a similar opportunity at the end of 2014. In the 2014 Governor’s race the contribution limits were lifted due to the large amount of self funding from Bruce Rauner, however the Governor’s campaign committee was scheduled to be subject to contribution limits once again at the start of January 2015. After Bruce Rauner was elected Governor but before he took office he turned his attention to the General Assembly. One day prior to the contribution limits going back into effect his main campaign committee, Citizens for Rauner, added $20 million from three contributors: 1) Bruce Rauner, $10 million, 2) Ken Griffin, $8 million, 3) Richard Uhilein, $2 million. Here’s what that money is intended to be used for according to Greg Hinz in Crain’s, who was given the scoop:

The money won’t be spent on his re-election campaign in 2018 but to help him pass legislation this spring through a General Assembly in which Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.

“There are a lot of legislators who he is going to be asking to make a lot of tough decisions,” said one Rauner insider who asked not to be named. “The intent is to build a large and effective political operation in order to pursue his agenda.”

Some of the money may be donated directly to legislators’ campaign committees and other funds spent on their behalf. TV ads, polling and other activity on behalf of Rauner policies also is expected, the insider said. And the war chest only is “the first in a series,” part of a “multipronged effort” in which other funding vehicles will be formed, the source said. “This is the tip of the iceberg.”

 

Since that time the Democrats, particularly in the House, have been aggressively fundraising to try to catch up. In 2015 the four funds controlled by the Speaker raised $7.7 million, Cullerton’s three funds raised $5.1 million while the Senate and House Republicans each raised about $1.6 million and the Illinois Republican Party raised about $500K. In addition to leadership fundraising the House Democrats have been very aggressively raising large sums into the various candidate committees of the candidates they expect to face targeted general election races, particularly in the 4th quarter of 2015. Aside from the legislative leaders only one other Republican campaign committee raised over $100K last quarter (Jil Tracy) whereas 19 other Democratic campaign committees raised more than $100K including 11 House committees over $247K and 3 over $500K. The Democrats were busy raising money into every door available, now though the Speaker can focus on his own interests and raise unlimited sums during this very brief window for the next two weeks until election day.

If the Republicans want to try to maximize the same advantage they have opportunities as well. The contribution limits are off in the 72nd and 114th House as well as the 26th and 50th Senate races where they have candidates. If they want to go the coordinated route and they had an agreeable candidate they could raise unlimited sums into a candidate committee and then transfer those funds into the State Party. If they aren’t concerned about coordination they could simply raise unlimited sums into the Governor’s independent expenditure committee, Turnaround Illinois, and then spend that money independent of the candidates involved. Turnaround Illinois finished 2015 with $2.6 million on hand and just the other night the Governor personally contributed another $2 million. Plus the Governor still has $20 million in his main campaign committee that he has pledged to use to support his allied candidates in the General Assembly.

The contribution limits that went into effect for Illinois elections in 2011 have done little to stem the tide of money flowing into our electoral system. Instead we have a much more convoluted process where the money is coming in through a much larger number of vehicles making it harder to track and some competitors find themselves raising money by an unequal set of rules. For a short time the Speaker will be able to raise unlimited funds, an advantage not shared by President Cullerton or Leaders Radogno and Durkin. The Republican leaders’ disadvantage is somewhat offset by the Governor’s deep pocketed supporters and his flush campaign funds. Meanwhile President Cullerton will have to try to keep up while only being able to raise money in limited amounts, unless he cuts a deal with the Speaker to work together to financially support all of the legislative Democratic candidates. Given the amount of money the Governor has pledged to support Republican General Assembly candidates can he afford not to?

If you are a wealthy Democratic donor your phone is about to ring, the Speaker will be calling. In fact he’s likely to be on the phone non-stop for the next two weeks focused on big (very big) checks. The window for the Speaker is now wide open in a way that isn’t for his peers and history suggests that he’s likely to press his advantage, we’ll keep track of the results and update you on the progress.

 

Note: there are two scenarios where the contribution limits can be lifted 1) when a candidate’s self funding exceeds the threshold and 2) when an independent expenditure committee’s independent expenditures exceed the threshold, and they appear to be treated differently. If the contribution limits are lifted during a primary because of self funding (#1) the contribution limits are lifted for both the primary and the general election, however the section of the law on lifting contribution limits in a primary due to independent expenditures (#2) is silent on the general election so it only appears to apply to that current election cycle. In this scenario for the 22nd House the contribution limits are being lifted because of scenario 2 so the lifting of the contribution limits appears to only apply to the primary. Had they been lifted for both the primary and general the advantage to the Speaker would have been even greater.

Weekly Roundup – February 26th, 2016

Published on

I’ve been tweeting a lot of interesting updates from recent disclosures and I thought I’d do a weekly roundup to try to summarize the week’s interesting news and organize these developments into a format you can follow. Here is last week’s roundup.

Reminder:
  • A-1 reports are for contributions received by the committee of $1,000 or more.
  • B-1 reports are for independent expenditures made independent of the candidate (cannot be coordinated).
  • Regular expenditures (not independent expenditures) are not reported until the quarterly filings are due, next on 3/31.

What follows is not every development in each of these races, only the big and/or notable ones. For comprehensive coverage of all the campaign finance data subscribe to either or both of our Racing Forms, updated weekly. The Illinois Racing Form covers all the General Assembly races, the Cook County Racing Form covers all the county candidates, MWRD, judges and committeemen races.

It was a long week, over 100 tweets to summarize, let’s get to it.

5th House (D) – Ken Dunkin (i) vs. Juliana Stratton
  • On Tuesday IllinoisGO filed a new B-1 for $78K for TV and mail opposing Juliana Stratton.
  • On Tuesday Juliana Stratton added $119K including $50K from the Operating Engineers Local 399, $40K from SEIU Illinois Council & $25K from the Illinois Pipe Trades. On Wednesday she added another $42K, including a small in-kind for phone banking from the 42nd Ward Democratic Organization.
 
7th House (D) – Chris Welch (i) vs. Chris Harris
  • Last Friday the National Association of REALTORS filed a B-1 for $12K for mail supporting Chris Welch.
 
22nd House (D) – Michael Madigan (i) vs. Jason Gonzales vs. Joe Barboza vs. Grasiela Rodriguez
  • Illinois United for Change, the independent expenditure committee funded largely with Blair Hull money that has been supporting Jason Gonzales had an eventful week. Last Friday they added $10K, on Tuesday they reported another $50K from real estate executive Irvin Kessler and on Thursday they reported receiving $20K from the Illinois Opportunity Project the same group led by Dan Proft that gave Ken Dunkin a record $500K contribution earlier this month. They also continued to spend money this week, on Tuesday filing a B-1 for $25K for field, Wednesday filing a B-1 for $15K for printing and Thursday filing a B-1 for another $15K for printing, all supporting Jason Gonzales.
  • On Thursday Jason Gonzales added $10,800.
  • Worth noting: the four funds controlled by Speaker Madigan have an estimated funds available of around $8.5 million.
  • Interesting thought: Illinois United for Change has already spent almost $85K supporting Gonzales/opposing Madigan. If they spend more than $100K then the contribution limits would be removed for this race meaning the Speaker’s candidate committee Friends of Michael J. Madigan could raise unlimited funds, something that could have a very significant impact not only for this race but also for the fall. So far Illinois United for Change has raised $300K and spent only about $85K on independent expenditures, they could have as much as $215K still available to spend on this race or others. If/when they exceed the threshold and blow the caps the impact would be far reaching and potentially enormous, I’ll have much more on this if/when it happens.
 
26th House (D) – Christian Mitchell (i) vs. Jay Travis
  • On Sunday Christian Mitchell added $25K from Democratic Majority, the leadership committee of the House Dems. Both Mitchell and Jay Travis added other smaller amounts during the week.
  • On Thursday Chicagoans United for Economic Security PAC, an independent expenditure committee that has received significant funds from CTU filed a B-1 for $160K for cable TV and mail supporting Jay Travis.
 
40th House (D) – Jaime Andrade (i) vs. Harish Patel
  • Last Friday the National Association of REALTORS filed a B-1 for $10K for mail supporting Jaime Andrade.
 
66th House (R) – Paul Serwatka vs. Daniel Wilbrandt vs. Allen Skillicorn vs. Carolyn Schofield
  • On Tuesday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $2K for TV for Allen Skillicorn.
 
72nd House (D) – Jeff Jacobs vs. Michael Halpin vs. Katelyn Hotle vs. Glen Evans
 
72nd House (R) – Brandi McGuire vs. Jordan Thoms
  • On Tuesday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $4K for graphic design for Brandi McGuire.
 
74th House (R) – Wayne Saline vs. Dan Swanson vs. Mike DeSutter
  • On Tuesday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $9K for TV for Mike DeSutter.
 
95th House (R) – Avery Bourne (i) vs. Dennis Scobbie vs. Christopher Hicks
  • Last Friday the Illinois Republican Party filed another B-1 spending $16K on mail for Avery Bourne. On Tuesday the Illinois Republican Party filed a new B-1 for $2K for live calls for Bourne.
  • On Tuesday INCS Action Independent Committee filed a B-1 for $5K for mail supporting Avery Bourne.
 
99th House (R) – Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (i) vs. Kent Gray
  • Last Friday the Illinois Republican Party filed another B-1 spending $5K on mail for Sara Wojcicki Jimenez. On Tuesday the Illinois Republican Party filed a new B-1 for $2K for live calls for Wojcicki Jimenez.
 
102nd House (R) – Brad Halbrook vs. Randy Peterson vs. Jim Acklin
  • Last Friday Brad Halbrook disclosed a $53K contribution from Governor Rauner’s campaign committee.
  • On Monday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $24K for TV for Brad Halbrook. On Tuesday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $2K for TV for Brad Halbrook. On Thursday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $41K for TV supporting Brad Halbrook.
  • On Tuesday Jim Acklin filed an A-1 for $40K, including four identical contributions from the IEA all on 2/22, all for $5K. On Wednesday Acklin filed another A-1 for $32K, including six identical contributions from the IEA all on 2/23, all for $5K. It’s hard to tell if those are a bunch of accidental duplicates or if that is just an atypical contribution/disclosure method.
  • On Thursday Randy Peterson filed an A-1 for $15K from current 102nd district Republican incumbent Adam Brown.
 
110th House (R) – Reggie Phillips (i) vs. Jonathan Kaye
 
2nd Senate (D) – Angelica Alfaro vs. Omar Aquino
  • On Tuesday IllinoisGO filed a new B-1 for $12K for mail supporting Angelica Alfaro. On Thursday IllinoisGO filed a new B-1 for $12K for mail supporting Angelica Alfaro.
 
5th Senate (D) – Patricia Van Pelt (i) vs. Bob Fioretti
  • The Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund, the leadership committee of President Cullerton has had a history of supporting their incumbents facing primaries and has been supporting Van Pelt this cycle. Last Friday she filed an A-1 for an in-kind contribution from the Victory Fund for $18K paid to their pollster for “RENT” but was probably for polling. Later on Friday she filed another A-1 for $50K including $30K from the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund. Then on Saturday she filed another A-1 once again for an in-kind contribution from the Victory Fund for $18K paid to their pollster for “RESEARCH” (polling), which was likely just a correction of the A-1 filed the day before, however Van Pelt has not filed a letter with the State Board indicating such.
  • On Tuesday IllinoisGO filed a new B-1 for $17K for mail supporting Patricia Van Pelt. On Thursday IllinoisGO filed a new B-1 for $17K for mail supporting Patricia Van Pelt.
 
26th Senate (R) – Dan McConchie vs. Casey Urlacher vs. Martin McLaughlin
  • On Monday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $49K for TV for Dan McConchie. This $49K for McConchie put the total Liberty Principles spending for this race over the $100K threshold and the contribution limits have been removed. On Tuesday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $2K for TV for Dan McConchie.
  • On Wednesday Dan McConchie filed an A-1 which included a $2,500 contribution from Chicago Bears owner Virginia McCaskey, notable because one of McConchie’s opponents is Casey Urlacher, brother of Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher. This is not McCaskey’s only contribution, she does have a long donor history going back to the 90’s of donating to Republican candidates and conservative causes, including a $5K donation earlier this week to Tom Morrison.
  • On Thursday Casey Urlacher filed an A-1 loaning himself $34K.
 
50th Senate (R) – Sam McCann (i) vs. Bryce Benton
  • On Saturday Sam McCann filed an A-1 for $33,500 in mostly labor money.
  • On Tuesday Liberty Principles filed a new B-1 for $40K for TV and mail for Bryce Benton.
 
Cook County State’s Attorney (D) – Anita Alvarez (i) vs. Kim Foxx vs. Donna More
  • Illinois Safety & Justice, the independent expenditure committee supporting Kim Foxx added significant funds this week. On Friday they added $50K from George Soros and then on Wednesday they added another $100K from Soros. The large donations from Soros to the IE were a bit perplexing, there are no contribution limits in this race so he could have made these donations directly to the Foxx campaign. In fact Illinois Safety & Justice added so much money from George Soros that on Wednesday they had to amend their statement of organization to list Soros as a sponsoring entity. You may remember this “sponsoring entity” issue from my previous mention regarding Dunkin (who still hasn’t amended his D-1). They quickly started spending this money on Tuesday spending $40K on direct mail, and then again on Thursday spending another $40K on direct mail. That last $40K put them over $100K spent on this race which would normally eliminate the contribution limits but the caps were already off, however it did still trigger an official notification.
  • Also this week Kim Foxx added significant funds to her campaign committee, last Friday she filed an A-1 for $235K including $200K from Fred Eychaner, $15K from attorney Arthur Loevy and $5K from Jack Franks’ candidate committee.
  • On Monday Donna More added $90K, $82K came from herself as in-kinds for mail & consulting. She added an additional $14K on Wednesday.
  • On Tuesday Anita Alvarez added $94K, including two identical $30K donations from the plumbers/pipefitters (possible duplicates?).
 
Other Notable Contributions Received
  • Last Friday judicial candidate Kathleen Mesich loaned herself $25K.
  • Last Friday the Illinois Republican Party added $161K, including $150K from Governor Rauner. The party has been making a number of independent expenditures supporting two of Rauner’s favored candidates facing Republican primaries, Avery Bourne, a former Rauner campaign worker and Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, the First Lady’s former Chief of Staff.
  • On Sunday Support Independent Maps reported another $12K.
  • A new PAC, New Urban Conservative PAC, whose purpose is “To advance the conservative cause in urban areas” added $21K from Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein.
  • On Monday the Cook County Democratic Party added $40K from the Foxx campaign, their slated candidate for State’s Attorney.
  • On Monday MWRD candidate Marty Durkan added not one, not two but three A-1’s totaling $45K.
  • On Monday Toni Preckwinkle added $142K, including $50K from the Operating Engineers Local 150, $20K from the Illinois Pipe Trades and $10K from Midway Airport Concessionaires.
  • On Tuesday the International Union of Operating Engineers added $50K to their PAC.
  • On Tuesday Stand for Children moved $65K to its independent expenditure committee.
  • On Tuesday Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti added $2,500 from the Realtors.
  • On Wednesday Chicagoans United for Economic Security PAC added $28K, including $25K from CTU and $3K from the Cook County College Teachers. On Thursday they added another $200K from CTU.
  • On Thursday Michelle Harris moved $48K from her aldermanic candidate committee to her circuit court clerk candidate committee.
  • On Thursday the House Republican Organization added $45K while Leader Durkin added $8K.
  • On Thursday the IL Lunch Pail Republicans PAC filed not one but two separate A-1’s totaling $100K from the Operating Engineers.
  • On Thursday Alderman Brendan Reilly moved $15K from his aldermanic campaign committee over to the ward organization, 42nd Ward Democratic Org. The ward organization has been spending money to support both Juliana Stratton and Jay Travis.

Seriously, don’t make your staff stay until midnight to file something they could have filed at 8:30. Knock it off.

Other Interesting Developments
  • Two Fridays ago the Realtors added $27K to their fund and then immediately spent it on independent expenditures. Last Friday they did the same thing, first they added $22K from their members and then they filed a B-1 for mailers for Chris Welch ($12K) and Jaime Andrade ($10K).
  • On Wednesday the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee created an Illinois registered PAC.
 

You can find the complete list of all the funds available, every A-1 filed, every B-1 filed and a complete listing of all the candidates and districts in our Racing Forms. The Illinois Racing Form covers every General Assembly race while the Cook County Racing Form covers all the countywide, judicial, MWRD and Chicago committeemen races, full details below.

The Illinois Racing Form
  • District profiles for every General Assembly race including district map, current candidate listing, candidate headshots and past electoral performance.
  • Current financial status for each candidate’s campaign committee as well as other relevant committees, such as the Governor, legislative leaders and IE’s.
  • Latest candidate filings.
  • Candidates’ social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Cook County Racing Form
  • District profiles for every countywide, judicial, MWRD and Chicago committeeman race including district map, current candidate listing, candidate headshots and past electoral performance.
  • Current financial status for each candidate’s campaign committee as well as other relevant or related committees.
  • Latest candidate filings.
  • Candidates’ social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.

Weekly Roundup – February 19th, 2016

Published on

I’ve been tweeting a lot of interesting updates from recent disclosures and I thought I’d do a weekly roundup to try to summarize the week’s interesting news and organize these developments into a format you can follow. Here is last week’s roundup.

Reminder:
  • A-1 reports are for contributions received by the committee of $1,000 or more.
  • B-1 reports are for independent expenditures made independent of the candidate (cannot be coordinated).
  • Regular expenditures (not independent expenditures) are not reported until the quarterly filings are due, next on 3/31.

What follows is not every development in each of these races, only the big and/or notable ones. For comprehensive coverage of all the campaign finance data subscribe to either or both of our Racing Forms, updated weekly. The Illinois Racing Form covers all the General Assembly races, the Cook County Racing Form covers all the county candidates, MWRD, judges and committeemen races.

 
5th House (D) – Ken Dunkin (i) vs. Juliana Stratton
 
22nd House (D) – Michael Madigan (i) vs. Jason Gonzales vs. Joe Barboza vs. Grasiela Rodriguez
  • On Saturday Illinois United for Change, the independent expenditure committee that has been supporting Jason Gonzales, added $10K to their IE committee.
  • On Wednesday Jason Gonzales added $9K, mostly from various CEOs.
  • Thursday Illinois United for Change, the independent expenditure committee that has been supporting Jason Gonzales added $100K, including $50K from Hull Investments.
  • Worth noting: the four funds controlled by Speaker Madigan have an estimated funds available of almost $9 million.
 
26th House (D) – Christian Mitchell (i) vs. Jay Travis
  • Last Friday right after reporting an A-1 for $27K from member dues the National Association of REALTORS Fund they then filed a B-1 for independent expenditures supporting Christian Mitchell for $27K for direct mail, phone calls and online ads.
  • On Sunday Jay Travis added $26K, including $25K from the IFT.
  • On Tuesday Jay Travis added $31K, including $25K from CTU.
  • On Tuesday Jay Travis reported an in-kind for $4K for a mailing from the 42nd Ward Democratic Organization.
  • Thursday Jay Travis informed the State Board that her Tuesday filing was in error and the contribution from CTU should have been for $12K instead of $25K.
 
66th House (R) – Paul Serwatka vs. Daniel Wilbrandt vs. Allen Skillicorn vs. Carolyn Schofield
 
72nd House (D) – Jeff Jacobs vs. Michael Halpin vs. Katelyn Hotle vs. Glen Evans
 
72nd House (R) – Brandi McGuire vs. Jordan Thoms
 
74th House (R) – Wayne Saline vs. Dan Swanson vs. Mike DeSutter
 
95th House (R) – Avery Bourne (i) vs. Dennis Scobbie vs. Christopher Hicks
  • On Tuesday the Illinois Republican Party filed a B-1 for $153K for TV ads supporting Avery Bourne.
  • On Tuesday the Illinois Republican Party filed a B-1 for $5K for telephone polling and ID supporting Avery Bourne.
 
99th House (R) – Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (i) vs. Kent Gray
  • On Tuesday the Illinois Republican Party filed a B-1 for $171K for TV ads supporting Sara Wojcicki Jimenez.
 
102nd House (R) – Brad Halbrook vs. Randy Peterson vs. Jim Acklin
 
110th House (R) – Reggie Phillips (i) vs. Jonathan Kaye
  • On Monday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $7K for graphic design work supporting Reggie Phillips.
  • On Tuesday incumbent Reggie Phillips added $5K from the candidate committee of Leader Jim Durkin.
  • Thursday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $11K for TV ads for Reggie Phillips.
 
5th Senate (D) – Patricia Van Pelt (i) vs. Bob Fioretti
  • On Wednesday Patricia Van Pelt added $21K including $20K from the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund, President Cullerton’s caucus leadership fund.
 
26th Senate (R) – Dan McConchie vs. Casey Urlacher vs. Martin McLaughlin
 
50th Senate (R) – Sam McCann (i) vs. Bryce Benton
  • On Saturday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $10K for research supporting Bryce Benton.
  • Very late on Saturday night Sam McCann filed an A-1 adding $103K in mostly labor money but also including $10K from Stand for Children.
  • On Tuesday Bryce Benton added $1K from the candidate committee of former State Rep and current Ag Director Raymond Poe.
  • Thursday Liberty Principles PAC filed a B-1 for $648K for TV ads and polling for Bryce Benton.
 
58th Senate (R) – Paul Schimpf vs. Sharee Langenstein
 
Cook County State’s Attorney (D) – Anita Alvarez (i) vs. Kim Foxx vs. Donna More
  • Last Friday Illinois Safety and Justice, the IE supporting Kim Foxx, filed another B-1 for $17K on mail for her.
  • On Tuesday Illinois Safety and Justice, the IE supporting Kim Foxx, added $70K from George Soros. There are no contribution limits in this race, Donna More met the self funding threshold to remove the contribution limits, so Soros could have donated this amount directly to the Foxx campaign, which is a little odd.
  • On Tuesday Anita Alvarez added $78K, including $50K from the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC.
  • On Tuesday Kim Foxx filed not one but two A-1’s totaling $245K including $200K from Fred Eychaner.
  • On Wednesday the Sun-Times reported that the Kim Foxx campaign violated the campaign finance laws by failing to report a poll paid for by the candidate committee of Toni Preckwinkle as an in-kind contribution. That same day the Foxx campaign did file an A-1 reporting the in-kind contribution.
  • On Wednesday Anita Alvarez added $31K, including $20K from the Illinois Pipe Trades PAC .
  • Late Thursday night Kim Foxx filed not one, not two, but three A-1’s for a total of $81K including $50K from SEIU Illinois Council PAC.
 
Other Notable Contributions Received
  • Last Friday Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers filed an A-1 for about $20K.
  • Last Friday Judge Anna Loftus filed an A-1 for a personal loan to her campaign of $30K.
  • Last Friday UFCW Local 881 filed an A-1 adding $200K in member dues to their PAC.
  • “Put it on the Underhill tab.” Last Friday judicial candidate Ed Underhill filed an A-1 for a personal loan of $25K to his campaign committee.
  • Last Friday Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois PAC filed an A-1 for $43K.
  • Last Friday the Illinois Association of REALTORS added $100K to their PAC.
  • Last Friday the Illinois Pipe Trades PEF reported adding $95K in member dues to their PAC.
  • Support Independent Maps continues to add funds, but this time just $5K.
  • On Saturday Elaine Nekritz, who currently has no opponent in the primary or general, added $28K of mostly trial lawyer money.
  • On Tuesday the IBEW added $42K in member dues to their PAC.
  • On Tuesday SEIU Illinois Council added $75K in member dues to their PAC.
  • On Wednesday SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana added $214K to their PAC.
  • On Wednesday the IFT added $140K from their locals, including $51K from CTU.
  • On Wednesday Melinda Bush, who has a general election opponent but no primary opponent, added $56K, including $54K from the IEA.
  • On Wednesday Kwame Raoul, who is on the ballot this cycle but currently faces no primary or general election opposition, added $34K in mostly trial lawyer money.
  • On Wednesday Dan Beiser, currently facing no opposition in the primary or general elections, added $30K from the IBEW.
  • On Wednesday Barbara Flynn Currie, who currently has no opponent in the primary or general elections, added $30K from 22 different donors.
  • The Comptroller’s race has been very, very quiet but Thursday Leslie Munger added $5K.
  • Thursday the Illinois Laborers’ Legislative Committee filed not one but two A-1’s adding about $85K of member money to their PAC.
  • Thursday Citizens for Rauner, Inc filed its first A-1 since October and just the 3rd since taking office, for $7,500.
 
Other Interesting Developments
  • On Tuesday Stand for Children’s IE reported an in-kind for $8,500 for research and then Thursday they reported an in-kind for $2K for data. It appears likely that they are about to start spending some money on independent expenditures, likely for mail.
  • This cycle there are two Metropolitan Water Reclamation District elections, one for a 6 year term that has six active candidates (voters choose 3) and one for a 2 year term that has three active candidates (voters choose 1). One of the candidates in the 2 year election, Marty Durkan, has raised an impressive amount disclosed on A-1’s so far this quarter, despite not being slated by the Cook County Democratic Party. He has reported almost $255K in A-1’s this quarter but it appears some are duplicates and his actual haul is more likely about $199K which is still an impressive sum and far more than the $86K that the other 8 MWRD candidates have disclosed raising so far this quarter COMBINED. Then on Monday Michelle Harris, slated candidate for Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court, filed an A-1 disclosing an in-kind contribution of $50K for a mailing from Friends of Marty Durkan. A Twitter follower sent along a scan of the mailer, it’s double sided featuring Durkan on one side and Harris on the other. The next day Rich Miller followed up with a little more info on the mailer and as you can see in the comments some of his commenters reported receiving the mailer despite not having a Democratic primary voting history and another one of my Twitter followers mentioned that both he and his wife received one so whoever set up their data file apparently didn’t household it. Durkan has raised a lot of money so it’s a race to keep an eye on.
 
Compliance Issues
  • Last Friday NBC5’s Ward Room blog posted an item about a new ad attacking Ken Dunkin that debuted last Wednesday from Citizens Against Corruption, chaired by William J. Kelly. There is no active committee named “Citizens Against Corruption” registered with either the Illinois State Board of Elections or the FEC. In fact, there is no active committee with the word “corruption” in its name registered with the State Board of Elections and none in Illinois that are registered with the FEC.
  • On Thursday 109th district Republican House candidate John Curtis (not to be confused with 93rd district Democratic House candidate John Curtis) filed a D-1 to create his candidate committee named “Citizens to Bring Illinois Back“. Per 5/9-2. (b): “The name of each candidate political committee shall identify the name of the public official or candidate supported by the candidate political committee.” He’ll have to amend his D-1 to change the name of his committee to include his own name.
  • On Wednesday I tweeted that I thought 5 General Assembly races had had enough independent expenditure spending to exceed the $100K threshold to remove the contribution limits for those offices. After studying the code on independent expenditures more closely I now believe that was in error and only 3 General Assembly races have had enough (and the right kind of) independent expenditure spending to remove the contribution limits for those offices. Upon closer reading of 5/9-8.5 (h-5) and 5/9-8.5 (h-10) that only independent expenditures made by natural persons or independent expenditure committees that aggregate to over $100K (as opposed to independent expenditures made by party committees or PACs) will trigger the provision that removes the contribution limits for that office. Based on that narrower reading 3 General Assembly races should already meet that standard, the 5th House (Ken Dukin, IllinoisGO), the 72nd House (Brandi McGuire, Liberty Principles PAC) and the 50th Senate (Bryce Benton, Liberty Principles PAC). The State Board’s Contribution Limits Off List appears to be up to date.
 

You can find the complete list of all the funds available, every A-1 filed, every B-1 filed and a complete listing of all the candidates and districts in our Racing Forms. The Illinois Racing Form covers every General Assembly race while the Cook County Racing Form covers all the countywide, judicial, MWRD and Chicago committeemen races, full details below.

The Illinois Racing Form
  • District profiles for every General Assembly race including district map, current candidate listing, candidate headshots and past electoral performance.
  • Current financial status for each candidate’s campaign committee as well as other relevant committees, such as the Governor, legislative leaders and IE’s.
  • Latest candidate filings.
  • Candidates’ social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Cook County Racing Form
  • District profiles for every countywide, judicial, MWRD and Chicago committeeman race including district map, current candidate listing, candidate headshots and past electoral performance.
  • Current financial status for each candidate’s campaign committee as well as other relevant or related committees.
  • Latest candidate filings.
  • Candidates’ social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.

Understanding Independent Expenditures

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If you’ve been following along with our regular Twitter updates you have likely noticed a number of B-1 filings, notice of independent expenditures. Independent expenditures are a relatively new type of uncoordinated independent spending that was defined in the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. This primary cycle independent expenditures are playing a larger role in Illinois elections than ever before so I thought I’d put together a primer on some of the more frequent questions.

Note: I am not an election law attorney, if you need legal advice you should consult an attorney that specializes in the subject matter.

For starters, I cribbed the Illinois Election Code and State Board rules for the sections that apply to independent expenditures. It’s not that long and you can read up on all of the language that applies.

Here is some additional info in a Q & A format:

1. What’s the difference between a traditional PAC and an independent expenditure committee?

Illinois election law allows for the creation of both a traditional political action committee (PAC) and an independent expenditure committee. Under Illinois law a PAC is subject to all of the contribution limits that apply to PACs. Independent expenditure committees are the allowable exception to campaign finance limits under the Citizens United Supreme Court decision:

The United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.

 

Independent expenditure committees are allowed to raise and spend unlimited funds, with certain reporting requirements. However independent expenditure committees are not allowed to give directly to other candidate committees, party committees or PACs.

5/9-8.6 (d) In the event that a political committee organized as an independent expenditure committee makes a contribution to any other political committee other than another independent expenditure committee or a ballot initiative committee, the State Board shall assess a fine equal to the amount of any contribution received in the preceding 2 years by the independent expenditure committee that exceeded the limits for a political action committee set forth in subsection (d) of Section 9-8.5

 

2. What makes an expenditure independent?

5/9-1.15 Independent Expenditure.
“Independent expenditure” means any payment, gift, donation, or expenditure of funds (i) by a natural person or political committee for the purpose of making electioneering communications or of expressly advocating for or against the nomination for election, election, retention, or defeat of a clearly identifiable public official or candidate or for or against any question of public policy to be submitted to the voters and (ii) that is not made in connection, consultation, or concert with or at the request or suggestion of the public official or candidate, the public official’s or candidate’s designated political committee or campaign, or the agent or agents of the public official, candidate, or political committee or campaign.

 

3. Are independent expenditures only allowed from independent expenditure committees?

No, candidate committees, party committees and PACs can also make independent expenditures and then would face the same reporting requirements as it pertains to B-1 filings. Independent expenditure committees can raise unlimited funds to spend on independent expenditures whereas candidate committees, party committees and PACs are subject to campaign finance limits.

 

4. How are independent expenditures reported?

Independent expenditures of $1,000 or more are disclosed on form B-1 within 5 business days, except in the 60 days preceding an election when they must be reported in 2 business days.

5/9-10. (e) A political committee that makes independent expenditures of $1,000 or more shall file a report electronically with the Board within 5 business days after making the independent expenditure, except that the report shall be filed within 2 business days after making the independent expenditure during the 60-day period before an election.

 

5. What is the independent expenditure threshold that removes contribution limits from an election for office?

For statewide races it is $250,000, for all other races it is $100,000.

5/9-8.5 (h-5) If a natural person or independent expenditure committee makes independent expenditures in support of or in opposition to the campaign of a particular public official or candidate in an aggregate amount of more than (i) $250,000 for statewide office or (ii) $100,000 for all other elective offices in an election cycle, as reported in a written disclosure filed under subsection (a) of Section 9-8.6 or subsection (e-5) of Section 9-10, … all candidates for that office in that election, including the public official or candidate for whose benefit or detriment the natural person or independent expenditure committee made independent expenditures, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limits imposed by subsection (b).

 

Note: contribution limits can also be removed in the event of self funding at the same thresholds:

5/9-8.5 (h) Self-funding candidates. If a public official, a candidate, or the public official’s or candidate’s immediate family contributes or loans to the public official’s or candidate’s political committee or to other political committees that transfer funds to the public official’s or candidate’s political committee or makes independent expenditures for the benefit of the public official’s or candidate’s campaign during the 12 months prior to an election in an aggregate amount of more than (i) $250,000 for statewide office or (ii) $100,000 for all other elective offices, … all candidates for that office, including the public official or candidate who filed a Notification of Self-funding, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limits imposed by subsection (b). If a public official or candidate filed a Notification of Self-Funding during an election cycle that includes a general primary election or consolidated primary election and that public official or candidate is nominated, all candidates for that office, including the nominee who filed the notification of self-funding, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limit imposed by subsection (b) for the subsequent election cycle. For the purposes of this subsection, “immediate family” means the spouse, parent, or child of a public official or candidate.

 

6. Are there any additional filing obligations?

Yes, when an independent expenditure committee makes an independent expenditure that results in exceeding the thresholds for removing contribution limits as outlined above that independent expenditure committee is required to notify the State Board of Elections.

5/9-10. (e-5) An independent expenditure committee that makes an independent expenditure supporting or opposing a public official or candidate that, alone or in combination with any other independent expenditure made by that independent expenditure committee supporting or opposing that public official or candidate during the election cycle, equals an aggregate value of more than (i) $250,000 for statewide office or (ii) $100,000 for all other elective offices must file a written disclosure with the State Board of Elections within 2 business days after making any expenditure that results in the independent expenditure committee exceeding the applicable threshold. The Board shall assess a civil penalty against an independent expenditure committee for failure to file the disclosure required by this subsection not to exceed (i) $500 for an initial failure to file the required disclosure and (ii) $1,000 for each subsequent failure to file the required disclosure.

 

 

7. Once the contribution limits have been removed from an election for office why don’t these IE’s just give their remaining funds directly to their favored candidate?

Independent expenditure committees are not permitted to make donations directly to candidate committees, party committees or PACs, they can only legally give money to other independent expenditure committees or ballot initiative committees.

5/9-8.6 (d) In the event that a political committee organized as an independent expenditure committee makes a contribution to any other political committee other than another independent expenditure committee or a ballot initiative committee, the State Board shall assess a fine equal to the amount of any contribution received in the preceding 2 years by the independent expenditure committee that exceeded the limits for a political action committee set forth in subsection (d) of Section 9-8.5

 

Explainer: Gift Card Disclosure

Published on

On Thursday the Tribune published a story detailing how the Rauner campaign purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gift cards and gave them to people who were helping to get out the vote without disclosing the recipients of the gift cards, in an apparent violation of campaign finance disclosure rules.

What Happened

On their year end quarterly filing the Rauner campaign disclosed a payment to IDT Payment Services of $257,604.75 on 10/24/2014 for “GOTV Labor”. According to the Tribune this was for thousands of $25, $50 and $75 gift cards that were given to people helping with the campaign’s get out the vote operation. However this was the only disclosure related to the gift cards, the individual recipients of the gift cards were not disclosed, though not all would necessarily be required to be disclosed as itemized expenditures.

Larry Noble, a former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission told the Tribune that these gift cards should be considered monetary compensation, “If they’re giving them a debit card with value on it, that’s payment to these people. You can’t get around it,” he said.

However the Rauner campaign maintains that their single disclosure for IDT Payment Systems was sufficient to comply with Illinois campaign disclosure rules telling the Tribune “The campaign reported the gift cards correctly,” Sarah Clamp, a spokeswoman for Rauner’s campaign, said in an email statement. “The campaign is only responsible for reporting when the campaign makes an expenditure and did this by reporting the purchase of gift cards.”

Conduit Rule

The relevant section that appears to have been overlooked by the Rauner campaign is Section 100.70(c) of Board rules.

Section 100.70 Reports of Contributions and Expenditures
c) An expenditure to a payee who is in whole or in part only a conduit for payment to another, such as a political consultant, credit card issuer or Paypal, must include by way of detail or separate entry the amount of funds passing to each vendor, business entity or person receiving funds from the payment, together with the reason for each disbursement and the beneficiary of the disbursement. This provision shall not apply to a political consulting firm or political consultant, campaign worker, volunteer or political operative, etc., if the amount paid to that entity is less than $3,000 in aggregate during the quarterly reporting period. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to impose a reporting obligation on any person not otherwise required to report under Article 9 of the Election Code or to require the itemization of expenditures not otherwise required to be itemized under Article 9.

The conduits rule is what prevents campaigns from hiding the true recipient of expenditures by simply disclosing payments to an intermediary as was done with their disclosure of payment to IDT Payment Services. Most campaign finance compliance staffers quickly become familiar with this rule as it applies to credit card payments and payroll payments, forcing committees to disclose actual recipients of funds and not just show lump sum payments to either the credit card company or the payroll processing company.

History

The Rauner campaign should be familiar with the conduits rule having faced criticism previously for failing to abide by it with their previous payroll disclosures. In early 2014 Illinois Review reported that the Rauner campaign was not disclosing the the recipients of funds for payroll expenditures they were simply reporting lump sum payments to their payroll processing vendor Paylocity. Subsequently the State Board asked the Rauner campaign to file amended reports that complied with the conduits rule and the issue was resolved when they did so.

Record Keeping

Here is the relevant section of the campaign finance statute governing record keeping for expenditures:

5/9-7. Records and accounts.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) the treasurer of a political committee shall keep a detailed and exact account of –
(c) the total of all expenditures made by or on behalf of the committee;
(d) the full name and mailing address of every person to whom any expenditure is made, and the date and amount thereof;
(e) proof of payment, stating the particulars, for every expenditure made by or on behalf of the committee. The treasurer shall preserve all records and accounts required by this section for a period of 2 years.

If the Rauner campaign followed the law on recordkeeping for expenditures then they should have a record of the recipients of these gift cards.

Itemized Disclosure

Not all of the transactions to the recipients of these gift cards necessarily needs to be itemized on the quarterly financial disclosure. Here is the relevant section of the campaign finance statute governing itemized disclosure of expenditures:

5/9-11. Financial reports.
(a) Each quarterly report of campaign contributions, expenditures, and independent expenditures under Section 9-10 shall disclose the following:
(6) the name and address of each political committee from which the reporting committee received, or to which that committee made, any transfer of funds in the aggregate amount or value in excess of $150, together with the amounts and dates of all transfers;
(7) the total sum of transfers made to or from the committee during the reporting period and not reported under item (6);
(12) the full name and mailing address of each person to whom expenditures have been made by the committee or candidate within the reporting period in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $150; the amount, date, and purpose of each of those expenditures; and the question of public policy or the name and address of, and the office sought by, each candidate on whose behalf that expenditure was made;
(13) the full name and mailing address of each person to whom an expenditure for personal services, salaries, and reimbursed expenses in excess of $150 has been made and that is not otherwise reported, including the amount, date, and purpose of the expenditure;

Any recipients of gift cards whose aggregate value was $150 or less would not have to appear in the itemized section of the expenditures disclosure, those totals should simply appear in the unitemized expenditures line item on the summary page. However for any person or political committee whose received an aggregate of more than $150 in the reporting period the Rauner campaign would be required to disclose those itemized expenditures.

Resolution

On my very first campaign I learned this lesson the hard way, I filed some reports that didn’t follow the conduits rule and I had to go back and file amended reports. In speaking with the State Board staff at the time they told me that their emphasis was not on penalties it was simply to enforce disclosure. Once I filed those amended returns and the disclosure was proper the issue was closed. When the Rauner campaign faced the same issue with their payroll disclosures in early 2014 the matter was resolved once the campaign filed amended reports to comply with the conduits rule. The Board could take into account the past issue with the Rauner campaign and assess a fine but most likely an amended report will put the issue to bed. A Rauner staffer likely has some busy days ahead of them, it will be a lot of work to enter all of these transactions into the disclosure software but a lot of work is what the campaign finance rules require.

However if the Rauner campaign didn’t keep records of these gift card recipients then that could be a much different, and likely more difficult situation.