A Campaign Finance Oddity

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A few weeks ago I was looking through A-1 filings and and noticed that State Senate candidate Seth Lewis was getting in-kinds from both HRO and the RSSCC, which I noted on Twitter.

Someone mentioned to me that the reason you rarely come across a situation where a candidate for the General Assembly is being financially supported by the caucus committee of both chambers is that it’s not allowed. I looked it up and this appears to be the case.

Here is the section on campaign contributions, the relevant section is highlighted:

5/9-8.5 Limitations on campaign contributions
(b) During an election cycle, a candidate political committee may not accept contributions with an aggregate value over the following: (i) $5,000 from any individual, (ii) $10,000 from any corporation, labor organization, or association, or (iii) $50,000 from a candidate political committee or political action committee. A candidate political committee may accept contributions in any amount from a political party committee except during an election cycle in which the candidate seeks nomination at a primary election. During an election cycle in which the candidate seeks nomination at a primary election, a candidate political committee may not accept contributions from political party committees with an aggregate value over the following: (i) $200,000 for a candidate political committee established to support a candidate seeking nomination to statewide office, (ii) $125,000 for a candidate political committee established to support a candidate seeking nomination to the Senate, the Supreme Court or Appellate Court in the First Judicial district, or an office elected by all voters in a county with 1,000,000 or more residents, (iii) $75,000 for a candidate political committee established to support a candidate seeking nomination to the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court or Appellate Court for a judicial district other than the First Judicial District, an office elected by all voters of a county of fewer than 1,000,000 residents, and municipal and county offices in Cook County other than those elected by all voters of Cook County, and (iv) $50,000 for a candidate political committee established to support the nomination of a candidate to any other office. A candidate political committee established to elect a candidate to the General Assembly may accept contributions from only one legislative caucus committee. A candidate political committee may not accept contributions from a ballot initiative committee or from an independent expenditure committee.

And here is the section on committee definitions, the relevant section is highlighted:

5/9-1.8. Political committees
(c) “Political party committee” means the State central committee of a political party, a county central committee of a political party, a legislative caucus committee, or a committee formed by a ward or township committeeman of a political party. For purposes of this Article, a “legislative caucus committee” means a committee established for the purpose of electing candidates to the General Assembly by the person elected President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, or a committee established by 5 or more members of the same caucus of the Senate or 10 or more members of the same caucus of the House of Representatives.

So far Republican Senate candidates Seth Lewis, Paul Schimpf and Dale Fowler are getting paid staff from both the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee (RSSCC) and the House Republican Organization (HRO). Now the House Republican Organization is running an ad against Democratic incumbent Senator Gary Forby, which would presumably be an in-kind contribution to the Fowler campaign, it even lists HRO in the paid-for-by at the end of the ad.

This part of the campaign finance law seems rather odd to me. Then again it also seems kind of odd to be paying for Senate campaigns out of the House caucus funds, if for no other reason than you’ll have to explain to angry House caucus members why your’re spending caucus funds on the Senate instead of their races. Either way under the current letter of the law I’m not sure this is permitted.

General Assembly In-Kind Contributions

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The various caucus committees have started spending money on staff and paid communications for various supported candidates via in-kind contributions. I thought you might be interested to see which candidates they are already favoring with this support. Below is a sum of in-kinds reported on A-1’s since May 1st by candidate, donor and purpose. This list shows all in-kinds but the most prevalent ones are the ones from the caucus committees. This list is generated dynamically from the State Board data so whatever day you’re looking at it it is current as of 9pm last night.

 

The Money Race for the State House (07/18/2016)

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With the latest filing deadline just passed here is the latest update on the state of the money race for the Illinois General Assembly. If you read either of our previous State of the Money Race posts back in either April or January you’ll find that the narrative hasn’t changed much. With a few notable exceptions there wasn’t a lot of fundraising done in Q2 compared to previous quarters. The only General Assembly candidate committees to raise over $100,000 in the quarter were the four legislative leaders plus Bertino-Tarrant ($136K), Forby ($109K), Hoffman ($133K), Romanik ($1 million) and Phelps ($136K). Compare that to the 4th quarter of 2015 when aside from the legislative leaders one Republican and 19 other Democratic campaign committees raised more than $100K including 11 House committees over $247K and 3 over $500K.

The big new money in the quarter came from Bob Romanik, the Republican House candidate in the Metro East’s 114th district (currently held by Eddie Lee Jackson) who loaned himself another $1 million in Q2, on top of the previous million he loaned his campaign the quarter before.

Also on the Republican side money that was already in the system moved around a bit. Governor Rauner’s campaign committee transferred $5 million to the Illinois Republican Party and then the party transferred $2 million to the House Republican Organization (the state party also transferred another $1 million to HRO on July 1st). So far there haven’t been any similar transfers to the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee.

Let’s take a look at the data starting with the current estimated cash available, here is the current cash position of all the committees involved combining the 3/30 cash on hand, plus the 3/30 investment total plus any reported A-1 amounts so far this quarter.

Current Cash Position

Candidate Q2 Cash on Hand Q2 Investments Q3 A-1s Est Funds Available
Democratic Party of Illinois $2,459,508.04 $0.00 $30,000.00 $2,489,508.04
Friends of Michael J. Madigan $1,299,318.51 $0.00 $18,309.75 $1,317,628.26
Democratic Majority $2,742,990.67 $0.00 $31,600.00 $2,774,590.67
13th Ward Democratic Org $1,239,445.41 $0.00 $1,000.00 $1,240,445.41
Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate $1,637,026.79 $300,488.79 $0.00 $1,937,515.58
Senate Democratic Victory Fund $2,468,521.98 $412,074.69 $0.00 $2,880,596.67
Committee to Support John Cullerton for State Central Committeeman $887,778.93 $0.00 $0.00 $887,778.93
Dem Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle $3,391,413.48 $42.36 $41,300.00 $3,432,755.84
Dem Senate Candidates $5,233,462.77 $250,007.00 $112,373.53 $5,595,843.30
Dem House Candidates $13,253,508.33 $285,941.27 $304,332.64 $13,424,572.00
Total $34,612,974.91 $1,248,554.11 $538,915.92 $35,981,234.70
Candidate Q2 Cash on Hand Q2 Investments Q3 A-1s Est Funds Available
Citizens for Rauner, Inc $15,280,774.95 $0.00 $0.00 $15,280,774.95
Turnaround Illinois $2,208,676.44 $0.00 $0.00 $2,208,676.44
Illinois Republican Party $3,052,327.80 $0.00 $10,000.00 $3,062,327.80
Citizens for Durkin $859,562.13 $0.00 $13,000.00 $872,562.13
House Republican Organization $669,355.36 $0.00 $1,023,820.05 $1,693,175.41
House Republican Leadership Committee $63,527.40 $0.00 $0.00 $63,527.40
Citizens for Christine Radogno $716,955.96 $0.00 $32,000.00 $748,955.96
Republican State Senate Campaign Committee $448,015.28 $0.00 $6,421.00 $454,436.28
Rep Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle $956,674.76 $0.00 $3,000.00 $959,674.76
Rep Senate Candidates $1,578,309.02 $45,300.00 $44,361.18 $1,667,970.20
Rep House Candidates $5,462,830.51 $25.00 $165,776.92 $5,628,632.43
Total $31,297,009.61 $45,325.00 $1,298,379.15 $32,640,713.76

It’s somewhat remarkable that even with the Governor’s personal wealth and his allied wealthy donors the Democrats have been able to keep pace in the money race. They currently have about $3.4 million more than the Republicans but that advantage can be quickly wiped out if or when the Governor and his allies start writing big checks again. Also the Independent Expenditure committee Liberty Principles PAC has just over $4 million and they have been closely allied with the Governor this cycle so it’s basically a wash.

Now let’s look at the same info while adding in the amounts that have already been spent so far this cycle (including in-kinds as spending):

Cycle Spending Ability

Candidate Already Spent Q2 Cash on Hand Q2 Investments Q3 A-1s Cycle Spending Ability
Democratic Party of Illinois $605,891.63 $2,459,508.04 $0.00 $30,000.00 $3,095,399.67
Friends of Michael J. Madigan $1,929,553.60 $1,299,318.51 $0.00 $18,309.75 $3,247,181.86
Democratic Majority $934,771.61 $2,742,990.67 $0.00 $31,600.00 $3,709,362.28
13th Ward Democratic Org $329,614.62 $1,239,445.41 $0.00 $1,000.00 $1,570,060.03
Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate $794,210.49 $1,637,026.79 $300,488.79 $0.00 $2,731,726.07
Senate Democratic Victory Fund $1,927,734.85 $2,468,521.98 $412,074.69 $0.00 $4,808,331.52
Committee to Support John Cullerton for State Central Committeeman $96,100.57 $887,778.93 $0.00 $0.00 $983,879.50
Dem Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle $2,067,590.58 $3,391,413.48 $42.36 $41,300.00 $5,500,346.42
Dem Senate Candidates $5,092,818.51 $5,233,462.77 $250,007.00 $112,373.53 $10,688,661.81
Dem House Candidates $12,553,717.80 $13,253,508.33 $285,941.27 $304,332.64 $26,397,500.04
Total $26,332,004.26 $34,612,974.91 $1,248,554.11 $538,915.92 $62,732,449.20
Candidate Already Spent Q2 Cash on Hand Q2 Investments Q3 A-1s Cycle Spending Ability
Citizens for Rauner, Inc $7,861,569.64 $15,280,774.95 $0.00 $0.00 $23,142,344.59
Turnaround Illinois $4,048,696.21 $2,208,676.44 $0.00 $0.00 $6,257,372.65
Illinois Republican Party $4,421,430.97 $3,052,327.80 $0.00 $10,000.00 $7,483,758.77
Citizens for Durkin $646,240.22 $859,562.13 $0.00 $13,000.00 $1,518,802.35
House Republican Organization $2,444,183.13 $669,355.36 $0.00 $1,023,820.05 $4,137,358.54
House Republican Leadership Committee $5,036.25 $63,527.40 $0.00 $0.00 $68,563.65
Citizens for Christine Radogno $217,658.58 $716,955.96 $0.00 $32,000.00 $966,614.54
Republican State Senate Campaign Committee $901,413.56 $448,015.28 $0.00 $6,421.00 $1,355,849.84
Rep Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle $626,464.56 $956,674.76 $0.00 $3,000.00 $1,586,139.32
Rep Senate Candidates $2,781,646.46 $1,578,309.02 $45,300.00 $44,361.18 $4,449,616.66
Rep House Candidates $4,527,111.13 $5,462,830.51 $25.00 $165,776.92 $10,155,743.56
Total $28,481,450.71 $31,297,009.61 $45,325.00 $1,298,379.15 $61,122,164.47
Committee Already Spent
Primary Independent Expenditure Spending (B-1’s) $11,168,207.97
Candidate Already Spent Q1 Cash on Hand Q1 Investments Q2 A-1s Cycle Spending Ability
Democratic Primary Losing Candidates $3,495,619.55 $200,191.71 $0.00 $0.00 $3,695,811.26
Republican Primary Losing Candidates $1,689,475.32 $21,288.66 $0.00 $0.00 $1,710,763.98

When you look at what’s already been spent on legislative races so far plus what is still available to spend the amount is already over $140 million which is an eye popping number, but there is a catch. Some of those spending amounts are really just transfers of money already inside the system. So for example when the Gov’s campaign committee transferred $5 million to the Illinois Republican Party back in May, who then transferred $2 million to the House Republican Organization that looks like $7 million in spending when no new money entered or left the system, it just got moved around a bit. Unfortunately there’s no easy way to filter these amounts out, I’ll see what I can do in the future.

Edited to add:
I pulled up all of the expenditures of $30,000 or more and tried to figure out which ones to subtract to address this double counting issue. I came up with $12,477,100.00, you can download my list to review my work here. That means that we believe that roughly $128 million either already has been spent or is in the bank available to be spent for the 2016 General Assembly elections.

Finally, here are the other top 25 committees that have notable funds and could impact the fall elections if they so choose.

Name COH INV A-1 Est Funds Avail
Friends of Edward M Burke $2,090,259.42 $6,257,127.37 $0.00 $8,347,386.79
Liberty Principles PAC $4,047,466.15 $0.00 $0.00 $4,047,466.15
Laborers’ Political Action and Education League $2,229,666.33 $0.00 $0.00 $2,229,666.33
Citizens for Lisa Madigan $2,194,850.80 $0.00 $0.00 $2,194,850.80
Laborers’ Political League – Great Lakes Region $1,759,912.79 $0.00 $0.00 $1,759,912.79
Illinois PAC for Education (IPACE) $1,753,013.79 $0.00 $0.00 $1,753,013.79
Illinois State Medical Society PAC $374,778.67 $1,261,198.00 $0.00 $1,635,976.67
Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC $1,565,230.36 $0.00 $0.00 $1,565,230.36
Carpenters Helping in the Political Process (CHIPP) $1,533,859.02 $0.00 $0.00 $1,533,859.02
The Burnham Committee $1,400,263.49 $0.00 $0.00 $1,400,263.49
Biss for Illinois $1,374,174.71 $0.00 $24,300.00 $1,398,474.71
Friends for Susana Mendoza $1,332,604.13 $0.00 $30,500.00 $1,363,104.13
Stand for Children IL PAC $1,092,582.40 $0.00 $0.00 $1,092,582.40
Support Independent Maps $1,017,355.40 $0.00 $32,000.00 $1,049,355.40
Citizens for Alderman Reilly $1,039,888.10 $0.00 $0.00 $1,039,888.10
REALTORS Political Action Committee $988,921.20 $0.00 $9,000.00 $997,921.20
Roofers’ Political Educational and Legislative Fund $196,615.49 $749,380.67 $0.00 $945,996.16
Dan Rutherford Campaign Committee $11,216.37 $899,648.00 $0.00 $910,864.37
Committee to Elect Joseph Berrios Assessor $832,194.22 $0.00 $0.00 $832,194.22
Citizens for Judy Baar Topinka $830,415.98 $0.00 $0.00 $830,415.98
Citizens for Giannoulias $780,209.84 $0.00 $0.00 $780,209.84
Friends of Suarez $15,732.32 $750,000.00 $0.00 $765,732.32
Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE $741,932.05 $0.00 $0.00 $741,932.05
Cook County Democratic Party $728,276.43 $0.00 $0.00 $728,276.43
Citizens for Claar $148,489.37 $507,574.31 $0.00 $656,063.68

If you’d like to check my math or investigate and calculate further the data I used to create the tables above can be found here.

 

Note: these figures are our best estimates and include some double counting of funds, which cannot be avoided. For example not all funds listed in “Transfers In” come from political committees that are already registered with the State Board but for those that do these transfers aren’t new money coming into the system, they’re simply transfers from one fund to another. If those transfers are from funds that are involved in legislative elections to funds involved in legislative elections (such as when Governor Rauner transferred funds to the state party) then we are double counting those funds. The same goes for in-kinds, not all in-kinds are double counted but when a committee that is involved in legislative elections provides and in-kind to another committee involved in legislative elections (such as when the Speaker’s leadership committee, Democratic Majority, spent money on mailings on behalf of incumbent House Dems who then reported those transactions as in-kind donations received) we’re just seeing the same numbers twice. The only way to control for this double counting would involve manually going through and coding tens of thousands of transactions to determine if each transaction a) involved two committees that were both registered with the State Board and b) both funds were involved with this cycle’s legislative elections. That’s just not a realistic option so we’re left with our best estimates above.