I've been tweeting a lot of interesting updates from recent disclosures and I realize that the volume is so great that it's starting to turn into white noise for most followers so 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.

  • 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.
2nd House (D) - Theresa Mah vs. Alex Acevedo
5th House (D) - Ken Dunkin (i) vs. Juliana Stratton
  • Last month IllinoisGO filed three B-1's for Ken Dunkin for $240K for field work, production and mailings. (more on this at the bottom)
  • Last week Ken Dunkin filed an A-1 for $502K, including a $500K contribution from the Illinois Opportunity Project, it is believed to be the largest single donation ever for a General Assembly race. (more on this at the bottom)
  • Last week IllinoisGO filed three B-1's for Ken Dunkin for $36K for mailings, another $36K for mailings (this time technically opposing Juliana Stratton) and $19K for printing.
  • On Sunday Juliana Stratton filed an A-1 for $235K in labor money from AFSCME, SEIU and the carpenters.
  • On Monday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for Ken Dunkin for $10K for production.
  • On Tuesday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for Ken Dunkin for $30Kfor TV ads.
  • On Wednesday IllinoisGO filed a B-1 for Ken Dunkin for $3Kfor field work.
22nd House (D) - Michael Madigan (i) vs. Jason Gonzales vs. Joe Barboza vs. Grasiela Rodriguez
  • Late last month a new independent expenditure committee was created, Illinois United for Change that was later seeded with $100K including $50K from Hull Investments.
  • Last Friday they started spending some of that money, filing a B-1 in support of Jason Gonzales for $28K for field work, palm cards and robo calls.
  • On Tuesday Jason Gonzales filed an A-1 for $16,400.
  • Worth noting: the four funds controlled by Speaker Madigan have an estimated funds available of almost $9 million.
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
  • Last Friday Democratic Majority, the leadership PAC for the House Democrats, filed its first B-1 of the season for $3,730.07 for postage opposing Katelyn Hotle.
  • On Tuesday Democratic Majority once again filed a B-1 for $3,730.07 for postage opposing Katelyn Hotle.
72nd House (R) - Brandi McGuire vs. Jordan Thoms
95th House (R) - Avery Bourne (i) vs. Dennis Scobbie vs. Christopher Hicks
  • On Monday the Illinois Republican Party filed a B-1 for $238K for Avery Bourne for advertising and production.
  • Also on Monday the Illinois Republican Party filed a B-1 for $7K for Avery Bourne for consulting and mail.
99th House (R) - Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (i) vs. Kent Gray
5th Senate (D) - Patricia Van Pelt (i) vs. Bob Fioretti
19th Senate (D) - Michael Hastings (i) vs. Max Solomon
26th Senate (R) - Dan McConchie vs. Casey Urlacher vs. Martin McLaughlin
50th Senate (R) - Sam McCann (i) vs. 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
Other Notable Contributions Received
  • Continuing a trend that was very evident if you closely studied the fundraising totals of targeted House Dems from last quarter those targeted candidates have been raising very large sums into their candidate committees in what appears to be part of a team approach. Last quarter 11 House Dems raised over $247K (3 of them were over $500K). Last Tuesday four House Dems all filed similar A-1's:
  • Last week AFSCME added $200K in member dues to their PAC. So far this year they've added $800K to their PAC.
  • Last Friday Julie Morrison filed an A-1 for $50K.
  • On Monday Support Independent Maps filed an A-1 for $35K. They now have an estimated funds available of $545K.
  • On Tuesday Deb Conroy filed an A-1 for about $94K, including $53,900 from the Engineers and $25K from AFSCME.
  • On Tuesday Water Rec candidate Marty Durkan filed an A-1 for about $88K.
  • On Wednesday the National Association of REALTORS Fund replenished their PAC fund with $106K of member dues. They started the year with only $500 in the bank so this A-1 represents the bulk of their current spending power. Later that afternoon they spent almost all of that money on the various independent expenditures outlined above.
  • On Wednesday the Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC bulked up their PAC fund with $364K of member money. They began the year with $912K on hand so now they have about $1.275 million available.
  • On Wednesday judicial candidate Gregory Lapapa filed an A-1 for a loan of $50K of what appears to be his own money.
Other Interesting Developments
Compliance Issues

The Democratic primary between Ken Dunkin and Juliana Stratton is not just heated and expensive, it is so unique that it is triggering some sections of the election code and State Board rules that are not often needed.

  • Are B-1's subject to rule 100.70(c) of the State Board rules? After reading through the language once again I can't find anything to suggest that they aren't. Independent expenditures are a relatively new phenomenon that didn't exist until contribution limits became law in 2011 so it's entirely possible that this issue hasn't been addressed before, at least as it applies to B-1 filings. Rule 100.70(c) is the "conduits rule", the rule that prevents committees from hiding the true recipient of a disbursement by paying an intermediary who acts as a conduit and then pays out another. It's the rule that forces committees to itemize their credit card bills and payroll rather than just showing a lump sum to the credit card company or payroll processing company. IllinoisGO filed a B-1 that included a $140,705.82 lump sum payment for "field work" that seems very likely to be subject to the conduits rule and if B-1's are subject to this rule then their method of disclosure is probably not in compliance. If you're interested in reading some more about rule 100.70(c) I went into it in some depth when discussing the Governor's gift card controversy last summer.
  • Committees that receive more that 33% of their funds from a single source have to list that source as a Sponsoring Entity. The $500,000 donation from the Illinois Opportunity Project to Ken Dunkin is large enough that it may trigger this provision, in which case Dunkin's committee would have to file an amended D-1 and list the IOP as its sponsoring entity.

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.

Last Friday was the filing deadline for the 4th quarter 2015 campaign finance reports (D-2's) and since we have all of that data I thought it would be interesting to update this tweet with a more up to date and thorough look at the state of the money race for the State House. When we last looked at this data it was late December, two and a half months into the quarter and so we had a lot of recent contribution data via A-1 filings but our data on spending and true cash on hand was quite out of date. The data we have now is much closer to the start of the filing period and these estimates are much closer to the true picture.

The race for the State House began almost right after the 2014 election when then Governor-elect Rauner and his allies put $20 million into his campaign committee and later created another Independent Expenditure committee, Turnaround Illinois, with $4.25 million. The Governor, as leader of his party, has pledged to use his resources this cycle to help elect more Republicans to the General Assembly. The Democrats have been playing catch up ever since and by some measures may have actually passed the Republicans in the fundraising race.

Total Raised (including in-kinds) for Q4 2015

Democratic CommitteeQ4 Raised & In-kind
Democratic Party of Illinois$1,786,444.01
Friends of Michael J. Madigan$1,747,639.53
Democratic Majority$1,632,063.67
13th Ward Democratic Org$638,950.00
Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate$884,520.00
Senate Democratic Victory Fund$1,554,358.12
Committee to Support John Cullerton for State Central Committeeman$476,011.73
Dem Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle$637,882.30
Dem Senate Candidates$1,792,328.42
Dem House Candidates$7,190,292.50
Republican CommitteeQ4 Raised & Inkind
Citizens for Rauner, Inc$4,199.00
Turnaround Illinois$1,320.78
Illinois Republican Party$179,912.70
Citizens for Durkin$344,572.77
House Republican Organization$282,875.47
Citizens for Christine Radogno$303,275.39
Republican State Senate Campaign Committee$306,385.96
Rep Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle$259,036.64
Rep Senate Candidates$705,473.89
Rep House Candidates$1,185,456.33

The Democrats outraised the Republicans in the 4th quarter, that was expected since they have been playing catch up. What is quite noticeable however is the disparity, the Democrats raised roughly $15 million more than the Republicans this quarter, and not just in leadership, much of it going into the actual candidate committees. Aside from Durkin and Radogno the only Republican campaign committee to raise six figures last quarter was Jil Tracy ($105K). On the Democratic side aside from Madigan and Cullerton 19 other Democratic campaign committees raised more than $100K including 11 House committees over $247K and 3 over $500K.

Now let's look at the current cash position of all those involved by combining the 12/31 cash on hand, plus the 12/31 investment total plus any reported A-1 amounts so far this quarter.

Current Cash Position

Democratic CommitteeQ4 COHQ4 INVQ1 A-1sEst Funds Avail
Democratic Party of Illinois$2,394,998.90 $0.00 $3,900.00 $2,398,898.90
Friends of Michael J. Madigan$2,157,364.97 $0.00 $10,600.00 $2,167,964.97
Democratic Majority$2,732,949.01 $0.00 $1,214.00 $2,734,163.01
13th Ward Democratic Org$1,254,380.90 $0.00 $55,000.00 $1,309,380.90
Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate$1,211,497.20 $300,300.46 $0.00 $1,511,797.66
Senate Democratic Victory Fund$2,145,308.24 $404,232.00 $17,475.00 $2,567,015.24
Committee to Support John Cullerton
for State Central Committeeman
$695,817.67 $0.00 $0.00 $695,817.67
Dem Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle$3,597,832.59 $42.36 $4,600.00 $3,602,474.95
Dem Senate Candidates$4,722,092.16 $220,007.00 $75,681.80 $5,017,780.96
Dem House Candidates$13,052,436.87 $770,871.69 $571,430.80 $14,394,739.36
Total$33,964,678.51 $1,695,453.51 $739,901.60 $36,400,033.62
Republican CommitteeQ4 COHQ4 INVQ1 A-1sEst Funds Avail
Citizens for Rauner, Inc$19,555,040.91 $0.00 $0.00 $19,555,040.91
Turnaround Illinois$2,595,379.90 $0.00 $0.00 $2,595,379.90
Illinois Republican Party$400,498.12 $0.00 $21,600.00 $422,098.12
Citizens for Durkin$773,783.80 $0.00 $9,500.00 $783,283.80
House Republican Organization$290,416.05 $0.00 $14,500.00 $304,916.05
Citizens for Christine Radogno$534,402.53 $0.00 $2,500.00 $536,902.53
Republican State Senate Campaign Committee$427,720.49 $0.00 $60,600.00 $488,320.49
Rep Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle$944,113.77 $0.00 $0.00 $944,113.77
Rep Senate Candidates$1,447,659.18 $45,300.00 $85,500.00 $1,578,459.18
Rep House Candidates$3,198,673.67 $0.00 $209,343.02 $3,408,016.69
Total$30,167,688.42 $45,300.00 $403,543.02 $30,616,531.44

As of right now there is roughly $67 million sitting in the accounts of various campaign committees waiting to be spent on General Assembly races this cycle and the Dems have about a $6 million advantage ($36.4m to $30.6m). That's a lot of money.

However it does not take into account all of the money that has already been spent. Candidates have been hiring staff, buying yard signs, doing polls and spending money on any number of useful needs that will help them come election time. So let's combine the totals above with the amounts already spent by each committee (plus in-kinds) in 2015.

Cycle Spending Ability

Democratic Committee2015 SpentQ4 COHQ4 INVQ1 A-1sCycle Spending Ability
Democratic Party of Illinois$466,425.77 $2,394,998.90 $0.00 $3,900.00 $2,865,324.67
Friends of Michael J. Madigan$588,244.74 $2,157,364.97 $0.00 $10,600.00 $2,756,209.71
Democratic Majority$329,315.45 $2,732,949.01 $0.00 $1,214.00 $3,063,478.46
13th Ward Democratic Org$181,628.13 $1,254,380.90 $0.00 $55,000.00 $1,491,009.03
Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate$568,926.16 $1,211,497.20 $300,300.46 $0.00 $2,080,723.82
Senate Democratic Victory Fund$1,049,868.27 $2,145,308.24 $404,232.00 $17,475.00 $3,616,883.51
Committee to Support John Cullerton
for State Central Committeeman
$42,706.07 $695,817.67 $0.00 $0.00 $738,523.74
Dem Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle$1,464,126.75 $3,597,832.59 $42.36 $4,600.00 $5,066,601.70
Dem Senate Candidates$2,894,326.73 $4,722,092.16 $220,007.00 $75,681.80 $7,912,107.69
Dem House Candidates$5,143,207.88 $13,052,436.87 $770,871.69 $571,430.80 $19,537,947.24
Total$12,728,775.95 $33,964,678.51 $1,695,453.51 $739,901.60 $49,128,809.57
Republican Committee2015 SpentQ4 COHQ4 INVQ1 A-1sCycle Spending Ability
Citizens for Rauner, Inc$1,372,553.02 $19,555,040.91 $0.00 $0.00 $20,927,593.93
Turnaround Illinois$1,659,222.07 $2,595,379.90 $0.00 $0.00 $4,254,601.97
Illinois Republican Party$652,689.76 $400,498.12 $0.00 $21,600.00 $1,074,787.88
Citizens for Durkin$405,035.31 $773,783.80 $0.00 $9,500.00 $1,188,319.11
House Republican Organization$427,965.08 $290,416.05 $0.00 $14,500.00 $732,881.13
Citizens for Christine Radogno$139,374.47 $534,402.53 $0.00 $2,500.00 $676,277.00
Republican State Senate Campaign Committee$575,939.69 $427,720.49 $0.00 $60,600.00 $1,064,260.18
Rep Senators Not On Ballot This Cycle$458,611.18 $944,113.77 $0.00 $0.00 $1,402,724.95
Rep Senate Candidates$997,741.47 $1,447,659.18 $45,300.00 $85,500.00 $2,576,200.65
Rep House Candidates$2,203,396.72 $3,198,673.67 $0.00 $209,343.02 $5,611,413.41
Total$8,892,528.77 $30,167,688.42 $45,300.00 $403,543.02 $39,509,060.21

Even if all of these committees never raise another penny they already have the ability to spend almost $90 million this cycle and it's only January. Despite starting from well behind Governor Rauner's significant funds the Democrats are currently able to spend $10 million more than the Republicans. However the Governor and his allies have demonstrated that they have very deep pockets and they can make up the difference any time they choose. Not every penny will be spent of course, many of the Senators that are not up for election this cycle will likely save their money for their next election. Also a number of these districts have primary races and quite a bit of money will be spent on primaries rather than general election contests.

And then there's the big elephant in the room, the $9 million that IllinoisGO has. They aren't the only PAC with significant funds, here is a list of the top 25 other committees that could get involved if they choose.

CommitteeQ4 COHQ4 INVQ1 A-1Est Funds Avail
IllinoisGO IE$8,999,970.00 $0.00 $0.00 $8,999,970.00
Friends of Edward M Burke$2,280,827.14 $6,356,353.45 $0.00 $8,637,180.59
Liberty Principles PAC$2,746,295.33 $0.00 $1,818,000.00 $4,564,295.33
Laborers' Political League - Great Lakes Region$2,345,342.74 $0.00 $0.00 $2,345,342.74
Citizens for Lisa Madigan$2,137,044.04 $0.00 $0.00 $2,137,044.04
Illinois State Medical Society PAC$399,945.90 $1,230,136.00 $0.00 $1,630,081.90
Carpenters Helping in the Political Process (CHIPP)$1,483,716.29 $0.00 $0.00 $1,483,716.29
Stand for Children IL PAC$1,372,305.91 $0.00 $0.00 $1,372,305.91
The Burnham Committee$1,309,846.28 $0.00 $0.00 $1,309,846.28
Illinois PAC for Education (IPACE)$1,164,664.87 $0.00 $0.00 $1,164,664.87
Citizens for Alderman Reilly$1,006,703.57 $0.00 $29,000.00 $1,035,703.57
Cook County Democratic Party$977,199.32 $0.00 $10,000.00 $987,199.32
REALTORS Political Action Committee$943,064.66 $0.00 $4,000.00 $947,064.66
Roofers' Political Educational and Legislative Fund$174,347.22 $749,380.67 $0.00 $923,727.89
Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE$754,802.93 $0.00 $163,746.73 $918,549.66
Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC$912,148.74 $0.00 $0.00 $912,148.74
Dan Rutherford Campaign Committee$14,974.34 $887,432.00 $0.00 $902,406.34
Citizens for Judy Baar Topinka$840,769.03 $0.00 $0.00 $840,769.03
Committee to Elect Joseph Berrios Assessor$836,485.17 $0.00 $0.00 $836,485.17
Friends of Suarez$72,823.28 $750,000.00 $0.00 $822,823.28
Citizens for Giannoulias$779,764.79 $0.00 $0.00 $779,764.79
14th Ward Regular Democratic Org$722,156.15 $0.00 $0.00 $722,156.15
Laborers' Political Action and Education League$720,332.88 $0.00 $0.00 $720,332.88
Friends of Anita Alvarez$697,191.18 $0.00 $7,000.00 $704,191.18
Friends for Susana Mendoza$674,701.28 $0.00 $4,738.71 $679,439.99

The battle for the State House in 2016 is going to be intense. There is already almost $90 million in play, it will certainly eclipse the $100 million mark and may push to $150 million.

We will keep an eye on it for you and we'll keep you up to date. If you want to track all of these races and see the campaign fundraising totals in real-time subscribe to the Illinois Racing Form, it's only $15. We have been updating weekly but once the candidate objections are finalized we will probably set up the computer to publish an updated version daily, coming within the next week or two. For just $15 you can check to see the latest fundraising totals for every race every day. We put a lot of work into it so if you find this info in any way useful do us a favor and sign up.

Note: 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.


This cycle I am partnering with the Aldertrack team to help produce the Illinois Racing Form. You may remember during the 2015 Chicago Municipal elections Aldertrack produced a racing form that covered all 50 Chicago wards with ward maps, candidate listing and pictures, info about the candidates and candidate status. I was not involved in that project but I did purchase a copy, found it to be a terrific resource and recommended it to others so I am excited to be involved in this project this cycle.

The 2016 Illinois Racing Form

The 2016 Illinois Racing Form will be available starting Tuesday the 24th (the first day after candidate filing) and will cover all 177 state legislative districts (State House and State Senate). Every week we will update all the information and every Tuesday we will email the latest version of the Racing Form to subscribers. The Racing Form will include:

  • District profiles for every district 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.
  • Detailed tracking of candidate objections including objection info, hearing dates and parties involved to stay on top of current candidate status.
  • Latest candidate filings.
  • Candidates' social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Index of all the candidates.

Why You Should Buy The 2016 Illinois Racing Form

  1. It's a Tremendous Resource - the district profiles and the candidates listings alone make this product worth the cost. Print out the district profiles and candidate index and put them into a 3-ring binder on your desk. The next time you see someone mention a candidate or a district and your mind drifts off to "wait, which one was that again ..." you'll have a detailed answer available at your fingertips.
  2. The Focus on General Assembly Races Will Be Greater Than Ever Before - it has been almost 5 months since the State's fiscal year began without a budget and almost 6 months since the traditional deadline for passing a state budget elapsed. One of the underlying subtexts of the current budget impasse is the likely escalation in General Assembly races this cycle, the Governor has committed significant funds to improving the Republican party's chances and has made it a goal to increase his party's representation. This means that these races will likely have far greater focus than ever before and our Racing Form can help you track them.
  3. Stay On Top of the Campaign Funds Available - with so many races and so many different campaign committees potentially spending money on these races our funds available tracker can guide you as you try to predict who will spend money and where.
  4. Weekly Updates - do you need to keep track of these elections throughout? Let our weekly updates do the work for you.
  5. Proven Track Record - during the Chicago Municipal elections Aldertrack demonstrated that they can offer information of value in a usable format with timely updates. I was a consumer who was so impressed I decided to join them. And if you're a repeat visitor to this website you have likely found some information of use from me. Together I think this can be an effective team.

Updates - Illinois State Board of Elections

The omnibus election bill passed late last year requires that after election day each election authority must report the number of uncounted ballots to the State Board of Elections and the SBE must make this data available on their website. You may remember that the 2014 Illinois State Treasurer's race was too close to call after all of the ballots were counted on election night and the outcome of that race remained in doubt for some time as the vote by mail, early vote and same day registration votes had to be counted before the official winner was determined. Keeping track of the developments in that ballot counting process was difficult because in some cases it was difficult to get information about how many ballots still needed to be counted by each election authority. Hopefully this process will be easier to follow if a similar situation arises in the future as more data will be publicly available.

Since that law went into effect a special election was held to fill the vacancy in the 18th congressional district. In accordance with the new law each election authority sent the State Board of Elections the data about uncounted ballots and the SBE displayed this data on their website, as required. To navigate to this page on the Illinois State Board of Elections website you can go:

Home --> Reporters (top nav bar) --> Uncounted Ballots (center column)


Updates - Illinois Election Data

Over the last few months I have updated this website's various sections with data from both the 2014 general election as well as the 2015 Chicago municipal elections. Additionally I had long been planning to make changes to almost every part of this site and I finally put the work in to do that. Here is a rundown of all the new changes along with a detailed explanation for each.

  • New Look and Feel: the visual layout and design of this website used to look like a 4 year old drew it in crayon. I have made wholesale changes and incorporated a modified version of the Bootstrap framework and it now looks more like a 9 year old drew it in washable marker, which I'm told is an improvement.

  • 2014 Election Cycle Budgets: data now available in the budgets section for all of the 2014 election cycle statewide candidates as well as the targeted congressional races.

  • 2014 Election Cycle Statewide Race Maps: maps now available in the maps section for all of the statewide candidates from the 2014 general election. For example here is the map of Bruce Rauner's victory by county.

  • 2015 Chicago Municipal Election Maps (general and runoff): maps now available in the maps section for all of the Chicago municipal candidates from the 2015 general and runoff elections. For example here is the map of Rahm Emanuel's victory by ward in the runoff.

  • New Budgets Back End: the budgets section is a tremendous tool for campaign managers (or designated budget staffers) that can display the past monthly campaign fundraising and spending for so many statewide and congressional races. All of this data used to be static, it was copied and pasted from database work done offsite. Now I have completely rebuilt this section using onsite data hosted in a backend database and the data displayed is derived from calculations run on that database. This work has two advantages, 1) fewer chances for copy/paste errors meaning the displayed data is more likely to be accurate and 2) for those users wishing to study the data more closely you can now quickly see all of the receipts and all of the expenditures in a table that is easy to filter and has a one-touch download button so you can easily download all of the individual transactions and perform whatever further analysis you would like on the underlying data.

  • Reduced Reliance on Google: in order to get this site up and running when it was first launched I used a lot of Google tools to keep from having to do a lot of initial design work, for example I often embedded/displayed data in a Google Spreadsheet instead of displaying data in a formatted HTML table. It didn't look good then and later when Google made some changes to how they display embedded Google docs it looked even worse. I have since gone back and taken the time to fully develop each section and reduced the reliance on various Google tools and overall most areas are just better now. The lone key exception is the Maps section, all of the vote total maps are overlaid on Google Maps which is still by far my preferred method.

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.


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.


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.

Someone asked me for some help creating some maps similar to the vote total maps we have in our MAPS section. I wrote a tutorial for creating a very basic vote total map using Google Fusion Tables to display a Google Map showing the vote totals. This particular tutorial will create a map for Obama's 2012 Presidential performance by Chicago ward.

Download the Tutorial

Included in the file are:

  1. A Word document with step by step instructions.
  2. A KML file with the Chicago ward boundaries.
  3. An Excel file with the vote totals.
  4. An HTML file with the example output.

Instead of writing my usual post mortem blog post on the election results for last week's mayor's race I agreed to work with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform to perform a somewhat longer and more in-depth election analysis and write a comprehensive report.

One of the elements I found most interesting was that we were able to use US Census data to find a workable definition of the "Two Chicagos" message that the Garcia campaign focused on and one of the more surprising outcomes was that Emanuel did better than I expected among voters in this less affluent, more minority segment of city voters.

A few other interesting observations:

  • The Garcia campaign was able to turnout more Hispanic voters in April, something that is very difficult to do, and voters in Hispanic majority precincts made up a greater raw total of new voters in April than voters in African American majority precincts despite the fact that the Hispanic voting population is far smaller. In April there were almost 26K more voters than February in Hispanic majority precincts compared to just under 23K more voters in African American majority precincts.
  • Despite the impressive increase in voters from majority Hispanic precincts the increase in voters in white majority precincts was even greater. There were about 46K more voters in white majority precincts in April than in February.
  • Also, despite the impressive increase in new voters in Hispanic majority precincts Emanuel maintained roughly the same level of support in these precincts from February to April. In February Emanuel had the support of about 34% of the voters in Hispanic majority precincts and in April that only fell to 33% in Hispanic majority precincts, so despite the increase in enthusiasm and turnout Emanuel still held on to his supporters.

Go read the whole thing, there is a full analysis on this "Two Chicagos" element, plus data on turnout, income, education and race.

If you're like me you want to download all of the Chicago Mayor election results in this April runoff by precinct and you don't want to have to load each ward's page and then copy and paste that into a spreadsheet. Paul Smith was kind enough to share a Python script to download the results but I was unfortunately unable to get his Python script to work so I wrote one in php and got that to work.

Download the 2015 Mayor Runoff by Precinct

Click on the link above to download the April Runoff Election Results by precinct. This will probably take 60 - 120 seconds to run before it lets you save the file. This script will check the CBOE website and then it will write the data to a CSV file that you should be able to download and open in Excel and it will have the Mayor's race election results by precinct. If the CBOE updates their vote totals with either 1) updated precinct totals or 2) updated VBM totals (or both) just click on the link above again and it will pull the latest data.

If something isn't working right let me know. Thanks.

One item really quick, I went to the CBOE website and pulled the registered voter totals from February and the ones they have currently listed for the runoff and put them into the table below, ordered by the largest increase to the smallest.

WardApril RegistrationFeb RegistrationChange
129,907 29,232 675
4629,349 28,676 673
233,066 32,438 628
4330,874 30,254 620
3231,084 30,469 615
4231,924 31,309 615
4733,807 33,218 589
4430,377 29,803 574
1126,035 25,470 565
332,680 32,142 538
2525,731 25,194 537
2732,605 32,087 518
431,155 30,651 504
4830,279 29,787 492
2625,181 24,709 472
4134,797 34,339 458
4531,649 31,191 458
529,778 29,321 457
4925,550 25,105 445
4028,228 27,800 428
2832,829 32,409 420
3323,324 22,909 415
3522,243 21,846 397
2322,767 22,399 368
3929,503 29,135 368
1324,298 23,932 366
2934,881 34,515 366
732,778 32,415 363
3121,792 21,429 363
1025,931 25,572 359
2026,003 25,662 341
633,994 33,658 336
1935,346 35,016 330
2427,179 26,850 329
3829,900 29,593 307
5025,217 24,914 303
3621,593 21,293 300
1626,365 26,071 294
1832,066 31,783 283
936,733 36,454 279
3731,608 31,338 270
837,765 37,496 269
1418,088 17,822 266
3021,605 21,339 266
1218,185 17,930 255
1518,478 18,233 245
3438,714 38,472 242
2138,481 38,244 237
2219,135 18,907 228
1730,780 30,599 181
Total1,441,637 1,421,430 20,207

I had expected to see Hispanic wards with the largest raw increases for two reasons, 1) those wards generally have the lowest raw registration totals so they had the most room to grow and 2) some Hispanic focused polling showed significant enthusiasm about the election.

Instead the wards with the largest raw increase in registration since February tend to be wards that are affluent or white or both. Those are subgroups that tended to favor Emanuel in February. It's impossible to say which candidates these new registrants are most likely to support, you could make a case for either candidate, but looking at these numbers they did not match the numbers I expected to find.

On election night back in February the only vote totals made available by the Chicago Board of Elections were the citywide totals. It wasn't until around 11 or midnight that the ward by ward totals were available. There isn't a whole lot of interesting analysis that can be gleaned from just the aggregate totals so I probably won't be doing much tomorrow night.

My hope is that the major media outlets cover this election night well, I thought they did a good job with the runoff. Keep an eye on the Sun-Times, on election night in February a few of their reporters were discussing ward by ward totals well before the Chicago Board of Elections was making that data publicly available. Also, WBEZ has had a lot of good data work throughout this election.

Here are a few of the questions I think people will want to try to quantify on election night, if possible.

  1. How many total votes are projected: (total votes counted so far) / (whole number percent precincts reporting / 100)
  2. What percentage of the uncounted vote does the candidate who is behind need to win in order to move ahead?
  3. Separate the wards by majority African American, majority Hispanic, majority white and no majority, how did each candidate do? How many total votes in each area? Which areas saw the greatest increase/decrease in support levels and turnout?

You should be able to answer the first two questions even without ward by ward totals. Also, the CBOE should be able to tell you how many vote by mail applications were processed and how many ballots were returned so far. The remainder will be a useful number, if there are 20,000 outstanding VBM ballots and the election night totals are within 20,000 votes you'll want to know that. Any vote by mail ballots have to be postmarked today to be counted but they can be received at any time in the next few weeks.

Unlike November there is no same day registration so the total number of uncounted provisional ballots will not be as significant.

Speaking Engagement

On Thursday afternoon I will be speaking at a lunch panel on the Chicago municipal elections sponsored by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. The event is at noon in the French Room of the Union League Club, ticket info is available here.

Post Mortem

I typically do a post-mortem in the day or two after the election to cover all the various insights available from the data. For this election I have agreed to be part of a larger and more comprehensive written report, I will probably even have to double check my spelling and grammar. The report should be available early next week, I'll provide a link when it is available.

© Illinois Electon Data