* Illinois law bans politicians from dipping into their campaign funds for personal use. But there is a loophole. They can loan themselves cash…
Before championing a big legislative pay increase, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones provided himself with tens of thousands of dollars in interest-free loans from his campaign fund.
* According to the Sun-Times, just two other legislators loaned themselves money from their funds during the last six-month filing period, which ended December 31st. Jones wisecracked just a few days ago that he needed a pay raises and food stamps, but the Sun-Times found this in Jones’ campaign reports…
Since 1989, the South Side Democrat has taken out $120,528 in personal loans from his political fund and repaid $96,900 of that amount — leaving nearly $25,000 unaccounted for.
Just last year, Jones withdrew $5,800 from his fund in 20 separate loans of $200 or $300 each between July and December.
In October alone, he had eight disbursements of $300 apiece over a 23-day period.
* And the paper had this reaction from a goo-goo…
“It absolutely looks like a slush fund,” says Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. “He is living under a whole set of rules that no one else in the public is.” […]
As chairman of his political fund, Jones decides the loan terms — and whether the loans ever need to be repaid.
Jones’ spokesperson declined comment to the Sun-Times. I had asked about this a few months ago and was told that Jones took out the loans for personal items during session last year.