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Jones loans himself cash

Thursday, May 22, 2008

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 9:30 am:

    Now let’s ask to see the checks and/or debit card receipts to see which casino sold him those “personal items”

  2. - Rod sez I'm pork - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 9:32 am:

    Sigh. Just sigh. Just once it would be refreshing to be pleasantly surprised.

  3. - Dan S, a Voter & Cubs Fan - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 9:33 am:

    Would be very interesting to see the trail the money goes on. Is this another job for Fitz? And, are there IRS implications? Could this be why that ethics bill is buried in committee?

  4. - Wumpus - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 9:34 am:

    Isn’t he a “double-dipper”. Is he still a sewer inspector? Is that money, plus his Senate President Salary not enough? Is Blago not spreading the love? Does Blago not pay him for carrying hie water?

    So he cannot manage to live on his bountiful income, but he wants to manage our money?

  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 9:38 am:

    I wasn’t aware of the loophole — sweet. I wondered why more legislators weren’t doing it, but then it occurred to me the Four Tops wouldn’t be prime their campaign funds if they were.

    The Sun-Times story made me laugh, though. You have two people quoted, a no comment from Jones, and obviously some record checking. There are four bylines. Somebody’s bigfooting that story.

  6. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:01 am:

    Do any other legislators take similiar loans from their campaign accounts?

  7. - The Fox - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:19 am:

    Since 1989? Sounds like chump change to me. I would bet Jones is a soft touch for some of those members who are not lawyers, insurance agents or some other outside jobs. I doubt if he asked for chits or IOUs from his colleagues. Just asking.

  8. - Rooster - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    It’s not taxpayer funds, it’s money Emil Jones raised from private sources, so where is the story?

  9. - Keeping up Appearances - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:27 am:

    As anyone who has taken the required State of Illinois ethics training knows, even the appearance of something unethical is to be avoided. Oh wait, does Jones (and others) take the ethics course?

  10. - Hard Working Taxpayer - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    I would love to see if any of that money went to Blago, or his children for their birthdays.

  11. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:47 am:

    When a lender ‘forgives’ a portion of a loan the beneficiary of that largess has to report that income to the IRS as income and is charged a tax on the proceeds.

    Therefore if a campaign contribution is converted to personal use, it should be subject to IRS and Illinois Department of Revenue rules.

    Did he pay income taxes on the proceeds?

  12. - Macbeth - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    And Jones is same guy saying that he needs a pay raise?

    Good god. I didn’t think it possible, but Jones is looking just as bad as Blagojevich — worse, in this particular case.

    This seems sleazy — and angers me.

  13. - Ghost - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:55 am:

    SOunds like the fictional ethics bill could use some langauge prohibitng loans from campaign funds. It almost sounds like fraud, you collect money from people telling them it is for your election campaign, but then spend it on yourself instead.

  14. - Dirt Guy - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 11:52 am:

    Wheels and the bus go ’round and ’round, and Emil goes oink, oink.

  15. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===And the paper had this reaction from a goo-goo===

    What the heck is a “goo-goo”?

  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===What the heck is a “goo-goo”?===

    A good government type.

  17. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 1:05 pm:

    I learn something new everyday…goo-goo because they’re babes in the woods with wolves all around?

  18. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    I cannot for the life of me understand how this guy remains the President of the Senate or how he manages to get re-elected. I also cannot understand him when he talks…but maybe that’s why he stays where he is…whadhesay? Genius!

  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===I also cannot understand him when he talks===

    That’s your problem, not his. I understand him fine. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t.

  20. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 1:17 pm:

    Rich, I think the combination of his basso profundo voice and a tendency for him to talk slowly is why I can’t keep track of what he is saying…it’s me not you…just like George on Seinfeld…

  21. - The Ibenidiot - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 2:39 pm:

    Rich, you understand him because you are a music freak. Listening to music with bad PA systems will fine tune your ear.

  22. - Rooster - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 3:05 pm:

    Emil Jones raised money and loaned it to himself? What’s unethical about that? Isn’t it Emil Jone’s money? Can’t he loan his money to himself? Doesn’t the law give him the right to access the money he raised for any purpose he sees fit?

    When did following the law become unethical?

  23. - The Doc - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 3:27 pm:

    The problem isn’t the interest-free loan from EJ’s campaign coffers. I don’t particularly care if he used the cash to buy a season pass at Great America.

    The problem is that there no statute governing repayment conditions of said loan. It appears that the loan can remain unpaid in perpetuity, and that’s a problem.

  24. - Greg - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 4:04 pm:

    A loan with a below-market interest rate is a gift. End of story.

  25. - a gift is a gift is a gift ... grow up - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 7:44 pm:

    So, he “gifted” himself some money. I “gift” my wife most of my paycheck and no one is rushing to legislate that.

  26. - nino - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 9:21 pm:

    i cannot understand him either.
    rich your ear has been trained to pick up on this because you listen to him so much. most people think he mumbles.

  27. - Cheswick - Thursday, May 22, 08 @ 10:41 pm:

    He’s subsidizing somebody.

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