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Reform roundup

Sunday, May 31, 2009

* The SJ-R slams the Senate-passed campaign finance reform bill which dings the special interests hard

It also seeks to suffocate independent group’s political action committees by limiting the amount they can collect from their members to $10,000, an extraordinary restriction. It also appears to bar such groups from making independent expenditures.

The message is clear: In Illinois, only the two political parties are going to play a role in elections going forward.

I fully understand their argument and even agree with it. But I think this is one of the first times I’ve ever seen an Illinois editorial page stand up for the rights of Statehouse interest groups to raise unlimited campaign cash.

* Kent Redfield, one of my all-time personal favorite reformers, talks about another big problem with the bill: Annual contribution caps instead of caps tied to election cycles…

“If I’m a governor and I get elected, I’ve got four years to raise money,” Redfield says. “The person that runs against me is probably only going to be out in the field for two years. … If I’m a challenger (for executive or legislative office) and I don’t get my act together before January 1 of the election year, I only get one contribution.”

* And then there are those constituent services committees

People like State Rep. Jack Franks regularly spend more money on their district office operations than provided by their office allowances. Campaign fund money pays for the rest.

Skip Saviano once told me his whole district office operation was financed with campaign money.

By using campaign money, legislators can operate overtly politically. After all, campaign money is for running campaigns. […]

The process is ripe for abuses. “Sorry, Man, we can’t help you if you don’t contribute to our constituent services committee.”

* The fine print on the recall proposal isn’t so fine

Though Quinn has characterized recall as a citizen’s initiative, it would require lawmakers to initiate the process. At least 20 House members and 10 senators–equally balanced from each party in each chamber—would have to file a notice of intent to recall a governor. Then supporters would have 150 days to gather signatures equal to 15 percent of the people who voted in the previous election for governor.


“If you read this carefully, it would appear to me that either caucus, any of the four caucuses, could stop a recall in its tracks by not having its members sign the necessary petition,” said Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville.


If enough lawmakers’ signatures were collected, the next step in a recall would involve collecting voters’ signatures on petitions, with a minimum threshold of 15 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election. Based on the 2006 election, that would be about 750,000 signatures, Franks said.

They’d have to do that in 150 days. And then there’s this

There must be at least 25 different counties with 100 signatures each.

* Related…

* Quinn makes clear he’s no reformer

* Campaign reform a sad script, missed opportunity

* Campaign caps would not kick in immediately

* FOIA changes move Illinois from ‘Stone Age to modern era’

* FOIA benefits the people

* District 230 president: FOIA changes costly

* Legislators plan tour to discuss redistricting proposals

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Boxing Cross - Sunday, May 31, 09 @ 12:48 pm:

    Redfield a favorite reformer…..Huh…Either too much silly sauce or the kidnappers are back at the lakefront HQ

  2. - Scooby - Sunday, May 31, 09 @ 12:54 pm:

    The House could just wait until 12:01 tonight to call the ethics bill and see if the reformers and the Republicans really want to vote it down.

  3. - fedup dem - Sunday, May 31, 09 @ 12:58 pm:

    The campaign finance “reform” bill has so many bad features that its sponsors must know Gov. Quinn will either apply an amenditory veto or veto the entire bill. These bozos will claim that they are the true reformers, not Quinn. Hopefully the voters will see thru that charade.

  4. - Rich Miller - Sunday, May 31, 09 @ 1:06 pm:

    === its sponsors must know Gov. Quinn will either apply an amenditory veto or veto the entire bill.===

    Um, he agreed to the bill and testified in favor of it in both chambers.

  5. - Rich Miller - Sunday, May 31, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    ===Either too much silly sauce or the kidnappers are back at the lakefront HQ===

    No kidnappers here. I like Redfield because he was once a legislative staffer. He knows the system.

  6. - LC - Sunday, May 31, 09 @ 9:43 pm:

    Kent is probably the most knowledgeable person in this state on campaign finance, he knows all the loopholes.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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