* A pastor who served on the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission claims he didn’t know he was violating a law he was supposed to enforce. Great…
A former member of the Illinois panel that conducts hearings on alleged ethics violations has been fined $2,500 for attending a prayer breakfast and fundraiser for a political candidate, according to an ethics commission report released Tuesday.
The Illinois Executive Ethics Commission found Stephen Thurston violated state law by attending a March 25, 2011, prayer breakfast and fundraiser for David Moore, who was running for Chicago City Council. Thurston spoke at the breakfast about “Moore’s Christian character, the need for everyone to get involved in the election process, and that Moore would be a good alderman,” the ethics panel said in its report.
State law prohibits commissioners from contributing to political campaigns or even attending a rally for a candidate for a specific post. Moore lost in the April 2011 runoff election for the 17th Ward spot to incumbent Latasha Thomas.
* The full report is here. More from the Trib…
Thurston, a pastor at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, praised Moore as a good alderman for the ward at a “critical time in the African-American community” that suffered from low voter participation, according to the report. Moore lost the runoff election to Ald. Latasha Thomas less than two weeks later.
Thurston’s actions violated state ethics law, which says commissioners are banned from participating in political activities that could influence a candidate’s chances at filling a public office, the report said.
“Although (Thurston) attempted to make a disclaimer limiting the political nature of his comments at the prayer breakfast, he crossed the line into advocacy for a candidate,” the report said.
Moore’s campaign issued a news release after the breakfast naming supporters, including Thurston, but later apologized for using his name.