* An expenditure made by a ballot initiative committee “in concert with” a candidate’s committee is considered a contribution by state law, and candidate committees are barred from accepting contributions from ballot initiative committees, so that’s a real legal problem for Bruce Rauner’s new term limits PAC…
How does Bruce Rauner the candidate for governor manage not to coordinate with Bruce Rauner the SuperPac chair?
“If he can find a way to not coordinate with himself, that’s a neat trick,” says David Morrison, Deputy Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. Morrison said unlike campaign committees supporting individual candidates, there are no contribution limits on ballot initiative committees because they are typically isolated from candidates.
Except in this case, Bruce Rauner is a candidate in a heated, four-way gubernatorial election. Yet he also filed organization papers as chair of the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits, a SuperPAC. The committee’s aim, according to Rauner’s campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf, is to put a question on the November 2014 ballot that would place term limits on Illinois politicians. The details will be announced in upcoming weeks but in an interview on Thursday, Schrimpf described it as a good government initiative. […]
There is plenty of potential for problems with this set up, says Morrison, who added that he was still studying the issue. Rauner, who is in a four-way primary battle for the GOP gubernatorial nod, has had no problem raising money and tapping friends to donate to him. But there’s a limit on how much Rauner — as well as those friends — can pony up. Rauner has poured $249,000 of his own fortune into his race. That’s just shy of the $250,000 threshold that would take off the limit cap — for both Rauner and his opponents.
So working through a separate committee would potentially reap financial benefits for Rauner.
Morrison noted that Rauner could tap the SuperPAC funds for TV commercials in which he could appear (within a certain time period before the primary and general election). Rauner could not ask for a vote for governor if the SuperPAC were footing the bill. But that wouldn’t stop him from winning name recognition. The SuperPAC money could be used for polling data, voting data and other resources needed for a ballot initiative that a candidate’s campaign committee would also take interest.
Contributions aren’t capped to ballot initiative committees, which is quite convenient for Rauner, who is just about at the cap for candidate committees.
* I talked with ICPR’s Morrison this afternoon and he pointed to a similar thing that occurred in California during the Gray Davis recall push. The elections board out there ruled that the recall was a ballot initiative, so contributions to it weren’t capped. So, Arnold Schwarzenegger set up a ballot initiative committee, raised gobs of money and appeared in tons of TV ads announcing that he was voting “Yes” on the recall.
…Adding… The Sun-Times story identifies this Rauner fund as a “Super PAC.” It ain’t. Different sort of PAC, different rules.