* Erickson reaches back into the archives to rebut Dan Rutherford’s claims that his cleanliness has never been questioned in more than two decades in office…
In 2002, while he was serving in the Illinois House, Rutherford used his campaign funds to buy a district office in Pontiac and then routinely paid workers in the office out of his state-paid account and his campaign fund.
The practice raised red flags with one watchdog group that said the arrangement could make it hard for voters to determine if there was a conflict of interest in the operation.
Rutherford, who was in the midst of a successful run for a seat in the Illinois Senate at the time, said his employees were not mixing politics with their taxpayer-funded duties. […]
At the time, analysts said the fact that Rutherford had co-mingled his campaign- and taxpayer-paid staff showed the lack of a strong “firewall” designed to ward off potential ethical problems.
Rutherford told The Pantagraph at the time that he had cleared the building arrangement with state election regulators, but a check of how other state lawmakers handled their district offices found few others who organized their offices in the same way.
Out of thousands of campaign funds in Illinois, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said only two other politicians were using a similar set-up.
Those other two were Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens and Cicero Town President Betty Loren Maltese.
* However, it should be clearly noted here that using campaign funds to pay for state services is totally allowed under the law. State funds can’t pay for campaign activities, but people can use their campaign funds to subsidize public services. It actually saves state money if done properly and above board.