Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Explaining “primary only” caps
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Explaining “primary only” caps

Thursday, Oct 29, 2009

* Patterson talks to a legislator who explains why capping contributions in primaries and not general elections isn’t such a horrible move

If the idea is to make lawmakers more independent (and thereby more ethical), this key member said, then the target should be the primary, not the general. Here’s why:

Legislative leaders don’t want to lose seats on their respective sides of the aisles. So they’re not going to stop helping “their” candidates in the fall elections. What they might be inclined to do is go find a new candidate and write that candidate a blank check in the primary to replace a lawmaker who’s fallen out of favor. The leader keeps the seat and gets a loyal rookie.

The “reform” theory behind the primary caps is that if lawmakers know legislative leaders can’t easily punish them by running primary challengers, they might be more willing to stand up to leaders and vote more independently.

The problem this is likely to face in many media and political circles is that it’s unlikely to do anything to control the skyrocketing costs of general election campaigns.

The GA can’t do much to control the cost of general election campaigns. Mail houses, TV and radio outlets, etc. can’t be forced to lower their prices. Also, the media has been screaming for “reform” based on a whole lot of faulty assumptions. I’ve said here more than once that the Democratic leaders ought to just go ahead and cap themselves in all elections, but they are mightily resisting that idea and don’t appear ready to budge.

But the “primary only” cap idea does make a certain sense. A general rule of thumb is that only about ten or fifteen percent of seats are hotly challenged in fall campaigns. Most who win those races are under such intense scrutiny (because the winners are usually challenged in the next election) that it’s difficult to immediately become a party hack - they often deliberately vote against their own leaders’ positions in order to build credibility back home. Meanwhile, everybody else has a pretty safe seat, at least based on partisan breakdowns. The election that most members truly fear is the primary.

* The Tribune is not impressed with that logic and runs an editorial today entitled “Don’t call this ‘reform’“…

To appease the watchdog groups who insist on capping campaign contributions, lawmakers have offered to limit party spending in primaries, where they generally spend very little money anyway.

This might qualify as compromise, but it’s not reform.

The paper does open the door to an alternative which is gaining some favor at the Statehouse…

It only underscores the folly of trying to limit campaign contributions. Every set of rules creates a different set of winners and losers and a different set of loopholes for politicians to navigate around. The public interest is best served not by capping contributions, but by enforcing strict disclosure laws to ensure the money changes hands in broad daylight.

Near-immediate online disclosure of almost all contributions might wind up in the bill and caps stripped out, but the odds appear to be against it at this moment.

* Related…

* Bill Holland warns: Illinois needs better accountability: “Before I can even get to do the audits, there are hundreds of people over a multitude of agencies that have to supply the information,” Holland said. “It’s a cumbersome process, and our technology needs to be upgraded significantly.”

* University of Illinois: No-clout rules get their first test

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 10:20 am:

    It’s still strange to me that the outrage over the Blago $50 grand pay-to-play shakedowns has morphed into this focus on state parties and legislative leaders.

    In the post-Watergate campaign reform era, it was considered good government to keep limits off party contributions and expenditures as a way to limit the influence of “special interests.”

    That was in response to Nixon virtually divorcing himself from the GOP in ‘72 and gobbling up all the money through CREEP (has there every been a more appropriate acronym?).

  2. - just sayin' - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 10:24 am:

    Many of these so-called reforms are pushed by journalists and others who really don’t know jack about politics.

    Cap contributions from the caucus leaders? Big deal. All Madigan, Cross, Cullerton, or Radogno would have to do is create a new committee. Call it a “2012 Victory Fund” or some such thing. Create a dozen of them if you need to.

    Or the people who normally raise money for the leadership PACs can just direct the contributor PACs (mostly business and unions) to contribute directly to the candidates as directed by the leaders. The beneficiary member still knows where the help is coming from.

    A weak member is always going to be beholden to his or her caucus leader.

    You can’t legislate a spine.

    Redistricting reform is the key. That’s the meaningful reform we need.

    Cutting pay to a true part-time, nominal salary would also be good. We wouldn’t have so many losers who sell their souls on command if we had more people who weren’t just there because they couldn’t make more in the private sector.

  3. - MKK - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 10:30 am:

    The logic for primary only caps is at best weak and certainly debatable, but that’s all designed to deflect attention from the main point which is this limited concession by the leadership really won’t matter at all to them. Sure, you’ll be limited in contributing to your assembly candidate but write a check to the party and you can put as many zeros on it as you like.

  4. - The Doc - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 10:38 am:

    just sayin’, well said. The MSM has taken its collective eye off the ball. Redistricting reform is the antidote here, and that’s where the attention should be focused, along with ability to track the source of contributions in real-time.

  5. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:00 am:

    Fair redistricting and you will get more primary races. Fair redistricting and you will get more real contested general election races.

    More races, more real contests, the more difficult it is for a leader to call the shots and maintain control through funding, no matter how many caps and loopholes exist in “ethics” legislation.

    A legislative leader can arrange for direct donations to candidates or form other organizations to get around all these “reforms.”

    Let’s start with the real reform. Changing our redistricting methods for that of Iowa.

  6. - Scooby - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:13 am:

    This immediate disclosure stuff is just not practical. It sounds like it should be easy to people who think in simplistic terms but it’s not. If someone hands you a check, you can disclose it that day. If you write a check you can disclose it that day. But for campaigns big enough to have about ten people on staff you’re going to have a ton of other issues. You’ll probably have a few staffers with campaign credit cards who need to make emergency purchases. You’ll have people turn in reimbursement requests for whatever receipts they had while traveling. You’ll get contributions from any number of sources including people who hand you checks, people who give credit card contributions through your website, people who give through third party bundlers like Act Blue, people who give through the big party committees, etc. And all of that doesn’t get reconciled every day, it usually happens when the monthly statements come in, and those don’t come in the day after the month ends you usually have to wait at least a week.

    The point is that it’s not practical to expect that any campaign larger than a mom and pop shop could reasonable be able to have 24 hour currency on their financial data given the myriad of input and output transaction types. We’re just setting ourselves up for an endless stream of frivolous complaints.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:21 am:

    ===could reasonable be able to have 24 hour currency on their financial data given the myriad of input and output transaction types===

    I may agree on 24 hours. But what about 48 or 72?

  8. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:21 am:

    Also, there’s little talk of immediate expenditure reporting, just contributions.

  9. - Scooby - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:27 am:

    If it’s limited in scope it can be done. In the last few weeks of the elections you already have 48 hr reporting on large contributions and it takes an all hands on deck mentality to meet that but it can be done. It’s actually easier on contributions than expenditures and if you were to limit it to contributons that is more practical. The hard part there is on bank interest for your checking/money market account and offsets to expenditures if you’re reporting that as a contribution. Otherwise most campaigns get some sort of real time reporting on their contributions. The only part that can be tough is if you have a large finance staff and/or you have to interpret the law on who is/isn’t an agent of the campaign such that when you have someone collecting checks for an event that you’re having when do you determine that the campaign has received them. Those can be complicated, but you can manage them. It’s much harder on the expenditure side and you would literally see people just check themselves into the loony bin.

  10. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:43 am:

    Require the campaigns to register their bank accounts with the Elections Board and then mandate that the banks must report all deposits immediatly or face penalties for the state charter.

    Lets see how the business groups like that reform.

  11. - Scooby - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    The other piece of it that I forgot that will drive you crazy are in-kind contributions. They’re often overlooked as an afterthought in the contribution world but they really are contributions. But getting them in real time is tough. You’ll have any number of events from fundraising where the event holder either paid for the room rental, catering, invites, postage, etc to an endorsement session where some large entity such as a union, chamber of commerce, business group, etc could have paid for something as simple as a mult box so the tv stations could get audio, to having free rent at satellite campaign offices or someone is hosting a phone bank for you, or any number of things where people who aren’t as sophisticated and aware of all the rules governing campaigns are trying to be helpful and trying to follow the rules but just don’t know enough to know that they have to tell the person in charge of reporting all of this immediately. Staying on top of all that is tough.

  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:48 am:

    ===Staying on top of all that is tough.===

    Requiring in-kind contributors to report their own contributions might address much of that.

  13. - Scooby - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:48 am:

    The banks holding campaing bank accounts are already required to be reported on your D-1 statement of organization. And if a campaign opens a new bank account at a new bank they are required to amend their D-1 and disclose that. Requiring the banks to disclose deposits doesn’t make a lot of sense because it wouldn’t tell you what individual donations made up the deposit. And if you wanted to have the banks disclose copies of the checks that got deposited that wouldn’t even necessarily tell you more than what the current law requires because often times basic information such as the donor’s address isn’t printed on the check and in the case of an individual giving greater than $500 the employer and occupation of the donor will not be printed on the check so your suggestion would actually give you less disclosure than the current law requires.

  14. - Scooby - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:55 am:

    == Requiring in-kind contributors to report their own contributions might address much of that. ==

    Actually the current law doesn’t impose the disclosure of inkinds on the campaign it imposes it on the donor. The law says, and I’m paraphrasing here, that anyone providing an inkind to a campaign is required to fill out the form for inkinds that the State Board of Elections has and send it to the campaign and the campaign only has to disclose what they’ve been made aware of through these kinds of notifications. That’s the legal obligation on the campaign. However in practical terms as a camapign you have to just assume that anything you could reasonably be aware your opponent will accuse you of being deceptive and the press will cream you on. So if you’re a candidate and your brother in law is a real estate developer who’s got a bunch of vacant storefront offices because the market’s in the tank and he gives you a free campaign office, according to the law it’s on your brother in law to notify you via a form that he’s given you an inkind and if he fails to do so you don’t really have to report it, but if you file your D-2 and the whole world knows that you’re getting free rent and your oppenent hits you for failing to disclose an obvious contribution from your brother in law, no one’s going to give a crap what the letter of the law says, you’re just going to eat it in the press for a while. So the practical effect ends up being that the campaign has to take most of the responsbility for reporting inkinds.

  15. - One of the 35 - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    Bill Holland’s comments are particularly disturbing. Not only is it extremely difficult to obtain the information necessary to properly audit state agencies, but then when they are finally audited, they seem to disregard the findings. These major obstacles do not give us any confidence that state government can be fixed.

  16. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:47 pm:

    Let’s start at the bottom and work up…Big IKE was wandering around the State House looking for fresh hand outs and trying to explain the demise of the very expensive football program. He did not predict when BlueFieldBob Kustra hits town….The campaign finance gibberish gets the special intrests closer to full control which has always been a Tribune goal…remember they once had a ComEd Exec on their board….Holland should get whatever he says he needs

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Question of the day
* School has kid slapped with felony eavesdropping charge
* AG Madigan to file lawsuit challenging "cruel and unconstitutional policy" at southern border
* Rep. Andersson tries a comeback
* CTU's Lewis to retire
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Rauner brags he's "dramatically" reduced Medicaid enrollment, but hit on "failing" computer system
* Fitch: "The enacted budget entails significant implementation risk"
* *** UPDATED x2 - Pritzker campaign calls comments "racist" *** After Black Caucus backlash, Gov. Rauner says he's "Not surprised they're sensitive because the black legislators really have not been serving their community very well"
* Rep. Chad Hays to resign
* The local news memory hole
* No Janus ruling today
* Police chiefs want Rauner to veto hemp bill
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner campaign responds *** New Pritzker TV ad blames Rauner for job losses to neighboring states
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






* SVM EDITORIAL: Let schools, not state, determin.....
* School districts nervous about possible $40000 .....
* Gov. Rauner's legacy rests with the US Supr.....
* Morrison says there's no room in budget to .....
* Illinois police chiefs speak out against legali.....
* Black Illinois Lawmakers and Gov. Rauner Contin.....
* Is Melania Trump rising to Evita status?..
* Gov. Rauner on the future of Illinois, NAFTA, &.....
* The Week in Review: Immigration Debate Explodes.....
* Rauner: Black Legislators Not Serving Their Com.....

* EXCHANGE: Marengo families seeking normalcy year after blast
* EXCHANGE: Students find second Fort Kaskaskia site
* Man convicted of escaping ICE custody at NYC airport
* Man convicted in slayings of 2 officers released on bond
* The Latest: Man convicted in slayings of 2 officers released
* Chicago Teachers Union president stepping down
* Man gets 8 years for kidnapping 2 brothers later slain
* Illinois bridge put on National Register of Historic Places
* Ex-priest who abused child allowed access to Chicago schools
* WHAT'S HAPPENING: Trump order sows confusion on the border

* Illinois stands to gain from Supreme Court decision
* Records: Mansion used in Rauner's 'Porcelain Prince' ad got its own tax reduction
* Illinois politicians seek answers to family separations at border
* 80+ years later, Meredosia woman sees the opening of another new bridge
* Chatham man wins Illinois Bicentennial coin design contest
* Rauner to consider allowing medical cannabis for opioid patients
* Bipartisan work yields gun bills, fate rests with Rauner
* Rauner names Justin Blandford curator of Governor's Mansion
* Rauner names Williamsville woman interim HFS director
* Both Rauner and Pritzker have donated to Mansion renovations

* Mariano's parent buys turnaround time
* Trump's tariff tweet spurs consternation at local car dealerships
* Illinois' existential problem: Shrinking number of young people
* Chicago set for another big TV year
* Chicago manufacturer automates—then hires

* 3 wounded Friday in city gun violence
* Driver shot in Logan Square
* Man charged with murder in fatal Near North Side crash
* Man caught in crossfire in Roseland
* 5 shot on South Side
* Woman, 21, shot in South Chicago
* 14-year-old girl reported missing from Palmer Square: police
* Dear Abby: 2 women in their 20s depend on dad for rides
* Man shot in face in Lawndale
* Horoscope for June 23, 2018

* U.S. House passes bipartisan package to fight opioid crisis
* Why the state of the big-screen comedy is no laughing matter
* White House seeks to expand immigrant family detention
* Servais: Who was that mustachioed man?
* Supreme Court adopts digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones
* Cubs offense sputters and Jose Quintana ineffective in 6-3 loss to Reds
* Blackhawks draft defensemen Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin in first round
* White Sox hold on for 6-4 win to split doubleheader vs. A's
* Elgin man charged after pot, guns, 480 rounds of ammo found during raid, police say
* Michael Cohen's photo with Tom Arnold fuels Trump tape speculation

» ‘That’s A Sad Woman’: Struggling Lincoln Foundation To Sell Monroe, Sandburg Photos
» The Week in Review: Immigration Debate Explodes in Chicago
» Rauner: Black Legislators Not Serving Their Community
» State Week: Online Sales Taxes; CPS Scandal; Rauner Takes On Black Caucus
» WBEZ’s Chicago And Illinois News Roundup: June 22, 2018
» Jurors Get Close-Up View Of Chicago Politics In Probes Of Shootings By Cops
» Ailing Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis Retiring
» Rebecca Makkai, Author Of ‘The Great Believers’; Crowded Starved Rock; Illinois Outdoor Destinations
» Cook County To Hire Sexual Harassment Watchdog
» #656 Hinds & Opinions on Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Parquet Courts & More

* George Will: Charles Krauthammer, a diagnostician of our public discontents
* Ed Rogers: Democrats still have no message on the economy or jobs
* Point: Obamacare's constitutionality ends when its tax ends
* Counterpoint: Injustice reigns as Trump's Justice Department attacks Obamacare
* Juliana Stratton: Black community wants more than just proclamations from leaders
* Thumbs Up: To Illiopolis boy for helping shepherd bill through the Statehouse
* Illinois stands to gain from Supreme Court decision
* Records: Mansion used in Rauner's 'Porcelain Prince' ad got its own tax reduction
* Our View: A welcome start at cleaning House
* Our View: White Oaks Mall smart to diversify offerings

* Births for Saturday, June 23, 2018
* Deborah S. 'Debbie' Trigg
* Birt 'Buzz' Ward
* Virginia Leach
* Billy Ray Mathews
* Edwardsville man charged with producing, distributing child porn
* The 64th Piatt County Trail Blazers Rodeo
* Granite City teacher resigns amid allegations of a relationship with a student
* Bio Blitz time at Nahant Marsh
* KWQC's Gary Metivier: 'I will never retire from telling stories'

* AP source: Thunder's Anthony to opt in, take $28 million
* Giolito helps White Sox snap eight-game losing streak
* Blackhawks take pair of defensemen on first day of NHL draft
* Boomers rally to top Wild Things
* Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

* House's Version Of Farm Bill Passes By...
* 'Food Desert' Amendment Proposed B...
* Bustos disagrees with Trump immigration or...
* Lake County's congressional leaders we...
* Lawmakers, Human Rights Groups React to Tr...
* Victims' families take plea to White H...
* 'Zero Tolerance' Policy Shows Niel...
* Pro-life groups have an obligation to call...
* House passes Farm Bill by two votes
* Roskam navigates immigration uproar as riv...

* Chicago group says finding minors' fam......
* Democrats should stop playing political fo......
* “We're On A Scavenger Hunt”: Reuniting......
* Pulse of the Voters: The increasing influe......
* Retailers Cheer Supreme Court Ruling On On......

* Pulse of the Voters: The increasing influe......
* Tammy Duckworth TV Commercials Ads...
* Mazie Hirono, Tammy Duckworth, and ......
* Canadian Minister Breastfeeds During Parli......
* Democratic senators blast DeVos for mishan......

* High-minded ideals to do battle against the “red wave” – will anybody win?
* World Cup Notebook: Ronaldo Is The King Of The World
* Elonorail
* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #206: Bulls Draft Safe And Sound
* How to Create Successful and sustainable Makerspaces in Low-Income and Rural Schools
* Can Online Programs and Digital Tools Help Students Spend Less Money? #DLNchat
* Pearson Releases Study on Demand-Driven Education
* A Major Issue in Business Law: Regulators Gone Wild — Judicial Support for a Roll-Back?
* Trustees add five initiatives to Purdue strategic plan – Purdue
* Final Day of the International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace Conference at Columbia University

* Chairman Fratianni selected for national workers' comp leadership role
* Unemployment Rate Continues Falling in All Metro Areas

* Nokia 5.1 is now available to pre-order
* You might break someone’s jaw if you throw the Panasonic Toughbook FZ-T1 at them
* Say hello to the ultra-slim Asus Chromebook C223
* Moto Z3 Play in Brazil has 6GB RAM configuration
* vivo product is the first to get Qualcomm 5G millimeter wave antennas
* Security Researcher Discovers Method for Brute Forcing iPhone Passcode in iOS 11
* Supreme Court rules cops need a warrant to get phone location data

* White Sox Minor League Report: June 22, 2018
* Mieses' single leads AZL White Sox to 9-3 win over AZL C...
* A's split doubleheader against White Sox
* After ending skid, White Sox pursue another win over A's
* White Sox Minor League Report: June 22, 2018
* White Sox Minor League Report: June 22, 2018
* Lucas Giolito's best stuff rescues White Sox from grueli...

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller