* The Tribune has a story today about the big money raised by House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton this month…
All told, more than $600,000 in amounts of $1,000 or more has flowed into political funds controlled by Madigan and Cullerton this month. That campaign cash is changing hands during a month when lawmakers traditionally face the most controversial legislation — an agenda dictated by the two Democratic leaders. […]
“Our only criteria in the Democratic caucus in the House is whether legislation represents a common-sense solution to a problem or making sure a program operates in a common-sense fashion,” [Madigan spokesman Steve Brown] said. He said it is “critical” to raise money “every month of the year” to defend incumbents because of the recent effect of groups that accept unregulated and anonymous sources of money “to put slop on the heads of candidates.”
By contrast, Republicans who have spent the past decade out of power in the House and Senate saw their leadership funds raise only $38,500 in donations of $1,000 or more in May, state records show. […]
“Six hundred thousand dollars at the close of session when all the very controversial legislation is attempting to move forward?” asked Sen. John Millner, R-Carol Stream. “It doesn’t look good and it might create more cynicism on the part of our constituents. I think we really have to seriously re-evaluate how we’re doing business.”
Democratic Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park, the sponsor of the current campaign finance law, said he’s concerned that Illinois is increasingly seeing “unregulated political interest groups, who don’t disclose where they get their money, launching campaigns to influence public policy.” Harmon, a member of a bipartisan commission looking at the law, said he remains open to suggestions and recommendations.
Fundraising is banned on most session days, however Monday events before session begins on Tuesday is a regular occurrence around these parts.
* The Question: Should all legislative fundraising be banned during session months? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments. Thanks.