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Stupidly illegal

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* This is just one more reason from the mountain of reasons why Gov. Pat Quinn should never have allowed Chicago aldermen to pick which groups would get anti-violence program money in 2010. Too many aldermen really are this goofy, or worse

A Chicago alderman may be in hot water after she offered people the chance to win prizes if they vote.

Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston has since pulled the post off her Facebook page, but not after it caught the attention of the Cook County State’s Attorney. […]

The post on the alderman’s Facebook page went up Monday telling residents they could win raffle prizes if they go to the polls.

Hairston’s instructions: “Vote–you’re eligible no matter the candidate, then put their name and contact information on the back of their voter receipt…. And stop by the Fifth Ward office and drop it off.”

Among the raffle prizes were gift cards from area businesses, including Walgreens, Potbelly’s and Starbucks. Plus, $100 visa gift cards.

* From the state election code

Sec. 29-1. Vote buying.

Any person who knowingly gives, lends or promises to give or lend any money or other valuable consideration to any other person to influence such other person to vote or to register to vote or to influence such other person to vote for or against any candidate or public question to be voted upon at any election shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Pretty darned clear.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - phocion - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    I always thought Leslie Hairston to be a pretty sharp individual. I wonder if one of her staffers is responsible for this stunt.

  2. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    What’s the deal with corporations giving aldermen goodies to distribute?

    Those back-to-school events where the alderman distributes school supplies provided by donors always seemed corrupt.

    That stuff isn’t listed as campaign contributions. It’s not even clear who is paying for it.

    But major donors are buying goodwill on behalf of the aldermen.

  3. - Anonymoiis - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    “The post is now gone”

    ….yeah, that’s not really a defense. Like a bank robber telling the cops “I no longer have the money”

  4. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Like yesterday, a staffer said something and Rauner was blasted over a hot dog… Today, a felony was committed. I can’t wait to hear the outrage…

  5. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    This is the kind of government you get when you never challenge it politically. It gets all flabby and sloppy and forgets how to keep itself from breaking the laws it wrote.

    Too long the same people and party has been in power. It doesn’t matter which party, they all begin to look like a bunch of, what does Willy say, oh yeah - DOPES!

  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    “Dear Dopey Facebook and Twitter Pols,

    Please stop with Twitter and/or Facebook as your way to seem ’smart’ or even allegedly ’savvy’.

    Please, try it old school, like on TV or radio.

    Y’all are making it to easy to either be mocked or be caught breaking the law.




  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    ===Rauner was blasted over a hot dog===

    That was all in fun. Take a breath, don’t be a victim.

  8. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Please, she pulled the post off FB once it was called to her attention and no one collected on the offer. If Dane was really interested in corruption he would follow up on the 10,000 or so leads I have brought to his attention.

  9. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Clear violation, but not a hanging offense. It’s not you had to. — – or could — prove you voted la certain way.

    some ivory tower thinkers have proposed increasing voter turnout bypassing out lottery tickets at the polls.

    It’s not like the old days when they closed the taverns on election day and you to go down to the ward office to get a bottle of skull popper after you voted.

  10. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    I missed the “fun” part… It turned into way to big of a story… Just curious to see the same level of outrage is all… Or lack of. But yes, point taken!

  11. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    There is no IQ requirement to run for office.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Rauner drove up to a building with tv cameras in tow and handed over $1 million dollars in exchange for an endorsement.

    You can’t blame an alderman for ring confused.

    Let me know when Alvarez slaps the handcuffs on Rauner.

  13. - Rhino Slider - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    This is one of the Aldermen that was using her office to run her political campaign.

    She is corrupt to the core. I guess the Chicago Common Core is Corruption.

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    ===handed over $1 million dollars in exchange for an endorsement.===

    Um, no.

  15. - anon - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    Dane Plackau uncovers more corruption in government. He ought to win a journalistic prize.

  16. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    Walter, not to get all technical with you, but I don’t believe Hairston is running for Governor. Additionally, she’s pretty smart, so I’m guessing this was the brainchild of an overeager young staffer - doesn’t make it right or legal, but it probably wasn’t Hairston’s doing.

  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    ===I’m guessing this was the brainchild of an overeager young staffer===

    Probably not since the goodies had to be collected. This doesn’t look like some slapped together thing.

  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    Well those numbers that were expected out of the 5th ward just went down!
    So Rich here’s a question and please think it out.
    If Leslie Hairston who is pretty sharp feels the need to push a little harder to get her voters out ,is it a sign ( be it even small ) that she is feeling that her constituents aren’t motivated enough?
    Just a thought

  19. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Geez, Walter, now you’re a pre-emptive victim.

  20. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    Neither guy is my guy for Gov… But Soccermom..Can you at least see the hypocrisy that a staffer about a hot dog generated such “coarse” dialogue..? And even if a staffer takes the fall it’s illegal and more serious than a tweet about ketchup choice? People were outraged. Go back and look… Technically, a felony is way worse. Even if running for dog catcher..Which by the way, I am convinced neither choice for Governor is qualified for at this point! I will say this, at least she was not giving away hot dogs with ketchup!

  21. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    Word… Sorry… But, I disagree. I am pointing out the hypocrisy. We are all victims until OW runs…

  22. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    Carl not just big companies and Chicago aldermen..

    Have a pal who runs a pizza joint out my way and gave the alderman gift certificates to hand out at a community cleanup event..

    Two weeks later the alderman came in and used one of the gift certificates…

  23. - Dan Johnson - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    I don’t know why it should be illegal to give someone a prize for voting. It’s a secret ballot. We want people to vote.

    It should be illegal to pay someone to vote a particular way or for a particular candidate. But to pay someone to vote for whomever they want …. that just doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with it.

  24. - Gooner - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Bill, unfortunately, Dane doesn’t have time to investigate “Jay Levine said something mean to me” no matter how many times you ask.

    And shouldn’t you be out challenging people to a fight? That’s gotten you some publicity in the past.

    Bill, leave Dane alone. Stick to what works, so that the rest of us can laugh as you become our new Ray Wardingly.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    - Walter Mitty -,

    With respect.

    When it was about the hot dog, it was just folly and fun.

    Once a Press Secretary mocked a social issue as the reason she had ketchup, it got a different bend.

    Go back and read here. The hot dog was fun, the campaign quick condiment response team and tweet got it going sideways.

    Their response. That was it.

  26. - OleYellerStain - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Hairiston will not be prosecuted for this illegal activity because she is part of the Democratic Chicago Machine. It is just that simple.

  27. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    I love non-Chicagoans discussing Chicago politics…

    Leslie Hairston is not a “machine” candidate. One that doesn’t really exist anymore, and she’s an anti-mayor person.

    What I will say is that in my dealings with the Alderman from the 5th ward on budgetary and infrastructure issues shes not exactly on my list for most knowledgeable alderman..

  28. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    Yeah, when’s the last time a Chicago alderman got prosecuted for anything?

  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    - Walter Mitty -

    Two “L”s and a “Y”, thanks for your support.

    To Social Media,

    It’s the most impactf way to interact as a Pol, it’s also the most dangerously harmful way, since it’s self-inflicted.

    That’s what needs to be weighed when you go down that road.

  30. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    Ow.. That makes much more sense… Thanks for that… Any chance you will have some cool swag when you run?

  31. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:48 pm:


    Because depending on the election and the issue voting in and off itself can have an impact on the result.

    For example a committeeman gets as many ‘votes’ at a county convention as there are ballots pulled for the party in that election. So even if you don’t vote for a specific candidate you have ‘helped’ someone.

    Also if voting is a civic duty, it should be that not motivate nor rewarded by benefits.

    Also since it was geographically limited (that is her ward) then how low could a entity go in terms of granularity.

    Could a candidate give out rewards to people who are registered to specific voting places? What if they wanted to give rewards to specific voters, either due to previous identification as supporters or because they fit into groups that would tend to vote for a specific candidate.

    Keep in mind in all of these examples there is no need to vote for a specific candidate…

    So you would be cool if Rauner offered a chance to win one of 100 trucks to voters outside of Cook county? If Quinn offered the same to voters who voted in Cook County? But wait, they are candidates you may say…

    Don’t think an outside group or two would be willing to do that for each of them?

  32. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    I don’t suppose there’s any use in this, but…

    Leslie Hairston, or one of her staffers, did something stupid — maybe in a good cause (increasing voter turnout) but still stupid. When they got called on it, they backed off immediately.

    When Rauner ordered a hot dog with ketchup, he played into a standard Chicago joke. It is highly unlikely that ANYBODY would change his/her vote over a candidate’s preference in hot dog fixings.

    BUT when Rauner’s press secretary decided to “fix” the issue by going public with a “joke” about abortion rights, that was something different. Rauner’s LTG pick believes that abortion should be banned, and I believe that she supports criminalization of abortion. Bruce and Diana Rauner have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the most right-wing, anti-abortion and anti-birth control Republican candidates running for the House and Senate.

    So no, Rauner’s press secretary’s tweet wasn’t funny — it was offensive and politically tone-deaf. And it is not “coarse” to call out a senior staffer in a gubernatorial campaign for making a thoughtless public statement about an important policy issue.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    - Walter Mitty -,

    Yard signs and buttons, all above board, see - Norseman -, he’s working very hard, can’t thank him enough.

    Another rule of thumb about stunts like this;

    If you can’t remember anyone doing something like it, there’s probably a reason why, like legality. Just saying.

  34. - A guy... - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Wally Mitt, I feel you brother, but I think we need to leave yesterday in the yesterday bin.

    Plus, it’s not like these folks didn’t get a postcard saying “the party” will be keeping track of their voting. C’mon, the gift cards are a bonus. You know, double the tax rate and then toss out a few tchotchkes. Heck, bring the kids, we’ll let ‘em fill out mock ballots.

    Yep Alderman. This goes past “way dumb”.

  35. - Helm - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    I have a serious question on the statute above.

    Let’s say I work for an employer who gives me 2 hours of paid time off to go and vote. Is that a violation of the above statute b/c it’s “valuable consideration” ?

    Perhaps there is another statute allowing employers to do this that I am not aware of.

  36. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    ===So no, Rauner’s press secretary’s tweet wasn’t funny — it was offensive and politically tone-deaf.===

    …and the tweet is still up, no apology, - Soccermom -.

    Re-tweeted, and still up on Rauner’s twitter, and Englander’s twitter.

    If it were me, I would screen-capture all three, the tweet and retweet before they disappear, *cough*. PersonalPAC *cough*, but I’m just a Dope.

  37. - ... - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    Given how many laws in Illinois tend to be copied from California, perhaps tomorrow she’ll be a trendsetter…

  38. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    ===…, but I think we need to leave yesterday in the yesterday bin.===

    I bet Rauner, the Press Secretary, and Englander would like that too…

    === C’mon, the gift cards are a bonus. ===

    Coming from - A Guy… -, that is just priceless. Rauner knows all about gift cards, lol

  39. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===But to pay someone to vote for whomever they want …. that just doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with it. ===
    I agree with Dan’s statement on this. Plus I am still ticked off because a couple of bars I use to frequent would give you a free drink for your stub. But that had to stop after this was passed. What was the harm in that?

  40. - A guy... - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    I was speaking for myself about yesterday Willie. I’d like you to leave it there even more.

    On the gift cards…I’m sorry, has a GOP person offered them in a raffle for voting? Oh of course not. You’re just comparing the absent irony of two things that have nothing whatsoever to do with one another. Cause, it’s just kinda sorta what y’awl do. The laugh track in your own head must be set to the Chipmunks.

  41. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    In Wisconsin there’s some regulation that defines “valuable consideration” - I forget what it is but when I was a poll watcher for the Democrats we were allowed to give some Holloween “fun-size” candies to voters waiting in the long lines. (”Who turns down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolaty, it’s minty, it’s delicious!”)

  42. - D.P.Gumby - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    Not sure it’s as clear as all that. Individual was not being given any valuable consideration for voting. Is giving someone the CHANCE to win something valuable consideration? One only gets to deduct gambling loses if one wins something. Is there any history or case law?

  43. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    === The laugh track in your own head must be set to the Chipmunks.===

    Nah. “Mr. Ed”

    To the Post,

    I think what is also happening with social media and it’s immediacy is the fact of thinking through things versus being timely, timely is beating thoughtful, and errors occur, some blatantly ignorant of the rule of law at times.

    It’s a sign of things happening “now” - and not all that is “now” is good(?)

  44. - Gooner - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Not to digress from the potentially illegal angle, but Leslie Hairston’s stuff on Facebook tends to be extremely boring. There is nothing remotely interesting or, except for this, remotely controversial.

    She uses it sort of as an office bulletin board. Unless you live in the ward the posts serve no purpose at all. She also has no interaction. She just dumps the stuff up there.

    If candidates are going to have a social media presence, they really should make some effort. She makes none.

  45. - Dan Johnson - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    I don’t know OneMan….if Rauner wants to raffle off some trucks in Keyes Country for voting….that just doesn’t seem like a felony to me.

    I’d rather those millions go to Illinois residents than GE and Disney (the TV stations).

    And I hear you that a committeeman benefits from extra turnout, but that doesn’t lead to criminalizing a raffle for voting to my eyes.

    We criminalize too much about politics already.

  46. - VM - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    == I have a serious question on the statute above.

    Let’s say I work for an employer who gives me 2 hours of paid time off to go and vote. Is that a violation of the above statute b/c it’s “valuable consideration” ?

    Perhaps there is another statute allowing employers to do this that I am not aware of. ==

    I believe the Election Code specifically mandates an employer to allow a certain number of hours off to vote. While they do not have to be paid hours, I think that provision makes it harder to say paid hours are an inducement to vote, any more than an employer who pays for the days an employee is on jury duty can be said to be influencing a trial.

  47. - park - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Leslie, do it the old fashioned way….take them to the bar, buy drinks, then take them to the polls.

    In Missouri, by law the bars used to be closed when the polls were open, just because that used to be big thing in Kansas City (old Pendergast machine I think).

  48. - Capt. Von Trapp - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    I agree that she must have felt compelled to push the vote to get out. A dear old friend of mine has a Aunt that lives in that ward and said no signs for Quinn and nobody knocking on doors

  49. - walker - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    Used to be that political rules were whatever aldermen said they were.

    That world has mostly gone away over the past twenty-five years, but sometimes they still seem to live in an alternate universe.

    They might still have game, but they are not the best teammates.

  50. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 5:45 pm:

    I doubt that Anita would ever prosecute a juiced in Dem. She only does that Republicans. I know a Republican in SW Cook who circulated petitions to get a measure on the ballot, and she signed as circulator for a sheet her sick, elderly mom had collected. A Dem, who opposed the ballot measure, found out and turned it over to Anita. She prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to keep from bankrupcy and jail time the circulator had to plead out that she couldn’t be involved in any way with politics again, circulating petitions or running for office.

    Of course, I don’t think Anita EVER prosecuted anyone involved with the shenanigans that go on Dem politics in Chicago.(correct me if I’m wrong, gang)

    A class 4 felony and Anita will probably just laugh it off. She’s got much more important work to do harassing Republicans.

  51. - Late to the Party - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 7:23 am:

    IIRC, there have been businesses in SPFLD (restaurants?) that offered discounts if you showed your voting recpt. Goes back a few years; 10 maybe. Don’t recall anything happening to them. It never occurred to me it was illegal.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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