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Cleaning up part of the CoD mess

Monday, Apr 27, 2015

* From a Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton) press release…

“The Saturday before the local election I found in my mail a promotional piece touting the College of DuPage. The notion that a government body sees no issue with mailing a taxpayer-funded mail piece, a mere 3 days prior to this month’s election is absolutely ridiculous,” Connelly said. “Taxpayer funds should never be used to either explicitly or implicitly influence an election.”

Senator Connelly successfully advanced Senate Bill 914, which bans all units of local government from sending any promotional materials from Jan. 1 to the date of the consolidated election. The measure is similar to already long-established bans that are in place for Illinois constitutional officers and legislators.

If local government officials, employees, or contractors engage in the behavior, they could face termination from their jobs and be charged with a Class 4 felony.

* The CoD board was under siege before the election because of corruption allegations and federal investigations. Several board members were facing strong electoral opposition. The mailer was blatant pre-election propaganda…

Connelly’s bill passed 56-1. The only “No” vote was Sen. Landek, who’s the mayor of Bridgeview.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:34 am:

    I rememebr when blago was using tax payer miney to put his name on everything, and they ran a bill to stop that. This just seems like a trailer bill to better enforce the spirit of that bill.

  2. - DuPage - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:46 am:

    This is nothing new, we have gotten these in the mail for many years. I think they usually show up about the same time as the property tax bills.

  3. - MrJM - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:47 am:

    “This is nothing new, we have gotten these in the mail for many years.”

    There’s been at least one very slick mailer since the election.

    – MrJM

  4. - anon. - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:51 am:

    I received at least two of these prior to the election (and a couple since). Terrible trying to influence the election and a terrible waste of tax $$ to send them to every residence in the District.

  5. - Team Sleep - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:52 am:

    That was either a poorly-timed error or COD’s blatant attempt to try and take their taxpayer and tuition-paying bases as suckers. Shame on them.

    I’m glad that Rep. Sandack is the House sponsor of SB 914. I’m pretty sure that Rep. Ives’s or Rep. Morrison’s sponsorship would’ve doomed the bill.

  6. - sss - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    Hey, we have had clean audits for 6 years, we don’t understand the difference between debt and fund balance, and we have internal controls to monitor spending!

    Enroll today to get your American Sign Language certificate!

  7. - Anonin' - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    Sen. Connelly’s bold reform should be applauded. Winder is he used state funded staffers, paper, computers,etc to send out his press release tee hee…very Jack Frankish

  8. - walker - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    Townships, libraries, park districts, villages all do this in the name of informing their constituents. They do abuse this both in form (board member photos, bios etc) and timing around elections. It’s not just CC’s.

    This is big, and will be hard to pull off. Hope Connelly has some success with it.

  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:08 am:

    State Rep. John Matejevich tried to ban this practice back in the 1970’s with the Election Interference Act.

    Court interpretation did not live up to his expectations.

  10. - Bogey Golfer - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    Spot on Walker. When does a quarterly newsletter from a municipality, school district, etc. sent prior to an election become taxpayer-funded campaign lit? If you cleanly draw the line in the sand, let us know.

  11. - NIU Grad - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:16 am:

    I’m wondering if this will affect local governments, like Schaumburg,that put out regular newsletters. That’s a big gap to not send one out, although it is only once every four years.

  12. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    Wondering why mailing any of this propaganda is necessary. Use the website to disseminate factual information. Save the postage.

  13. - Bill White - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:22 am:

    What if a high school basketball team advances in the state tournament? Would a District Facebook post constitute “promotional material” ??

    The problem is real but the draft text of this bill is atrocious.

  14. - Wordslinger - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    In fairness, the CoD board and execs might have been loaded when they signed off the mailer.

    By all accounts, they hit that taxpayer-funded on-campus open bar pretty hard.

  15. - Bill White - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    As drafted, I believe the proposed bill arguably causes (for example) the Village of Woodridge weekly e-News feature to become illegal, at least during the specified time periods:

  16. - Shemp - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    Seems like it would make it difficult for a local government to send out anything explaining any ballot measure. So less information is better? The current law doesn’t allow for tax funded advocacy as it is. Enforce what is on the books.

  17. - A guy - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    Every 75-100 years or so, an otherwise innocuous board of some kind becomes a feature race. This bill will deal with those rare inequities/ firm Snark/ overkill.

  18. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:54 am:

    When I started reading I was thinking about the brochures Lincolnland sends out to encourage enrollment. However, the example posted clearly crosses the line and was geared to prop up support for the current board.

  19. - Wordslinger - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:57 am:

    – At CoD, we don’t believe that a public entity has to operate at a deficit.–

    But it does have to cover our bar tab.

  20. - Bogey Golfer - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:10 pm:

    Sorry - forgot to delete first thought.

  21. - David Starrett - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:52 pm:

    Good hit ’slinger. Let’s keep our eyes not the ball here. When I was student body president there in the late ’70s, exposing corruption resulting in the resignation of the President, I never dreamed they would have a four-star restaurant bar and hotel on campus.

    Instructional arguments could be made for that, I suppose, but at present, this is looking like a RICO investigation.

    Where are the students (especially the Student Trustee) in this? Silent, it seems.

  22. - G'Kar - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 3:11 pm:

    What is considered to be promotional material? If a community college mails out it’s summer and fall catalog in February of an election year, would that be illegal?

  23. - Team Sleep - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 3:27 pm:

    G’Kar - I’ve lived in 5 different community college districts over my short life and I’ve never received a slick mailer that wasn’t directly tied to an announcement or a public service initiative (i.e. benefits/classes for displaced workers). That’s a campaign mailer - plain and simple.

  24. - Anon III - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 3:47 pm:

    Glenbrook Dist. 225 spent $12,000 on “newsletters” pumping their tax referendum, and ended up before the State Board of Elections and in the Appellate Court.

  25. - Bill White - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 6:17 pm:

    Team Sleep - the recent COD mailers were outrageous, however the language of the bill prohibits all “promotional material” and appears to apply to promotions having nothing to do with politics or elections, such as recycling events, athletic success, etc. . .

    Yes, there is a problem with the COD mailers however the proposed bill is a “Ready - - FIRE! - - Aim” solution.

  26. - G'Kar - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:04 pm:

    Team Sleep–I agree with you about the CoD mailing. But, as Bill White what my college mails out for the most part are class schedules, continuing ed, and vocational training opportunities. Would they be banned? If so, the bill is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  27. - G'Kar - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:06 pm:

    Ooops, should read:
    But, as Bill White points out what my college mails out for the most part

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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