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Are the Republicans following state campaign finance law?

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2016

* Scott Kennedy

So far Republican Senate candidates Seth Lewis, Paul Schimpf and Dale Fowler are getting paid staff from both the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee (RSSCC) and the House Republican Organization (HRO). Now the House Republican Organization is running an ad against Democratic incumbent Senator Gary Forby, which would presumably be an in-kind contribution to the Fowler campaign, it even lists HRO in the paid-for-by at the end of the ad.

* Kennedy says “under the current letter of the law I’m not sure this is permitted”

Someone mentioned to me that the reason you rarely come across a situation where a candidate for the General Assembly is being financially supported by the caucus committee of both chambers is that it’s not allowed. I looked it up and this appears to be the case.

Here is the section on campaign contributions, the relevant section is highlighted:

    5/9-8.5 Limitations on campaign contributions
    (b) During an election cycle, a candidate political committee may not accept contributions with an aggregate value over the following: (i) $5,000 from any individual, (ii) $10,000 from any corporation, labor organization, or association, or (iii) $50,000 from a candidate political committee or political action committee. A candidate political committee may accept contributions in any amount from a political party committee except during an election cycle in which the candidate seeks nomination at a primary election. During an election cycle in which the candidate seeks nomination at a primary election, a candidate political committee may not accept contributions from political party committees with an aggregate value over the following: (i) $200,000 for a candidate political committee established to support a candidate seeking nomination to statewide office, (ii) $125,000 for a candidate political committee established to support a candidate seeking nomination to the Senate, the Supreme Court or Appellate Court in the First Judicial district, or an office elected by all voters in a county with 1,000,000 or more residents, (iii) $75,000 for a candidate political committee established to support a candidate seeking nomination to the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court or Appellate Court for a judicial district other than the First Judicial District, an office elected by all voters of a county of fewer than 1,000,000 residents, and municipal and county offices in Cook County other than those elected by all voters of Cook County, and (iv) $50,000 for a candidate political committee established to support the nomination of a candidate to any other office. A candidate political committee established to elect a candidate to the General Assembly may accept contributions from only one legislative caucus committee. A candidate political committee may not accept contributions from a ballot initiative committee or from an independent expenditure committee.

And here is the section on committee definitions, the relevant section is highlighted:

    5/9-1.8. Political committees
    (c) “Political party committee” means the State central committee of a political party, a county central committee of a political party, a legislative caucus committee, or a committee formed by a ward or township committeeman of a political party. For purposes of this Article, a “legislative caucus committee” means a committee established for the purpose of electing candidates to the General Assembly by the person elected President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, or a committee established by 5 or more members of the same caucus of the Senate or 10 or more members of the same caucus of the House of Representatives.

I’ve asked Mike Schrimpf for comment and I’ll let you know if he responds.

…Adding… From Schrimpf…

“We are complying with the law.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - Spliff - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 1:46 pm:

    Maybe their understanding of the law is why both the GOP caucuses are in the Super-Minority?


  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 1:47 pm:

    That independent Paul Schimpf…

    I enjoyed his Facebook post talking about the “Staus Quo”… that’s fun.

    I just hope the Schimpf Crew isn’t going to blame Speaker Madigan and the passed statutes he controls?

    Maybe the statute is just “too status quo”?

    Right? Exactly right.

    (C’mon Schimpf Crew, give me reasons to see and believe autonomy. The GOP needs help. Please. - OW)


  3. - Linus - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    Hmmm. Maybe check to see if any of their TV ads are cribbing from Obama 2008, too


  4. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 1:51 pm:

    Remember when Rauner tried to hide his staff by listing only the payroll company? This kind of illegality is par for the Rauner course.


  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 1:53 pm:

    ===This kind of illegality is par for the Rauner course.===

    Sort of like the $500,000 or so in untraceable debit cards.


  6. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 1:58 pm:

    === From Schrimpf…

    “We are complying with the law.” ===

    And I’m Superman. Up, up and away!


  7. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:00 pm:

    “We are complying with the law.”

    Snort, snicker, giggle.


  8. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:02 pm:

    In Rauner World…

    Bridges are to budgets as campaign committees are to caucuses. /s


  9. - The Captain - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:05 pm:

    This provision in the law is poorly thought out and probably needs to be done away with, or at least make it so that in-kind contributions don’t apply. For example, let’s say the Senate caucus fund paid for a GOTV effort for one of their candidates and reported it as an in-kind to that Senate candidate, well the two House candidates from the same party whose districts overlap would probably benefit and under a strict interpretation of the in-kind reporting rules would be an in-kind contribution beneficiary as well. It would be really easy to run afoul of this part of the law even when the campaigns and the caucuses are not doing anything untoward and are just behaving normally.


  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:12 pm:

    Well, if the Auditor General needs to resign due to unanswered questions…


  11. - pool boy - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:13 pm:

    Seems like an odd law to me. Maybe they could funnel it through PAC “It’s Miller Time”.


  12. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:15 pm:

    “We are complying with the law.” … said every politician ever.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    So, how are things being paid?

    Seems to be a straight-forward question…


  14. - Just Me - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    I would argue even if they’re not in full compliance with the law technically, they are in compliance with the spirit and intent. Still, this is Illinois, and nobody really cares about compliance with the spirit of the law.


  15. - Joe M - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    More frat-boy politicians who think they can do whatever they want, and to hell with laws and rules


  16. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:28 pm:

    Schrimpf is trying to play Jedi mind tricks. “these are not the campaign finance laws you are looking for”.


  17. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    How do judges look at the “spirity of the law” in a courtroom? Someone who gets a DUI can be said to be in the spirits of the law too!


  18. - Chungas revenge - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    We are following the law, just ask my trucker friends in the room with the 200 people who do no have computers next to the school I can’t remember that made me cry.


  19. - Just sayin - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:35 pm:

    Que the outrage from the goo goos like BGA and Campaign for Poltiical Reform or are they completely in Rauner’s pocket now?


  20. - Indochine - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:36 pm:

    God, in the wide open wilderness of Illinois campaign finance laws, it is remarkable that a House caucus cannot contribute to a Senate candidate.

    Gee, that makes everything so much more pristine.

    I don’t know why they don’t want to run money through the Senate Republicans, but they can just use the Illinois Republican Party.

    Where is all this outrage when it comes to Mautino?


  21. - illini - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:43 pm:

    As I noted yesterday - much of this was included in the D-2 Quarterly Filings with the ISBE. The paid staff was noted on some disclosures as well as some in-kind contributions as I recall.

    These reports only cover to the end of June and the next reports are not due for another three months.


  22. - Anonymouth - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 2:47 pm:

    === God, in the wide open wilderness of Illinois campaign finance laws, it is remarkable that a House caucus cannot contribute to a Senate candidate. ===

    Actually the law does not say that. What it says is that it can only accept contributions from one legislative caucus committee. A candidate for the Senate can accept contributions from the House caucus committee so long as they are not also receiving contributions from the Senate caucus committee.


  23. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    I noticed an unusual amount of mid sized donations to the Schrimpf campaign yesterday, and now a Rauner sighting in Jackson Co. Does Shiela have em worried? Any polling data out there?


  24. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 3:11 pm:

    If Carbondale wants Southern to close or lose Accredidation, they should vote for Schimpf.

    If Carbondale and SIU wants someone to stand up and exist… do you vote for Schimpf?

    “Vote Accordingly”


  25. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 3:12 pm:

    Is that the kind of thorough legal analysis and judgement offered by our last GOP atty gen candidate? “Cuz I said so!” Geesh


  26. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 4:45 pm:

    –From Schrimpf…

    “We are complying with the law.”–

    Schrimpf Limpf on Schimpf


  27. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 4:45 pm:

    I would offer a comment, but I can’t tell Schimpf from Schrimpf.

    I do know generally believe that when you’re explaining, you’re losing.


  28. - Jeeves The Cat - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 4:55 pm:

    Curious. The “Campaign Finance Reform” adjustments that were part of the velvet handcuffs the GA members slapped on themselves to demonstrate they were doing something serious while also ignoring both the recommendations of Quinn’s post-Blago Reform Commission and the widespread public outrage and disgust purposefully had virtually no teeth when it came to party bosses. These pages were full of criticism at the time mocking how pointless they were. Now the House GOP is running district-wide hit pieces on Dem Senators/Senate candidates - without mentioning the GOP candidate. Where does this fall? Clearly there are intended beneficiaries, even if not named.


  29. - walker - Tuesday, Jul 19, 16 @ 6:24 pm:

    At least they reported the amounts and parties involved in a timely fashion. No attempt at hiding anything. That’s most important.

    If technically wrong, easily reversed then routed the right way thru the state party, with amended reporting. Doubt they’ll get fined for this mistake.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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