With little more than two weeks until Election Day, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s personal investment in eroding the ranks of legislative Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan has grown to nearly $46 million, state campaign finance records show.
The massive influx of cash represents the election-year battle lines playing out in Illinois after more than a year of fighting between Rauner, the first-term governor, and Madigan, the nation’s longest-serving speaker, over the future of the state.
Democrats hold supermajorities in the House and Senate and have been able to stymie Rauner’s economic agenda, which calls for changes in laws that would weaken traditional Democratic allies in organized labor and among workers’ compensation attorneys. The Democrats’ refusal to move on those issues led to a lengthy budget stalemate, which culminated in a temporary spending plan that expires Jan. 1. […]
All told, Rauner, his family and his campaign fund have doled out $45.8 million in political contributions this year. Of the $29 million the Illinois Republican Party has raised this year, nearly $21 million has come from Rauner and $4 million this month through Durkin’s campaign fund.
* But the Illinois Republican Party disputes that story…
FACT CHECK: Madigan Democrats Vastly Outspending Rauner
The Chicago Tribune today misleadingly reports:
“Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s personal investment in eroding the ranks of legislative Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan has grown to nearly $46 million.”
1. Since the day after the 2014 election, Bruce Rauner has made $31,574,500 in political contributions to various campaign entities. Additionally, at the end of third quarter, nearly $5 million remained in the Citizens for Rauner campaign account.
2. Meanwhile, Mike Madigan Democratic legislative candidates have schemed to raise over $56 million.
HOW IT WORKS:
To calculate Democratic fundraising, many news outlets simply look at how much the Democratic Party of Illinois has raised during the quarter and report that figure. The problem with this type of analysis is that Democratic legislative candidates typically receive campaign funds that never pass through the Democratic party campaign committee itself.
How does Democratic fundraising work in reality?
Mike Madigan controls four interconnected campaign funds. This money can be distributed to campaigns in unlimited amounts. Madigan currently has an estimated $13.5 million stored in these funds.
Madigan also uses over 20 select House members in uncompetitive districts as “piggy banks” to store cash. Madigan has primarily funded House candidates by directing these “piggy banks” to transfer money directly to targeted races.
For example, Reps. Anna Moeller, Marty Moylan, Kathleen Willis each transferred out half a million dollars to Democrats in competitive house districts over the last quarter. These transfers have accelerated in recent days.
Additionally, Democratic House members spent much of 2015 receiving large contributions from trial lawyers, special interests, and unions – even if they had no opponent.
The result of this is that most of the Democrats’ spending never passes through the Democratic Party of Illinois or its related campaign funds.
So how much money do the House Democrats have to spend on 2016?
The answer – at least $41 million. This is the sum total of the money that targeted house candidates have raised this cycle, the money Madigan currently has in his accounts, and the money the Democrats have stored in “piggy banks” and other house accounts.
This is a low ball estimate for Democratic spending capabilities, since it does not include any money that outside groups, trial lawyers, special interests, and unions still plan to contribute.
Raised by Targeted Democratic House Candidates this Cycle: $16.6 million
+ Remaining in Madigan’s Four Funds – Estimated $13.5 million
+ Remaining in Non Competitive Democratic House Candidates: $11.5 million
= Minimum House Democratic Spending Capacity: $41.6 million
Senate Democrats also have raised much of their money outside the party structure, mostly from trial lawyers, special interests, and unions. So far, targeted Democratic Senate candidates have raised $10.3 million. But John Cullerton still has $4.5 million in the funds he controls. Cullerton relies significantly more than Madigan on coalescing campaign contributions into his committee, Senate Democratic Victory Fund. The Senate Democrats have at least $14.8 million to spend on 2016.
This is again a low ball estimate, since it does not include any money that outside groups, trial lawyers, special interests, and unions still plan to contribute.
Raised by Targeted Democratic Senate Candidates this Cycle: $10.3 million
+ Remaining in Cullerton’s Three Funds: Estimated $4.5 million
Minimum Senate Democratic Spending Capacity: $14.8 Million
Add in the Ken Griffin and Richard Uihlein cash, though, and they’re still ahead of the Dems.
* Sweet: Pritzker, Uihlein 2 of Illinois’ biggest political donors