Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson apparently did not violate election law by handing out more than $200,000 in cash and checks Sunday to people at an event he attended with Gov. Bruce Rauner at a South Side church, according to the state elections board. […]
Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said the fact that the money came from Wilson’s foundation seems to allow him to avoid running afoul of campaign finance laws.
“As far as we can see, it looks like he didn’t use campaign funds for this,” Dietrich said. “And there doesn’t appear to have been any quid pro quo, like, ‘Here’s some money, vote for me.’ So from our perspective, it doesn’t look like there was anything illegal about this.”
“It looks kind of skeevy,” said Ken Menzel, general counsel at the Illinois State Board of Elections, who noted he did not have enough information to make a call one way or another on the matter. “If that were the threshold for Illinois politics, the chambers would be empty.”
…Adding… From Dietrich…
Rich: I think Ken Menzel and I are answering different questions in the quotes you have. The answer I gave to John Byrne yesterday morning came after I talked to Ken about it. Ken’s comment to Natasha came out of a larger conversation and concerned the general optics of the event.
When the calls started flooding in, I sent out this statement:
All we know about this is what has been in media reports. If the money came from his foundation and not his campaign committee, and the other details as have been reported are correct, then it likely would not violate the Campaign Finance Act. However, the State Board of Elections does not want to engage in extensive speculation about a situation which could generate a formal complaint for which the State Board of Elections would be the hearing body.
At this point, no such complaint has been filed.