* We discussed this last month…
Even though the 2020 primaries and general elections are months away, some big political donations are being made and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has blown the statutory limit off of his campaign.
Madigan filed a “notification of self funding” on Aug. 23, indicating that the $100,001 donation he had made to himself removed the state limitations on campaign contributions in what is so far an uncontested race. Madigan, who also serves as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, has faced election challenges in the past, but has never been defeated in his own district, which he has represented continuously since 1971. So far, no candidate has announced plans to challenge Madigan in the 22nd District. […]
The self-funding rules in Illinois’ campaign finance laws are rooted in freedom of speech, but some point to potential pitfalls of the practice.
“You can take campaign donations, in an unlimited way, from anyone,” said Aaron McKean, legal counsel for the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center. “When I’m a candidate and I take a large contribution from someone, that’s where that appearance of corruption really starts to take hold.”
Illinois’ self-funding law was originally rooted in self-protection. The courts say rich people can spend as much of their own money as they want on campaigns, so the Illinois law automatically allows their opponents to compete by letting them raise unlimited amounts.
Madigan, however, has taken it to the next level by proactively busting the caps on his own fund and then raising as much money as humanly possible. The caps aren’t automatically lifted for the House Republican Leader when the House Speaker does this, so the GOP is put at an even worse disadvantage.
* Meanwhile, remember this splashy story from last week?…
Lawyer Daniel Epstein is the first out of the gate with a TV ad set to begin airing Wednesday in the hotly contested race for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court, six months before the candidates face off in the March primary.
The 30-second TV spot is an effort to make sure people recognize the former Jenner & Block attorney as the candidate “who wants to fix the system and who has ideas to fix it” — and to build name recognition, he said.
The ad is here if you missed it.
Anyway, Comcast usually sends out political buys as they come in, but the guy in charge was out of town and didn’t get a chance to send the deets until yesterday afternoon. The total Epstein buy from September 11 through September 22 was a grand total of just $7,572.50. I kid you not.
* House Speaker Madigan to visit Decatur for political fundraiser: Madigan will be guest of honor at a luncheon hosted by the Macon County Democrats at The Beach House from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.