LIG weaponized in Senate campaign
Friday, Apr 29, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller
* This “complaint” is based on numerous false assumptions and gigantic leaps of faith. But, of course, the media outlet didn’t bother to run anything down before spreading this goofiness…
DIRTY LAUNDRY? A complaint was filed yesterday with the Legislative Inspector General, claiming state Sen. Melinda Bush has filed false documents, and engaged in pay-to-play and money laundering schemes with her political accounts and private business.
The complaint also claims Bush held an illegal fundraiser during the legislative session, and it accuses former state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen of laundering money from a campaign account to a personal account.
The allegations are going to shake up an already heated primary to replace Bush, who isn’t running for reelection. The Lake County Democrat is backing Edly-Allen, a former state rep, who’s facing current state Rep. Sam Yingling in the Democratic primary.
The LIG complaint was filed by good government advocate Jan Czarnik, the former executive director of the League of Women Voters in Illinois. “I believe that corruption must be called out and that those of us familiar with how Springfield operates have a responsibility to do so,” Czarnik said in a statement to Playbook.
Bush did not immediately respond to our late request for comment.
That “illegal fundraiser” was actually a meet and greet. I was there. No tickets were sold. Also, the whole money laundering allegation is beyond a stretch. And the Legislative Inspector General is limited to investigating public office-related items, not private life or campaign-related things, which even the spokesperson who distributed the press release admitted knowing about. But, hey, they got their campaign advertising fodder, so mission accomplished.
* Response from Sen. Bush…
“While it shouldn’t surprise anyone when flailing, floundering campaigns resort to dirty political attacks, weaponizing the Office of the LIG to lob false, frivolous complaints is an extraordinary new low. In today’s environment, we should hold every member of the General Assembly to the highest of standards and that not only applies to our actions in the chamber, but also our activities in political campaigns. When I led the passage of groundbreaking ethics reform in the Senate, it certainly wasn’t designed to allow members of this chamber to abuse it as a tool to forward their political agenda. Sadly, that’s exactly what is happening today and shame on them for doing so as these attacks are based in political fiction, not reality.”
“Pay to Play”
• This complaint falsely alleges that there is a pay to play scheme happening, but no one at For the People has taken a salary.
• The Lake County Democratic Women gave Judge Rochford its award before Rochford’s campaign had ever paid For the People.
• Mary Edly-Allen has made numerous contributions to the Lake County Democratic Women over the years, and she was hired by the board to serve as the Executive Director for a period of time. When she first ran for office, Edly-Allen stepped down from the Lake County Democratic Women. When she opened her campaign account, she said that if she ever disbanded the account, she would send the money to the Lake County Democratic Women.
• The Lake County Democratic Women is a grassroots organization dedicated to helping the women of Lake County build connections in their community, get involved, and work toward reaching the goal of women making up 51% of those in office.
• The alleged fundraiser mentioned in the complaint was not a fundraiser. It was a “meet and greet” opportunity for candidates to get together at the Sangamon Club. There was no payment or donations made for admittance as it was a free event.
“For The People”
• For the People, LLC incorporated using a digital service called ZenBusiness. While we correctly listed our identities and personal information with the service, ZenBusiness acknowledged an automation error that led to my name being changed from ‘Melinda Bush’ to ‘Melinda Meyer’ when our paperwork was filed with the State of Illinois.” The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office acknowledged the error by Zen Business, and is taking steps to rectify the records retroactively.
• When Senator Bush filed her 2021 statement of economic interest, the LLC had yet to take in any money. By the end of 2021, it had taken in $6,000, far below the $10,000 threshold for requiring to file an updated statement of economic interest.
Bush provided me documentation showing that ZenBusiness had accidentally used the last name of the other person on the incorporation filing, Nickolas Meyer, as her last name. So, she appears on the filing as Melinda Meyer.