New SuperPAC Brings Anonymous Money to Illinois Legislative Races

A new SuperPAC formed in Illinois on Wednesday of this week and on Friday reported having a quarter of a million dollars to shower on two state House races. The PAC is the Republican State Leadership Committee – Independent Committee and all of its money came from the Republican State Leadership Committee, Inc, which lists an address in DC and has similar PACs in other states.

 

 

SuperPACs came to Illinois state and local races as a result of a federal lawsuit filed by Personal PAC last February.  Because they claim to be separate from candidates, SuperPACs are allowed to raise unlimited funds from any source. ICPR, familiar with Illinois’ history of political corruption, opposed the lawsuit in an Amicus Curiae brief, but Federal District Judge Marvin Aspen ruled that he had no choice under the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and so ruled to allow SuperPACs. The General Assembly codified the ruling in May. To date, there are now six SuperPACs registered in Illinois, including one controlled by Personal PAC, which reports $400K in total receipts. This new one, formed only last Wednesday, is the fastest growing of the bunch.

 

At the federal level, SuperPACs have created a nest of potential conflicts of interest. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that a majority of Americans believe SuperPACs should be outlawed. More than two-thirds of all respondents (69%) said SuperPACs should be banned, and a majority, 52% said they believed strongly that SuperPACs should be illegal.

 

The new gorilla in state politics says that its $282,458 is bound for two downstate House races, in the 68th (an open seat contest between Democrat Carl Wasco and Republcan John Cabello) and 111th (Incumbent Democrat Dan Beiser versus Republican Kathy Smith) districts. That’s a lot of money for two House seats, and the public has no idea where it really came from.