Illinois Campaign for Political Reform urges Gov. Quinn to protect contribution limits law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2012
Contact: Brian Gladstein
ICPR asks Gov. Quinn to veto Senate Bill 3722
CHICAGO – The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) on Thursday called on Gov. Pat Quinn to veto Senate Bill 3722, which would create a wide loophole in the state’s campaign contribution limits system.
“Gov. Quinn can and should veto this bill and protect the campaign finance system reforms he helped enact in 2009,” said Brian Gladstein, Executive Director of ICPR. "The Governor signed the limits bill just a few years ago as part of what he called his 'year of reform.’ If he signs this bill, a lot of the work he did during that year will be for naught."
Senate Bill 3722 would remove campaign contribution limits on all contributions to candidates running in an election where spending by an independent committee (super PAC) or individual reaches a threshold amount of $250,000 in a statewide race or $100,000 in all other election contests.
“Citizens throughout Illinois were angered by Rod Blagojevich’s corrupt actions and the state’s history of corrupt agreements involving political contributions, and voters demanded reform of Illinois’ loose campaign finance regulations, which allowed unlimited contributions to all candidates,” Gladstein said. “This bill would be a step backwards and open the door to more corruption in the future.”
The state’s contribution limits law was passed in 2009, but since then, federal court decisions have prevented enforcement of state laws prohibiting limits on contributions to political action committees that spend money to influence the outcome of elections but do not coordinate with any candidates. Advocates of SB 3722 contend that the court decisions allowing super PACs to collect money without limits and spend it to influence the outcome of an election put candidates at a disadvantage and argue candidates in those elections should be able to solicit and accept contributions of all sizes.
ICPR counters that contribution limits are a key weapon in the fight against corruption notes and other states have found better ways to address the potential of involvement of independent expenditures in elections. For example, Illinois should enact a definition of independent expenditures that would exclude PACs intertwined with candidates and improve disclosure so the public is provided with information about super PAC supporters in all election communications.
"Instead of rushing a loophole into the new law, Illinois should pause and study how best to fit super PACs into the campaign finance system," Gladstein said. "We are calling on Gov. Quinn to stop the vandalization of the limits system. Give the Illinois Campaign Reform Task Force time to study responses in other states and recommend the next steps for Illinois before making hasty changes to Illinois’ corruption-fighting contribution limits system.
"Refine the limits law," he continued. "Don't blow a hole in it."
# # #