Illinois Campaign Finance Reform Wasn’t, Business Twice as Important as Individual Contributors


"The creatures outside (who took part in the revolution) looked from pig to man and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

First a disclaimer.

I don’t favor limits on campaign contributions.

There was much hooting and hollering from liberals and assorted reformers about how wonderful the campaign finance reform law was.

Money would no longer rule politics.

I favor no limits on campaign disclosure, but rapid reporting.

Five days to report a $1,000 donation is too long, especially during the legislative session. But it is a step forward. Better than waiting until the third week of July or January or three weeks before an election.

Forcing contributions of more than $1,000 to be reported in two days near the election was a big step forward

Putting $5,000 limits on contributions from individuals was not.

Another disclosure:

with current limits I could not have run my 2002 campaign for Governor on the Libertarian Party ticket.

That’s because most of the money came from two people.

This Sun-Times column by Jacob Sullum has a wonderful comment from Mitt Romney: "Why no 'let people make contributions they want to make to campaigns and let campaigns then take responsibility for their own words?"

Eliminating third party statewide candidacies was, then, a goal of the “reform” legislation which was accomplished.

But back to the title of this story.

While examining the campaign contributions of State Rep. candidate Dave McSweeney, I noticed that well-to-do individuals were contributing $5,000. Several times it was from husband and wife.

Then, two businesses popped up giving $10,000 apiece.

Naive me wondered what that was all about, so I called the helpful disclosure folks at the Illinois State Board of Elections and discovered that a human was limited to contributing $5,000, but a corporation could donate $10,000.

Of course, there is the higher limit one can give to the leaders for life as well.

Animal Farm all over again.

Just as in the book some potential contributors are more equal that others.

Where was Occupy Wall Street when people needed them?

Not that ordinary people can afford to contribute more than $5,000, but I fail to understand why corporations are more important than people, otherwise known as voters.

I know there’s the big national debate over the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations campaign contributions can’t be limited.

No testing of whether the Illinois $10,000 restriction meets that standard, but to imposed contribution limits on individuals half the amount of those on corporations makes no sense to me.


Illinois Campaign Finance Reform Wasn’t, Business Twice as Important as Individual Contributors — 1 Comment

  1. All the money should go into a pot and get divided among the candidates. Fair ground for all running!

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