District 300 Campaign Disclosure Recommendation to State Board of Elections

I received this email yesterday after John Ryan returned from his Chicago hearing before the State Board of Elections hearing officer Tony Morgando:

Both Monica & I were completely exonerated. Or to put it in the parlance of the Hearing Officer, “No grounds exist that this matter be referred for public hearing”.

It was unfortunate that we had to be drawn into an unnecessary game of sour grapes.

We knew we acted appropriately and are gratified that the Board of Elections agreed.

What’s done is done.

We can now move forward with the tasks we were elected to perform.

I called Morgando to ask the results and, as I expected, he said that his recommendation on the complaints by attorney Nancy Zettler against the Family Taxpayers Network, plus District 300 board candidates John Ryan and Monica Clark, would be made to the Elections Board at its next meeting.

No details until then.

But, what Ryan writes sounds reasonable, as I wrote when I first heard of Zettler’s complaint.

Let me repeat what I said:

I can understand Zettler’s frustration.

During the three Republican primary elections I was under siege by Personal PAC, their mailings and phone calls did not show up in campaign disclosure forms until after the primary election.

I think they should show up ahead of the election, but that, apparently, would require a change in state law.

Maybe Zettler’s lobbying can be expanded from trying to raise our income taxes to changing the campaign disclosure laws.

I’d be happy to join her in such an effort.

Here is the detailed article about Zettler’s complaint.


District 300 Campaign Disclosure Recommendation to State Board of Elections — 4 Comments

  1. From your own blog Cal….Friday, September 08, 2006
    State Board of Elections Lowers Boom on District 300 Tax Hike Committee

    9/8/6 – The opponents of the District 300 tax hikes this past spring were not organized enough or well-financed enough to defeat the referendums, but opponent John Ryan did figure out how to enforce the campaign disclosure reporting laws.

    Ryan, an elected Republican precinct committeeman from Algonquin, discovered that tax hike committee Advance 300, whose spokesman is a woman lawyer, did not follow the law which requires public reporting of any contribution of over $500 in the last days of an election.

    The hidden campaign contribution was $600 from District 300 School Superintendent Ken Arndt. It was made in late February, but not reported until late July.

    Ryan filed a formal complaint.

    He attended a hearing where the treasurer of the tax hike committee made the pitch that it was an honest mistake.

    Ryan argued that the committee was a sophisticated campaign operation, pointing to its level of expenditures on consultants.

    And, now, the State Board of Elections has agreed with its hearing officer. Here’s the final order:

    1. The complaint was filed on justifiable grounds, and
    2. Given the State Board of Elections internal mechanism for the assessment of civil penalties for delinquently filed reports, a Public Hearing is not necessary.


    1. No further action is required beyond the imposition of a civil penalty for failure to file the required Schedule A-1.; and
    2. The effective date of this order is September 5, 2006; and
    3. This is a Final Order subject to review under the Administrative Review Law and Section 9-22 of the Election Code.
    The only way this order can be overturned is by going to court.

    The fine assessed was $600, the amount of the contribution in question.

    A first fine for a committee, however, is automatically “stayed.” That means the tax hikers don’t have to pay it unless they incure a subsequent fine. Then, they have to pay both.

  2. So, what Ryan’s e-mail to you tells me is that he is very clear about the laws regarding campaign disclosure (so the “Oh, Jack Roeser didn’t tell me” excuse really doesn’t fly) and that if someone is found guilty of having violated the law, they really only get a slap on the wrist so a public hearing is not necessary. Doesn’t necessarily mean that they are “completely exonerated”, just means that there are internal controls for assessing penalties. I think I will reserve judgement until the actual report comes out.

  3. Please refer to my comments in this article, which point to a loop hole that I don’t think should exist, but apparently does.

    What Advance 300 did is fail to report a contribution of more than $600. Advance 300 knew about it, because it reported Ken Arndt’s gift in its semi-annual report in July. It was supposed to report it prior to the election.

    While not reporting FTN’s expenditures when they were made may sound like the same thing, they apparently are not, at least according to state election law.

  4. Yes, Advance 300 made an error. I tend to think it was an honest mistake as they reported over $100,000 in donations accurately including several from other administrators. They really didn’t seem to need the $600 and if it were really a matter of voters having a problem with Dr. Arndt’s donation, why would A300 even have accepted it? They admitted the error, and offered to pay the fine. End of story. What I would love to see from John Ryan who claims to be all about transparency and accountability is exactly that.

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