Can MCC Foundation Use Donations to Urge Voters to Vote for Referendums?

It has been most frustrating to have to fight McHenry County Conservation District referendums.

As I have mentioned previously (see Why Odds Against Taxpayer if Conservation District Goes to Referendum), the frustration comes from having to fight money that should have been in the MCCD treasury.

If memory serves me correctly, the last time there was a McHenry County College referendum its foundation also financed the tax hike effort.

And, in Kane County the $184,000 377 tax hike referendum (called the Show You Care for the Developmentally Disabled Political Action Committee) was financed by the Association for Individual Development.

There is nothing that can be done about a non-government not-for-profit organization’s accepting contributions and then using them to finance a campaign. Ridiculous IRS regulations allow non-profits to “lobby.” Spending money on referendums is considered “lobbying.”

Still it bothers me that supporters of tax hike referendums can get a tax deduction for their campaign contributions and I and other tax fighters cannot.

However, the McHenry County Conservation District Board and the McHenry County College Board could prohibit its foundations for following suit.


The McHenry County College’s captive foundation solicits on the MCC web site.

This comes to mind because of a MCC Board agenda item about on-campus solicitation.

Illinois law expressly prohibits the use of public funds to urge electors to vote for or against any candidate or public question 10 ILCS 5/9-25.1. [Emphasis added.]

Candidates for public office and individuals who support or oppose propositions before the electorate must be advised by the sponsoring College group that:

(1) a speech or appearance on College premises does not constitute endorsement by the College of any candidate or position on a public question;

(2) no direct solicitation of funds or distribution of campaign fund raising literature is permitted on College premises;

(3) no campaign materials may be distributed which state or imply that the College supports or opposes a candidate or public proposition. All provisions of the College Ethics Ordinance (policy 1.11) apply to this section.

If candidates can’t hand out campaign literature, it seems reasonable to me that charitable contributions should be used for what a normal person (tax lawyers are not defined as “normal people” for purposes of this article) would consider charitable purposes, rather than for political purposes.


Can MCC Foundation Use Donations to Urge Voters to Vote for Referendums? — 6 Comments

  1. Do you mean to say that Jack Franks is no better than all of the other Democrats.

    Sorry to hear this.

    I did not think Franks could be bought.

  2. I am sure that the Conservation District Foundation financed the last two MCCD referendum campaigns. I did considerable research, including talking to IRS and discovered what the Foundation did was legal.

    There were two court decisions I read which seemed to indicate a not-for-profit could spent 10-16% of its revenue on lobbying, the definition of which included referendum spending.

  3. The grade school in Marengo a few years ago had a family fun night and several teachers passed out materials in favor of passing a referendum for a tax increase for the school.

    I question if this was o.k. to do.

  4. I think there is a great deal the Conservation district is doing that the tax payer and the original founders never ever meant it to operate as it is.

    Lots of work to be done here.

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