What Is the Law Allowing Purchase of Political Giveaways?

Reprinted with permission from Illinois Leaks:

McHenry County – Jack Franks’ “political trinket” resolution conflicts with law.

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –We covered McHenry County Chairman Jack Franks’ political resolution in this article that would allow county board members to have “civic engagement”trinkets that have their name and information on it.The resolution outlines that such trinket expenditures can be reimbursed provided they are not for political or charitable purposes.So the question becomes, who determines what is or is not a political or charitable purpose?The resolution points to an affidavit being required that states such a purchase is for a public purpose.

A roll of Jack Franks campaign stickers on the table at the McHenry Expo. (See right hand side of photo above.)

That raises another question in light of all the illegal activities of spending in Algonquin Township.

Who determines what is or is not a public purpose?  

Just saying it is for a public purpose does not make it so.

Jack Franks patronage worker Oliver Serifini wearing Franks campaign stickers at the McHenry Chamber of Commerce Business Expo in 2017.

We challenged Franks to provide any statutory authority in the County Code and to date no response.

The resolution is to adopt new language found in the Travel and Business expense policy that was revised just prior to a new law that went into effect January 1, 2017.

That law is specific as to what it applies to and how reimbursement is to take place for travel expenditures.

We attempted to view the current county resolution cited for the amendment on the County website, R-200907-12-233, but found that it was not shown with all the other resolutions.

So much for transparency.

Franks new resolution conflicts with the law in our opinion as it relates to the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act. 

Franks Travel and Business Expense Policy Resolution: Civic-Engagement Expenses

Law: Not one word in the County Code or the LGTECA cites “civic engagement” as an authorized expenditure of public funds.

Franks’ Resolution: Civic-engagement expenses may be made and are reimbursable provided they are not used for political purposes or as a charitable contribution.

Law: There is no provision for trinkets being a civic engagement item in the law. It appears Franks is trying to expand state law that specifically states in the LGTECA, “Travel means any expenditure directly incident to official travel by employees and officers of a local public agency or by wards or charges of a local public agency involving reimbursement to travelers or direct payment to private agencies providing transportation or related services.”

Trinkets with their name and information on it are in no way part of travel.

At the presumably taxpayer-financed McHenry Expo booth for McHenry County in 2017 appeared these campaign tools of now-Chairman Jack Franks.

In fact, the LGTECA was adopted to identify what is a valid travel expense and makes no reference to “business” expense.

The law provides for travel, meals, or lodging, not trinkets with their personal information on it.

We are pointing out the LGTECA because of the very title of the policy, “Travel and Business Expense Policy”

The County Code is also very clear on legal expenses and reimbursement.

 (55 ILCS 5/5-1018) (from Ch. 34, par. 5-1018) 
    Sec. 5-1018. Reimbursement for expenses; employment of personnel. A county board may reimburse the chairman and other members of the county board for travel and other expenses necessarily incurred while in the conduct of the business of the county. 

Handing out trinkets with the elected official’s name is not an expense that is necessary for them to conduct the business of the county.

May we suggest first a written legal opinion as to how trinkets with their information on it are necessary for the conducting of county business?

May we also suggest the first point to an actual law that gives them the power to take this action?

One can only wonder how a proclaimed fiscal conservative small government guy would push such a resolution in light of the law he lived under as a former State Representative.

(5 ILCS 430/5-20
    Sec. 5-20. Public service announcements; other promotional material
(b) The proper name or image of any executive branch constitutional officer or member of the General Assembly may not appear on any (i) bumper stickers, (ii) commercial billboards, (iii) lapel pins or buttons, (iv) magnets, (v) stickers, and (vi) other similar promotional items, that are not in furtherance of the person’s official State duties or governmental and public service functions, if designed, paid for, prepared, or distributed using public dollars.
(c) This Section does not apply to communications funded through expenditures required to be reported under Article 9 of the Election Code.

As a former State Representative, Franks was forbidden to use public funds for such trinkets if they were designed, paid for, prepared, or distributed using public dollars.

In fact, they made it clear the law would not apply if such expenditures required to be reported under the Election Code meaning he could only do it with campaign money, which is because we all know this is nothing more than a campaign token giveaway.

Why not have the same law apply to every unit of government?

I think we all see this resolution for what it is, an expense to the taxpayers that serves no public purpose.

It’s a means of self-promotion and we believe yet another expansion of government spending on the backs of a county already hit with out of control property tax issues.

Do the right thing, Chairman Franks, and withdraw this resolution.

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You can read the February, 2017, article in which the photos above appeared here:

Jack Franks Patronage Worker Caught Wearing Campaign Stickers at McHenry Expo Booth for McHenry County Government

Contact information for McHenry County Board members is below:

District 1
Yvonne Barnes Yvonne Barnes
h/w: 224-588-1822
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Christopher Spoerl Christopher Spoerl
h: 847-516-6495
w: 847-382-3206
Current Term ends: Dec. 2018
Thomas Wilbeck Thomas Wilbeck
h: 224-888-8142
w: 847-770-3565
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Robert Nowak Robert “Bob” Nowak
h: 847-977-5516
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
District 2
James L. Heisler James L. Heisler
h: 815-459-1971
w: 815-459-0171
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
Jeffrey Thorsen Jeffrey Thorsen
h: 815-245-9204
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Donna Kurtz Donna Kurtz
h: 815-788-0632
w: 815-353-5972
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
John Reinert John Reinert
h: 815-382-0384
w: 815-459-5900
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
District 3
Joseph Gottemoller Joseph Gottemoller
h: 815-382-9940
w: 815-459-5152
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
Donald Kopsell Donald C. Kopsell
h: 815-459-7206
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
Chris Christensen Chris Christensen
h: 815-334-7225
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Michael J. Walkup Michael J. Walkup
h: 815-477-8978
w: 815-459-7090
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
District 4
Kay R. Bates Kay R. Bates
h: 815-276-5073
w: 815-385-4300
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
John D. Hammerand John D. Hammerand
h: 815-728-0700
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
Craig Wilcox Craig Wilcox
w: 815-529-5444
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Charles "Chuck" Wheeler Charles “Chuck” Wheeler
w: 815-307-8525
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
District 5
Paula Yensen Paula Yensen
c: 815-404-3918
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
John Jung Jr. John Jung, Jr.
h: 815-338-6201
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
Michael Skala Michael Skala
h: 847-669-3804
w: 815-337-5550
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Michael Rein Michael Rein
h: 815-337-3740
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
District 6
Michele Aavang Michele Aavang
h: 815-648-4210
Current term ends: Dec. 2018
Jim Kearns Jim Kearns
w: 847-875-4852
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Mary T. McCann Mary T. McCann
h: 815-568-1061
Current term ends: Dec. 2020
Larry Smith Larry W. Smith
h: 815-353-8043
Current term en


What Is the Law Allowing Purchase of Political Giveaways? — 9 Comments

  1. I saw that andy gasser posted pictures of Freesbies with Algonquin Highway Department printed on them.

    Perhaps a violation that cal needs to look into ASAP.

    A pink plow truck is also a perfect example of andy trying to brand his political self into our communities.

    He needs to look at by the States Attorney ASAP.

    cal is negligent in this.

  2. “I had the biggest inauguration crowd ever. Barack Obama illegally bugged me in Trump Tower. 3-5 million illegal votes cost me the popular vote. I will get Mexico to pay for the wall. I will replace Obama Care on Day 1 and it will be so easy. That meeting was to discuss adoption. Those CA wild fires are because of bad environmental laws that cause all the water to run into the Pacific Ocean. US Steel just announced they’re opening 6 new plants. I have the highest poll numbers in the history of the Republican Party higher than even Honest Abe or Reagan.”

  3. Barack Hussein Obama lied repeatedly to Americans about a matter of great SIGNIFICANCE to every single American which is health care.

    “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

    June 6, 2009: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

    June 11, 2009: “No matter how we reform health care, I intend to keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

    June 15, 2009: “I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage — they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. They trust you. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

    Above from Politifact https://www.politifact.com/obama-like-health-care-keep/nd just a small sampling of Obama’s lies that affected every American.

  4. Still waiting for Frank’s to cite the statutory power give to buy these kind of things? Business cards would work just fine and may be considered necessary. Trinkets are not necessary.

  5. Down the memory hole.

    That’s where anything negative, criminal or potentially criminal, goes about Franks

    And if you don’t like it, tough!

    What about when he demanded from Gov. Blago 12 patronage jobs for his wife and Daddy, fool brother, and 9 other Franks retainers.


    WE WILL NEVER GO THERE, says the NorthWorst Herald

  6. “tom” those frisbees were purchased by my predecessor – not me. I would never purchase such things.

    So many breast cancer warriors and survivors are thankful for that truck.

    It brings hope.

    It cost us nothing – NOT A DIME to us.

    Investigate away.

  7. This is the only thing I’ve seen from the NWH about this resolution. It was a reply in the comments of their facebook page; Jon Styf Kxx xxxxxxxxx Hey Kxx. Unfortunately, you’re reading and believing the wrong things here. The entities writing that are clearly trying to misinform you. The 2 resolutions (yes, there are 2) are intended to limit spending by politicians during election season. That was stated during the committee meeting on the subject. You don’t have to believe me, you can listen to the Finance & Audit committee discuss it here (http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/Media.aspx
    ). Click on the Aug. 9 meeting. It’s at around the 54-minute mark. Both resolutions are discussed. This isn’t allowing that spending, it is restricting that spending and making elected officials attest they are making the purchase for a public purpose. It was discussed that the resolution is poorly worded, but all but one member (Chris Christensen, I believe) of the committed (listed below) approved the resolution. You can also see that these are certainly not all people who support the board chairman. This is not a measure to allow more spending, and it’s really unclear how this has been twisted somehow into someone trying to spend tax dollars. Is there proof of that somewhere? I see none but feel free to point it out. Hopefully that answers your question.
    I’ve “x”ed out the name of the commenter.

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