If you hate corruption in Illinois – I’ve got some bad news. The Illinois House of Representatives voted in favor of SB 3722, legislation that creates a super-sized loophole in the Illinois contribution limits law established in 2009 in the wake of Blagojevich’s arrest on corruption charges.
The bill would remove limits on all contributions to all candidates running in an election where spending by an independent committee (or super PAC) reaches a threshold amount of $250,000 in support of a candidate in a statewide race or $100,000 in an election for state legislator, mayor, judge and all other non-statewide contests.
If you’re a super PAC, this is great news for you.
By creating a super PAC, one wealthy individual could determine which candidate races have limits and the power to determine when their contribution limits are lifted under this pending proposal. Curbing corruption by increasing the influence of wealth donors doesn’t make sense.
What's more, with the lax rules defining what is "independent," House Amendment 1 will allow candidates to engineer the removal of limits on themselves, by working with supporters to create super PACs that will both support their candidacies and trigger the removal of limits on their campaigns.
The elimination of those contribution limits is a dramatic change to current finance law. It will allow more special interest money to candidates, increase the influence of wealthy donors and make worse the potential for corruption in Illinois.
It’s not too late. Governor Quinn has an opportunity to weight in. We’ll be encouraging him to veto the bill. And if you’re not a Super PAC, I encourage you to do the same.