Political reformers say there’s a quirk in the new law regarding when campaign contribution limits are lifted. Republican Bruce Rauner is putting in millions of his own money in a four-way primary battle, which lifts limits for all candidates – even for Gov. Pat Quinn, who faces minimal Democratic primary opposition. If Rauner loses the primary, limits are restored, but the governor will be sitting on a war chest raised without limits, while the winning Republican will presumably have spent every dollar.
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“We think that it highlights the anomalous situation about the lifting of the limits, and that a lot more thought and care needs to be put into that provision of the law. It can operate in ways that aren’t, I think, fully anticipated and that aren’t really fully fair,” said David R. Melton, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
There are two caveats that Melton acknowledges, however:
? Whenever one party has a bruising primary and the other party has a nominee with little or no opposition, that non-challenged candidate will enter the general election better positioned financially, regardless of what the fund-raising rules are.
? A candidate, or a Super PAC on behalf of a candidate, will probably raise and spend enough early in the general election process so that contribution caps are lifted, even if Rauner is not the Republican nominee.
Melton says reforming this quirk is on his group’s agenda for the year, but he says it is unlikely to be changed this year.