Republicans did an about-face on a bill requiring quicker disclosure of independent expenditures in political campaigns.
A bill to require immediate reporting of those expenditures -- which are usually in the form of ads supporting or opposing a candidate, but which can’t be coordinated with a campaign -- has made it to the governor’s desk, though its path there was unusual.
The legislation passed with zero “no” votes in the Senate in April. But a month later, it was met with resistance by almost every House Republican, passing on a party-line vote, with Democrats in favor. State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) says this bill shouldn’t be a partisan issue, as other types of political spending have to be reported before Election Day.
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“So do political action committees, so do candidate committees, but these independent expenditure committees don’t have to tell the public anything until after it’s too late to influence their vote,” Currie said.
Currie says she doesn’t understand why Republicans chose to oppose the bill. State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) is also at a loss to explain why Republicans in her chamber, like co-sponsor State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), are now silent about the legislation.
“He spoke in favor of it, we talked together, and he thought it was an excellent bill, and was happy to put his name on it as the chief co-sponsor,” Morrison said. “I actually haven’t talked to him since last Tuesday when we were in Springfield together.”
Independent expenditures have been on the rise over the last few years. During the 2013-14 election cycle, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says $18 million spent in this manner went unreported before voters went to the polls.