Are some politicians elected to office because they are right for the job or right for a particular issue? Millions were spent on elections each year by corporations and political action committees. “We never say they are giving donations in order to get a vote. That is quid pro quo and that’s illegal,” Edwin Bender, executive director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, said. “What we say is that they’re giving money in order to have a seat at the table.”
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Bender says it’s important for voters to know who is contributing. “What benefits AT&T may also benefit the public of Illinois, but it might not. So the public needs to pay attention to, they need to be aware of the campaign finances, the lobbyist and the links with legislation,” Bender said.
According to the institute, the Illinois Education Association, Illinois Laborers, Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, Illinois Health Care Association and SEIU Healthcare Illinois were the top donors, outside of those connected to a political party.
2011-2012 contributions to state legislators who won their election: