A state representative says campaign finance laws should change to limit what kinds of trips politicians can purchase with their campaign funds, but the change could be difficult.


Illinois Times investigative reporter Bruce Rushton reviewed up to two years’ worth of campaign spending documents for the state’s 177 legislators and found some legislators using campaign funds to pay for overseas travel.


Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives told WMAY Springfield the law should change to discontinue or severely limit that practice.

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“We are simply state legislators, we are not Congress people,” Ives said. “We don’t need to go over to Turkey, necessarily.”


The Better Government Association’s Bob Reed said questionable spending should be addressed.


“You have to really wonder if this isn’t supplementing somebody’s lifestyle as opposed to helping the political process,” Reed said.


However, any change in the law could be difficult because it would have to go through the very legislators who are spending the money, he added.


Sarah Brune, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said her group always is concerned about campaign spending.


“We just hope that legislators are really open to clarification to this policy that make the process more understandable for both legislators and the public,” Brune said.  


Brune added overseas travel expenses should be limited, but some travel to other countries may be justified.


State Sen. Sam McCann and former state representative turned Auditor General Frank Mautino both face hearings about campaign expenditures next month before the Illinois State Board of Elections.


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