Over the past fifteen years, there’s been a steady increase of campaign dollars during elections years in Illinois and it’s expected this year will be no exception, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
ICPR Executive Director Sarah Brune says every week they include the Top 10 donations.
“So, that’s money coming in from outside the system, that’s coming in from donors across the state,” Brune said. They also compile the Top 10 transfers -- or money that’s already in the system that’s transferred from one committee to another -- and they also show the top committee earners for every week.
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So far for the month of January 2016 there has been over $6.6 million in donations and fund transfers. Brune says because it’s an election year the expectation is more will follow.
“In 2015, which is not an election year -- although it was clearly ramping up to one -- there were over $160 million in contributions,” Brune said. “So I think 2016 is just going to be that much more
According to data compiled by ICPR, in 2014, an election year for statewide offices, there was nearly $340 million in campaign donations and transfers, which was more than $60 million more than in 2010, another year for statewide elections.
Brune says the reason for the weekly reports is because the Illinois State Board of Elections website can be quote “laborious” to navigate and search.
“We ourselves use the State Board of Elections website for a long time and just found that it can be confusing, kind of difficult for users to find the information they were looking for,” Brune said. “So we really wanted to create a resource that was free, open to the public with that big simple search bar right at the top.
Brune says the information is important.
“Understanding who influences your elected official through political donations is a huge part of understanding what type of actions they take and what the government is doing,” Burne said. “So I think it’s something people should really pay attention to in this election season.”