Illinois comptroller candidate Sheila Simon is talking about reform. Simon was a member of the Collins Commission on Government Reform in 2009. That group, appointed by then-Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn shortly after then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested – produced many recommendations, though few were enacted. One that was was campaign contribution limits, the first ever in Illinois, starting in 2011.
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“When I ran for lieutenant governor four years ago, all the office holders could have accepted a contribution in any amount. All they had to do is report who it came from. Right now we have limits on contributions, and I think that makes the system so much better for everyone,” she said.
Those limits – $5,300 for individuals, $10,500 for corporations and unions in each election cycle – don’t apply in the governor’s race, because one candidate has given himself more than $250,000 of his own money. In fact, Republican Bruce Rauner has topped the $20 million mark in giving to his own campaign. Also, Simon says the U.S. Supreme Court has cast doubt on whether contribution limits will be enforceable in the future.
Simon also says the statement of economic interest that political candidates and some government officials have to file with the secretary of state doesn’t tell us enough. The General Assembly is considering revisions to that 2003 law.