Who are the biggest campaign contributors to Illinois congressmen? The Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis is No. 1, followed by Exelon and Caterpillar, in terms of money given to members of Congress from Illinois – in the House over the last two years, and the Senate over the last six years, according to a study by the group Maplight, which examines money in politics.
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Maplight spokesman Pamela Heisey says this might not buy specific votes, but it buys access: These donors get their phone calls returned, and their view is always heard.
Illinois’ Top Five donors to members of Congress:
Kirkland & Ellis -- $385,292
Exelon -- $290,862
Caterpillar -- $218,450
Madison-Dearborn Partners -- $206,690
Performance Trust Capital Partners -- $183,900
Time period: July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011 for House members, July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2011 for Senate members.