Saturday, July 7, 2012
New Law Could Roll Back Campaign Money Limits
Less than two years after the state’s first caps on campaign contributions went into effect, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill Friday that would eliminate those limits if outside groups funnel cash into campaigns.
The bill allows candidates in Illinois to ignore contribution limits when outside groups, called political action committees (PACs), spend money in a race. The bill is a response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows PACs to take in unlimited contributions as long as their efforts are not coordinated with candidates’ campaigns. Before the ruling, PACs could accept up to $10,000 from individual donors and $20,000 from unions and corporations.
Under the new law if a PAC spends more than $100,000 campaigning for a single candidate in a municipal race or a bid for the state legislature, then candidates in that race would not have to stick to limits on how much money they can accept from donors. In a statewide race, the threshold would be $250,000 spent by an outside group.
Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a sponsor of the bill, said the new law is intended to keep outside groups from deciding elections by opening potentially bottomless wallets. “I think what’s important about this bill is that no legislator is going to have to run in an election — in which somebody comes into the election with big bucks — with one hand tied behind her back,” she said.
However,David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said “This bill lays out a road map for evading limits.” Morrison charged, “The only definition of independence in this thing is that you don’t actively coordinate expenditures. You can share vendors. You can share staff ... you can spend all of your money on one single candidate, which is again what we see at the federal level.”
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-law-could-roll-back-some-limits-on.html