- Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 08:49 AM
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) proposed measures to rein in campaign spending by shadowy third party groups in Illinois. Just three years after passing the first ever campaign finance laws in Illinois, political spending reached record highs in 2012. The majority of the spending was done by groups organized to take advantage of legal loopholes that allow them to spend money on behalf of or in opposition to political and issue campaigns without reporting the source of their donations.
"The rise of anonymously funded, independent expenditure campaigns has been meteoric, and it's a troubling sign," Manar said. "Even in the free-spending days before contribution limits, there was accountability. Voters could see who was funding campaigns. It's time to bring these independent expenditure groups out of the shadows and subject them that same level of transparency as every other citizen in Illinois.”
Senate Bill 2402 would require a nonprofit organization that accepts contributions, makes contributions, or makes expenditures during any 12-month period in an aggregate amount exceeding $5,000 on behalf of or in opposition to candidates or a question of public policy or for electioneering communications to register with the State Board of Elections and file contribution and expenditure reports. It also requires independent expenditure committees to A-1 independent expenditures of a $1,000 or more. It increases penalties for failure to make disclosures. It requires quarterly reports to disclose the beneficial owner of any entity that contributes more than $10,000 to a ballot initiative committee or an independent expenditure committee during any election period.
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) strongly supports the legislation. “These organizations are spending millions to play in our political process without any accountability,” said the Executive Director of ICPR, Brian Gladstein. “Senator Manar has a proven record of reform and continues to fight for the people of this state.”