CHICAGO, July 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The co-chairs of the CHANGE Illinois! coalition on Friday said Gov. Quinn's signing of Senate Bill 3722 has damaged the state's campaign contribution limits system and opened the door to unlimited contributions in election contests where independent expenditure groups spend significant amounts of money.
Under the new law, there will be no limits on campaign contributions in any election where spending by an independent committee (or super PAC) exceeds $250,000 in support of a candidate in a statewide race or $100,000 in an election for state legislator, mayor, judge and all other non-statewide contests.
"This new law could open the floodgates to a torrent of special interest money surging into the campaigns of candidates seeking some of the most important offices in our state," said CHANGE Illinois! Co-Chair Peter Bensinger. "Those unlimited contributions will carry more opportunities for the kind of corruption that has denied Illinoisans a fair and honest representation in their governments."
The Illinois limits system, which was passed in 2009 in the wake of the Blagojevich scandal, became effective in January 2011. Due to the General Assembly's passage of SB 3722 last month and the signing by Quinn, the loophole will be in effect for this fall's election when all 179 House and Senate districts are at stake and in 2014 – the first gubernatorial election under the limits system.
"This loophole bill was rushed through the General Assembly in the closing days of the legislative session and without any consideration by the Illinois Campaign Finance Reform Task Force, which was created by the General Assembly to study implementation of the 2009 law and to advise legislators and the Governor on possible revisions," said Deborah Harrington, a Co-Chair of CHANGE Illinois! and a member of the Task Force.
"No single reform can root out all government corruption," said George A. Ranney, Co-Chair of the coalition. "However, the state's first ever limitation on campaign contributions was a major change in the way Illinois conducts elections, and now Gov. Quinn and a majority of the General Assembly have undermined that much needed reform which their constituents pressured them to create less than three years ago."
SOURCE CHANGE Illinois! Coalition