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IL Green Party Slams Cullerton on Campaign Finance Reform

Green Party leaders in Illinois ripped Senate President John Cullerton’s comments opposing campaign finance reform in Illinois. According to Joseph Ryan of the Daily Herald, Cullerton told the newspaper’s editorial board that “he thinks Illinois’ wide-open campaign system is just fine” and that disclosure is all that is necessary. (Ryan’s blog entry is at http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/1447.)

Cullerton told the Daily Herald editorial board that the actions of disgraced governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich were aberrations, not the norm in Illinois. According to Joseph Ryan, on the matter of lawmakers and corruption, Cullerton told the Daily Herald, “We don’t do that. I don’t do that. No one I know in government does that.”

Cullerton’s own campaign finance disclosure paperwork shows that in 2008 alone his campaign raised $927,134.12 in total receipts, including several dozens of corporate  contributions, and several contributions of $5,000 and up, including $100,000 from Don Levin. In addition, Cullerton’s committee made transfers out totaling $537,385.00, most notably four transfers totaling $481,000 to a committee called Senate Democratic Victory Fund, a fund Cullerton controls. The Senate Democratic Victory Fund in turn donated $10,000 or more to the campaigns of 10 Democratic State Senate candidates, 7 of whom won their races. Linda Holmes (42, Aurora) received $100,000 and Gary Forby (59, Benton) received $110,000.

“Cullerton’s own campaign disclosures demonstrate the critical need for campaign finance reform,” said Tim Quirk, 2008 candidate for state  representative, 12th district. “Clearly corporate and PAC dollars are  being brought to bear to control votes in the legislature.”

“Something doesn’t need to be illegal to qualify as corrupt,” said Huckelberry. “George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich crossed the legality of line, but Springfield as a whole is well across the corruption line.”

The Illinois Green Party has long advocated for major campaign finance reform, including banning corporate contributions, capping personal contributions, and implementing public financing of elections, to keep moneyed interests from controlling elections in Illinois. Federal laws which apply to candidates for U.S. House and U.S. Senate already ban corporate contributions and institute individual contribution caps of $4,600 per person to a single candidate in a single election cycle.”Springfield is years behind even Washington on campaign finance reform,” said Quirk. “We’re never going to get the reforms we need with  leaders like Cullerton setting the agenda in Springfield.”

The Illinois Green Party is one of the state’s three established political parties after gaining more than 10% of the vote in the 2006 governor’s  race. In 2008, the party ran more than 50 candidates statewide, and five candidates will compete in the state’s first ever contested Green primary in the 5th Congressional District on March 3, 2009. For more information
visit www.ilgp.org.

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