On Tuesday August 27th, Maryam Judar gave public comment regarding the revision of the ethics law at both the DuPage County Finance Committee Meeting and the full County Board meeting. The revision passed. Commissioner Liz Chaplin was the single vote against the change. The article appearing in the Daily Herald on August 28th is below:
DuPage County Board loosens cap on campaign contributions
By Robert Sanchez
The DuPage County Board has repealed its self-imposed cap on campaign contributions after the state's attorney's office told members the restrictions can't be enforced.
Instead, DuPage now will mirror state law when it comes to limiting the amount of campaign money county board members and the board chairman can accept from donors doing or seeking county government work. The state cap is less restrictive than the previous limit in DuPage's ethics law.
Advertisement "I like the lower limits personally," county board member Robert Larsen said. "But our state's attorney's office — our lawyers — are telling us it is unenforceable."
Before DuPage's ethics law was revised on Tuesday night, it capped campaign donations from companies and consulting firms, as well as officers and owners of those entities, to $1,000 a year. That limit also applied to any individual appointed or applying for appointment to serve on a board, commission, authority, task force or advisory committee.
Now those same entities and individuals can donate up to $5,300 to county board members and the board chairman during each election cycle. An election cycle can be two or four years.
Government watchdog groups urged the county board to keep the local limit, which DuPage adopted in 2010.
"This revision of the ethics ordinance goes in the wrong direction," said Maryam Judar, executive director of the Elmhurst-based Citizen Advocacy Center.
But First Assistant State's Attorney Nancy Wolfe advised county board members that they must follow state law when it comes to campaign contribution restrictions because DuPage isn't home rule.
"The state has set the limits (and) has not given a non-home rule entity authority to enact anything more restrictive or less restrictive," Wolfe said.
The reason DuPage was able to set its cap in 2010 was because the state-imposed limits hadn't yet taken effect. Now that the state law is in place, Wolfe said, "we are bound to follow that."
"A non-home rule county doesn't have authority to act unless it's specifically given," Wolfe said. "No authority (to limit campaign contributions) has been given to us by the state legislature or the Illinois Constitution or the common law."
Judar said she disagrees with that legal opinion. "I don't think it is clear that DuPage County as a non-home rule entity cannot exercise more restrictive ethics," she said.
In addition, officials with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform have said DuPage could, through its procurement system, require vendors to promise not to give more than a set amount to candidates for offices that might have a role in the issuance of their contracts.
Attempts to delay Tuesday night's vote on the ethics law revisions failed. Some board members sought the delay to give watchdog groups a chance to respond to the opinion from the state's attorney's office.
"We're forcing this through," said Elizabeth Chaplin, the only county board member to vote against the revisions. "We're wasting our time on increasing political campaign donations."
A panel of Government Reform Advocates discuss the role of corruption in Illinois politics, why corruption is so prevalent, and what can be done to decrease corruption in Illinois government. Listen to our Executive Director, Terry Pastika's assessment of the situation from 30:46 - 40:04.
CAC folks know the difference between democracy in theory vs. democracy in reality.
A documentary that takes an irreverent, nonpartisan look at voting in America. Where is the Electoral College? Where is the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution? Chicago airing is WTTW 10/30/12 at 9:30PM. For show info and national broadcast airing schedule, go to: http://electoraldysfunction.org/
"Big Sky, Big Money" on FRONTLINE
In a special investigation in collaboration with Marketplace, FRONTLINE travels to the remote epicenter of the campaign finance debate for a tale of money, politics, and intrigue. How has the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision changed campaigns in America? Ask Montana, which has tried to challenge the ruling in court, is investigating alleged campaign abuses, and is playing host to a bitter race that could decide control of the U.S. Senate.FRONTLINE correspondent and Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal reports.
For show info, airing schedule (begins airing 10/30/12) and a 30-second trailer visit:
Non-Partisan Group Offers Forum on Campaign Finance Laws
posted on WDCB website September 6th, 2012
The influence of money in politics isn’t new, but it is under heightened scrutiny in 2012. This is the first presidential election since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, which green-lighted unlimited corporate spending in elections. Super PACs have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars to support their favored candidates. Political Action Committees are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money for candidates, but are supposed to remain separate from the campaigns they support and not coordinate with them. The Elmhurst-based Citizen Advocacy Center will host a forum tonight on the impact the Citizens United ruling has had on politics. Attorney Maryam Judar will lead the discussion. She tells WDCB News the hope is the forum will shed some light on an issue many voters don’t pay attention to. The latest numbers show …the Mitt Romney-associated super PAC … “Restore Our Future” has outraised the Barack Obama-associated …“Priorities USA” … by a five-to-one margin. The Citizens United Forum starts at 7 pm.