Watchdog Says Super PAC's Were Active In Illinois Races

Jan 11, 2013

Nearly one in three state legislative races last year involved money spent by organizations with unlimited fundraising power. The state’s looking into whether that distorts the electoral process. Illinois’ 2012 elections were the first to limit how politicians could collect money from individual donors.

A new analysis, though, shows candidates can get around this by using Super PAC's.
They don't have to disclose where their contributions come from, and there's no limit to how much they can spend. Political expert Kent Redfield says it's pretty simple how they work.

"The loyalty is not to the particular candidate, it's to the organization. You move money around, you try to find elections that you can really have leverage in" Redfield said.

Redfield is with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. He testified before a state commission investigating how campaign funding rules in Illinois can be improved.

For starters, Redfield says too much money comes from Super PAC's and party leaders.

"If you've got somebody raising a million dollars, and half of that or 60-percent comes from the leader, then somebody spending 100-thousand doesn't have nearly the impact" Redfield said.

Redfield says in the last Illinois gubernatorial race, more than a quarter of the money raised came from the national Democratic and Republican governors’ associations. He says says the statewide races up for grabs in two years could lead to even more outside money.