Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont spoke against the measure in the Senate Executive Committee May 28, saying there was no reason why lawmakers could not fix the problems in House Bill 7 before the General Assembly adjourns. Senator Radogno is the sponsor of legislation supported by the Illinois Reform Commission to adopt more stringent limits on campaign financing.
Although House Bill 7 imposes some limits on campaign contributions, it contains major exceptions, including one that would allow transfers of up to $90,000 from other campaign funds.
Opponents point out the high limit and broad definitions in the bill would blunt its effectiveness.
One feature of the bill would allow lawmakers to set up special Constituent Services Committees. They could raise funds separately for these committees and use the money to supplement the state funding of their local offices. Opponents liken the new committees to a “slush fund” that would blur the lines between state business and campaigns and which would not be subject to the standards and scrutiny placed on taxpayer dollars.
The measure won committee approval over the objections of the Illinois Reform Commission, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and Change Illinois. Majority Democrats on the Executive Committee passed out the loophole-laden measure on an 8-5 vote with all Republicans on the committee voting against the bill.
House Bill 7 now returns to the House for concurrence in changes made to the legislation in the Senate.