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Some Lawmakers Stash Campaign Cash


Illinois law gives political candidates five days to report campaign contributions of $1,000 or more, but it's been weeks since Gov. Bruce Rauner gave Republican lawmakers four times that, and some still haven't told the state. But they aren't breaking the law.

It was May 11 when Rauner's campaign spread $400,000 among Republican senators and representatives, but you wouldn't know that from looking at state election records. Many legislators still haven't disclosed the money.

Steve Sandvoss, the director of Illinois' elections board, says that's because the clock doesn't start ticking once a politician is sent a check. A contribution is legally only "received" once it's deposited.

As long as they don't lose a check, they can hold onto it for quite some time, if they're not planning on spending it anytime soon.

"That's the way the law is written," Sandvoss said.

With the next election not until March, there's little need to spend cash now. So most candidates probably aren't in a hurry to deposit - and publicly acknowledge - Rauner's largesse.

At least one legislator, Sen. Karen McConnaughay of Kane County, rejected the money. But because of the state reporting law, it's hard to tell if any others did.

Democrats question the timing of Rauner's generosity, and suggest Republicans are being bought off. GOP legislators say there's nothing wrong; it's just a Republican supporting members of his party.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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