Friday, October 30, 2009

Campaign Finance Reform Measure Reins in Influence of Money

From the Office of State Senator Dan Kotowski

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Senate passed a tough new law limiting the influence of money in politics. It instituted campaign contribution limits for the first time in Illinois history and strengthened reporting, enforcement and transparency laws. "I have always been a strong advocate for government reform, and I believe this new law will help curb the influence of money in politics and make candidates more transparent and accountable to voters," said State Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge).

Senate Bill 1466 places limits on how much money individuals, businesses, labor organizations, and special interest groups can contribute to political campaigns. The law also caps how much caucus committees can contribute to primary campaigns, ensuring that legislative leaders cannot heavily finance primary opponents of incumbent officials.

"I think that previous governors clearly demonstrated why we need contribution limits," Kotowski said. "This legislation should help foster a better climate of accountability and responsibility from our elected officials."

The bill also requires candidates to report campaign contributions of over $1,000 within five days of depositing the money. The Illinois State Board of Elections will conduct random audits to make sure candidates and elected officials are following the rules and will also investigate allegations of misconduct.

"The new accountability regulations in this bill are impressive," Kotowski said. "With these new rules, all voters will easily be able to see where candidates get their money."

The bill also establishes a task force to recommend further improvements. It has passed both houses of the General Assembly and now goes to the governor.

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