A Quirk in the Law or Just Wrong?

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said Thursday that a group called "For a Better Chicago" should disclose the identity of its donors. The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) agrees. We've been saying it for several weeks, and we filed a complaint on Feb. 14th with the Illinois State Board of Elections seeking to compel disclosure of $855,000 in mystery money being used by the For a Better Chicago Political Action Committee.

We appreciate the soon-to-be mayor says that he believes in transparency and that this group, which has moved hundreds of thousands of dollars into aldermanic campaigns, should come clean.

But we take issue with Emanuel's description of what this group is doing. According to news reports, Emanuel said For a Better Chicago is using a "quirk in the law" to keep the identity of its donors a secret.

Given the lengthy and sometimes whacky battle over the question of whether Emanuel met the legal qualifications to run for mayor of Chicago, he should know that some people imagine "quirks" in the law where there are none.

Follow the bouncing dollar bills.

A organization is created by the name of For a Better Chicago. It collects money but won't tell the public anything about its funding sources.

Then a political action committee is formed - just before the state's new campaign contribution limits law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2011. That political action committee is called For a Better Chicago Political Action Committee. The PAC reports to the State Board of Elections that it received $5,000 from the non-profit For a Better Chicago on Dec. 29, 2010, and $850,000 from the non-profit on Dec. 30, 2010.

THAT is quirky, but we're not convinced there's any "quirk in the law" that should allow this mystery to continue.