Legislators and parties have raised over $1M in 2011

Legislators have been reporting large donations since the start of the year.

The new campaign finance law that took effect January 1st has had a major impact. Contribution limits have gotten most of the attention. But there were other parts of the law that are equally deserving of attention.

Under the old law, candidates had to report large donations only if they were in the middle of an election. No one who was not involved in an election had to report, and no one at all had to report except during the 30 days before an election.

Thanks to the new law, we know that sitting legislators, statewides, and political parties have raised over $650K since the start of the year. And that does not include the more than $500K raised by Reps. Burns, Mendoza, and Osterman, who all won elections in Chicago last week.

Big recipients include the four tops, of course: Senate Democrats show $90K mostly in the Victory Fund but also in President Cullerton's PAC. Senate Republicans show $71K between Radogno's PAC and the caucus committee. House Republicans report $52K, mostly in the HRO. Speaker Madigan reports just $10K, and DPI hasn't filed anything yet.

Others reporting big totals include Rep. Skip Saviano, who reported $41K; State Sen. Rickey Hendon, who reported $37K so far this year, before his surprise retirement announcement last Thursday; and Sen. Tony Munoz, who reported $36K. Statewides with notable totals include AG Lisa Madigan with $19K and Treasurer Dan Rutherford with $18K.

A-1 reports are now required year round. If you want to see if big money might be influencing an issue in the legislature, in the executive branch, or in your own local town, have a look.